alenmilky: Would you please introduce yourself. When did you start composing music, in 80's or recently? Why do you compose italo songs, what attracted you to it? While listeinng to Italo do you prefer melody or quality of sound?
Joey Mauro: I would try to introduce myself sure, I'm born in Italy (where Italo is born eheh), when italy was still a nice country full of music. I grew up listening every kind of music, surrounded by the colors, the scents, the food of Italy. I start to study music when I was very young, I started with keyboards, but with time I moved to other instruments, bass, guitar, play and sing in local rock and pop band. Yes, I began very young, but I recorded demos only in the beginning of 90s. I was influenced by different keyboard players: at first mr. Ray Manzarek (The Doors), Keith Emerson (ELP) or John Lord (Deep Purple). I loved the sounds of synthesizers and hammond organ, I customized hammond organs for years for other artists.
About my story with Italo Disco - it's very strange story. I listened to this music for years, because it was very easy to listen to it here in the radios in 80s. But in the 90s and in 2000s this music was dead here!! I knew the Italo artists in Italy, but they were not interested to produce new Italo songs. I had demos, but in the first years of new millenium, with my internet website I made connections with people around the world. I meet Kimmo Salo from Flashback records, and with my demos and after some years I started to produce new Italo Disco music! for the first time after a lot of years of "Italo Disco"’ silence in music industry.
With time new and old artists came back to produce new Italo Disco songs, and strange to feel, nowadays my songs were considered classic tracks. People started calling me "legend" or "old school italo artists", and it was funny and strange to me because I am not much older than them!! Somebody of Italo Disco’s people told me that I am the ''time exception'' because I start after of them, but I'm considered a master and I am famous nowadays as them! Another strange sensation is when I listen to new Italo Disco artists and find their music influenced by my music solutions (music, riffs, vocals, words!!)... Incredible!
alenmilky: When and how did you meet Marc Fruttero, Bruno Mosti and Peter Arcade? Tell me something about each of them. With whom else have you worked with? Can you name some songs that you made for others? If you can recall, tell me your impresions on big Iventi D'Azzuro concert in Mantova in 2006, what was it like to be on a stage and perform infront of people from all around the world? Have you performed in live somewhere else?
Joey Mauro: I told u, I knew a lot of artists because in Italy Italo Disco musical scene is not big, seems we're like a family. When I started to play my music, I sung my songs. But I had some problems with my voice then, (for some inflammations). I've a kind of voice high pitched, different from classic Italo voices; only nowadays I sung some of my songs (Black and white dreams was a success hit!!). According with the music labels, I let that others artists sing my songs. And with time I became friend to all Italo Disco italian artists, I'm famous to ''stress'' them with my phone calls eheh...
I'm honored to have their frienship and to work with more of them, great artists as Ryan Paris, Fred Ventura, Brian Ice, Miko Mission, Albert One, P. Lion, Karl Otto, Marc Fruttero, Riccardo Campa, Felli, Larabell, Fabian Nesti, Remo Zito of Viaverdi, Dario Dell’aeree, Raffaele Fiume, Terence Holler and a lots of other artists (sorry if I forgot someone), Peter Arcade? I remind some artist with this name, but I'm not sure, maybe was memories of some video game. Well, I wrote a lots of hits and collaborations, many songs was recorded and are in the closet yet!!
Mantova was one of the biggest events in the Italo Disco history! All the best Italo Disco artists was there! It was a "Woodstock" of Italo Disco!! (thanks to Marcello D’azzurro to arrange the event) and incredible I was there! On stage!!!
alenmilky: What synthisizer you you use and which computer program (if you do) to make music. How about a song with your vocal? How do you compose a melody, from you imagination or by playing randomly on some instrument? What instrument do you use to compose music? What are the best songs in your opinion that you composed? How much time do you need to compose a song, from the very beginning till the end? Can you make a living nowdays from making Italo music?
