Antoni Maiovvi came into being as the fake Italo creation of sound artist Anton Maiof (probably not his real name either). Claiming to be an original 70s Italian disco producer emerging from obscurity in response to the early 2000s resurgence of Italo Disco, Maiovvi released a string of extremely well received (fake) soundtrack records before he was invited perform live and people began to realise he was actually a young noise punk from Bristol. Since then the Maiovvi myth has spread like a flesh eating virus on dancefloors across Europe and the USA. He's released killer records for labels such as Seed, Fright, Cyber Dance and Deathwaltz and recently started his own vinyl imprint Giallo Disco Records. Maiovvi's particular concoction of horror synth, prog-disco flavours and industrial intensity has seen him share the stage with such luminaries as Goblin, Umberto, Gestaffelstein, Arabian Prince and even Mogwai. The transition from fiction to reality came full circle this year at the Cryptshow Festival in Barcelona, where Maiovvi won Best Soundtrack for Yellow, a real film that he did actually write the music for. We caught up for a chat about alter egos, techno secrets and biting members of the audience.
THUMP: You started out making noise rock, how did you move into electronic music?
Antoni Maiovvi: I basically became obsessed with disco. I was still making noise (and I still do every so often) but I got really obsessed with disco and tried to rip it off for my own amusement. It was fun, and it was weird, and people were like "do you wanna put a record out" and I was like "YES!" What was I supposed to do? Go "no, I only wanna appeal to weird guys, I want that to be my audience, weird men…"? (laughs)
There's a really creepy element to a lot of your video content. For example the clip to Darkroom…how much is that guy in the clip the Antoni Maiovvi character that you created?
I don't know! That guy in the clip is a lunatic. I'm not like that; I'm more a stay-at-home-and-watch-Will-Ferrell-movies kinda guy. The reason I thought it would be good to appear in the videos was, if you were to look at me, you're not going to say "oh, he's a fine specimen of a man." You know, I'm not going to be to doing any David Beckham style Calvin Klein modeling. I'm not even like a Gaz Coombes from Supergrass kind of Calvin Klein model. You're basically going to look at me and say, "That guy likes sandwiches and beer!" So, as a pop singer, looking like this, it's quite unconventional and trashy. People might say, "that's upsetting, he looks weird, his eyes look like Joe Spinell". It's like how Die Antwoord take Yo-Landi, who is a very beautiful woman, and make her look fucked up. I don't need make-up to do that, I already look fucked up.
Are you still singing live and going nuts onstage?
Well, that was actually scaring people. Sometimes when you come on at a nightclub at 3am, people don't necessarily want to be freaked out. Now, I'm doing like a half-half set—the first half instrumental, and then I start kinda easing people into it. The show element is still there, but it's much more gentle than before when I was just running into the audience and biting people. You want people to have a good time! You can't just grab someone and hold them over your head and run into the woods. You have to take their hand and lead them into the woods… (laughs)
You've released on a huge range of labels, and have now started your own. How much do you feel label membership influences your exposure and audience?
Labels are essentially curating houses now. There was a story I was told when I lived in Berlin about how the techno scene works. The story goes: you start a label, you start releasing people from the scene, and then people look at you as someone who supports the scene, and you basically get more bookings and more money. Now I won't say this was a cynical decision on our behalf, but I think given that people are selling less records now, this is the function of a label these days - to say "this is what I do, this is the music I like, and these are my peers." It definitely helps the artists get exposure, and it helps you to get exposure too…
Who is your favourite new artist of the last 12 months?
There's a guy from the north of Spain called Boris Divider who I'm totally in awe of. He's an electro guy who makes this revisionist Kosmische stuff – it's all arpeggiators and pads, no drums, and he releases everything on beautifully pressed and packaged vinyl. I'm not sure if anyone knows him outside of Spain, but he's absolutely amazing.
What's coming up for you next?
I'm going to play Beyond Fest in USA on October 26th, with Goblin, Umberto and Alan Howarth. They are also showing Yellow. Then I have a 12" called Tape Hoarder coming out on Magic Feet, and also the Monoceroticism EP coming out on Flight Recorder.
Miles Brown plays the theremin, writes music and yells about things in Melbourne. Follow him @M1le5Br0wn