by ANDREA SCARPA - Photo by ANDREA COLZANI
25 YEARS A MILANESE
I have been a Milanese since 1988… by October this year it will twenty-five years… It went in a fairly bizarre way because it wasn’t one of the dreams of my life, I never honestly thought about it… then as a DJ in Rome I met Lorenzo Jovanotti in 1985, we spent a long time together, we used to have breakfast together every night…
JOVANOTTI AND I
Then at some point Lorenzo became Jovanotti and Jovanotti the singer came to Milan and I stayed in Rome, following his achievements from afar…
THE DEBUT AT DEEJAY TELEVISION
Then at one point he calls me and says “There’s Claudio Cecchetto who needs someone for Deejay Television, do you want to come to Milan? I told him that you’re strong, you know everything about music… I think it would be perfect for you” I thought about it for… let’s say twelve seconds and I said – ‘All right, when I should I come?’. I left a fantastic life of ease in Rome where I was working a lot: I was a DJ, I worked in radio, I worked in the office at the Ente Nazionale Cellulosa e Carta, I owned a record store… I earned seven million liras a month, at the time it was lot of money… I dropped everything in two weeks, I came to Milan and never went back.
I had been in Milan a couple of times always for a sort of pilgrimage, I used to come to buy records, at the store that Radio DJ had in the Gallery of the Duomo… I used to go to the Plastic… in front of it, because they never let me in… in short, I had two or three mythical landmarks… I always had this idea (the realistic one) That Milan was a closer city to Europe … whereas Rome was a wonderful, beautiful and big… mother who loved you.
A ‘STRANGE’ BRIDGE
It was a point where it all started to get a little more strange… the bridge between Rome and Berlin, between Rome and London was Milan … on one hand it was fun and on the other it was very traumatic…
THE JOVANOTTI CAROUSEL
It was fun because I was with Lorenzo… who was already famous, it was after Gimme five. I stayed at his house and I was always with him… so I went around… motorcycles, cars, drivers, things… I remember once we went out he told me “come with me to buy something in Corso Vittorio Emanuele”… we got out of the car, and after only ten steps we heard kids screaming “Lorenzo!”, Lorenzo said “hurry!”, we started walking very fast, from a group of people… I remember me and him, running like desperate along Corso Vittorio Emanuele from a crowd of screaming people… we had to go into a store and they had to come and pick us up because we couldn’t get out… it was something that I had never seen, I didn’t even imagine it existed… but maybe also for him, everything was still new.
WITHOUT DOING ANYTHING
On the other hand it was traumatic because around that time, concerning the reason why I had come to Milan, nothing happened… I stayed in the studio on a chair, on a couch, while Lorenzo was doing records and things and nobody gave a shit about me! Therefore, after a week passed, two weeks, a month I said “oh,what the hell do I do?” In the meantime I had two million liras in the bank and I said “Now I die”… I did what Cecchetto says: the plant.
THE TURNING POINT
Until the day when the person I was supposed to replace went away and so Claudio called me and I started doing Deejay Television. From then on I did all the rest…
THE GOLDEN YEARS
I saw the Milan of ’92… it was wonderful, it was so much stuff… it was the most beautiful place in the world, it was a lot of fun… everything was perfect… Everyone had money… everything was always full…
A SMILING CITY
It was a smiling Milan… in Milan I have never seen the fog. It was a coincidence of course because the factories had closed before I got here… so the famous fog from the 60s was gone. I saw it when I went to see Max in Pavia and I realized what it was… but in Milan it was already a very rare atmospheric phenomenon.
WORK AND FUN
I’ve never seen sad and gray people, all looking the same walking like this… I’ve only seen a lot of people who worked, always, and when they finished work they enjoyed themselves as if there was no tomorrow and the day after they started all over again…
It seemed to me, as I like doing that job, to be at Disneyland… Because in Rome the situation was quite dramatic… those who worked as DJs, or were in the environment, are still in the same place… It would have never been my turn… I don’t know what I would have done if I had stayed there… I honestly don’t know…
THE MUSIC BOSS
As a child I wanted to become the director of the CBS, when I stopped saying bullshit like astronaut, fireman etc… because I thought that the director of a record company went all over the world seeing concerts, listening to albums, deciding which ones to record. Being a DJ is a professional bias that one has, at some point you decide you aren’t talented enough to get good at a specific discipline… that is me… I tried to play the guitar, the drums… many things…
A SUCCESSLFULL MEDIOCRITY
When you know you’ll always be mediocre even if you are working your ass off, at some point you realize that you don’t have to become the number one at something specific, it’s better if you do something where you have the possibility, choose the others and distribute them, and you have to become the best at doing that stuff. In the end that’s what being a DJ really is. A DJ can’t play, can’t sing but is the most influential one in choosing what music to play… I thought the director of a record company was a sort of world’s DJ, who chose music for the whole world… then, when I found out that a degree in business administration was required for the job, or at least the basis in trade, finance, numbers, etc.… I realized that it wasn’t for me.
