LWE Podcast 192: Marco Bernardi

PODCAST-192-1

He’s been releasing under different guises for more than a decade, but it’s really been in the last few years that Marco Bernardi’s brand of house and techno has been grabbing our attention over here at LWE. From the taut, dystopian funk of “Mystery of Nazerus” on Clone to the rave-tinged house of “Klinsfrar Melode”‘ and the Detroit homage “Star Traveller,” it seems Mr. Bernardi can lend his hand to a variety of sounds and nail them all. But then perhaps this isn’t so surprising given that the Glaswegian/Italian has been involved in the music business since his mid teens, having played keyboards in a pub band for years before getting turned on to electronic music and beginning to produce his own. Whether under his own name or his most frequently used pseudonym, Octagen, Bernardi has been unassumingly prolific for over ten years and with a raft of records in the pipeline only looks to be even more so in 2014. LWE caught up with the producer to find out more about his past, find out what his favorite keyboard jam is and to learn about his new Take The Elevator label. He was responsible for our 192nd exclusive podcast as well, which due to the sheer number of exclusives making up this sweltering hour and a half of techno, he has asked us to withhold the track list for. So for this week, put the anoraks down and just enjoy!

Download LWE Podcast 192: Marco Bernardi (90:59)

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Hi, Marco. First of all can we establish the authenticity of your name. Although you’re of Italian origin you are born and raised in Glasgow no? Is Marco Bernardi a nom de guerre? Is it really Mark Burns?

Marco Bernardi: As I used to say to everyone at school when they asked that very same question, it’s Marc Bernard with an “I” at the end…

I understand you started your music career pretty early. Talk us through the pub circuit years.

Jesus you have been digging! I used to play keys for a cover band called Doin the Biz, then went on and joined Time Gp. Hahahaha, sounds so bad man. When I was around 15/16. We played all the usual crap from Clapton, Beatles, Bowie, Prince, to every shitty pub and wedding song you could ever imagine. I did this for around five or six years, made some decent cash doing that when all the rest of my mates were all out smoking shitty black and boozing cheap 8% cider.

Did you have a favorite cover to play?

Haha brilliant, has to be “Jump” by Van Halen. Classic keyboardist tune… BELTER!!!

So you obviously had a pretty solid basis of musicality and keyboard nous heading in to making electronic music. What were your first tracks like? Any hangover from the band days? Bit of Dexy’s sneaking in occasionally?

I started off making mad jungle/breakbeat tracks and the odd bit of hardcore. They sounded like a mixture of shite LTJ Bukem through to banging Rotterdam 90s gabba. I still have the DATs lying about if you REALLY want to hear them… I think not. It was my first release with Claude Young and my good friend Mash that was the start of my more “serious” writing when we recorded the Mhelt project release on Under the Counter. Previous to that was just the usual blocky obvious 8, 16, 32 bar blocks with no flow, quite similar to most of today’s Beatport charts actually :)

Your early releases are mainly electro. Was there a lot of UR being played in the Bernardi household at the time?

Haha of course. Being brought up in Glasgow, going to a club week in week out under an Indian restaurant in the middle of an industrial estate which was run by the main importers of UR to the UK (they know who they are ;)) of course I was going to be massively influenced at that time by all Red Planet, UR, Los Hermanos releases. They were and still are a MASSIVE part of my life.

And can we talk about Carlos Adolfo Dominquez for a minute? Just the one release. Talk us through the concept of the song.

He’s living in some broken down love shack in North Peru smoking banana leaves with Colombian hill tribe nudists… he’s happy.

You’re not just the second Marco in a row in our podcast series but you’re also an engineer like Marco Antonio Spaventi. How did you get into doing that?

To be honest, I am nowhere in the same class as Marco when it comes to engineering and mastering. Unfortunately part of the production process is that you need to try and understand the mathematics behind all this shit. Some people are great at it and have a great ear and patience for it and others are not so good at it. I am the latter I would say.

And is that your day job? Do you engineer for others much or is it more just something you apply to your own tracks?

I don’t do any mastering or engineering for anyone now, all just me on my little lonesome.

