There are two interviews, first and second. Click the one that you wanna read.
Fred Ventura started his Italo disco carreer in the beginning of the 80's. His first project was Flexx with the song Flexxyball (1983, Hole Records 20202). He turned out to be a very talented and productive musician who wrote and composed a hundred of high quality songs for himself and for many other artists. Just to mention a few: Albert One – Turbo Diesel (Baby Records, 1984), Paul Paul – Burn On The Flames (Music Market, 1985), Aleph – Big Brother (Time, 1988), Alan Barry – Tell Me The Reason (Disco Magic, 1988), Rose – Perfect Time (Time, 1989), Nilla Backman – New Day (Downtown, 1989) etc.
For himself he wrote songs like Wind Of Change, Leave Me Alone, Night And Day, Imagine, Heartbeat, Lost In Paris, The Years etc. He had very productive co-work with other genius of Italo disco of the 80's such as Mauro Farina, Giuliano Crivellente, Roberto Zanetti, GiaNcarlo Pasquini. Later in the 90's he worked with Laurent Gelmetti, and Giacomo Maiolini (the chairman of Time Records).
He published his songs under many labels: Time Records, Macho Records, Italian Style Records and his very own Evolution Records. This label was a special label just for himself, releasing some kind of house music, nothing similar to Italo disco. Among the artists featured were: Vision Factory, Vodja – Everything For Love, PDL – Electronica etc. To my opinion he 80's and 90's were his best years, I should rather say the Italo disco years. He made some great songs in the 90's as well, for example: Lisa – Love (Time, 1991), Virgin – No More Love (Time, 1991), Gipsy And Queen – Black Bird (Time, 1991), Maio & Co. – Feel The Groove (Time, 1991) etc. Nowadays Fred is doing some great stuff for many famous Italian stars, for example Jovanotti. He is also a very well-known deejay.
And for the end, Fred consideres himself as a very very ordinary guy, he feels like a 20 year old guy, he is GREAT!!! I felt that thru my conversation with him on the telephone. FRED VENTURA IS ONE OF THE GENIUS OF ITALO DISCO.
Zeljko: Ciao Fred! How are you?
Fred Ventura: I am very well, thank you, especially now because I am here. It past some time since I was here, with my friends and fans.
Zeljko: How was on the last night concert?
Fred Ventura: Oh, it was great, so nice that I can sing again with my great Italo audience. I saw how excited the people were and I am really happy
Zeljko: Fred, what is your occupation now in Milan?
Fred Ventura: You know Zeljko, I am working hard on the production for the other artists. Jovanotti for example. I said goodbye to Italo disco songs a long time ago, but I will be always ready to make concert like this and sing only for my Italo friends. Anyway I have a lot of work to do, and to not forget I am very active as a deejay. This is a very interesting period for me.
Zeljko: What is your plan for now, in The Hague?
Fred Ventura: Well, I came here last Friday, the same day I had concert and I will be staying here for one week. We will have a live radio show today, I think it will be interesting. Next weekend, on Friday, another concert will be held, this time together with Aleph and Domino. It will be a great Italo party!!!
Zeljko: Denis told me that whole Hague is undersiege of your posters. Unusual to see posters with name of yours and ITALO in such a huge European city?!
Fred Ventura: Yes indeed. Marcello did a great job and it's very nice to see how much he loves Italo.
Zeljko: OK Fred, I know you are very busy, thank you very much for this conversation, my dream come true, that's definitely.
Fred Ventura: (laugh) Thank you Zeljko and maybe we will see each other one day on my concert.
Zeljko: I would like that very much!!!
Fred Ventura: Ciao Zeljko!
I would like to say a BIG THANX to my great friend Denis Music
who gave me opportunity to speak with great Italo artist
© July 2000 Zeljko Vujkovic - All rights reserved
Zeljko: Fred Ventura name is synonym for Italo Disco! This is big success and credit to your work. Fred, how you managed to maintain great quality of your music work from 1984 until today?
Fred Ventura: I think I had my high and low like any other artist, good and bad records are part of any artist career. It's not been easy but I've tried to remain free from big contracts and very long working relationship, freedom means a lot and I think I've also paied a big price for my freedom....and quality is very much related to freedom to experiment and have pleasure making music....
Zeljko: How would you describe your music life? Perhaps as a journey? Or hobby, adventure...?
Fred Ventura: A very adventurous endless journey with a hobby spirit...
Zeljko: Your Italo Disco career started in 1984 with the song 'Zeit'. You sang in German language partly. Isnt' that a little bit unual for start of career. What was your inspiration while you were writing the song's lyrics and what is the meaning of the song?
