Label founder Mike Simonetti will be playing a string of dates across the country.
Simonetti has well and truly earned veteran status in the NYC music scene as a label founder and manager, DJ and promoter. The polymath has run hardcore and punk label Troubleman Unlimited for years, but opened the more dance-oriented Italians Do It Better imprint in 2006 with producer Johnny Jewel and has since released music from
Jacques Renault, Tiedye and Glass Candy, and gone on to become one of the powerhouse North American modern disco labels.
We tracked the man down via email, where he told us about label politics, the NYC scene, and the effects of the Global Financial Crisis.
Have you found that much of your Italians Do It Better fan base has been from Australia? You'd obviously greet every chance to tour overseas with open arms, not only on a personal level, but also as a chance to further Italians Do It Better's reach...
I’ve been to Australia once before and it was a great trip. Some of the most enthusiastic crowds tend to be from far away areas. I think Australians are very appreciative when someone makes the effort to get over there. It's fucking FAR! But from our mail orders, we definitely get tons of mail order from Australia. It's definitely a strong region for us!
In a 2008 interview with the Cosmic Disco guys over in the UK, you spoke about major labels and larger independents, and the efforts they go to in order to 'court' you and the bands you've signed, whenever there's the slightest sign of hype. Can you elaborate on that? What happens?
It’s the usual thing; they act slightly interested, then the emails come, then they show up at your gigs, then they promise you a lot of stuff, then they give you an offer that's a lot lower than you would expect, then you realize your advance is recoupable and that you will end up with $500 if you’re lucky. These days it's easier to do it yourself. You can make more money...
You've stated that New York City isn’t the same that it used to be. What did you mean by that? How has it changed?
The Lower East Side has become a tourist trap. DJs use iPods and play Pulp and The Smiths for their friends. The bars don’t care about the music; they care about the bottom line. If you can fill the bar – you got a gig. The crowds are too spoiled in NYC. If you play a song they don’t like – they leave the club and go to another one. There are five other clubs on the same block, so why not try that one out! There are tons of awesome DJs in NYC who never DJ locally in town. It’s a damn shame!
You recently hosted an Italians Do It Better party in London. How did it go?
Excellent! There was a tube strike, but it was still rammed (I believe sold out)? It's our second party in London. The last one was two years ago and that was awesome as well. London is like our second home.
What's changing in the dance music industry? Have you seen the effects of the current economic crisis?
Not really, it seems to be going OK. My DJ fees have been a little lower, but, to be honest, getting paid any amount to DJ seems like a blessing to me. I could be working a shitty 9-5 job, so I'm just happy to be able to DJ!
Finally, could you please school us on your current top five?
01. Hairy Surfers/Loose - Wetsuit Hang Ten, Bro
02. Hugh Jackman’s Pecs - Better Thanx, Man
03. Dog Drinking Water - You're So Sloppy Cassette Single (Tim Sweeney remix)
04. The Beardless DJ - Can I Edit That?
05. White Label - Untitled White Label (unknown)