PAGANO TALKS BREAKING THROUGH IN THE LGBT+ SCENE & HOW TO FEEL ALIVE THROUGHOUT LOCKDOWN

Hailing from Italy but based in London for the last decade or so, Pagano initially broke through in the LGBT+ scene in the late noughties, playing house and techno at various venues across the capital and picking up a loyal following. He turned his hand to production just a few years ago and has released on Toolroom, Stereo, Deeperfect, 1650, Nervous and various others.

His latest release, Desire, landed on Christian Smith’s highly respected Tronic label last month.

PAGANO INTERVIEW WITH FRANKIE SALT

Do you follow any fitness YT videos or channels, use a local personal trainer?

I think many can relate when I say 2020 has really thrown me for a spin. It has been hard to follow a routine and I haven’t felt completely comfortable going to a gym with what’s going on. Up until 2019 I worked out with an amazing personal trainer called Gabriel Abibu at my local gym The Armoury in London. Gabriel is a fantastic motivator and a very prepared personal trainer. He is also a great athlete and has come 1st at several Body-Building contests including Pure Elite and Miami pro in 2019 and UKUP in 2018. He helped me achieve the best shape of my life through a mix of exercises, weight lifting and cardio. Gabriel also helped me out with nutrition tips sending me diet plans, explaining food categories and what to eat when. I lost 30 KGs of fat, toning up and increasing my muscle mass while working out with him. Unfortunately I have regained weight since the pandemic started and can’t wait to start training with him again.

What have you found to help your mental health throughout the last few months?

My London flat is walking distance from several parks: Primrose Hill, Regent’s Park and the enormous Hampstead Heath. This one in particular is a very relaxing experience. At a staggering 3 million square meters, it’s like a slice of countryside in the middle of North London. I found that taking power-walks through the park early morning when there’s no one around has a very soothing effect. I would put on some relaxing music, usually a movie soundtrack or a Café Del Mar compilation and would walk through the park for a good 40 / 45 minutes. Surrounded by nature and focusing on breathing, this practice has the ability to help me disconnect. An experience that I find very close to meditation…

What are your favourite brands / products have you been using throughout lockdown in the home?

Beginning of April, when it was clear that we were in for the long haul with lockdown in London, I bought an exercise bike and some resistance bands. The exercise bike I got was a sturdy model by Exerpeutic. Foldable and easy to assemble, it has a larger than usual seat cushion and was worth every penny. For The resistance bands I went for something light because I didn’t want to risk damaging the door frames if using them for leverage for pull exercises. I bought a set by Omeril. I also bought a very good large and thick Yoga mat by Yogartistic.

Have you been creative throughout the last few months, and modified your usual daily routines or fitness regimes?

To be completely honest during the first few months of lockdown, I completely lost any creativity and motivation and even turned down a few high-profile livestream opportunities. I had difficulties concentrating and sleeping. Having Djed professionally for approximately 25 years, my sleeping pattern is generally quite messed up. Between this and the stress and insomnia caused by the pandemic, I had to find a way to fix my circadian rhythm and to relax. So during the end of spring and the summer months, when it got warmer, I developed the new habit of taking long walks of 5 / 6 KMs in my neighbourhood at night. I would usually do this from around 11pm. I live in a pretty safe neighbourhood and taking these walks would actually tire me, relax me and helped me falling asleep. This meant I was better rested during the day and slowly I started feeling more focused and inspired again. This lead me to produce a series of new demos and one of them ended up being my debut release on Christian Smith’s label Tronic, one of the most credible in the Techno scene.

Tell us more about your current exciting music projects or a new skill you are learning?

When I started experimenting with producing music in my bedroom in the 90s, I would use a programme called Notator-Logic. As my career picked up steam, I started to use professional studios with the help of a sound engineer. With my DJ schedule becoming increasingly busy, I started having less and less time to work on ideas at home and to programme myself. Since this year the nightlife industry has come to a complete halt and I stopped touring, I found myself with so much time on my hands. Ableton offered a 3 months free trial of their Live software and so I took the opportunity to try to learn using it. Definitely the most user friendly software for people who might have basic skills. I have since bought a copy and I’ve actually enjoyed putting together ideas that I then took to the studio to be finalised, mixed and mastered with the help of a trained sound engineer.

This is how I developed my upcoming release ‘Peace & Unity’ that will be released end of November on Mark Knight’s label Toolroom. It’s something a little housier than what I usually do. Moved by all the issues of 2020, by the struggle of the black community and the LGBTQ+ community (whom as you know are behind the birth of Techno and House music), and annoyed by the divisive rhetoric and debates online and in real life caused by the pandemic, I worked to create something with a positive message and an old- school Chicago House vibe. An unexpected benefit of the pandemic has been that I found time to work on music just for the love of it, like I used to do when I first started playing with Notator-Logic as a teenager.