FACT mix 172: Italians Do It Better

By , Aug 1 2010

This Monday’s FACT mix comes from Italians Do It Better co-owner Mike Simonetti.

A revered DJ in his own right, Simonetti grew up on a diet of hardcore punk in ‘80s New York. Friends eventually got him into the city’s heady nightclub scene, where he got a job promoting at the Mars club, a role he used to springboard a DJ’ing career across the city.

Most people outside New York’s first taste of Simonetti came in the next decade – 1993 to be precise – when he formed Troubleman Unlimited, a punk-centred label that would spread its wings way beyond hardcore, the likes of Devandra Banhart, Wolf Eyes, Black Dice, Merzbow and more recording for it. In 2006, Simonetti and friend Johnny Jewel (a member of the bands Glass Candy and Desire) started a sub-label of Troubleman, the strongly disco-influenced Italians Do It Better, which has become Simonetti’s main focus, releasing seminal records by Chromatics, Glass Candy, Desire and more.

Last week, Simonetti announced the arrival of a new label, Perseo. An offshoot of Italians Do It Better, it’s dedicated to re-edits – there are three Perseo singles available, a re-edit of Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Tougher than the Rest’ by Martin Vogel, a re-edit of the Steve Miller Band’s ‘Fly like an Eagle’ by Bottin, and an EP of ‘90s house re-edits by Simonetti himself. You can buy them as separate 12”s, or as part of the Edits Volume One compilation.

So what better time than Simonetti, a man whose past studio mixes are held in the highest esteem here at FACT, to step up to our very own mix plate? As ever, there’s no tracklisting, but we did have the chance to send Mike some questions to provide a little context.

Hey Mike. Tell us about the mix you’ve recorded for FACT.

“Well, instead of doing a mix of current stuff I like, I decided to just play some obscure stuff I’m into these days. These are all summer jams though. Definitely on the “summer in the city” tip. The mix is all vinyl and, I’m proud to say, was done in one take. It was done as my son was taking his nap, so I snuck it in mid-day style.”

Any current obsessions you can let us in on? What’s been making you happy / pissing you off of late?

“Pissing me off? The financial crisis finally hitting Europe and dampening the touring for US days… happy? My son is a little over two years old and is becoming a little man, and it’s really awesome to watch him in action on a daily basis. This week he has been into beating the shit out of his drums.”

Plans for Italians Do It Better in the short / medium term?

“We just released Solid Gold, which is a collection of some of our early 12”s that are out of print. That’s out now. And we just launched a new edit label called Perseo. The first three records are out now, really excited about that. Chromatics are recording their new album. It’s going to be a game changer, trust me. Glass Candy are almost done with their next record as well. It’s going to blow some people away. They aren’t holding back.

After Dark Part 2 is pretty much in the can. It’s going to be a 3LP like the last one was. We’re working on releasing a few 12”s before the GC and Chromatics albums. Also trying to get the Tiedye 12” EP out as well. I am working on my “debut” release of original material for Italians too. It’s slowly coming along. I have a vocalist nailed down as well but I can’t divulge that info just yet. I will have a track on After Dark 2. You know, trying to stay relevant in an ever changing world…[laughs]”

What’s the status of Troubleman Unlimited? Any new records on the way?

“We have a few records almost finished. Not sure when they will be done though.  Italians is the main focus these days.  I feel like I’ve done a lot with TMU and laid the groundwork  to the point where there are many current labels out there holding it down for the world…”

Your house is on fire, God forbid. What three records would you save?

“It would be more than three. It would have to be my Dischord test pressings of pretty much the first 10 records – Teen Idles up to the Faith/Void 12”.”

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