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Layton Giordani: "I never get writer’s block. I’m always just writing music; I never stop"

(Image credit: Future)

The day that we catch up with New York-born techno head Layton Giordani, he’s still reeling from a career-high set at Amsterdam’s Gashouder for Awakenings the night before - clearly a venue of sentimental value for the 26 year old, who had only recently relocated from the city. 

A core member of the Drumcode imprint’s roster since 2017, Giordani’s 12-track Where It Begins was received with critical acclaim - and subsequent releases only followed that trend. 

His somewhat nomadic lifestyle in recent years has taken him around Europe, appearing at Melt! Festival, Warehouse Project, Motion Bristol, Resistance Ibiza and various Drumcode events – but if you couldn’t make any of those dates, make sure to listen to his most recent release for Drumcode, Phase II EP. 

What’s your current studio setup and what gear inspires you?

“I’m based in New York and I was living in Amsterdam for a while. I recently moved back to New York because I missed home a lot but I’m planning on moving to London very soon. Right now I have a bedroom studio. I’ve been working a lot on my laptop but in terms of gear I’ve got the Moog Voyager, the TR-909, a couple of delay or reverb pedals, some Eventide reverbs, bass pedals. Just stuff like that. I’ve got some JBL speakers that I’ve been really enjoying lately. Pretty beginner stuff, but I like them a lot. The last piece of gear I got was the TR-909. What inspired me was that I saw Danny Tenaglia post a picture of his studio. I said ‘Oh man I really want it.’ For me, I’m so young that I really want to get back to the old school style of things.”

I still to this day can’t read sheet music but I can play Beethoven. So. I don’t think music theory is needed. It’s all about what’s in your ears and in your heart.

What advice would you give to your younger self, if you could?

“Be original. Follow your dreams, obviously. Don’t worry about what other people are doing. Sit and focus on what you’re doing; you’ll get a lot further sooner.”

What’s your starting point when you make a  new track?

“When I start a track, it’s always different. I base it off my inspiration. So if I go past a coffee shop and hear something I like, I’ll go back to my hotel room and jot down a melody because I got hooked on it. If I want to make something a bit rougher, I’ll start with a kick. Whether it’s a kick or melody, it’s always random. I just go with the flow. Whatever inspires me, whether it’s melody or drums, I’ll just kind of wing it.”

What’s your solution for writer’s block?

“Honestly, it’s a hard thing to say, as I never get writer’s block. I’m always just writing music, I never stop. Maybe once in a while when I’m really tired and want to make music but need to recharge. Life inspires me whether it’s playing gigs or watching Youtube videos or just walking places. It’s just an excuse, for me at least.”

Do you think producers need to understand music theory?

“I think it’s more just an understanding. Like, I never knew how to play the piano and I taught myself how to play. I still to this day can’t read sheet music but I can play Beethoven. So. I don’t think it’s needed. It’s all about what’s in your ears and in your heart.”

Which one track do you wish you’d performed on?

“Danny Tenaglia and Celeda Music Is The Answer. It’s a big New York record – and worldwide. It started everything for me. It kicked everything off. So it’s very sentimental to me. I wish I’d worked on it, for sure.”

Who is the most inspiring producer in the world right now?

“There are so many new guys (and I’m obviously a new guy). People who are my age or younger than me who are unheard of and it’s only a matter of time before they get big. I’d say this guy Avision, who makes really mature techno and house music. He’s my age. It’s only a matter of time before he blows up. Also another good friend of mine: Weska. He also got signed to Drumcode. He’s constantly sending me music and it’s all hits. The third person would be Kevin De Vries. He just got signed to Afterlife. Also my age and such a talented producer.”

Talk us through your current DJ setup…

“The way I work is pretty standard I guess. I don’t use a laptop, I use the CDJs and I’m really focused on the turntable fundamentals. I made the switch from an Allen & Heath Xone:92 to the Pioneer Mixer. I used to use reverb pedals and stuff like that but I’m kind of in a crossroads at the moment because I was using the same setup as everyone else and it was getting a bit… mediocre. So I’ve switched to the Pioneer and the RMX-1000. I’m looking for one more special thing to take the edge off. I haven’t found it yet, but I’ll figure it out soon.”

What are you working on right now?

“We just confirmed a new release on Drumcode records, called Phase II. And it’s going to come out on 22 November. The concept is that it’s a new chapter in my life. Coming from New York, touring in Europe for a couple of years now has really changed my life and we thought it was a fitting name for it. It represents the next stage of my career. Other than that, we’re doing so many parties for Drumcode. Yesterday I just played at the Gashouder, which was phenomenal. Things are really taking off here.”

What would you save in the event of a studio fire?

“Well, I’m going to put this out there, but my dogs are always in my studio. So I’ve got to save them before anything. But if they weren’t there and I had to save something it would probably be the TR-909.”

Phase II EP is out now on Drumcode. For more info visit: facebook.com/LaytonGiordani

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