• Home
  • keyboard_arrow_right Deep
  • keyboard_arrow_right Electronica
  • keyboard_arrow_right From Italy to New York City: The Life and Career of DJ Danilo Braca.


From Italy to New York City: The Life and Career of DJ Danilo Braca.

Kono Vidovic February 19, 2023 323 8 5

share close

For the next interview on Dirty Disco we invited: Danilo Braca, originally from Rome, Italy, has been living in NYC for over a decade and has had an amazing career journey that has led him to some of the most prestigious clubs in the world. In this interview, he discusses his origins, his move to New York City, and his inspirations behind his music. He also talks about his ambitions as a DJ and producer, and gives insights into his latest vinyl release with an awesome Ron Trent remix included. We asked him 23 questions, so sit down, relax and enjoy this in-depth interview with Danilo Braca.

Danilo Braca

Thanks for talking to us Danilo. Where are you today and what are you doing?

I am enjoying my time in Mexico City resting after two intense nights. Friday I had the pleasure to open for Discoteca and Saturday I closed at Departamento. Both incredible nights with lots of energy. 

Where is it you are from exactly? 

I was born in Roma, Italy but at the age of 9 I moved to Perugia, a medieval city up on the hill between Florence and Rome. The music scene there is incredible. The most important jazz Festival in Italy is happening every year there since 1973. Actually, I am the same age as the festival and we will turn 50 this year. Perugia is also a huge site for dance music and I was lucky enough to be into the scene at an early age. Thank you to my dad who gave me the chance to play some of his records (the non -collectible ones ) but I was a 13-year-old kid DJing at “sweet eighteen” parties playing classics, also a lot of 50s and 60s records and the kid’s parents loved me for that and the school scene was mine. I remember that once they had to move a birthday party because I was not available. Ahaha

Turning 16 I was able to go to clubs and was lucky to be able to learn all the techniques from a master like Maurizio Belladonna who was jamming what we called “Afro” in Italy. 

Three years later I was sharing the console with him at a club called “Etoile 54”. A lovely person and huge producer. Please go find some of his productions. You will thank me later!

Meanwhile, the scene was evolving and in 1989 a new club was born called Red Zone. It was the first to bring guests from overseas. I was talking to Francois K a few weeks back mentioning it and he was proud to say that he played there nine times. Residents were Sauro Cosimetti (rest in power my friend) and Ricky L. 

Of course, a huge influence comes from my dad who shared with me Rock n’ Roll R&B Jazz-Fusion, Psychedelic Rock, pop rock, and so on. I guess all these influences shaped my taste in what I am playing and producing nowadays.

Where are you based these days?

Brooklyn, New York.

What took you to NYC initially? 

I started a podcast series in 2009 when just a few were around. I was trying to pay respect to Paradise Garage and The Loft. I called it TSoNYC – The Sound of New York City. A few months later a friend of mine pushed me to create a web radio and I learned how to manage it. Basically sharing part of my collection to the world.

I started receiving good feedbacks and I was offered by a listener to come to NYC to meet some people that would help my idea. Next thing you know I am now in my 10th year in NYC. 

Danilo Braca

Do you consider yourself a New Yorker these days?

Oh, yes, I feel at home. I love my family in Italy and the country is magnificent but the moment that I come back to NYC I feel lucky. For now. Who knows where life will take me later. In the end, I believe the company and family make a home anywhere. So yes, I feel like a New Yorker but with a deep connection with my peeps around the world.

What do you like about the NYC scene?

At the beginning it was all new to me. I was like a kid excited to be able to go visit a toy shop. I was looking for “old school people” and they were all nice to accept this new “kid” looking for connections to try to make it happen. Just mentioning a few like Carlos Sanchez (Rest in peace amico), Justin Strauss (who I shared the console my first gig ever in NY),Tony Touch, Tedd Patterson, Mr V, DJ Spinna and so many more. It was all about music, nothing else. They made me feel like family. One of my favorite things to do was going around with my camera taking footage of the incredible scene. Might share it one day!

The scene later changed a lot, so many more DJs popped out and like every 20 years or so the scene is completely changed. Fortunately the return of the vinyl record helped to shape this new generation at least with the effort and the selection. Some particularly good Dj as well!

What do you dislike about the NYC scene?

There is nothing to dislike. There are scenes to avoid.

Do you play out much and where?

I am trying to do only things that are worth the music selection/job but I like to also play at small bars if I see the love and the passion for the music. Looks like this 2023 started well and I was very happy to be able to work a good number of times.

In Brooklyn, I have my residency every first Thursday of the month at Eavesdrop, a cool listening bar where I do my vinyl Italian music only, from classical to pop to rock to obscure soundtracks to house, but strictly Italian producers,singers or with just Italian lyrics.

Proud to DJ periodically at my happy place La Milagrosa in Brooklyn. If you come to Brooklyn do not miss experiencing this place.

I am doing also The Last Call, a brand new bar with McIntosh amps and Klipshorn Speakers check them out! Passionate music lovers.

In Manhattan, I just started a new adventure Outer Heaven (a boutique club in Lower East Side).

Stay tuned for my next Suono Futuro’s Party https://www.outerheaven.nyc

When did you first start to dabble with music?

I was two years old. No joking, I have pictures with records in my hand trying to touch the turntable. I was incredibly lucky. Thank you, Dad!

Were you a DJ first? 

Absolutely a DJ first. First party at my friend’s garage, a birthday party. I was 13 years old. Everyone brought their own home hi-fi system and we connected all together to fill up the space. considerably basic but it worked.

