Born in the small Italian town of Cavour, near Turin, Picotto was raised in a family of stonemasons and dancers. His father ran a mason’s yard called CRW, a name Mauro would later use as a moniker for one of his biggest records.
Picotto longed to start making his own productions, but felt that to be successful he must first become a DJ and learn exactly what people wanted to hear in a record. After winning the Walky Cup competition on national TV, an event for the top DMC djs in Italy, a chance meeting with Daniele Davoli, there to promote his Black Box single ‘Ride On Time’, led Picotto to really throw himself into music production. His first track ‘We Gonna Get’, produced under the name RAF, became a Top Twenty across much of Europe and Picotto had well and truly caught the bug.
1998 saw him make his bid for UK stardom, with the release of the inescapable Gatecrasher anthem ‘Lizard’ – a record that, for many, summed up the hegemony of the emerging trance sound. The track ended up being a Top 30 hit and was followed by two further instalments in the reptilian trilogy ‘Iguana’ and ‘Komodo.’
Komodo notched Picotto another chart hit, entering at Number 11, as well as a performance on Top Of The Pops. Mauro was the first DJ to ever play live on the show.
Further Top Tens followed, including ‘I Feel Love’, under the moniker CRW and ‘Communication’, recorded alongside his friend and fellow countryman Mario Piu. The track sampled a mobile phone ring tone and became an omnipresent summer anthem. Furthermore it was Picotto’s remix which propelled York’s Balearic trancer ‘On The Beach’ to Number 1 when it was selected by the record company to be used as the radio edit.
Two artist albums, ‘The Double Album’ and ‘’The Others’, came next, in 2000 and 2002 respectively, as well as remixes and productions for the likes Freddie Mercury, Jimmy Sommerville, Pet Shop Boys and U2. Unfortunately it didn’t take long for other producers to start to cash in on the Picotto sound and soon everybody was apeing his tough, uncompromising style. Having paid his dues, and notching up a string of hits, it was time for Picotto’s metamorphosis from trance star to techno superhero to begin.
“I used to play 6-hr sets at Gatecrasher,” Mauro explains. “But I began to grow up and the generation of people I was playing to was growing up with me. I began to make the transition into techno because it felt right and I loved the music. It wasn’t like I suddenly said, ‘ Right, now I’m going to play techno.’ I just like good music and I’m proud that, as well as creating new fans, I’ve brought a lot of my old fans with me and opened them up to a new style of music.”
On top of the estimated 250 tracks that he’s made to date, Mauro also leads the DJ pack when it comes to his globetrotting schedule. One minute he’s spinning to a packed out 45,000-seater football stadium in Amsterdam and the next he’s playing to 18,000 in the middle of the Amazonian jungle at seven in the morning, with parrots flying overhead.
After leaving Media Records in 2002, Picotto formed Bakerloo Music, as well as a new label Alchemy, releasing a slew of massive club tracks, including ‘New Time New Place’ and the ‘Alchemy EP.’ That same year he launched his Meganite party at the Miami Winter Music conference and tickets instantly became must-haves for the assembled danceratti.