Fred Ventura: I was very much influenced by german music at the time and Falco “Der Kommissar” was one of my favourite songs in 1982, I know that was a crazy idea but my producers loved the idea and we decided to do it anyway even if knew that was going to be difficult to promote in the italians radios...
Zeljko: 'Zeit' was your first song under name Fred Ventura, but earlier you you had project 'Flexx' and the song 'You'll Never Change (Theme From Flexyball)'. What is 'Flexyball'? Movie? Could you tell us a little bit more about it?
Fred Ventura: It was just a fantasy we had in the studio when we were recording the track in october 1983, there is no movie and no soundtrack, just a funny idea....
Zeljko: Let's go to your beginning. Fred, where you were born and can you tell us more about yourself, before your music career?
Fred Ventura: I'm born in Milan 16/07/1962, I went to school like any ordinary guy in my street, I've tried to go at the university but I was so interested in music and not too much in getting a degree, I followed my instinct, no music schools or singing lessons, just a big passion for music that gave me the energy to start playing drums and then singing in various bands in the Milan area 'till 1982, then I starded writing on my own and I met Roberto Turatti...
Zeljko: Your real name is Federico Di Bonaventura and probably picking up the artistic name wasn't hard for you ;-) How you choose your artistic name?
Fred Ventura: I just worked around my real name, not so hard to find it but I had to do it, my real name is a little too long....
Zeljko: When you discover your love to music, especially to Italo Disco music?
Fred Ventura: My love for music starded when I was 12 but my interest in dance music started late, I was 18....Italo was something still to happen....and I was considered part of something I didn't really know, I was more into european electronic dance music, like almost everybody involved in the scene, then we all managed to give an italian touch to our productions...
Zeljko: Can you describe your feelings and tell us your thoughts after you made your first success?
Fred Ventura: I never had such a big success that changed my life, I felt I was very lucky to be able to make records and earn money out of my music but I never felt to be part of something exclusive, music is my oxygene....
Zeljko: Fred, who was or were your inspiration(s)?
Fred Ventura: A lot of different music and artists, not only dance music even if I felt a natural need to make danceable music, but my biggest influences were Joy Division, New Order, Giorgio Moroder, Bobby O, The Human League, Patrick Cowley, Kraftwerk, D.a.f, Etienne Daho.....
Zeljko: Recently we marked out the 25th anniversary of Patrick Cowley's death. In your opinion, what kind of music he would make today if he could be alive? I am asking this because he is with no doubt a guy who made strong roots for future (italo) disco music.
Fred Ventura: It's too difficult to answer, he made great music in the space of few years and he didn't have the time to make the wrong steps that many producers made after 1985 when the sounds changed and the bpms went too high....
Zeljko: It's time to ask you about your cooperation with Roberto Turatti and Miki Chieregato. How you met them and tell us please about your work with them?
Fred Ventura: I met Roberto Turatti in the basement of the original Disco Magic office in may 1983, we started collaborating and we become good friends too, our working relationship lasted 2 years, then somebody else took my place in their plans....
Zeljko: You sang the song 'Bodyheat' by Fockewulf 190. Did you know this is someone else song? Can you tell more about this please?
Fred Ventura: Turatti asked me to write a melody and lyrics for the Fokewulf track, they didn't like the original version, I simply wrote it and sing it in few hours, nothing else, it was very easy to do it and now I love the track more than ever...
Zeljko: After successfull work with Turatti-Chieregato you started your work with Mauro Farina and Giuliano Crivellente, producers who are considered to be Godfathers of Italo Disco. Tell us please about your work with them?
Fred Ventura: I don't consider this period of my career an happy one, I didn't like the way Farina & Crivellente were dealing with my songs, they were trying to make my songs sounds like any other Time record but it was almost impossible to do it, I think that apart from “Wind Of Change”, the rest of the tracks we made together sounds relly boring and one dimensional now, a sort of hybrid....Goodfathers sometime make mistakes too...
Zeljko: Did they brought you to Time Records or you met Giacomo Maiolini earlier?
Fred Ventura: It was Giacomo that brought me to Time records.....
Zeljko: You have worked with them several years in a row and made many great songs. Every single song was great success. It's amazing how lots of creative energy you all had in yourself. From where you were pulling out that energy? For you personally, who or what was your inspiration and still is?
Fred Ventura: As I told you, even if we were succesfull with our tracks I don't have many things to say about those years, we were working hard but dance music was taking the wrong road, it was too commercial, too fast and made for japanese aerobic sessions....
Zeljko: There is so many questions about your Italo Disco career. It is difficult to ask you everything, of course, so please, could you tell us things that are important and we didn't mentioned so far?!
