Andrea Cavallaro, art director & project manager in a Cheval disguise.
Andrea Cavallaro, began his musical and artistic research path 20 years ago by exploring the house and techno electronic scene, as a selector behind the moniker Cheval, booker, founder of Musiculture agency and since 2010 artistic curator of events that interact transversely through art, music, urban redevelopment and cultural regeneration.
Among the latest projects, “Ortigia Sound System”, a music festival of European caliber, in which he held the role of General Manager, currently the art director of Opera Festival.
Crate digger, DJ and investigator of the contemporary electronic scene, without limits of beats, genres and frequencies.
How / When / Why did you start playing?
Hi BH, hi Tomasssso, first of all thanks for having me.
My relationship with the world of clubbing began at the age of eighteen, when I started working as a PR (Party Promoter) in Sicilian discos between Taormina and Catania.
After a few years, we are in the mid-2000s, I had set up my formats/parties and brought them
around the clubs and discos of Sicily’s eastern coast.
In those years my agency “Musiculture” was also born with which I started the booking agent business.
I started playing in 2011. In those years I was living in Rome and I was curating the artistic direction and development of Animal Social Club.
At first for fun, then more for curiosity, I started to become familiar with the dj booth and turntables.
I was stimulated by the idea of saying something, of transmitting emotions through my selection,
having people close to me on my own journey, in addition to being fun, playful, it gave me a
Where do you draw from to get new music? / What is your musical exploration process?
Basically there are labels that I follow according to the different scenes I am interested in and from which I draw my inspiration from for my sets, mostly without boundaries of genres.
If your main occupation is project management of a music festival for obvious reasons
musical exploration is part of your daily tasks and workflow.
That’s what happened to me until last 2019 when I had the role of General Manager for Ortigia
Sound System Festival. This has been one of my main activities, so most of the musical listening and exploration has been linked to the creation of the artistic and aesthetic lines of this
event, and which for obvious reasons also ended up influencing my research.
Playlists, radio shows, mixtapes give you the opportunity to discover a lot of music, and then the record stores and second hand markets that complete the search process.
3 Qualities that all DJs should have in your opinion and why
Humbleness, sensibility, technique.
We assume that being a DJ has a playful component, and it is no coincidence that the English term “play” is used also when related to toys.
But it’s obvious that today the figure of the DJ has taken over a well-identified role in the world of
music industry, which in fact follows the logic dictated by promotion, communication, production and everything that was behind a rock star, or band until a few decades ago: the DJ has become the new rock star.
Thanks to technology, the world of djing is now way more accessible to everyone, but this does not allow people to forget the origins of this craft.
Personally I grew up with the figure of the resident DJ in clubs and therefore I believe that today the market is enormously inflated on the one hand, on the other rich of new contaminations, ideas, exchanges, comparisons and curiosities, which allow to enrich the path of
artistic growth, but this cannot be separated from an adequate technique.
I also believe that one of the fundamental qualities for a DJ is the sensibility to understand and read the dancefloor at their best, and this is a skill that is built over time, with experience and in the most random situations.
What has the pandemic meant for you? What impact did it had on your personal life?
Good question 🙂 It is complex to give an answer on the impact it had on my personal life
because events have happened that have completely changed my daily life, my affections and
friendship. Stopping for so long gave me the opportunity to reflect on all the work done in the past
years and understand how to project myself into the near future, rediscover domestic affections, forgotten places, appreciate the historical and naturalistic side of an island such as Sicily.
My activities, not just the one of djing, since the beginning of the pandemic revolved around the concept of aggregation, entertainment and events. Marketing and communication activities have always been linked to the world of events and therefore like many did in my case, I had to deal with a system of welfare obsolete and inadequate to understand the role of cultural planning and of the
It has been an opportunity together with other colleagues who organize festivals in Sicily, to understand the role of similar organizations, to analyze the activities and numbers, talk about the enhancement of the territory and incoming tourists.
A work that led in a short time to create a new Association of Sicilian festivals, called Sicilia Festivals with the ambitious task of helping the festival system in Sicily and of which I was a founder.
On the one hand there were no events, nor the possibility to play but on the other hand I had more time to elaborate, plan and better organize the future activities.
What do you think of clubs and discos closed due to the pandemic? Positive and negative aspects from your point of view.
The negative aspects are related to the economic difficulties of thousands of workers who have stayed at home: promoters, djs and entrepreneurs who have seen costs rise in the face of closures and the impossibility of generating revenues.
One of the positive aspects was that finally the entire entertainment sector realized that Italy had accumulated decades of backwardness compared to other European countries where clubs and electronic music venues have been fully recognized as part of the cultural heritage. Our country needs a major reform, in my opinion, linked to the recognition of new culture hubs. It is unthinkable that Italy still recognizes only opera, jazz or songwriters music as musical fields that contribute to the cultural sector of the country.
Finally it seems that something is moving in this direction and festivals and clubs despite having completely different business models are finding points of common interest in order to save this industry.
Another positive aspect that I think should be emphasized is the value of culture in the daily life of the individuals. As soon as it was not possible to group up for any form of entertainment we understood how important this component is in everyone’s life.
3 names of producers or DJs that inspire you
Prins Thomas, Andrew Weatherall, Ben Ufo.
Future projects, are you working on something specific at the moment?
As mentioned, I have never stopped designing and for a year now I have been working on a
new project called OPERA
Last summer Opera was a traveling radio tour that retraced the Sicilian festival cities,
since no music festival was allowed: OSS (Ortigia), Milazzo (Mish Mash), Marsala, Castellammare
del Golfo (Djoon), San Vito lo Capo (Mondo Sound), Catania (Ricci Weekender), all sponsored by Sicilia Festivals.
Opera Radio Tour takes its inspiration from the “Opera dei Pupi”, a show that started at the beginning of the 20th century, it consisted in a traveling caravan that animated Sicilian squares and plazas.
Similarly I imagined the tour of the Web Radio as the traveling caravan that revives the Sicilian squares in the post-Covid era, enriching the cultural offer of destinations in a process of artistic creation with local organizations.
From OPERA, last December, a side project was born: Opera Series, a series of
musical performances adapted in natural contexts which aims to re-discover some of the most beautiful territories that Sicily has to offer, mixing the artificial complexity of a musical performance with the natural beauty of Mediterranean landscapes.
Here the first episode with Cratere Centrale’s set in the location of Radice Pura between the Giarre-Riposto area and here the second episode with Beercock’s performance in Milo.
A few months ago I launched my communication agency: Fare +.
Among the future projects: for the summer of 2021 I am working on the first edition of the OPERA festival which will take place in Milo.
Opera Festival is inspired by “Genesi”, Franco Battiato’s lyric masterpiece staged in 1987. On the weekends from 27th to 29th August and from 3rd to 5th September in Milo, the charming village on the slopes of Etna where the maestro spent most of his life.
Here’s the line up for the live acts related both weekends:
27 – 29 August:
Alfio Antico, Chassol, Davide Shorty & Straniero Band, Dj Gruff & Gavino Murgia, Ginevra Nervi, Joan Thiele, My Friend Dario and Sergio Beercock.
3 – 5 September:
Alessio Bondì, Aura Safari, Club Rivera, Lahasna, Miss Keta & i DPCM, Nicola Cruz, Nu Genea and Shingai.
See you on Mount Etna by the end of August !!