20 Questions with Robert Passera

itIntervista in Italiano


1) What is your name?

Robert Passera

2) Where were you born?

Parma, Italy

3) Where do you live?

Parma, Italy

4.How did you become interested in music? Do you play an instrument?

I think my passion for the music was born with me, perhaps from even before I was born, in fact, despite not having any music fans in the family, from as far back as I can remember, I have always had this great love since I was a child, very young, since I lived in a rather poor family, the only toy I had was a portable record player left by my aunt before getting married, along with a stack of 45s without sleeves, that was not just my only toy, but it was and still is my favorite game. However, I barely know how to strum a few chords and play a simple melody on the guitar or keyboard, I really don’t know how to play an instrument.

5)How did you become a dj? How long have you been doing it?

In the late 1970s “free radio” was born in Italy (1976: The liberalization of the airwaves. A ruling issued by Italy’s constitutional court abolishing the monopoly held by the country’s national broadcast network RAI and opening the way for private parties to establish low-cost radio stations to compete with RAI), and in my city there were some stations, so during the summer I used to practice a little with mixer, microphones, tape recorders and record players, a little time later, with two friends, we obtained two old record players and a mixer, we pooled our money and bought some records, chiefly disco and new wave and we would meet at the house of one of them to listen and try to mix those records, drawing inspiration from the Daniele Baldelli & TB cassettes, brought us by the older kids who used to go to Cosmic, the nightclub where these two djs performed. In our room we organized small dance parties until in 1980, at 15, I brought my set to a disco and procured my first paid gig for 15 thousand lira.

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6) What do you like most about being a dj?

The possibility of creative listening, being able to take apart and reassemble a track over and over again, to approach it in a predictable way or haphazardly in other ways, to catalog and store it in always new patterns as well as the priceless sensation felt by the exchange of energy between the dj and the people on the dance floor.

7) What are your musical influences?

Definitely black and orchestral music, I mean r&b, soul, jazz, funk, disco music but also soundtracks, vintage pop, bossa nova and latin big bands as well, moreover I belong to the generation of new wave and the primordial and experimental electronic music and also these are part my influences

8) Is there a particular music today that you like?

I like nu jazz productions and, in general, all that encourages study and research of 20th century music but then results in a sound, especially when compared to today’s mainstream offerings, as modern music of the future. I also very much love on the dance floor everything that is breakbeat, broken rhythms, reassembled and overlapping that stimulate the imagination in the mix and also on the dance floor.

9) Football. Soccer. Il calcio. Who do you support? If it doesn’t interest you, what sports do you like?

I’m a pretty laid back guy and I never played any sports, except a little bit of yoga, some jogging or laps on a bike, usually by myself, which is why I never follow stadium sports, neither in the newspaper or on television, as in football which I have always seen as an “opium of the poor”, a “bread and circuses”, keeping the masses distracted and distant from real facts, very useful to those who manage to recycle and create large sums of money.


10) What is your favorite song of all-time? Does this exist?

No, I would not know how to choose only one.

11) What other genres of music do you like?

Italian singers, AOR, progressive rock, afrobeat, reggae and many other genres that I have approached only in recent years, in general I always like to be able to discover something new.

12) What is your favorite film? Why?

I really love all the Italian comedy of directors like Risi, Salce, Monicelli, Scola, etc., there is a movie that for 20 years I watch all the time and of which I am very fond called “Just Look at Her” by Luciano Salce, a very surreal comedy that I have loved since the first time I saw it and still love it incredibly.


13) Do you have a pet? Dog? Cat?

Currently no, but I had a dog as a child of which I was very fond and still remember with great fondness.

14) Where would you like to travel? Why?

There are many countries that I have never visited and that I would like to see, also very musical lands like Japan and Brazil.


15) Food. What is your favorite dish?

Italian food, pizza, pasta, a little meat, fruit and vegetables. I once read of a model, I think Kate Moss, who claimed to eat only Parma prosciutto and champagne. I said to myself, “Great choice!”

16)“La Tremarella” by Edoardo Vianello. Rocco likes it. Do you like it?

It is to die for, the pace of the twist and incredible arrangement of Ennio Morricone are unsurpassed, I really like also all the compositions of this amazing songwriter and also the film “I Marziani Hanno 12 Mani” (The Martians Have 12 Hands) from which comes this song.



17)Who is your favorite composer? Why?

It ‘s really hard having to choose just one, many authors of music, each for different reasons, each having characteristics to place themselves in the ranking of the most loved by me, I can name two, an Italian and an American, I had the opportunity to know them better through research, readings, plays and discussions with other enthusiasts: Armando Trovajoli and Burt Bacharach.

 18)You collaborated with Kikko Montefiori (Doing Time). It is a masterpiece. How did you two come about to compose this song? Have you collaborated with other artists as well?
Thanks. When with the Doing Time project (Robert Passera, Paul Sears, Luigi Manzi) we were working on the song “I Was A Ye Ye Girl”, I had the ‘idea of having the sax riff of the song played by friend Kikko Montefiori, with the intention of getting that same explosive sound of Montefiori Cocktail concert, who I really love, then my intuition turned out a very happy result and we wanted Kikko in the video. I find it very valuable to collaborate with musicians for my creations, especially since I’m not a musician and it is often necessary, some of those with whom I worked most productively and enjoyably are Bengi Daniele Benati, Claudio Shiffer, Sam Paglia, Johnson Righeira, Lorraine Bowen and Jackie Perkins.


19) How’s the family?

I am single. And in my family I have my mother and my sister.




20) You once met the legendary Italian actor Alberto Sordi. How did this come about?
It was in 1999, at the time in which Sordi toured Italy to promote what was his last film as a director and actor entitled “Dating Prohibited“, I managed to crash the gala dinner that the mayor of Parma had organized in his honor and I managed to get some autographed photos, posters and records and also a photograph with him that is still among my fondest memories.