One of the many expats living in Berlin, P.Leone has been paving his way with deep, rhythmic techno cuts released on labels such as Radio Slave’s Rekids and Work Them Records. Also running his own label E-Missions where himself and co-founder Caiazzo as well as new artists Rush Plus and Tred have all made their home. Recently making his Berghain debut with the Rekids label showcase, P.Leone is also a regular at the city’s institutes Tresor and ://aboutblank. Supported by the likes of Ben Sims and Spencer Parker, P.Leone returned to Radio Slave’s imprint a few months ago with ‘The My Lita Project’ – a four track EP that features two remixes from Mark Broom. The EP shows off P.Leone’s love for groove and soulful vocals with contrasting industrial sounds. We caught up with the New York native to discuss his earlier influences, his label E-Missions, why he decided to move to Berlin and how it compares to the scene in New York.
You’ve spent the most part of your life working in your family’s pizzeria, what drew you to music and when or how did you decide that this was something you wanted to pursue full time?
I think everyone deserves to have their own escape in some way! I decided to pursue music full time to really give it my all and see my dreams through
What were some of your earlier musical influences? Did your family play a lot of music in the house when you were younger?
I would have to say I owe my sisters on that – in the car rides we would always listen to hip hop and freestyle, TKA one minute BIG PUN the next…
You’ve stated Laurent Garnier as your biggest musical influence today. Aside from the obvious what is it about Laurent and his work that stands out from everyone else for you?
I feel the longevity alone of his career is something to marvel at, he’s always super kind with promos supporting newer artists. I think it’s really nice to see that there’s that kind of support from someone like him one of the greats.
Growing up in an American-Italian family, what have been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned from those around you?
Well my mom is Greek and my dad is Sicilian! So there was a really nice blend of alllll types of a potential ass whooping at any time 🙂
Since moving to Berlin, your music career has progressed quite rapidly with your slew of stand out releases and also the launch of your record label E-Missions. How do you feel Berlin has influenced your artistry and career?
I needed a change, I needed to really get out of my comfort zone…I felt it was important to sort have the heavy pressure of having to deliver and do everything I can to remain as consistent as possible, back home I didn’t really have that or feel that I couldn’t engage myself fully into my music and it really wore me down I was starting to lose the brain game we all play with inspiration I couldn’t find it in anything – when I moved, Berlin really gave me this sense of pure freedom to only focus on things that really make me happy and make the process more intuitive and less dreadful
What is it that draws you to the city? Why do you feel it’s better for you than New York as they have a pretty great scene there too?
New York will forever have my heart, I think it’s normal to be from somewhere and want to leave just to love the city more!
The scene in New York is powerful and constantly evolving giving rise to upcoming talent constantly…it’s a great scene to cut your teeth and it really taught me how to be a more aware human. In Berlin the nightlife and club culture is a bit more open and a bit more forgiving. However, neither city is attempting to be like the other that’s what makes them both special.
What do you think you’ve learned from each city?
New York from childhood teaches you how to play defense meaning it’s pretty easy for someone (me) a born and raised Brooklynite to spot bullshit situations you probably should get out of. Berlin taught me how to live with less and appreciate more and work harder on exactly what I want which is music in really a less interrupted way.
Now onto your label E-Missions, what inspired you to launch a label and what is your aim?
When myself and Caiazzo launched e-missions it was mainly a means of being able to put out a record at any time we chose to. Later it grew to a point where we wanted to release more records from other artists! I did a bit of A&R work and found this joy of seeking other artists I love to join for releases or remixes, hearing something that’s unreleased and makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up, knowing we can bring it out to the public with the trust of the artist is a one of a kind feeling.
How do you select artists to release on the label? Are there certain things you look for in an artist before signing them?
We’re looking for responsible and aware artists who fit our catalog and are hard working, if there’s any doubts at all then it will not happen. Artists to a label are the foundation to a house everyone needs to be aligned.
You’ve also released on Radio Slave’s Rekids imprint, how did that relationship come about?
I met Matthew Edwards through Spencer Parker – Spencer suggested I send some demos to Matt and the rest was history
What inspires your productions? What is your process when you head into the studio?
Usually I work best if I get an idea late at night before bed, I like to sleep on it and just get it all out the following morning
Do you prefer to use software or hardware? Why?
BOTH! Love my machines but also love the endlessness of software as well
What are some of your goals as an artist? What do you hope to achieve?
Consistency + longevity
‘The My Lita Project’ by P.Leone is out now on Rekids – buy here.