Joey Mauro: About synthetizers and music instruments - I passed a lots of years to work and fix with keyboards. Tons of Hammond Organs, leslies, clavinet, Rhodes piano and vintage stuff. I had the chance to learn and work with the last ''golden'' times of Analogs stuff in studios, with mixers, keyboards, synthetizers, instruments and other stuff, known nowadays as ''vintage''. Over the years I improved my skill with modern stuff, new digital instruments and keyboards, computer programming and modern recording techinics. I used many synths in my songs, more commons in 80s (but rare and expensive nowadays) as Minimoog model d and roland Jupiter 6, and I used instruments not common in this kind of music as Gibson G101 organ (same of the organ used by Ray Manzarek in the doors band). About my best song - my best song should be the next composed, eheh, I can write a song in 2 days, or I need 4 years , who knows! (inside my lonely nights - I needed 12 years).
alenmilky: In your opinion is there a difference of any kind between Italo in 80's and Italo nowdays? What do you think, why Italo made a big come back? What is the difference in acheving access in 80' and nowdays in music industry? Tell me about you collaboration with publishers, was it harder to make a record in 80's or nowdays?
Joey Mauro: About differences - hard question and hard answer, because there are two different periods of time. In the past it was very hard to find budget and instruments to make songs, I told you how many hours we spent to fix and repair tape recorders! What the hell! Nowadays it is more easy, too easy. There are two kinds of composers and artists now, dinosaurs as me, that still use old technologies (and KNOW how use the old technology) and new producers with a midi keyboard and an i-pad that create 10 songs (horrible and similar) in 10 minutes.
About the comeback of Italo, I think that life is a circle, and everything comes back (are you ready for a new middle age? Eheh...) Italo Disco music survived for years in the heart of some listeners, they didn't find new artists for years, and old artists stopped producing 'Italo Disco' music. But fortunately now it is back, stronger than ever! Do people listen to Italo in Italy and what do you think - why? About music industry? Do we still have a music industry??? People download as wild music from the web, fortunately there's the return of vinyls save more artists from oblivion and from default.
alenmilky: What are your model in music What is top 5 of Italo songs in your opinion.
Joey Mauro: I would be honest, I don’t listen much to Italo music, for this reason some of my Italo songs sound fresh or different, because I am not inspired by Italo Disco classic songs. As the old composers in the 80s, I listened to different music at first: Beatles (I saw Mccarteny live show), The Doors, Deep Purple (I saw their live show), Black Sabbath (I saw their live show too!!) and a lots of rock, hard rock and progressive music (I am involved and played with Italians prog music bands). Thanks for your questions! Stay tuned about my new productions! Thanks to all! Bye and wish you everything best.
© April 2014 Alen Milkovic (alenmilky) - All rights reserved
Zeljko: Thank you for this interview. Could you tell me who is Joey Mauro?
Joey Mauro: Thank you. Joey Mauro is most of all a humble person available to all, he is also a professional musician with many years of study under his belt. I initially began with the piano and keyboard, and then began playing various instruments (like the guitar, bass and drums), in several bands; I also sang live. These experiences all allowed me to develop my instrumental and vocal skills. I also studied Sound Technician, computers ed electronics which allowed me to produce my own work as well as other's works in my own small recording studio.
Zeljko: Your passion for synthesizers began very early. Can you tell me about those days when you discovered your passion?
Joey Mauro: Everything began when I discovered through records, a whole other world of sounds outside of the piano. It was possible to start from a single sound wave and create thousands and thousands of different sounds. All of this changed my life and pushed me in the direction of synthesizers. The same love I have for synthesizers, I have for the hammond organ (a fantastic instrument).
Zeljko: It seems that you are not only a user of synthesizers but also a collector. Is that true?
Joey Mauro: Synthesizers and keyboards are my passion, but i am expert of keyboards. With time I became familiar with and learned to repair all the legendary keyboards like: the hammond organ, minimoog e mellotron. I worked as a techinican and repairman for many keyboardists for some of the most recognized Italian bands.
Zeljko: You were born in the 80's, the decade when italo disco conquered hearts of people who were mostly born in the late 60's and 70's. Then you were a kid. When did you discover italo disco music and what attracted you to italo disco?
