Describe yourself in three words
What if it’s more than three words? I-m-not-too-bad (he laughs).
How were you as a kid?
I was always a little bit the outsider. In the family we were three brothers and I always felt I was little bit the outsider, which was ok. I don’t remember really why, but you know, little things, here and there, maybe my mother didn’t pay attention to me like she did to the others, but all in all it was great, I am really not complaining.
You grew up in Ortisei. What was special about growing up there and what was limiting about it?
It was great because it’s a beautiful town: it’s beautiful in the Summer, it’s beautiful in the winter. It’s a great place to do sports, it has good schools, but the limitation, of course, is that in the end it is a small town and it’s far away from any big city. Especially if you want to be part of the music business, you have to live in an actual city. That’s why I left when I was nineteen.
What was the first concert you ever went to?
I think the first major concert that I ever saw was an Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s concert and it was in Munich.
You are a record producer, a songwriter, a performer, a DJ: how did you get into music?
I used to be a professional musician with a group, we were three people, and then one day I decided I wanted to become a composer because I didn’t want to continue as a musician any longer. I went to Berlin and I started to be a composer there. I was quite lucky because I got a job working in a recording studio right away. I started having some connections from that because artists would come in and record. So that is how I made my first contacts and I had my first song. I was lucky again: I met this guy, a singer, he liked a song of mine and that was my first real entry into the music business. His name was Ricky Shayne and the song was ‘Ich sprenge alle Ketten’.
What’s the musical moment that changed your life?
The big moment was when I recorded the song ‘Love To Love You Baby’ with Donna Summer. The recording happened quite fast and it was almost an instant hit, so that would be the moment that changed my whole career. It was in 1976.
You were among the first people to recognize the potential of electronic dance music- I was wondering, do you like to dance?
No, I don’t like to dance (he laughs).
What aspect about your work do you like the most?
Well, the creative aspect. I always try to imagine something new: sometimes it works, most of the time it does not work, but that’s the challenge, trying to find something new.
…and which one do you like the least?
My least favorite would be sitting in the studio to record and mix and arrange, because that takes a long time. It’s really extenuating, especially if you have a deadline, when you have to finish one song or one project before a certain date, that’s not that great.
If I say ‘Donna Summer’, what comes to mind?
A great lady, a beautiful lady, a great singer. I made her a big star and she made me a big star.
If I say ‘Daft Punk’, what comes to mind?
Daft Punk are absolutely incredible. The last album is beautiful. They worked like crazy for like, I think, two, three years and you see the result: it’s a milestone album.
What’s the sexiest quality in a woman?
Let me see… I think her eyes, because it gives you the entry into her soul (he laughs in a self-mocking way).
If you and Francisca could host an imaginary dinner of six people, dead or alive, whether you’ve met them or not, who would you invite?
The first that comes to mind would be Rihanna, I love her, but that’s not too much of an imagination, it’s obvious. Maybe Obama. Quincy Jones, with whom I’ve had several dinners and he’s always nice. Maybe the new guy in Italy, Matteo Renzi, the new Secretary of the Democratic Party, but they would all have to speak English, right?
It’s imaginary though, so everyone would obviously speak a perfect English…
That’s right. And then… It’s not easy! It needs to be an interesting mix of people… Maybe Machiavelli, just to see what he would think about the world now. Oh, and of course from the old old times, Cleopatra! Because she’s supposed to be so beautiful and mean (he laughs).
What’s your motto?
Live and let everyone live as well.