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Enjoying the Magic Carpet Ride
New York City
by Mark Thompson & Robert Doyle
June 27, 2010 Bookmark and Share
Just as Aladdin and his magic carpet traveled to enchanted isles, so do circuit boys and their deejays fly over oceans to international parties in exotic locales. Today’s circuit knows no boundaries, as witnessed by the diversity of events produced around the world—and, more than ever, music has become the global language, the Esperanto of the dance floor.

One of those ocean-hopping deejays is the London DJ/producer known as Pagano, the founder of Deviate Records and the ever-popular resident of London’s Trade @ Ministry of Sound. A former resident of Saturdays @ Heaven and Sundays @ Fabric, Pagano holds a residency at Rapido in Amsterdam and at La Demence in Brussels—and he’s played Circuit Festival in Barcelona, and numerous parties for Matinée and SuperMartXé, the producers of Europe’s most scandalous and salacious events.

With a background like this, it’s no wonder that Pagano (alongside Chus & Ceballos) was anointed to play Alegria Pride, one of the largest parties of the circuit year, and the Alegria that won Best National Party of 2009—and recently we chatted him up to find out what’s what with the Italian musicmaker.

MRNY: You’re a real globetrotter. Have you traveled a lot in the States?

PAGANO: Actually, I have. I’ve played in San Francisco, Miami, Atlanta, and Los Angeles among others. It’s been a pleasure to visit the original birthplaces of garage, house and techno.

MRNY: Now you’re returning to New York, this time for NYC Pride. Is this a first?

PAGANO: When I was younger, I visited New York various times for Pride. The Parade has always impressed me.

MRNY: It’s emotional, right? All those LGBT kids just coming up.

PAGANO: It’s political, but also quite festive without the excesses and vulgarity I have witnessed at other Pride parades.

MRNY: Wait a New York minute—you haven’t seen NYC Pride’s excess and vulgarity? Clearly, we need to introduce you around.

PAGANO: [laughing]

MRNY: You first played Alegria in January 2010. Had you been to an Alegria event before?

PAGANO: Yes, I had checked out Alegria before—and I loved it! So when Ric Sena contacted me, I was really excited.

MRNY: That’s a great vote of confidence into a select group of deejays. Ric’s really engaged in his musical choices. And Alegria’s a tight family. Were you nervous?

PAGANO: For my Alegria debut during the MLK weekend, I was actually quite relaxed. That was probably due to the fact that I was surrounded by some of my North American friends and fans who traveled from San Francisco to support me.

MRNY: You got really good reviews for that party. Lots of peeps we know were saying it was a phenomenal music night.

PAGANO: I had a great time and I was really happy to hear that the NYC crowd connected with my sound, which was definitely more European.

MRNY: Back in 2007, you played Winter Party in Miami Beach, right?

PAGANO: Playing Space for Winter Party was a lot of fun. I played the Terrace and we went on partying—way after the originally planned closing time.

MRNY: Don’t you love South Beach?

PAGANO: A trendy crowd partying in the sun wearing sunglasses: an Italian boy could not ask for more from life!

MRNY: [laughing] Exactly. We always say, ‘Where would South Beach be without the Italians?’ The Italians have turned that sandbar into the Riviera.

PAGANO: You know what they say: fierceness is always welcomed!

MRNY: [laughing] You do love South Beach.

PAGANO: Truth is, I love playing for an after-hours crowd: that is what I do best.

MRNY: Well, that’s South Beach, for sure—and that’s definitely Alegria. No wonder you’ve had such success in the States. How would you categorize your signature sound to someone who hasn’t heard you before?

PAGANO: Energetic, full-of-attitude, and cutting-edge—and as I said, fierceness is always welcome.

MRNY: You’re not getting any argument from us.

PAGANO: My sound is the ultimate in European house, techouse, and progressive house.

MRNY: So then—house—in all its incarnations, right? Let’s talk about the European scene. You moved from Milano to London. How was that for you?

PAGANO: It was quite tough at first. London is a challenging city for a newcomer [but] I met people in industry who believed in me: especially the management of Heaven.

MRNY: That’ll do.

