Techno from an Italian master of the genre.
Alessio Armeni, the Italian DJ better known as Freddy K, has spent most of the last 25 years playing, making or releasing techno records. He discovered the sound in '91, and has been its tireless disciple ever since, pushing it throughout the '90s at afterhours parties and on his radio show, Virus. He became a pillar of Italy's techno scene, working at the essential Rome record shop Remix and cofounding its label, Elettronica Romana. Later he worked on M_Rec with the late Max_M. (Today, he runs the label KEY Vinyl.) Armeni took a break in the '00s, but has enjoyed a comeback in the last few years, which he says he owes to a move to Berlin and his residency in the techno room at the legendary Homopatik parties.
Marathon sets have always been Armeni's thing. Recent closing shifts at Berghain have gone as long as 14 hours. Once, at Homopatik, he played for 16. Such herculean efforts speak to a musical history of extraordinary length and depth, something that comes through whenever Armeni steps up to the decks. At just under an hour, RA.641 is only a snapshot of his sound, but it shows the confidence and flair that have made him a cult favourite.
What have you been up to lately?
I've been DJing mostly, it is the only thing in my life that never makes me tired.
How and where was the mix recorded?
It was recorded at home, simply with two Technics 1200s and an Allen & Heath mixer.
Can you tell us about the idea behind the mix?
I tried to show a picture that represents my roots as a DJ through a short journey, from modern stuff to classic '90s techno. Everything mixed raw and direct to maintain the concept of this mix.
You got your start playing afterhours in the '90s, right? Can you describe those parties for us? The clubs, the people, the music, the atmosphere—what were they like?
Yes, right! You know, everything was new and different. Techno was the new sound and around it was growing a new generation with a different vision of how you can relate to dance music.
You had to listen to the radio and you had to buy the music at the record store, you had to go to that club or that warehouse party where finally you could dance as you wanted and no dress code needed. At the same time of course you wanted to show to the others that you were listening to techno and you did through record label T-shirts or specific accessories. For the first time there was a music that made you forget all the stress and frustration of the normal week. Everything new around this made you happy, and I mean everything.
Marathon sets have always been part of what you do. Where did you learn to play for so long, and what is it about the extended set that suits you?
In the past when you were a resident DJ of a club, it meant that you were DJing every week (or almost) in the same place, so you had to play many hours from the opening till the closing. Of course there were also some guest DJs in between, but the vibe in the club was around you and your musical journey and the music that represented the club was your music selection. That made possible that you, as the DJ, were able to play many hours and especially that you were able to understand the different moments during the night.
Before moving to Berlin, I can say that I stopped playing as a DJ because it was not something that made me excited and enthusiastic anymore. Once I arrived in Berlin I started to play regularly at Homopatik, becoming the resident DJ of the techno floor. Definitely that party and that vibe made me feel excited again to play for hours and hours. I remember one time I played for 16 hours. That was the perfect training to start again to play a lot of hours. The party was open two days in a row and it was on you to maintain the people on the dance floor, it was especially important to understand that for you it was maybe the tenth hour, but for some of the people in the crowd it was the first hour of their party. That was the most important point. With your taste you have to create always the right vibe where everybody is happy.
When I play a long set I feel that I am a DJ, I am building something that's only mine and if it works I am never tired to play on and on. It's my life, my passion and my love... you never can be tired of this.
What are you up to next?
I will have a short holiday to rest a bit and start after immediately playing abroad every weekend, working on the new episode of my radio show on Red Light Radio and especially focused on this autumn / winter season of my own label, KEY Vinyl, so I'm excited about things.