SixFingers aka Lorenzo Panico, is the label owner at Panic Sounds Records and a man with his finger firmly on the pulse of modern sounds – especially if his debut EP is anything to go by. A captivating mix of different sounds, it displays a tantalizing insight into what’s evidently a seriously creative mind. We caught up with him recently to discuss the EP, his influences and his home country, Italy…
Interview by Stephen Flynn
Can you tell us about your musical childhood a bit? What did you listen to growing up and do youremember when you first started becoming inspired by electronic music?
I started playing the wind piano and the flute at school, and then I started to play guitar and piano in a theater company. I grow up listening rock, pop, folk and breakbeat. I was inspired by electronic music since my father bought me a double cassette with a record function, so I started to record music from the radio and mixed it using two tapes, using a sort of copy and paste method. Proper old school!
Whereabouts are you from in Italy and what do you make of the house and techno scene there right now?
I come from Naples, where everyone seems to be an artist. At the moment the techno Scene is really strong, even if there is only one really good event as far as I’m concerned: Deep Morning, with resident DJ Pako Esse. But the scene has been strong since the 80s, when Angels of Love brought over the likes of Frankie Knuckles, Tony Humpries, Dave Mancuso, Danny Tenaglia, Justin Berkmann, Roger Sanchez and more. I have a lot of DJ friends at home, which is great as we help one another out and exchange one another’s music that we play in the clubs.
Was there one rave, DJ or moment that made you realise it was something you wanted to take seriously?
Of course! For me, that was back in 1991 and the moment was at Ciao Club in Naples. But it was a combination of Danny Tenaglia und Masters at Work who gave me a valid motivation to start taking it [the music] seriously. I’d go to so many events and study the DJs in the booth as they mixed. It’s been a fascination ever since!
How long have you been producing now? Is this your first record as SixFingers?
Quite a few years actually. I started in a studio in Milan, working with an engineer and with a sampler collection I created with the DJM 600. I also moved to London where I studied at Point Blank Collece and at Alchemea College: two really great experience in my life. This is my first record as SixFingers but won’t be my last!
What’s the idea behind the name?
When I DJ and work in the studio, I always want to do more. But unfortunately I only have five fingers on each hand to twist knobs. One night at my German language course, during the break I drew the ‘like’ logo from Facebook, but by mistake I’d drawn 6 fingers. And then it hit me: that’s what I need in the studio… 6 fingers!
This is the first release on your label, Panic Sounds. What else is in store for the label? What should we expect?
I have many tracks; minimal, techno and house on my hard drive that I’m waiting to be mastered. Also, some DJs who believe in the project are going to provide EPs for the label too, as well as some big remixes. The expectations are high!
Who does what at the label? Is this your first time running a label? How are you finding the experience so far?
My Partner Viviana helps me with PR and social stuff. I have worked in London for another Label as a sound engineer and remixer but this is my first time running a label. I found it all came together when you have a passion and love for what you do. So far, it’s been a fantastic experience.
Can you tell us a bit about the inspiration behind the tracks and what equipment etc. you used for the EP?
As it’s the first EP on the label, we wanted to capture a range of sounds, from jazz to minimal to old school house basslines to synth pianos and Viviana’s vocals. We spent quite a lot of time finding the right combination between digital, sampling, modular and analogue instruments gear. For this EP, we used the Pleasure MPC Zone [which is recorded in one go by MPC 2500], the Evolver Dave Smith, a modular Kick, the Virus Ti and moog filter and of course, a MIDAS mixer console. The inspiration came from listening to music from our vinyl collection. We tried singing, playing guitar and drums too.
Do you make goals as a producer? Is there anyway you’d really love to play or anyone you’d really love to produce with?
Good question. Like any artist and producer, you have to make goals and any production you put out must be important to you. I have played with a lot of DJs I admire, but I would really love to play alongside Martin Buttrich and to produce with Riccardo Villalobos.
So where would you love to be as a producer and label owner as 5 years?
To continue with the same spirit and passion with which I have now and to collaborate with people around the world.
Finally, what’s your plan for the summer? Any big gigs or holidays planned?
Not so many gigs as for now I’m just concentrating on promoting SixFingers!
SixFingers’ debut EP on his label, Panic Sounds, is out in June…