PAGANO: They signed me to an exclusive Saturday night residency after my first year spinning at the club.

MRNY: Apart from your London residencies, you have a seriously popular residency at Rapido in Amsterdam.

PAGANO: Rapido and its after-hours are probably among the most famous events in Northern Europe. Edgar Bonte, the promoter of Rapido, has been responsible for putting Amsterdam back on the European clubbing map.

MRNY: How would you compare the nightlife in London and Amsterdam?

PAGANO: Rapido is a big event attracting an international crowd and it takes place six to seven times a year, while London has always enjoyed numerous small to medium-sized events taking place every weekend. London has always been about underground clubs and only recently has it started to see the rise of big room events. But the London scene has always been alive and kicking!

MRNY: No question—although maybe that’s because the Tube shuts down, so no one can go home. And speaking of partying all night—are you dropping new stuff on us at Alegria Pride?

PAGANO: I have a series of new unreleased projects and remixes—and yes, some of them have an Arabian theme or influence.

MRNY: Aladdin—it’s so perfect for Alegria, right? Genies and magic carpets and three wishes—it’s every circuit boy’s dream night. And Nokia Theatre is such a great space. It used to be one of the largest movie theatres in the city.

PAGANO: I cannot wait to spin Rosabel’s remix of my forthcoming single on Kult Records, titled “Drama on the Dance Floor.”

MRNY: Oh, this is where you’re gonna see that NYC excess that you claim you’ve yet to see.

PAGANO: [laughing] I am sure Rosabel’s remix will unleash a storm—

MRNY: NYC Pride excess—happening now at Nokia Theatre! You have your own label, Deviate Records, and a number of your tracks have been picked up and released on Stereo, the label from Chus & Ceballos. The three of you are pretty tight?

PAGANO: DJ Chus has believed in my sound from the very first demo I sent him and this makes me really proud. So far, I’ve had three singles on the labels of the Stereo Productions group.

MRNY: You played with Chus & Ceballos for Alegria Musica in January 2010—and now again for Pride. Would you say that your sounds are simpatico?

PAGANO: Chus & Ceballos are at the top of their game and being associated with them is a great honor. I have always admired them and their influence in my sound is quite evident. We’ve played together numerous times in Europe, especially in London, and the combination has always seemed to work quite well.

MRNY: Your tagline on your website is ENJOY THE RIDE. What’s that mean to you?

PAGANO: ’Enjoy The Ride’ was actually a trance project I released during the late Nineties. The whole ethos behind the track was about enjoying life and about enjoying every minute of the journey. This is something that I personally believe in.

MRNY: Live the moment; that’s so true. Your website also has a section about various charities that are important to you, which is really refreshing to see.

PAGANO: I am really glad you noticed that! I believe that music can be a vehicle for important messages. If someone connects with my music, if someone is sensitive enough to get emotive dance music, [that person] might also relate to more important matters. So for me it is a way to try to create awareness about some of today’s issues among young people.

MRNY: You’re so right. If we’re sensitive to the music, the implication is that we can be more sensitive to our environment—and the planet at large. Thanks for taking the time, Pagano. We’re ready to enjoy your magic carpet ride!


Gat Decor – Passion
X-press 2 – London Xpress / Muzic Xpress
Human League – Life on your own
Jam Spoon – Follow Me
Depeche Mode – Everything Counts
The Sabres Of Paradise – Smokebelch 2
Faithless – Insomnia
Royal House – Can you feel it?
Sueno Latino – Sueno Latino
Madonna – Ray of Light
Transformer 2 – I Just can get enough
Basstoy – Running (Original Instrumental)
Wubble-U – Petal
X-press 2 - Muzikizum
Danny Tenaglia – Music is the Answer
Donna Summer – I Feel Love
Masters at Work feat. India – To be in Love
Kings of Tomorrow – Dreams (Chus & Ceballos Remixes)
Robbie Rivera – Feel This
Prince - Kiss

Alegria Aladdin: Alegria Pride
Music: DJ Pagano / DJs Chus & Ceballos
Nokia Theater, 1515 Broadway (@ 44th Street), NYC
Sunday, 27 June 2010, 10 pm until
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