Coming from the world of art and performance with more than 12 years spent studying ballet, Erica Menei is the kind of deejay that love mixing sounds and experiment behind the deejay booth.
She was born and lives in Rome where in 2011 she began to collaborate with Wonder Wet Records, record label and booking agency of two great industry professionals, Sergio Picciaredda and Attilio Tucci. After this experience she decided to invest in her growth as a professional producer, by studying the basics of composition for electronic music.
Co-Owner and A&R of Talkischeap Records, the label was founded in 2013, in the same year her first EP – The Ghosts Are Gone.
From 2015 to 2019 Erica is also one of the resident DJs of the She Made family, an all-female project born within the walls of the historic Rashomon Club, landmark of Roman clubbing. Goa Club resident party in 2017/18 season, also passing through Fabric in London and Golden Gate in Berlin.
Among the latest and most important collaborations for Erica are: Sanctuary of Rome, Volt Club of Milan, Polifonic (Alternate Festival 2020) and its EP ” Jizho ”, vinyl only, released last September on Roof Records.
How / When / Why did you start playing?
I was 18 years old and I worked in a local radio station, in Rome, where I was actually involved in football but I already had a
great passion for music, I already attended some clubs and electronic music attracted me, I also grew up doing ballet as my mother worked at the Opera since before I was born.
By attending the radio I had the opportunity to ” tweak ” for the first time with a console. From there it was a succession of
events, the most important meeting certainly being the one with Sergio Picciaredda and Attilio Tucci, the Altarboys, who took me with them and taught me a lot about this profession. Both on a practical and human level. With them also my first djset. I am very grateful to him.
Where do you draw from to get new music? / What is your musical exploration process?
Before the pandemic certainly the greatest source of inspiration came from attending festivals, clubs, events, record shops, in simple words, all the places where you could breathe music, share those moments and then hear what remains most yours, or that you would like to make yours.
Outside of events, however, I have always listened to everything, and I think it is important not to stick to a specific genre of music, there are many nuances, this helped me so much to complete my DJ sets, moreover I try to keep this in mind every time I do my personal music productions.
Right now, after a period of almost total refusal towards listening and searching for music (immediately after the first lockdown) I listen to many dj sets and podcasts on web radio platforms and spend, even if honestly much less than before, a good part of the day on online music stores.
3 Qualities that all DJs should have in your opinion and why
First of all, humbleness.
Essential quality in any field, in my opinion.
Specifically, a DJ should never feel above his/her colleagues or the audience he has in front. In both cases there is always a lot to learn.
I consider curiosity a gift, therefore a quality. Without this, I believe there are no basics for this profession. So curiosity for old music, for new music, for trends, for techniques, curiosity in knowing other people, which was (and I hope will be again) a fundamental element of this work.
Patience because it’s a job that requires time, dedication, sometimes let’s face it, even luck, but it is also a passion that if you don’t stop feeding, sooner or later will pay off. Even if it was just one night in your entire life, but the right one from start to finish, you will feel it will be worth it.
What has the pandemic meant for you? What impact did it had on your personal life?
As I said before, at the beginning of the pandemic, a year ago now, I had a sort of refusal even only towards listening to music.
That’s because I think I was very angry, I took it almost personally. I saw everything in which I had put my commitment, trust, hope, effort, years collapsed … Now it makes me smile to think about it, we have all lived the exact same thing. It made me angry to see how the clubs were immediately labeled as ” the evil ” of this system. But this is another topic that falls more into the culture of our country (Italy), still way too far from what clubbing actually represents.
However, as in all things, man seeks survival and I must say that once I made peace with my restlessness, I took this ” opportunity ” to look deeper in myself and understand if I was really going in right direction.
What do you think of clubs and discos closed due to the pandemic? Positive and negative aspects from your point of view.
Well, honestly I don’t see positive aspects, they clearly cannot be open as long as the emergency persists, but a closed club is lost work for many people, it is a dead passion, it is a lack in musical culture. And as I said, the prejudices for this sector are still too alive. I hope that the reopening, as soon as possible, will be an opportunity to enhance everyone and everything related to club culture, from the main element: music, to every person who works behind it.
3 names of producers or DJs that inspire you
I really appreciate the style of Paula Tape, the music of Bella Boo, Fantastic Man, Leo Pol, Chaos in the CBD and the whole world of Studio Barnhus.
Future projects, are you working on something specific at the moment?
At the moment, thanks to the guys of “Sanctuary” in Rome, I have the opportunity to play dj sets almost every weekend, and I must say I am very grateful for this because it helped me to find some motivation and it allows me to experiment with different sounds, as it is not focused exclusively on “club music”.
Sounds that have also encouraged me, for example, to start some productions with different sounds compared to my last EP Erica Menei – Jizho