While revving up for Southern, the imminent drum’n’bass festival he set up in a beautiful area on the Eastern seaside of the upper Jonean coast, not far from his native town Taranto, Francesco Oliveto, better known as Promenade, is also spreading “Ballads,” his debut solo album, through his label BNC Express, which has been aptly described as “a liquid funk dream built on earthquake sub bass.” We had a quick chat with this hyperactive Prague-based DNB producer.
Chain DLK: Hi, Francesco! How are you?
Promenade:I am doing great!
Chain DLK: Well, I know a part of your path into music, but our readers may not…can you tell them something about your very first steps, which gradually brought you to the birth of Promenade and BNC?
Promenade: Music has been my mission from a really young age. I discovered DNB after moving to Milan from my hometown. In the meanwhile, I also studied jazz, because my first big dream was to be a composer and a singer.
I can clearly remember the day I discovered DNB: a Full Cycle party with Suv, Surge and MC Tali. That day, I discovered a DJ can create his music by mixing tunes from other people. I bought 2 Technics and I spent maybe 8 hours playing every day for the next few years.
Only some years later did I start producing my own music: playing vinyls was enough at that time.
Chain DLK: After years of production and DJing, you’re like a super-skilled juggler and a proper master of breaks and drum’n’bass ingredients…despite such a remarkable experience, is there anyone in the scene that you consider to be an unreachable master?
Promenade:Yes, his name is Zinc.
Chain DLK: You’re both a producer and a label manager…how does the outlook on the DNB scene change from these two different viewpoints?
Promenade: From a producer point of view, it’s really amazing the huge number of different DNB labels active all over the world: it means producers are freer in creating different sounds and not being locked in one specific sub-genre forever.
From the label manager point of view, I am in a daily fight with the social media era. To be consistent on the web, you need to invest a lot of time on Facebook, SoundCloud, YouTube, etc…counting likes is a horrible sport.
Chain DLK: When I have time, it’s a pleasure to follow the recent releases of labels like yours…can you update our readers about your recent and forthcoming releases?
Promenade: BNCexpress was born to promote upcoming artists. After seven years, we are still faithful to our mission, even though we try to alternate releases from new talents with music from producers we already know.
After the summer, we will release a true gem from a new Italian producer called Vosko (one tune from him has been released on the Technique Summer Compilation), a single from Delroy and later, an album from the Czech crew Furious Freaks, including a collaboration with A-Cray.
Chain DLK: …And finally, let’s focus on your Ballads… Should we consider it a proper album or not?
Promenade: Yes, it is. Every single tune inside the Ballads album was written to be there.
Chain DLK: Why Ballads? Any wink to London Elektricity’s sound and his iconic Power Ballads?
Promenade: London Elektricity sound is always a big reference for me. He is a true master. But I called this album Ballads because of my jazz background.
Chain DLK: You live in Prague at the moment, but even if you maybe (smartly) consider yourself a citizen of the world, you kept the connection with Taranto, your native town, and its surrounding area… And maybe The Way Back Home, the first track of your new release refers to this, doesn’t it?
Promenade: This is a really nice overthinking! Home is where turntables are! 🙂 This is a song for my family: my wife and my dog.
Chain DLK: Unlike some of your previous releases, it seems you’re moving towards more liquid sonorities…why such a choice?
Promenade: I am obsessed with acoustic sound. In Ballads, you cannot find a sample: each and every chord is written by me. Even if I used synth and virtual instruments, I tried to recreate an acoustic mood: liquid, deep, rolling… I really don’t care in which box people need to put it after 🙂
Chain DLK: I remember you started to give lessons to teach people how to mix and make some tunes, right? Are you still doing a proper school in Prague?
Promenade: Sharing is caring! Yes, but it’s not a proper school, it’s a small studio where I introduce people to electronic music production.
Chain DLK: Apropos of your connection with Taranto and its surroundings, you recently launched a summer festival there…and I guess you are working on the forthcoming edition, right? Any word about it?
Promenade: Yes, Southern is a 3-day event taking place in a really beautiful place not far from Taranto. The 2019 edition is planned for the 7th, 8th, and 9th of August.
We will host people from Czech Republic – A-Cray, Furious Freaks, One Way, Houbass – HLZ and some amazing artists from the Italian scene.
Chain DLK: Any other work in progress?
Promenade: Of course! I’m going to produce a tune with SUV for his Playside Records and I am already working on some new stuff.