For ten years, from 1997 until 2007, Gaetano Parisio was one of the most consistent DJs and producers in the realm of techno, releasing slabs of vinyl on revered labels like Drumcode, Primate and Zenit, plus his own portfolio of innovative imprints, that rode the music’s evolution from looping 90s bangers to the mid-aughts minimal wave as staples in every respectable DJ’s record box. Stepping out of the spotlight (though never the studio) for the past decade, the Naples-born artist reemerges in 2017 with a new vision to propel techno through yet another phase in its ongoing evolution.
Born in Naples in 1973, Gaetano first encountered dance music in the Italian house music scene. Along with peers Marco Carola and Rino Cerrone, he sought out a tougher techno sound after witnessing Jeff Mills deliver one of his era-defining early-90s sets. Isolated back home, he set out to discover his own sound separate from the status quo, one owing its inspiration to the transcendent quality of the loop in its most stripped-bare form.
Starting as Gaetek, he released a flurry of classic on labels like Planet Rhythm and Primate Recordings, records that were immediately elevated into regular rotation by icons like Dave Clarke, Sven Vath and even Jeff Mills himself. He soon launched his first label, Conform, which quickly became a beacon for the Napolitano techno scene for which Parisio and Carola were now torchbearers. They became fixtures at the world’s best clubs and festivals with a four-turntable/two-mixer set-up that left crowds screaming for more. They also befriended like-minded artists like Adam Beyer, Ben Sims, and The Advent, all of whom released music on Conform. During the same time, Gaetano brought the techno scene together on a charity compilation, Techcommunity 4 Kosovo that included Sven Väth, Laurent Garnier, Surgeon, Adam Beyer, The Advent, Marco Carola, James Ruskin, Cari Lekebush,Ben Sims, and Gaetek himself, to aid the children of war torn Kosovo—a rare and shocking flare-up of violence within the relatively peaceful boundaries of modern Europe.
If Conform was about community, Gaetano’s next label, ART (Advanced Techno Research), was a one-man affair that issued a series of nine limited-edition, precision-crafted, two-track singles, over the span of two years. He continued the conceptual approach to production with the book-inspired Chapter series, released on his new Southsoul label, which introduced a deep house-flavored techno sound that was eagerly endorsed by DJs of all stripes. Next came the five-part Adagio series of minimal tracks (on the label of the same name), which continued Gaetano’s evolution as a producer at the same time techno was reinventing itself for the new Millennium.
In 2007, following a personal loss and disenchantment with the music industry, Gaetano took a step away from the frenetic life of an international DJ. During that time, he continued to find solace amongst his gear, recording hundreds of tracks for his own personal gratification while sending sporadic vinyl transmissions, the last being a 2010 release on a sublabel of Rino Cerrone’s Rilis. Gigs also became an avenue for pleasure, not profit, with Gaetano popping up around Europe when the mood struck him.
Recently, signs of Gaetano’s reemergence began to show themselves, beginning with a rare and well-received appearance on the Boiler Room broadcast from Napoli. In 2017, Gaetano is entering his full renaissance, preparing the second “book” for his Southsoul label while teeing up a brand new project, Ample5, which will operate at the intersection of music and culture. A fitting return for an artist who has travelled the hero’s journey though more than two decades of electronic music.