Zeljko: Thank you Dave for this interview, this is really an honor for me!
Aleph: For me too!!! I hope to satisfy your questions!!
Zeljko: Aleph or Dave Rodgers! What's the name you like more? :-) Both names are names put big influence firstly on Italo Disco music, in the 80's and then on Eurobeat of the 90's and 2000's.
Aleph: Both names, because Aleph was the name of my first band that make me remembering so many nights spending to work together to create my first songs. Now I'm Dave, the man I believe to be! The man that I know "almost" very well.
Zeljko: Before we move further with music questions, could you introduce yourself in few words please?
Aleph: I believe in my work, first of all because music is my life and secondly cause music takes me from the early days of my life and I think she'll never leave me!! Never!!
Zeljko: How you decided to make and play italo disco music and did you have anyone who inspired you? And to not forget, how you choose name Aleph? And later Dave Rodgers?
Aleph: I've never decided to make italo disco music or to become an Italian disco artist, I simply started like a real artist in the 80's to write, sing and produce the music I liked. I was ever attracted by David Bowie, Genesis, Quincy Jones and many others. If you could remember, the name Dave Rodgers appeared for the first time, like a member of Aleph, in the second single called Fly to me.
Zeljko: Your first song was «In Your Eyes» released for Caravel label in 1984, if I'm right? Could you tell me how you made that song?
Aleph: It was a song we used to play during our live performance...in the middle of different pop rock songs...One day, a deejay, from a famous local disco "Caravel" called Antonio Caranci asked to us to produce our own song for his label.
Zeljko: Then came "Fly To Me" released for Italo Heat label. Dave could you tell me something about people you were working with on these two songs. Who are they and what's their contribution to the italo disco music?
Aleph: "Fly to me" was my real first song!!!! I always remembered nights and nights spending to create this track! There was a lot of energy....a lot of passion and patience shared with the other members of Aleph. I can't forget of this period a man called Luigi Raimondi!! I remembered that we spent one month to create Fly to me, days and nights, nights and days. I felt responsible to create this kind of sound with the help of Luigi.
Zeljko: After these songs you made "Fly To Me", your first song released for the famous and legendary Time Records. Not that you only started to work for Time but you also started to work with legends of italo disco music, Mauro Farina and Guiliano Crivellente, the co-founders of Time Records together with Giacomo Maiolini. What can you tell me about them, about your first impression in Time, about "Fly To Me"?
Aleph: I was very young and not so much clever in that period of my life... Anyway I had a mid-good time with them.
Zeljko: I wonder, what did you know about Time Records before you sign an agreement with them?
Aleph: I've ever known that Maiolini had a Ferrari and I hoped, one day, to have a Ferrari too working for him.
Zeljko: After "Fly To Me" came "Fire On The Moon", "I'm In Danger", "Big Brother", all singles, and then was the time for an album "Black Out"! After these many new songs. What an amazing discography!!! "Fire On The Moon" was sold in more than 100.000 copies. Comment of that period?
Aleph: Woa!!!! I've never known about 100.000 copies of Fire on the moon!!!
I have to call immediately Time Records!!!! I know very well about 30 millions copies of my records sold in Japan in the 90's but I've never known about 100.000 copies of Fire on the moon! Woa!!
Zeljko: You made great success with Time and you became one of the legend of italo disco. The next logical step was to move further with your own label. But first tell me when you started to think about leaving Time. Is there was any other reason of leaving except "art" reason?
Aleph: You've already said "logical step ". The only reason was to be independent and to be responsible of all my actions. In fact I can say that my success was in the 90's more than 80's. I played in front of 50.000 people at the Tokyo Dome , I received some important awards in Japan , I sold million copies of cd produced by myself , what can I say more...
Zeljko: During your italo disco era and in Time, could you tell me some other names you were working with?
Aleph: I remembered some song composed and produced with Federico "Fred Ventura" in my studio. I had a very good time with him.
Zeljko: FWhat do you think about Italo Disco era? How you would describe italo and in your opinion what is the most precious thing in italo disco music and what put a mark on it.
Aleph: OI didn't like to put labels on my kind of music. My will is to create good music and to give something to the people, make them remembering their positive memories...it doesn't matter, the important thing that I have to say is: “I was with them in that's moment".
Zeljko: Your favorite italo disco song from your production is? And why?
Aleph: Fly to me, because it was the first and Fire on the moon because it help me to find my way to Japan.
Zeljko: A. Beat C. is your first own label? What is mean A. Beat C.? Could you tell me about the beginning, the history of A. Beat C.?
Aleph: "Your Body Lies" by Norma Sheffield was the first song.
A Beat C is a fantasy phrase and this label was created because I wanted to be independent by starting a new adventure with Alberto Contini, as mentioned before. Yes, it was and I remembered with a lot of pleasure that moment.
Zeljko: The "speed" of songs, bpm's, increased a lot in songs then in italo of the 80's! Evolution is natural process so in music we have evolution as well. Do you think that super eurobeat music was logical step after italo disco of the 80's? Couldn't you go in some other direction?
