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Alexander Robotnick - The Melodic Approach to Dance Music
8 min

Alexander Robotnick - The Melodic Approach to Dance Music

Dec 9
8 min

Italian electronic music pioneer Alexander Robotnick has been producing music for more than four decades. With Simple Music Vol 1 - Kind of Pop, his new release in 12 years, Alexander Robotnick brings together a lifetime of influences into 8 innovative disco tracks that breathe new life into the electronic music genre.

From the southern Tuscan seaside, Alexander Robotnick shared his musical path and inspirations with The DJ Cookbook. He  described the types of coffee he drinks depending the occasion, gave us a list of typical Florentine holiday dishes and explained why he won't eat pizza or pasta while away from home.

Q: Are you in Florence at the moment? Whereabouts exactly?

A: Actually I'm in South Tuscany at the sea-side, going back to Florence tomorrow.

Q: What have you eaten today?

A: Pasta with pesto, salad, homemade apple pie (crostata di mele).

Q: Are you a coffee drinker?

A: Yes.

Q: If yes, which type of coffee person are you: espresso, macchiato, cappuccino, caffe latte, caffee mocha, doppio, Americano?

A: Espresso after lunch, cappuccino for a fast breakfast at the bar, caffe latte when I have a proper breakfast at home, Americano for breakfast at hotels, especially abroad.

Q: Do you have a favorite café where you go and have a coffee?

A: The one closest to my studio.

Q: In your opinion what is the real Florentine experience when it comes to food?

A: Florentine steak, of course, Ribollita (vegetable soup with bread and beans), Fagioli all'Uccelletto (beans in tomato sauce and garlic).

Q: What is your favorite family recipe?

A: Frittata di zucchine e fiori di zucca (omelette with zucchini and squash blossoms).

Q: Who is a better cook nonna or mamma?

A: Mamma.

Q: The holiday season is fast approaching, can you describe a typical Florentine holiday meal?

A: If you eat meat: Lasagne, tortellini, roast chicken, steak, but the traditional Christmas dish is fish or zampone (pork meat combined with rind and flavored with pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and wine).

Q: Your favorite Tuscan wine?

A: Chianti! Antinori is a classic.

Q: Your favorite restaurants in Florence and/or in Tuscany?

A: I don’t go to restaurants that much.

Q: The best gelato you have ever eaten is where?

A: In Florence. During the summer there are plenty of good gelateries. There's big competition and the quality is very good. But not in the city centre, where you get just shit for tourists.

Q: How do you feel about pizza?

A: I never eat pizza abroad. Same as pasta. The best pizza is obviously in Napoli, but you can eat a good pizza pretty much everywhere in Italy. A wood fired oven is a must but it's not the only thing. Also fresh mozzarella and the right yeast make the difference. I don't eat meat so the vegetarian one is my choice.

Q: Do you like to cook?

A: I'd like to but my wife doesn't allow me to do so. So I clean the kitchen. :)

Q: If yes, what do you cook the most?

A: Pommarola (tomato juice).

Q: Which is the fruit or vegetable that you can’t live without?

A: Potatoes and oranges.

Q: What type of food reminds you of your childhood?

A: Frittata di zucchine e fiori di zucca (omelette with zucchini and squash blossoms).

Q: Do you remember the moment you fell in love with music?

A: In Marrakech in 1975 listening to traditional street musicians while smoking kif.

Q: What kind of music did you listen to as a child, teenager, young adult?

A: Child: 60s Italian and French music like Edoardo Vianello, Gino Paoli, Nico Fidenco, Gilbert Becaud, Edith Piaf.

Teenager: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, Bob Dylan etc.

Young adult: Progressive Rock and after that Jazz & Fusion. Weather Report, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Joe Pass, Freddie Hubbard. Mostly Jazz from the 60s.

Q: Which instrument did you learn to play first?

A: Jazz guitar.

Q: During your time in Avida, what were you listening to?

A: Suicide, James White & the Contortion, Joy Division, Talking Heads.

Q: In hindsight did you ever think that your music would influence new generations of musicians?

A: I started to think something like that after 2000, browsing the Internet and reading comments about my tracks and videos.

Q: Having collaborated with African and Indian musicians, what other international musicians or music genres would you like to work with or explore?

A: Contemporary classical music. It might be a bit too late!

Q: How important is dancing to you?

A: I am a dancer first,  I'm a DJ second.

Q: Do you dance when producing music?

A: Someone in my studio said: “When Maurizio, suddenly stands up and dances it means the rhythm is working”.

Q: What is the latest piece of gear that you have added to your studio?

A: A Korg Monologue to be used for live performances. I am waiting for my Wasp to be repaired.

Q: Your DAW of choice is?

A: Cubase, at the moment the 8.5, for producing – Ableton Live for DJing and live concerts.

Q: How many hours do you spend in the studio. Do you have routine?

A: No routine, when I am in Firenze and I have no commitments I can spend  10 hours a day there.

Q: Where do you draw inspiration from when producing music?

A: Life.

Q: What do you enjoy the most, being in the studio, performing live or Djing?

A: Performing live.

Q: Let’s talk about Simple Music, your first album in 12 years. When did you begin working on this new record?

A: I started composing new music during Covid-19. Since I had more time then. I have continued until today andI haven't finished yet. Simple Music Vol 2 Kind of Disco will be available at the end of February 2023.

Q: What is Simple Music to you?

A: Simple Music means giving greater importance to the emotions that arise from melodies and harmonies. Not just sounds and rhythm. Don't get me wrong, I also like that but at the moment I miss the melodic approach to dance music that you could hear during the 80s in Italo disco and British electro-pop.

Q: Will you tour Simple Music?

A: I don't think so. When I play live I like to play my music from the 80s and the most recent ones as well.

Q: What gear will you bring on tour?

A: TB303, Wasp, Novation keyboard controller, Arturia Freak, Boss Space Echo, Laptop running Ableton Live, Novation Audio Hub.

Q: If Simple Music was an 8 course meal in what order would you serve it and what would you pair it with?

A: I never had an 8 course meal!

Babel: Spaghetti alle vongole (Spaghetti with clams).

It is So Easy: Branzino alla griglia (Grilled seabass).

Why: Patate Mascé (mashed potatoes).

Underpass: Insalata Mista (mixed salad).

Virtual Empathy: Funghi porcini trifolati (sautéed porcini mushrooms).

I want to Know: Verdure grigliate (grilled vegetables).

Intro Robo: Seasonal fruit.

Simple Music: Ice cream.

Q: Alexander, thank you for being part of The DJ Cookbook!

A: Thank you!

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Listen to Simple Music