Marco Bernardi is by no means your only channel for releasing music. You have also released a number of albums as Octogen and then you have the Parking Attendant and a couple of collaborative projects. How did Octogen differ for you from your Marco Bernardi material?

It’s a much more melodic and musical alias than my electro sounding stuff and to be honest it’s just where my head was at, at that point in time. My head changes constantly and my writing changes from track to track. I have a VERY short attention span and get bored very quickly on tracks; if the vibe doesn’t happen within 1-2 days it’s scrapped and a new session is opened.

And how about The Parking Attendant? Are we likely to see any more releases under that name?

Who knows? I just make this stuff up as I go along. Maybe I will use it for another release if I can’t instantly think up some other random words to call myself for a release. I don’t really think too much about names and shit, I prefer spending the time fixing hats.

I understand that you recently started your own label, Take the Elevator. Is there a particular slant that the label will be following?

Not really. The only thing I want to concentrate on is keeping the general sound to the more electro side of 4/4. The “Zabazza Cabasa” track on 001 was a perfect track I thought to set the label off as it’s everything I love about 4/4 electro; the weird vocal and dry raw synth programming. That’s the vibe that I will always try to keep Elevator to.

The first release was by Clover Ground. Can you give us info on them? And who do you have lined up for forthcoming releases?

I have 002 lined up as we speak and it’s currently getting mastered by Lupo @ Calyx and is booked in for the 26th Feb, so looking at a middle to end of March release on it. It’s by another artist I got to record under a different name (like the first release). Established artists recording under names they haven’t used before. I was going to originally do non-named releases, however R-Zone beat me to that idea so this is the next best thing I think. All I can say is 002 is an absolutely ridiculous release — I cannot wait to unleash this one. Keep your eyes peeled for the white release because as usual there will be limited press on this shit. Only for the underground… you know who you are.

So what can you tell us about the mix you put together for us?

I have managed to blag loads of unreleased music for this one from artists such as Perseus Traxx, Neville Watson, A Sagittariun, October and Skudge. I wanted unreleased, unknown tracks for the heads to spot, plus there’s a preview of my new releases on Bristol’s amazing Happy Skull, M>O>S and LUX in there plus some new up and coming material from my own Take the Elevator imprint — loads of cheekies.

And what can we expect from Marco Bernardi in the year ahead?

I am going to start playing out more again this year after taking some time off with releases. I also have coming up things on M>O>S/Delsin, Burek, LUX, Hypercolour, Klasse, Harbour City Sorrow/Clone, Abstract Forms, Happy Skull and Brokntoys plus a Sync 24 remix on cultivated electronics plus some other bits and bobs. There’s loads to look forward to this year.

castelli  on February 3, 2014 at 5:18 AM

Good choice, amazing producer, contender for the most underrated producer title.

Alex Rajkovic  on February 3, 2014 at 7:53 AM

Legend

Gwyn  on February 3, 2014 at 8:02 AM

Properrrr

charles  on February 3, 2014 at 6:40 PM

quality stuff. love it.

Comrades  on February 5, 2014 at 6:34 AM

Nice Mix, stong ending and start. I love no tracklistings, its how it should be, go find some music, there’s nuff resources. But damn, that last tune, I remember it from a mix I heard a long time ago, what the hell is that.

Patrick  on February 6, 2014 at 11:21 PM

This mix just kills me! Wladimir M just takes it to the next level

fcea  on February 7, 2014 at 11:26 AM

FUCK THAT NO TRACKLISTING SHIT FUCK THAT!!!

fcea  on February 7, 2014 at 5:34 PM

fuck with this “most underrated” producer,album, single shit, just fuck off

Mike  on February 20, 2014 at 12:35 AM

Amazing mix. A great track featured in the Morphsis panorama set.

Tobe  on July 7, 2014 at 1:18 PM

Sick vibes. Anyone who knows the track between 10.00 – 15? Sounds like a bernardi one, but i cant place it.

Trackbacks

Marco Bernardi – LWE Podcast 192 | The Hipodrome Of Music  on February 5, 2014 at 4:04 AM

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