RADIO WITH FIREWORKS
I ‘made’ Radio Deejay… Not the early phase, that of its birth, however I realized the resounding switch from local to network, the most popular radio station in Italy… that was an incredibly satisfying feeling and I was there.
Lorenzo Claudio and Max, these three are the ones who ‘made’ these twenty-five years.
I didn’t like Rome because there I couldn’t do what I wanted, because I felt different… we often think they’re all assholes whereas it is your own fault if you don’t know what you have to do.
In the early years I always worked… I’d get up in the morning, I’d go to work, we’d finish at four o’clock, I’d go to sleep and go back the next day… always… Saturdays, Sundays, always.
GIRLFRIENDS? NEVER SEEN THEM
Before I met Cecilia, when I’m asked about my ex girlfriends, I always say that I never saw them… because I was never at home… I would wake up in the morning, go to work and come back at night…
If you work hard it gives you the possibility to do everything… as if every door was open. If you get into the mechanism it’s like a perfect watch… I think it’s still so… a lot of things that are happening now come from here… music is here now.
MY WORLD IS HERE
My main artists, friends who I appreciate also as entrepreneurs of themselves, such as J Ax, Fedez, the Club Dogo and many others, the whole Hip Hop scene is here… over there, these things are almost completely absent … you can’t make them happen.
My love for Rome came back when we were always with Max… the period of the Locale. That was a golden moment in Rome, in that period I wouldn’t have minded moving back to Rome. Meanwhile Alice was born so we had a place there, we were in Rome nearly four months a year. And there was the Locale… I remember I was always out with Alex Britti, Niccolò, Silvestri, Valerio Mastandrea… Everybody. That was a beautiful spring, it was probably the only time I had the wish to move back to Rome.
MILAN’S BAD SIDE
The bad thing is that, if Milan doesn’t like you, it will push you away, it will spit you out after six months… If you don’t look at it with the right spirit it’s just a repellent place. All the qualities that I mentioned before… if you’re in it’s wonderful, if you are in the mechanism I was talking about… If you can’t manage to get into it you’ll end up like Charlie Chaplin, attached to the gears, and you may die. If you want to come here because you are interested in working in music, fashion, entertainment and publishing… you know what the rules are, enjoy those rules but don’t try to take your own rules here because they won’t work and everything would become complicated, it’d become like hell.
I became a better person here… because I thought that if I managed to do what I did, everybody could… because on my ID I still have ‘disc jockey’ as my profession… That’s what I am. I’m someone without any qualities and who is pretending to have lots… and the fact that I found a scene, a place where this quality is welcomed and even makes you someone, made me a better person… I have no hatred towards other people… I don’t wish anyone anything bad… I’ve never fought with anyone since I’ve been here… I’ve learned something important here, not to believe to those who tell me what others told them… the wireless phone, the rumors like “a friend told me” are typical in Rome. Here I’ve completely lost that habit.
It’s a foreign city within Italy… They say that New York is a cosmopolitan city, well, Milan is Italiopolita… meaning it is a mixture of all Italians, a nice mixture. My friends come from all over the country… from Puglia, Sardinia… They all became Milanesi, but I don’t have a group of Sardinian friends or a group of friends from Puglia. We are a mix…
THE MOST INTERNATIONAL
All the people from IED, Marangoni, Bocconi who are young and used to travel… they go all the time around Europe and then come back here. They make Milan more and more international.
SKYLINE AND MARKETS
I love the new skyline… I always go to the market on the last Saturday of the month… that market is a fantastic mess, but it is tidy as no other market… with those ladies looking for objects, all dressed up, no one shouts… it’s nice, I really like that stuff.
ROMANS IN MILAN
My wife made peace with it not that long ago, it was a nightmare until a few years ago… she was homesick, but now she is 100% a Milanese.
HERE YOU CAN
Our friends Tiberio and Marcella are the two guys that organize the Roll Over, the event at the Binari in Milan that has become legendary. They are from Trani … they came here because they wanted to become the most famous PRs in Milan, they are two very normal people from Trani… He is also a criminal lawyer, she also works in a show-room… and they have become embarrassingly powerful… they are able to move ten thousand people from one part to another, as they wish… and they are two people from Trani who put their head down and made it… here you can.
LUNGOTEVERE VS DARSENA
Piazza XXIV Maggio now, with the renewed dock, makes you want to scream “Lungotevere!”
AWAY FROM HERE
In the event of a farewell to the business I’d go somewhere else, when the children are settled… I wouldn’t go to Rome… I’d go to the sea! I’d go and do the most banal thing in the world… I’d open a kiosk in Ibiza where I would make sandwiches and play music all day… nice… When I am all shriveled up with terrifying and molten tattoos…