Aleph: I think the direction I chose was the right one, in fact the market rewarded me. Honestly, now I preferred to keep low bpm, in fact in the new album of Nuage, you can find songs with a 135 bpm.
Zeljko: Dave, tell me in chronological order, in short, the history of super eurobeat music you were making and still making for Asian market? What is different in eurobeat at the beginning of the 90's and today?
Aleph: Super eurobeat music started silently but then it exploded with all its excitement. I always remember the first years when I discovered for the first time what means a life full of concerts, interviews, covers, fans, success.
Zeljko: Dave, what is confusing for me a bit, the eurobeat music is so fast and I can't understand how anyone can sing so fast, following the music. In my opinion you have to accelerate vocal in studio after recording. Is that true and if so, that's mean that's all is in "technological hands"?
Aleph: It's absolutely wrong, I don't need any "technological hands" cause I work only with professional artist. If you only could see one of my or my artists, concerts, you could hear with your own ears that's true. I don't know about what the other labels do.
Zeljko: Also, I was thinking then at the beginning of the eurobeat how anyone can dance on so fast music, sometimes sounds hysterical :-) I can't say I wasn't so surprise when I saw first video clip with single dancer and moving mostly with hands! Do you know how to dance on the euorbeat? :-) If I should dance it seems to me as an impossible mission :-)
Aleph: Eurobeat music is so fast that the only way to dance it is "parapara style" where you can see the dancers move a little bit the body but move a lot hands and arms. It's a kind of "mission impossible" but anyway it's not easy to do that. I cannot do that :o)
Zeljko: To be honest I can't recognize difference between eurobeat music and parapara music. Could you explain it to me?
Aleph: In fact there is no any difference between them.
Zeljko: Dave in your opinion where the supereurobeat music today is and where will it be heading or what way is it evolving?
Aleph: Today Super eurobeat is looking for something fresh. My staff and I are working for that and I'll let you know as soon as possible the evolution even though I hope you could hear it before I tell you.
Zeljko: It seems to me that you are a God to Asian music fans? :-)) On your concerts we can see dozens of thousands of fans!!!
Aleph: Yes, they call me "king of the kingu", anytime I go to Japan I recharge my battery because my fans give me the energy I need.
Zeljko: Am I wrong if I say your most favorite music instrument is guitar!? In one of your songs, as guitarist played a woman who was Michael Jackson's guitarist if I’m right. This is really interesting and I wonder how hard was to get her to play? I guess musicians like her ask for lots of money for playing?
Aleph: Yes guitar is one of my favorite instruments especially when I can have some guitarists as Jannifer Batten, KiKo, Steve Lukather and so on. Yes, surely, if you want to work with professionals artist you need to spend a lot of money.
Zeljko: At the end of the last year (2003) I had an interview with one Croatian producer Denis Curman. He told me all the best about you, his work with you, and about two other your co-workers, Alberto Contini and Andrea Leonardi. What could you tell me about these guys?
Aleph: I've worked with Alberto Contini since 1990 and I believe he is a wonderful person professionally and humanly, in fact we're still working together without any problems.
Zeljko: Domino is your wife! Could you tell me something about her? How you met her and how you began to work together on your songs?
Aleph: Domino was my wife. She was one of my fans that's why we met.
Zeljko: Domino is the name of your studio as well? In that studio you made and still are making legendary eurobeat songs. On your site we can see the studio. You must be pride on the studio?
Aleph: Domino was the name we used to call one of my three studios, where we produced a lot of big tracks. Starting from 2000 I changed the name of my studios: the main studio once called "Sound and Vision" is now "A", the second studio once called "Domino" is now "B" and the third called "Attic" is now "C"
Zeljko: Could you tell me what's your favorite’s names in your eurobeat production?
Aleph: Nuage, Manuel and Lolita
Zeljko: "The songs I wrote are all part of me." This is your statement you said in the 90's for Japanese Beat Freak Magazine. We all know what's that mean but could you explain in few words your feelings about your songs and what are you experiencing in the process of making songs, till the final product?
Aleph: I confirmed what I said in that moment...I can say I built something very important and I hope to have given to my audience almost the best I could.
Zeljko: Another statement from you "I'm first of all an artist. And not a merchant." Dave, what is the force who's pushing you forward in creating songs? Money, you said, isn't but making songs is your job so it's in your interest to sell records as more as you can?
Aleph: The force that push me creating songs is the possibility to express myself through out the music.
Zeljko: I know I didn't ask you many things, I only scratched the surface of your music life and career. Do you wish to say something what is really important and I didn't ask you?
Aleph: I repeat that music was, is and will be a part of me and of my life!!!
Zeljko: Dave, I could talk with you days and nights about your music, about italo, about eurobeat but I know you don't have much of free time. I appreciate very much you took some of your precious time for me and for this interview. So far I made interviews with many italo disco legends and all the time I was thinking and wished to have interview with you because you are big part of italo disco music who's the most precious thing I have at the moment in my life. You as a person and your vocal left big mark on italo music and later on eurobeat. I can't say anything more than BIG thanx!
Aleph: Thanks to you, it was a pleasure and I hope to see you soon!
© November 2004 Zeljko Vujkovic - All rights reserved