I played classics. Everyone also brought their records, and I was DJ blind discovering a lot of music It happens even nowadays. I like to bring with me so much music that I can be very random and discover that B-side song that I never really listen to, it is kind of crazy, irresponsible, not professional but fun. It’s a gamble and I feel the excitement of doing it. I often also pick my next record when I have just a few seconds left. I like to feel under pressure and have that adrenaline going up. I never told anyone before, well you have the premiere of it.

When did you make the move over to production?

Around the end of the 90s my brain started to automatically dividing the parts of the songs, I was obsessed to understand what instrument was playing, not in a nerdy way, not to know the exact model of the instruments but just the type and from there I started realizing that it would have been great to do different arrangement to songs to make them work on the dancefloor in the way I thought it was best. Then in 2004 when “Push the Button” by Chemical Brothers came out I had an idea right away though about a house dance speeded up version. I had to go get the CD on the release day to be able to have a clean version to import.

I am still playing that version. It never came out. But who knows, maybe for the 20 anniversary of the song next year? It would be a dream. 

What was your first release?

My first official release was “Oh My Lord,” 2 separate vinyl records with people that I was connected to on a musical and personal level. Ashley Beedle, The Revenge, DJ Nature, DJ Rocca, DJ Spinna, Radius ETC.

What do you feel has been your most notable release to date?

Piano Piano also Remixed by DJ Spinna. I like to think of it as a journey of my recent life. Dreamy, classic, happy, sad, and powerful. Thanks to the musicians and the singer involved I was able to deliver a unique piece with a lot of dynamic changes. I am not a musician, but I feel what is right to be together and I work a lot on the arrangement, bass drums, percussions and the musical ideas but without them would have not been possible.

Which one of your releases do you think slipped under the radar?

Unfinished Love Affair EP by Synth & Soda. It is a duo with my partner Mario Gentili who is living in Italia. We proudly won the DJ Harvey’s Beatport remix Challenge. The song is not out yet but it will be on HGS records. Here the link to did more about it.

Who are the artists from the past who inspire the music that you make?

Honesty, I have no idea. I am unconsciously making tracks. I layer things together. I could start from a vocal sample, a percussion or just making beats using a drum machine.

Who do you think is making great stuff right now?

There are talented artists out there and I don’t think I am able to point to just a few. It’s weird but I do not listen to radio or streaming platforms. The music that I am listening to is the one that I discovered from promo services, friends or DJ sets. Shazam is a great instrument to use as a starting point, then if I am digging the production Discogs.

What kind of stuff might we hope to hear in a Danilo Braca set today?

I like to be crazy. It depends on the situation. I like the slow chunky electronic vibe mixed with Rock guitars but also spacey disco/Italo going to Italian house dreamy soft but groovy and of course less known disco especially with orchestra a la “Love Boat” that brings that unexpected sound on an electronic set. 

You are known in New York as a master engineer. Tell us a little about your work.

I would not say that I am well known but I am mixing and mastering all the material for my label and other labels and artists started to use my service. Chris Coco from UK, NuNortherSoul, Best Records Italy. I do sound restoration, mixing and mastering and I co producing with others. Follow me and my label to know more about it.

The Sounds of New York City. Who have you had on the label release wise?

Ashley Beedle, The Revenge, DJ Nature, DJ Rocca, DJ Spinna, Glenn Davis, Radius ETC, Superjaimie, Synth & Soda, The Odd Monks, Residentes Balearicos, SIRS, Ron Trent. 

Siana Woza Woza – Can you talk us through the EP a little?

The draft track was made in one night returning from a lovely conversation with someone I met on a cold Wednesday evening at La Milagrosa in Brooklyn. I was inspired and I had to do it. A few days later I asked my Japanese friend Hirotoshi Umeda to come to the studio to play his Djembe over it to give a more lively sound to the track. Meantime I sent the track to my friend Agu González who recorded the trumpet in Madrid. I needed a good remix and since the original has the afro dark feelings I thought right away of Ron. 

Ron Trent has made an incredible effort on the remix. Signature Ron Trent stuff. Are you thrilled with what he’s done?

I met him randomly at a record shop in Berlin around 2017 and we exchanged contacts.I knew it was a sign. Yes I am very happy. He has been testing his remix during the winter, he also played it at Public Record in Brooklyn and sounded magnificent.

What other projects are you working on that you can share?

I am going to release my LP, yes that’s the idea. At the end of the summer. I am also producing a new artist and we will reveal some info soon.

What are your next ambitions as an artist?

I am incredibly happy that more labels asked me to remix some of their artists and I hope many more will come. I really love to put my touch on someone else’s ideas and make it my own. I do like to travel in different countries and make people dance. That’s what makes me happy. More and more original music productions and a few more DJ residencies around the world.

Some final words.

I would like to thank Danilo Braca for taking the time to answer these questions and giving us an insight into his music, production process, label projects, ambitions and his latest release Sïana Woza-Woza which we also separately reviewed here. His passion for creating unique music is truly inspiring. We look forward to hearing more from him in the near future as he continues his musical journey around the world! Thanks again Danilo for having this interview with me for Dirty Disco. If you enjoyed reading and like Danilo’s sounds, make sure to check his latest release here and get it on digital or vinyl format.

Discover more from Dirty Disco - Curated Electronic Music & more

Subscribe to get the latest posts sent to your email.

Tagged as: , , , , , , , .

Rate it
Kono Vidovic at Dirty Disco

Kono Vidovic

DJ | MUSIC CURATOR & SELECTOR | PODCAST MAKER | BLOGGER Professional online interpreneur. Coffee practitioner. Electronic music culture maven. Total music guru. Infuriatingly humble problem solver. Food & sports fanatic.

list Archive

Previous post
Post comments (0)

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive a weekly free music download & podcast updates.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Discover more from Dirty Disco - Curated Electronic Music & more

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading