In an age where new artists are constantly emerging and the flow of new music has grown from a small stream to a raging river, it is increasingly difficult to find producers and performers who offer something different from the norm. Every day our promo box is rammed full of 320 kbps mp3’s and fresh Soundcloud links but alas what we’ve found is that high quality files do not always mean high quality music. In particular what is lacking at the moment is the personality, the character, the music is there, but is there enough dedicated hours spent in the studio, enough heartfelt effort put into today’s music? In 2013 it takes a lot to raise your head above the parapet and shine brighter than the rest. It takes ingenuity, talent, persistence and intelligence for an act to establish themselves on the scene in a meaningful manner.A pair who undoubtedly posses these attributes are Italian duo Flashmob (part of the renowned Defected Records stable). The duo have enjoyed massive popularity over the past two years thanks to their tireless work and a very well thought out strategy. Flashmob (composed of friends Alessandro Magani and Danny Minchella) initially grew their reputation with some clever on the ground promo. In a by now well known tale they ventured the length and breath of Ibiza placing their records in the hands of the DJs they admired and respected. The result was a resounding success as their record named Brick House went on to dominate the playlists of a select few that year and enjoyed a successful run on Berlin based label Get Physical.
Further progression came with the release of the anthem that was Need In Me (although it very nearly didn’t see the light of day as the two gentlemen weren’t sure on whether it fitted in with their style). Its outstanding vocal paired with some very crisp percussion made it a hit with everyone from Pete Tong to Carl Cox and led the duo on to better things with the renowned Defected Records under the tutelage of a man they reserve the utmost respect for Mr Simon Dunmore.
This September I got the chance to sit down with the gents before they took to the stage in Dublin at underground house night JACK for what was a full sellout show. The first thing that immediately strikes you is their friendly and open nature. They even remark themselves that they “are in this for the long run” and it seems they treat everyone they come across with the same level of respect. In fact it’s a pivotal part of the Flashmob ideology. Their fan base has been built upon openness and eagerness to communicate with fans, something that is sadly missing in todays dance music world. The Flashmob artist page-friend is a well-known phenomenon on Facebook and it was this that enabled them to build such a strong community once the likes of Brick House and Need In Me dropped.
Alessandro refers to an Italian phrase about getting your hands dirty. If you don’t stay in touch with your fans ‘you lose the human dimension’ he warns. The duo strive to make a connection with each and every person they come across whether it be their fans or promoters and other djs. ‘It’s more than personal, this is my life, what we do is everything’ for Alessandro and Danny this is a pivotal part of their work. He knows the few seconds spent saying hello and finding out about his fans is essential. It keeps them grounded and enables them to work day in day out in the industry and not become disillusioned by it.
It’s evident that the boys have taken control of their own destiny. They are one of the few acts in recent times that have managed to thread the line between achieving widespread success and maintaining their underground image. They are equally at home playing in Watergate Bar one week and The Warehouse Project the next. It is a unique situation that they find themselves in. They are closely tied to Defected but still manage to produce bonafide underground house. Alessandro references their track ‘Pieces’ which was released last February on Defected. Its acid house elements and the accompanying Panorama Mix mean the track would be at home in a more underground setting but that didn’t stop the Simon Dunmore and co snapping it up. Flashmob clearly enjoy the whole hearted support of the Defected family and have benefitted from their refreshing outlook on dance music.
I also spoke to them about how they managed to establish themselves in a scene where the competition is incredibly tough. For them it has been a long slog rather than a quick rise. They have slowly built themselves up over the years (although previously under a very different guise). They cited the fact that ‘you get to the next step when you are ready for the next step’, it is interesting to note that although they now have a full touring schedule they still refer to themselves as ‘the guys who don’t have the gigs’ . Alessandro is at pains to make it clear that everything they do is tailored in the right way to assure they achieve the right results for Flashmob. They only reached the level they are at now by constantly pushing and working to improve every aspect of Flashmob.
As the interview came to a close I started to do a little prodding on the subject of the future, where does Flashmob go from here, what’s the next step? The question of how they work together in the studio arises and how they approach new music was met with a rather philosophic response from Alessandro and a nod of agreement from Danny.
“The only way of making good music is to just produce the music you have to produce, – whatever comes is good”
These guys have been in the game a long time, they’re not in a hurry, they wait for the right opportunities. Whether it be a remix (they’ve only ever done two as Flashmob with a third on its way for OFF Recordings) or an original, they profess that they want to do the ‘right music in the right way’ so for them it’s not about the immediate effect. They strive to make something timeless. Alessandro points to their much-lauded remix of The Pet Shop Boys – Vocal. Initially it wasn’t exactly what was expected by both the Pet Shop Boys and their label (it’s very different to the likes of Hot or their remix for FCL). When the track was sent for approval it was a turned out to be a long, difficult process but the duo stuck by their guns, safe in the knowledge that this track was as much a Flashmob track as any other and something that would stand to them years down the line. When it did eventually see a release it did very well for the pair (despite the initial difficulties) and it’s clear that the two are happy they stood their ground explaining that the track actually represented the ‘house spirit of the 90’s’ and was in fact somewhat of a tribute to the underground roots of The Pet Shop Boys themselves.
With such a strong identity and steely determination it seems certain the future will continue to be bright for the Flashmob gents. Their recent bootleg series garnered massive support from the likes of Solomun, Laurent Garnier and Agoria while Alessandro also reveals they plan to do something similar to their Brick House promo for the coming summer but with a label of their own (something he barely mentions in the interview but it is undoubtedly an exciting prospect). Alessandro speaks of the need to ‘do a good track and promote it in the right way, with the right spirit, and give the good music to the right people’. They also hinted they had just sent something over to Jamie Jones and the Hot Creations crew which might be an interesting one to watch. The pair return to Ireland on Dec 18th to play Limelight in Belfast alongside the honourable Pete Tong before making their debut at The Wright Venue on the 19th once more alongside the BBC Radio 1 star. With a soldout show already in the bag for Dublin, who’d bet against them making it two in a row?