On most summer nights in the South of Italy, you can walk around, often by the coast, and stumble upon some live music and good beer. Years ago, guitars reigned supreme, with the occasional accordion and drum set following not far behind. Far less likely though, was the appearance of a DJ set in this equation—especially not over a decade ago. And yet, this is how the story starts for another product from the seemingly ever-growing techno garden of Italy.
Antonio Russo, aka Adapter says it was 15 years ago when he and his friends went to the local pub to have some drinks and listen to music. This time, instead of a band there was a DJ—something Adapter had never seen before. "My eyes were on him for the whole set and I was fascinated by his handling of the mixer and CDs," he says. While taking guitar and piano lessons at the same time, Adapter began saving money to eventually buy his first set of turntables and a stack of records.
Growing up in Napoli, which is famed for it's magical coast, ancient volcanoes, and significant cultural presence, Adapter was charmed by the land but not always the music. "At the time, there were two big promoters—Orbeat and Angels of Love—who booked acts like Carl Cox, Dubfire, Luciano, and Erick Morillo," says Adapter. "Most people had to wait for one of those parties because there weren't many opportunities to hear that music around the city." Ten years later and Adapter has filed into this system of performers in Napoli. "It hasn't been easy," he says, "but thanks to a few promoter friends I get to play and it's a huge joy to play in my home city."
The journey hasn't been without its share of twists and turns, from software to hardware and laptops to vinyl, Adapter has taken his time to carve his niche in the Italian techno industry. As part of a wax resurgence in electronic music, Adapter began spinning vinyl before incorporating Serato and eventually Traktor in his sets. It didn't last long though. After only one year of digital manoeuvring, a feeling of distance between himself and the fans shifted Adapter back onto turntables and vinyl. "While I was playing my eyes were fixed on the laptop," he says. "Consequentially, my feeling with the dancefloor was fading more and more."
His vision and experience as a DJ, producer, and A&R of Entail Records led Adapter to the foundation of his own label. Along with some friends, Adapter founded DirtyClub Music to combat the lack of local bookings in the city. "Lately, the scene in Napoli is controlled by only a few major promoters and there weren't any places that were intimate, somewhere to meet up with friends and enjoy quality music drinking few cocktails."
DirtyClub Music represents Adapter's commitment to his own endeavours, regardless of his successful experiences on the front of dance music through other labels. Recording on Steve Lawler's VIVa and Sian's Octopus, the Italian has been producing techno tunes on some of dance music's most reputable imprints for years now and has learned valuable lessons from the two veterans along the way. "The only difference that exists between DirtyClub Music, Desolat, and VIVa or any other label on the planet is the vision with which they conduct," says Adapter. "Working with them made me realize how a big label works in the market. Their aims come firstly before anything else."
It was with Lawler's VIVa crew on Sunday's that gave Adapter his first taste of Ibiza—a place that taught him a thing or two about professionalism. If you are unorganized, Ibiza will whip you into shape. "The promoters on the island are used to working with plenty of artists every week and this forces them to adopt precise and professional methods like only few in the world."
But his appreciation of individual tastes and the role they play in music is something he learned from his hometown. "Here, [in Napoli] the citizens find always a way to party and so there is always movement in the city, this is why my tracks are never plain," he says. "They are always full of sounds and if there isn't anything going on—it is purely because they are about to explode!"
Energy of that sort brought upon the interest of Loco Dice and the team at Desolat records, which is the home of Adapter's next release, the Gain EP. Featuring four original tracks, the EP is something to be expected of a Desolat release. "Knowing a person like Dice, who always supports me, gives me always a big thrill to keep me going," says Adapter. "Spending many hours in the studio to finalize a new track and immediately hear it in the sets of many DJs—it's certainly the best way to recognize that it is all worth it."
Although Adapter keeps his touring schedule fairly light, he balances it in the studio. "Surely I want to grow up even more, as a person and as an artist," he says. With EPs coming out of multiple labels this summer, he will still be making trips to festivals like Barrakud in Croatia, DirtyClub showcases in Napoli, and the sunset terraces of the white isle of Ibiza. This time, fully organized.