Joey Mauro: Although my biography may be short, I grew up in the 80s and I remember them very well. I may have been young in that period but I definitely remember Italo Disco playing continuously on the radio and t.v. I remember the "festivalbar" cds, videos , the vinyls and all the magic of that music during those years. Still today i keep the knowledge and I'm sure that even now an Italian has an edge in producing and creating good music (italo Disco).
Zeljko: Can you tell me about your work with Karl Otto? How and when you met him?
Joey Mauro: Roberto Carlotto is an amazing person that I first met years ago. Other than disco, I am also musician of progressive,hard rock, and 70s Italian music. Roberto Carlotto was in a band called "Hunka Munka , as well as keyboardist and voice of the band "DIK DIK" (a group that has sold millions of albums and is also considered a legend in Italian music). Roberto has been out of the "music Business" for many years because he had grown tired of it. His current interests are collecting sports cars like: FERRARI, PORSCHE,CHEVROLET etc. It's still surprising that he would return to record music with his beautiful voice.
Zeljko: Once you told me that you used real 80's keyboards in making your "Electric Love" song. Tell me more about that song please?
Joey Mauro: To create electric love I began by listening to Karl Otto songs from the 80s like Sunny and Promise of love. I then recreated the magic and atmosphere of those songs. I used many different keyboards, both old and new, among which the legendary Minimoog and other keyboards like the 'logan'that Carlotto used in the 70's and 80's. The sound of the drums are exactly those that he used in the 80s. I wrote the music, the words as well as played all the instruments on the disc. I also recorded a version with my voice that Carlotto re recorded in his studio with his voice.
Zeljko: On Flashback Records site we all can hear a sample of one of possible next releases, under name Come Into My Dream. It is a song with Karl Otto's voice and it's a fantastic song! You mentioned to me before that you are working on his new song, underworking title No Compromise. Is this the same song? Tell me more about this new song please.
Joey Mauro: Exactly. You can hear a clip of come into my dream , a great song that contains the same atmosphere of the first disc. In this song I used the sound of the di minimoog. I am glad that you like it and appreciate it. With regards to the new, and third (maybe last) work of Karl Otto and I, the title could be 'land of broken heart', or 'no compromise' and it is a little more on the melodic side but I don't think it will lose the 'classic' sound of Karl Otto and I.
Zeljko: How you get in contact with Marc Fruttero? You are working these days with him on his few songs: Disco Sylvia, Deep Inside On Your Heart... Tell me more details about that please.
Joey Mauro: Marc is a great person and singer. I played with him at the party di Iventi di azzurro organized by the great Marcello D'Azzurro. We played a classic song from his cult band AQUARIUS PROJECT. We recorded an EP which I am finishing up mixing. It may be called "deep inside of your heart", and I don't know of any words to describe it. It'll come out with Flashback records, and it's a blend of melody, groove and rhythm. It is probably one of his best written and produced works. Marc's voice is amazing in this new work.
Zeljko: Very interesting should be also your new work on Meccano! Tell me more please.
Joey Mauro: Meccano were a well known band and their singer Nadia, is one of the best Italian singers. Unfortunately they did not get the acclaim they deserved. Fans of italo disco go crazy for songs like "activate my heart". I met and spoke on the phone with Nadia (the lead singer), and we would in the future like to make a new single with Meccano, obviously utilizing the sound and the fantastic voice of Nadia. This can all become reality or just a thought...I hope for the best.
Zeljko: What is your favorite italo disco song(s) and artist(s)?
Joey Mauro: I really like Savage. I think that their songs, voice and sad melodies are really great. I hope one day that I can meet Roberto Zanetti. I like also Den Harrow, Modern Talking and more music.
Zeljko: Do you have live perfomance in clubs or anytning like that?
Joey Mauro: I am currently working on organizing a 'mini' tour, where I will play live without base, the most well known Italo Disco songs like den harrow,gazebo,savage, etc. On vocals I could be the surprise guest.
Zeljko: What are you doing when you not writing songs?
Joey Mauro: My main thing is being a musician. When things are looking down I can adapt to any random job, but music will always be my life.
Goodbye!! And very thanks ! Please visit my website www.joeymauro.com and buy my albums hehehe !
© July 2006 Zeljko Vujkovic - All rights reserved