Fred Ventura: I'm lucky to be still active and making music because many other italo artists had to give up 20 years ago, I must thanks all my fans very very much....
Zeljko: May I ask you if you could tell us who is your best Italo Disco artist(s)? Probably it's hard to say, because there are many great artists ;-) Maybe you could tell one name or two in particular and if you could explain your choice?
Fred Ventura: I'm going to answer with my all time favourite Italo playlist:
GAZNEVADA: I.C. LOVE AFFAIR (ITALIAN RECORDS) 1983
ATELIER FOLIE: NO RHYME, NO REASON (WEA) 1983
LA BIONDA: I WANNA BE YOUR LOVER (BABY) 1980
KLEIN & M.B.O.: DIRTY TALK (ZANZA) 1982
KANO: ANOTHER LIFE (FULL TIME) 1983
MIKO MISSION: HOW OLD ARE YOU? (BLOW UP) 1984
GAZEBO: MASTERPIECE (BABY) 1982
CASCO: CYBERNETIC LOVE (HOUSE OF MUSIC) 1983
'LECTRIC WORKERS: ROBOT IS SYSTEMATIC (DISCO MAGIC) 1982
KOTO: JAPANESE WAR GAME (MEMORY) 1983
ALEXANDER ROBOTNICK: PROBLEMS D'AMOUR (FUZZDANCE)1983
FUTURE STATE: FUTURE STATE (EYES) 1983
EASY GOING: FEAR (BANANA) 1979
STYLOO: PRETTY FACE (DISCO MAGIC) 1983
PETER RICHARD: WALKING IN THE NEON (FULL TIME) 1983
Zeljko: So many concerts are behind you, even those overseas, particulary in Mexico, lots of italo fans there. Did you like to go to playing live perfomances?
Fred Ventura: Yes, I love it, especially in Holland, Poland and Mexico were my true fans are still supporting me...
Zeljko: At the end of the 80s Italo Disco started to fade and many Italo Disco producers found far East and particulary Japan as their new and big interest. You went on the other side. It was more 'house' music. How come you choose that way?
Fred Ventura: As I told you already, when Italo disco became High Energy for japanese I felt it was time to quit as an artist, I went ahead as a songwriter and Chicago house music was happening in the european clubs, it was the only real alternative to the boring fast bpm tracks.
Zeljko: 'Eurobeat' for Japanese market is very popular and hooked very strong there. Do you regret why you didn't choose that way, or partly had business there? Honestly, it's a bit difficult to imagine you making songs with lots of BPM's....
Fred Ventura: No regrets.....
Zeljko: Tell us please more about that 'house' period and the most important projects you made)
Fred Ventura: The most important projects were my personal labels Evolution records and Free Zone records with 12” maxy singles as Grey Area, Love Nation, Visions Factory, Active....
Zeljko: In the 90s or 2000's, not sure, you started to work with some great deejays as Alden Tyrell and I-F are. They are both great and had playing great music. Very impressive is your work with them on Live in Stubnitz. Tell us about your work with them, how you met each other etc.?
Fred Ventura: We respected eachother work and we decided to collaborate, it's a very simple attitude that is making musicians interplay with eachother....We met during one of my many dutch excursions tanx to some common friends....
Zeljko: Very impressive is your work with Jupiter Black and you made excellent song 'Hold Me'. How you met him and please tell us about him and that project as much details as you can?
Fred Ventura: I don't know a lot about them, we never met but I really admire their work, I love this kind of collaborations motivated only by the same musical taste...
Zeljko: Some Italo Disco fans said that 'Hold Me' is one of the best songs they heared from you in the last few years? Could you agree with that?
Fred Ventura: Yes!!!
Zeljko: Fred, what are you doing these days and what are your plans for near future? We would like to know more about your new cooperation with I Venti D'Azzurro Team in particular.
Fred Ventura: I'm trying to compile a sort of best of of my productions from 1983 'till 2008, after 25 years I think is a necessary step....
Zeljko: Do you like to see comeback of Italo Disco in the last couple of years and born of new Italo labels? This is something like dreams come true for Italo Disco fans.
Fred Ventura: I'm not so much into nostalgia for the good old days but I think a retro sounding record is better than a modern one without an original idea....
Zeljko: Fred, do you have message for your fans?
Fred Ventura: Only a simple wish....a bright future for everybody!
Zeljko: Thank you so much for this interview. We all wish you great success ahead and please conutine to make us happy!
MADE BY ZELJKO VUJKOVIC FOR DELIVERY RECORDS - BOLOGNA
© Zeljko Vujkovic - January 2008