For over half a decade, Joseph Capriati has been wowing us with his unique earthy and hot-blooded style of techno. Rhythmic, carnal and undeniably sensual, his music has captured hearts and dance floors around the world, in established music scenes as well as emerging ones. Thanks to the guys at Link and MiamiRebels, the Italian maestro brought some much-appreciated fire to South Florida on one of the chilliest nights of the year. We got to chat with the Drumcode family member before his show at Treehouse, one of Miami’s underground gems, and got some feedback on his past, his personal life, and music scenes around the world.
You waited until your first rave party before you really got into techno music, can you tell me a little about that experience?
Joseph: I was playing house music so I didn’t know about techno. The first time I went to Old River Park, which is a place near my home in Caserta, I heard techno music for the first time without knowing anything about it. They were playing Dave Clark, Rino Cerrone, and after that I said, “Wow, this is the music I want to do.” That day changed my life. It was like a rave with techno—not hard techno, cool techno in the open air, with nature, by the river. Normally people think of techno as dark and deep, but that is completely different.
Where does your heart lie? Production or DJing?
Joseph: I’m more DJ than producer. I started to play when I was 11 years old, so I started with a passion for mixing, but then around 2005 or 2006 I discovered how to produce music; I met a guy in the city who had a studio, saw him, went back home and said I wanted to do the same thing. I didn’t go out with my friends for one year because I concentrated myself on production. It went very well because the first release actually became well-known. Everyone was playing that track.
How has the ride been so far?
Joseph: I think I’ve been lucky, of course, I’m not a genius or a real musician, but I think I do like house enough and that’s why I’m still here. Now I’m producing less. When you become established as a DJ its much better not to make so many releases. You keep people waiting. I also don’t have time. I’m playing every week, I don’t have that much time to concentrate [on production].
How’s the music scene back home in Italy?
Joseph: The scene in Italy’s completely changed. Its more techno. Until two or three years ago, most of the people there liked these tech house parties—there was a lot of house. Now its techno. That’s why I get appreciated in my country; two years ago I never played in Italy—it was really rare, and its strange because I’m from Italy. But the people didn’t understand my music there. It took time. It was the last country that gave me confidence but now I think its my favorite because when I play Italy I see a lot of love.
What’s your brand of techno?
Joseph: A lot of people who really don’t understand it too much relate it to hard and fast…I’m not hard. My techno I call “new techno.” Its more funky. I make people like techno even if they don’t like techno because there are influences from house, from electronica…this changes it for sure. Its different than ten years ago, but techno doesn’t mean small, dark, hard.
Do you draw a line between your career and your personal life?
Joseph: It’s hard. Today I don’t have time for my private life. I don’t see my family too much because I moved to Barcelona almost two years ago. Its difficult. I separate it for sure, though—my real friends were there before I was a famous DJ, and now people are very double-faced. I have to be careful, you know? But I meet a lot of nice people around. The most important thing for me is that even if there are only twelve people in my private life, they are people who don’t have to try to take something from my job or what I do onstage. They have to like me for my personality. That’s what I feel.
Tell us a little about your time with Drumcode so far.
Joseph: Drumcode was one of my favorite labels from the start. I was a big fan of Adam Beyer, and now I can say that I think of Drumcode as my label. Even if I opened my own label, I don’t want to leave Drumcode just because its like my family. I feel very easy and motivated because I’m very good friends with Adam, Alan Fitzpatrick, all the guys. We feel like one DJ when we play together. When you don’t feel motivated, you feel forced, and when you feel forced you don’t do things well.
You’re known for really branching into some of the world’s less established music scenes.
Joseph: I prefer to take some parts of the year to go into small scenes, even if they can’t pay me as much. I don’t want to sell my passion, my happiness. This is why I play even in new scenes, like South Africa—we went to Mauritius and Honduras, Guatemala…you’d never think there is a big scene there, but when I went they were like, “Wow.” They don’t have parties every day, just one party a month or so. We have more choices [in big cities]; there are three, four clubs with different DJs every week. But there, I see real happiness on peoples’ faces. They smile, they’re very warm with you, and they’re real welcoming. I think I am more proud to play in small scenes because you really see if the people like your music. When you play a good set and at the end somebody says, “Oh my God, it was the first time I heard your name and your music and I like it”…that is the best.