ITALIAN AND UK PRODUCERS

[scroll down for full pictures]

By 1993, In the North of the UK, Piano House had become a cultural phenomenon, thanks to many DJs and Producers who kept the scene going and were releasing fantastic tunes which would go on to become Classics of the genre. In Italy however, already from mid-1992, labels and producers had turned to Techno and Trance and most labels, including Discomagic Italy, would no longer sign or release any new Piano House.

The vast majority (if not the totality) of Italian DJs in Clubs and on the many private Radio stations would not play anything with a “pianino” in it! (Pianino = little piano was the derogatory term used by Italians for Piano House).

Although by now there were many Italian tunes in the UK charts, the “Piano” remixes were done by UK producers for the UK market…

At first it was not a big problem for Disco Magic UK as we had plenty of old catalogue to reissue but by the end of 1993 we were running out of “classics” from Italy. We licensed some tunes from other labels, such as Apollonia and ASHA but these were more expensive for us to release.

In our main series (with the DMX catalogue number) we had released some of the newer Italian Techno and Trance but Disco Magic UK’s name and reputation was in Piano House and something had to be done…

Throughout 1993 I had been spending about five days a month in Milan, going through the Discomagic Italy archives hunting for old classics (my parents live nearby so it wasn’t too expensive). I spent a lot of time with Lombardoni and he introduced me to many producers.

In our conversations, I asked some of them if they would produce some new Piano House tunes exclusively for Disco Magic UK. Among them, Mario Percali and Edoardo Milani were more than happy to collaborate; they loved Piano House and were keen to have new records in that genre released directly from the UK. Disco Magic UK had already re-released many of their classic tunes and they knew they had eager fans over here.

For these exclusive releases I created a new label called Disco Magic Worldwide to indicate we owned the rights worldwide. (At first I had thought of “Disco Magic UK Worldwide” but that sounded a bit contraddictory!) . You can find the story of those releases (which include Alfredo) in a separate link in the menu.

By mid 1994 we had quite a number of exclusive releases by Italian producers and, after James Sammon did his Tribute to Asha EP with us, other UK producers joined in.

These releases were considerably more expensive for us because we had to cut our own master plates and stampers but it was still cheaper to manufacture them in Italy and ship them over than press them in UK.

The advantage was that, since we owned worldwide rights in the sound recordings, we could licence them abroad if requested. We also owned the publishing rights worldwide through our sister company Disco Magic Music, the music publishing division.

All the releases in this section and in the next sections of this book are still part of our catalogue nowadays, some have been reissued on vinyl and all of them on CD and remastered digital downloads. Mary House “Stay Mine”, Cinzia Kay “You Can Party”, the Neverland EP and all of Pianoman’s releases with us are now revered as classics of the genre.

While almost all of the UK producer’s releases feature the Disco Magic UK logo prominently, for the Italian producers we tried to create their own label within our company, in the same way that Discomagic in Italy did with their producers, and the Disco Magic UK name featured as “distributor”.

Many of the releases had their own sleeve and while this looked good, it created problems when the first 500 copies had sold out. Since the minimum order for sleeves was 500 units, we had to commit to represses of 500 or more and, in some cases that was not economical. Feedback from fans and stores also suggested that they preferred to see a prominent and reassuring Disco Magic UK logo as a mark of quality.

So we abandoned the idea and went back to our colourful “house” sleeves.

PIANOMAN

When James Sammon licensed his “Tibute to Asha” to Disco Magic UK, he helped establish the link between the “Italian” roots of the label and its firm “UK” presence and identity.

Disco Magic UK was no longer just the label that reissued Italian Piano House classics.

It became the focal point for the UK Piano House scene to look at the future of the genre and make it its own, like Northern Soul.

This relationship has now spanned almost three decades and I will forever be grateful to Pianoman for the help he has given us and continues giving to this day.

NEVERLAND – EURODANCE

This project was brought to me by a well known and respected Italian producer who, at the time, told me to not put his name on the label.

The project comprised of 10 tracks in total, some covers and some originals. We released Vol. 1 and it sold moderately well but without requiring any represses and the other 6 tracks were never released at the time.

In retrospect, I should have made it clear on the label that this was a Disco Magic UK release. It has now become much sought after and is well know even overseas.

The other unreleased tracks include a Piano House version of Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up”!

STIFF FINGERS “SHORT DICK MAN”

This one was Lombardoni’s idea!

He wanted to do a cover of this track which was in the charts at the time.
The problem was that the Italian copyright society had just introduced a rule which forbid Italian labels to release cover versions of new songs until after 6 months from the original’s release.

This rule was introduced because every time an Italian label licensed a hit tune from abroad, the other labels released cover versions, which affected the sales of the original.

All labels did it to one another, so SIAE stepped in to put a stop to that.

However, the rule could not stop labels from SELLING a cover version if it came from abroad…

Lombardoni had this cover produced and then asked me to release it in the UK and ship him back 500 copies!!!

I did it for him just this once…

HOMEGROWN RECORDS

We commissioned a UK production team to create a series of records in a style that was quite a departure from the Disco Magic UK sound.

Perhaps best described as deep house, these records sold well on export but were slow in UK.

We pressed four in all out of 14 we commissioned.

The fourth one was one of only two titles we ever licensed back to Discomagic in Italy for local release there(see below).

LICENSES TO DISCOMAGIC ITALY

Towards the middle of 1995, as Disco Magic UK had built up a catalogue of exclusive releases, Lombardoni asked me if he could license some of our tracks for release in Italy.

This was a reversal of what I had been doing for years, using the metalwork of his records to press Disco Magic UK releases and, of course, I said yes.

Lombardoni used our stampers at Astro Record and released two titles: DMUK 001 (for our SKUNK 004) and DMUK 002 (for our ALK 001).

The Italian pressings still have our catalogue number on the lead-out I had never seen these until recently and bought my copies from Discogs.

ITALIAN PRODUCERS

(click on an image to activate full screen gallery)

UK PRODUCERS AND PIANOMAN

(click on an image to activate full screen gallery)

LINCENSED TO DISCOMAGIC ITALY

(click on an image to activate full screen gallery)

You can order the printed edition of the VINYL HISTORY book or the PDF digital edition from the Disco Magic UK webstore:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started
%d bloggers like this: