Francisco: 'I was more influenced by fictional characters'

The Italian producer talks about his love of the 80s and diverse projects

Francisco, born Francesco de Bellis, is an Italian producer, label owner, radio-show runner and party promoter. He began his career in 1996 with an experimental dance music project called MAT101 collaborating with Mario Pierro, aka Rotla, who he later went on to launch Jollymusic with. The new offshoot, started in 1999, was more electro oriented with tracks bouncing between psychedelic disco and electro-acoustic soul. Their album Jolly Bar was slated as one of the most original records of the year by music magazines around the world.

Listen to 'Talco Uno' from Jolly Bar here [VPNs on].

Francisco currently splits his time between Rome and Zurich when he isn’t on tour. We caught up with him to discuss the huge influence the 80s has had on him, his past and present projects and his love of movies.


How did you get into music? Did you play an instrument as a child?
No, not really. When I was young I used to watch a lot of TV and I quickly became fascinated with all the electro and hip-hop imaginary from the mid-80's that was coming from the USA. That’s what made me want to be a DJ.

Is MAT101 referring to introductory mathematics? Either way why did you select this name for your first project?
Well, it does somehow as the other two members of the group were attending an introductory mathematics course at university at the time, but we picked MAT101 because we liked the way it sounded. It reminded us of the Roland SH-101. It was a nice combination of mathematic concepts and synth – perfect for an electro project.

When you are getting ready to work on tracks, is there something you do to get inspired or clear your head?
More than clearing my head, sometimes I just take a break between a project and the next and then I go back to working again when I have a distinct idea in mind. Often I do a bit of research through films, music and so on to set the right mood.

What do you consider the staple elements of your style?
It's all about finding the right sound for me and looking for it it's probably the constant in my productions.


If you were to name a drink after yourself what would be in it?
Champagne, I love bubbles [laughs].

Who in your life has had the greatest influence on you?
It's hard to pin it down to one single person. I think I was more influenced by fictional characters and all the 80’s imaginary way before meeting someone in real-life that inspired my choices. In any case I've worked 15 years with Marco Passarani [Nature Records] and Mario Pierro [Jollymusic and MAT101 member]. I believe we had a mutual influence on each other.

Is there a particular production or album you've made that has a special meaning to you?
I think all of my productions had a particular meaning in the timeframe they were made. Anyway I Semi del Futuro, my last album as L.U.C.A., is probably the one I feel more connected to. From a composition point of view, it's more complex and it's the piece of work that made me realize I was able to go beyond dance music.

Do you have a passion outside music?
Yes, I love cinema!

If you could rewrite the soundtrack to a movie, what movie would it be?
Usually, when I really like a movie I tend to appreciate the soundtrack as well. I would love the opportunity to compose a soundtrack from scratch, especially for a thriller or horror film.

If you could bring back one artist and get to see them live, who would it be a why?
Patrick Cowley, he was a genius and an innovator and died too young.


What projects are you working on now?
There's a lot going on right now! I've just finished a remix for an unreleased track by N.O.I.A., a seminal '80 new wave group from Bologna [Italy]. I'm a big a fan of them. I also have two EPs coming out soon on Really Swing and Slow Motion. For my label, Edizioni Mondo, I'm producing the band Odeon. Their single ‘Rocket Launch’ has just been released and the album should be out in the next months. I'm also working on my second album as L.U.C.A..
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