Mike Simonetti has started a side label of sorts, named after his beloved home state, New Jersey.
The first release on New Jersey will be by Billions & Billions, a duo that joins the Troubleman Unlimited / Italians Do It Better label head with Monty Luke of Detroit’s Black Catalogue Records. Both ‘The Dance’ and ‘Tractor Beam’ feature Simonetti’s production and Luke’s vocals for some agreeably deep, tech-house vibes (you can stream both tracks below).
FACT spoke to Simonetti about the development of Italians Do It Better – the label that launched the careers of Chromatics, Desire and Glass Candy, and has made a star out of producer Johnny Jewel (with a little help from Drive) – and what to expect from New Jersey, which he says we shouldn’t even call a label.
“I’m a DJ by nature, and I depend on new music to keep things fresh.”
What was the impetus behind starting the label?
“Italians Do It Better has become intentionally more and more insular, both in sound, scope and choice of artists we release. With the increased visibility of Italians, and the changing fanbase due to the success of Drive, Desire and Chromatics, we felt we should keep the label very tight and focus on the core groups. There will be another ‘Mike Simonetti’ record on IDIB but it will be very much in the realm of Capricorn Rising.”
How’d you get hooked up with Monty Luke?
“I met Monty through my friend Travis (aka TK) from LA. and he sent me some music of his (which is all really good – Black [Catalogue] is his label) and I loved his vocals. I had some songs I was working on that needed a vocalist, and Monty was the perfect fit. We went through a lot of drafts and revisions before landing on these versions. On the next Billions & Billions 12″, Monty will also do some production work as well as vocals.”
What’s next for the label as far as releases – any artists you can hint at?
“It’s not a ‘label’ as much as an outlet for me to release stuff I am working on, and maybe other stuff I am really into. The next record will be either Sycorax (NY based live techno) or M+C. Sycorax is a longtime friend of mine’s project (Ben Manzone) that is gaining some steam in the underground. I’ve known Ben for over 15 years. He is very underrated, but not for long. M+C is myself and Chris Burns. We have a lot of stuff ready to go.
“The term ‘label’ is very loose. Don’t even call it a label! It’s just a way to get music out there. I’m a DJ by nature, and I depend on new music to keep things fresh. New Jersey will serve that purpose. I don’t plan on doing a lot of ‘work’ for New Jersey, and I don’t want this to be seen as a ‘new record label’. It’s just an outlet, like Beatport and iTunes [are] for your digital needs. Instead this is going to be vinyl records: I want it to be all low key.”
Your labels have gone from noise rock, to Italo disco, and now to this house sound. Where do you see your next project taking you?
“I don’t think that’s true. I started out a hardcore kid who worked at the nightclubs in the 80s. I was always into this music. I just felt it’s time to release some of my own stuff and [that of] some close friends. I have wide music tastes and always have. New Jersey will not be focused on any ‘sound’…it is what it is!”