Let’s talk about Rome, Italy. Perfect pasta, magnificent architecture and deep, uncompromising, blow your brains out d&b. Sounds good, right?
Coming in thick and fast with their two-year-in-the-making debut LP Black Soul, new out on Delta9 Recordings, Italian duo Exept are well and truly flying the flag for the Rome d&b scene.
With a history in scratch turntablism and hip-hop, Exept know no boundaries when it comes to creating music. This is evident across their work and within the d&b scene in particular, the pair boast a top-tier string of releases on some of the underground’s most credible labels. From Noisia’s INVISIBLE to Methlab, Pseudoscience, Dispatch, Vision, Surveillance and Overview, their back catalogue is rather beasty.
From gorgeous Italy, to the rest of the world. Introducing, Exept…
How are you both today? What did you have for breakfast?
Michele: We are good thanks. I ate some pancakes with peanut butter and a lot of coffee.
Marco: I ate egg white with some oats, banana, honey and almond. That’s what I call a champion breakfast.
Sounds wonderful. Let’s start off talking about you guys, as human beings. Paint us a picture. Where are you from, what does your average week look like?
Michele: We were both born in Rome, in nearby neighbourhoods. Our picture represents two guys with beards who love music and good food. That’s exactly what we are.
Marco: We both work hard during the week; Michele works in a freight forwarding company, while I have a recording studio where I work between recording, mixing, production and DJing courses.
Usually, at the weekends, we focus on our music, relaxing near a BBQ and spending some time with our families.
A great balance! Let’s talk about Black Soul, which is brilliant by the way! What did you want to achieve with this project?
Many thanks! We are pleased to hear that. After a few EPs and many singles, we needed to make this major step; so we decided to make an album. We started the tracks during the pandemic and it ended up taking us two years to complete the LP. The idea was to make an album to unleash all the facets of the Exept’s sound.
Wicked. Any new production techniques tried with this one?
We always try to discover new techniques, for curiosity and also to keep our sound updated since this genre is constantly evolving. That’s also why we love D&B.
Absolutely. Can you tell us a game changing moment that led you both to where you are with your music today?
There is not an exact moment that marked a change, but we once had some good feedback by labels and some other producers that really pushed us to do something better. Also, collaborations with artists worldwide enabled us to grow and permitted us to learn another technique.
Constructive and collaboration is key. Let’s take it back a little bit, how did you guys come together in the first place?
We had a friend in common who introduced us to. The great passion for music contributed to establishing our friendship.
We started DJing together, then setting up events in our town, Rome, and then taking the first steps as producers. That was the pre-digital era, if you wanted to play a record at an event, you had to buy it, you could not download it. We spent all our money buying vinyl!
After this, there was a period in which we both dedicated ourselves to our solo project, and then got back together in 2018 starting Exept.
How has your working relationship as a duo developed over the years? What challenges do you have as a duo and how do you overcome them?
Our way of working together was always spontaneous and straightforward. Luckily, we always agreed and very often, without even knowing it, one of us will most likely do what the other had in mind.
We often work together, swapping positions when the other person has an idea. This can only happen if we are moving in the same direction. The challenge, like any producer know, is always trying to best express a creative idea.
What is the Rome d&b scene like? What other producers can you tell us to watch out for from the city?
Unfortunately, the d&b scene in Rome has been dead for years. Occasionally there are some events, but they are not strictly d&b. Promoters only think about spending as little as possible. They try to involve artists who play more genres to bring more people to the event. The result is that friends of the organisers always play, at the expense of a scene that has now slowly died.
In the rest of Italy, especially in the north, something is moving. There are a lot of promoters that organise good D&B parties. We believe the situation is better because there is more connection between the artists and the promoters.
Speaking about some other producers to watch out for, there are definitely a lot of DJs but very few emerging producers in our town, unfortunately.
Top tip for producers first starting out?
Michele: Believe in yourself, be very critical of yourself, use your ears, not just the spectrum analyzer.
Marco: Better a good idea that doesn’t sound perfect, rather than an idea without originality that sounds good.
Top tip for life? What’s your everyday, life mantra?
Michele: Up to 60 years old you can start everything, up to 90 years old you can improve.
Marco: What goes around comes around.
Last but not least… tell us a really, really random fact about yourselves.
Behind the musical project, there is a great friendship between us. We were born within a few days of each other and we always celebrate our birthday together. Throwing parties in our homes every year with a BBQ, wine and of course, d&b!