Q+A: 5 minutes with Davide Squillace and Santos

When we last spoke to Italian born producer and label head Davide Squillace, he showed no signs of slowing down. As one of the most in-demand tastemakers in the game right now, this remains true. Like Squillace, fellow Italian producer Santos is renowned for his game-changing work in tech house, a reputation that keeps him busy producing for the likes of Madonna when not running his label Let Me Understand. As a pair, the duo find a sort of creative synergy that allows them to create truly stunning tracks. Their latest collaboration, Flesh, arrives today on OVUM. We spoke to the two artists about how their partnership emerged, and how they went about merging their styles to create Flesh.


Davide, how have you been since we last spoke? Did you ever get Eriko Tanabe back up and running?

 DS: Unfortunately, not yet, it seems that the moniker/project has naturally merged into the DS productions, so it’s kinda weird and hard to give it life again on its own if you know what I mean. It’s a process that needs to come naturally and not something that I have to think a lot about, it has to just come up organically and emotionally in the studio.


Santos, how are things over at Let Me Understand? Are there any projects that you’re particularly excited about?

 S: I’m pretty focused on things at the label right now. After the Ricardo Villalobos and Tripmastaz remix of Suburban Cult, I want to keep the fire up with other collaborations and features for the label and of course, joining up with good producers and friends like Davide for other labels.


You and Davide just released a track together on Ovum, Flesh. How did the two of you come to work together?

 DS: We really like to work together, I look up to Santos’ way of musical thinking, production and mixing. It’s always a pleasure to make music together. We actually have a long conversation on WhatsApp video talking about techniques and gear many times a month, it’s so refreshing to talk to another geek.

 S: Yep, for us, it is natural to make music together, we have more or less the same background, same vision and we like the same things in the studio in terms of equipment to use, skills and clever productions.


What has your experience at Ovum been like?

S: A dream come true. We have obviously respected Josh and his label since the beginning.


Let’s talk about Flesh. What made Boy From Africa the ideal choice for this track?

S: He’s an amazing guy and has an amazing voice and mood, so it was a perfect combination for us.


The track is really lush and full of texture. I absolutely love how unexpected it is at times. What elements came from who? 

S: Davide sent me the idea of the track with synths and all the organic melodies, and I went crazy and personally pimped the groove adding 909 sounds. We discussed editing and the final sound, and then we made a full vocal and dub version in a few days, and we felt that it was something of a magical track.

 DS: I think I started making some stuff and passed it to him, he jammed a bit on top and sent it back. The final mix-down is always done by him, a true master.


Download and stream Flesh here


How would you describe the influences we can hear on Flesh? I feel like there are touches of styles from across house and techno, but was there one specific style that really informed the direction you guys took?

 DS: To be honest, and I speak for myself, I’ve stopped thinking about what is what. That mental process of trying to follow a genre, trying to identify things, always cripples the outcome. I start to think too much and feel too little, and it’s less about music and more about business


Matthew Dear (Audion) has produced a great remix of the track that pushes it more toward techno and acid. What do you guys think of what he did with the material? That breakdown in the middle there is insane.

 S: It’s an absolutely amazing remix, and we’re 100% sure that Matthew was the right artist to be involved in this..we both love his productions, and he has total respect from both of us.


I’d like to talk a bit about house music in general. Have you noticed that there’s a bit of a resurgence going on right now?

 S: Not Everyone Understands House Music

It’s A Spiritual Thing

A Body Thing

A Soul Thing

HOUSE MUSIC Will never die.


Do you think people sometimes forget how pivotal Italy was to the development of house music? It was quite essential. 

 S: Every country has contributed something to the process of letting house music develop. Though Italy was not the place where house music was born, I feel the Italo disco scene and Italian producers helped improve melodies and brought a special element to the Balearic house sound.


What did you enjoy most about the process of working together? Have you learnt anything from each other?

 S: Of course, we learn day by day, always something new in production and working together is the way to learn to have more fun and be more creative.


Do you have plans to work together again in the future?

 DS: Yes absolutely, we always come up with something. It’s not about planning or scheduling it, if we have something we feel the other can jam on, we get on a phone call, as easy as that.


Any plans for summer? Where can we see you guys perform?

DS I’m resident at Ants in Ibiza, also playing Pacha and 1 show at Dc10, for the rest I’ll be travelling to different cities all over Europe for the summer. Finally, the classic summer schedule is back!

S: I’m more a studio rat, caught in cables, productions, mixdown, and mastering so it will be hard to see me behind the decks at parties!


Listen to Flesh below.


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