More Q&A with the one and only Ivano Bellini

continued from an exclusive interview

Q. One of my favorite memories of you is at Club Space’s 10th anniversary in 2010. (Dennis Ferrer’s “Hey Hey” will forever remind me of that morning.) Here we are almost a decade later. What is one of your favorite memories performing in Miami? How does it compare to experiences elsewhere?

A. I remember that 10-year anniversary party and I remember the track that I played, “Hey Hey”. Actually it was a mash-up. I worked really hard for that party. I put in tons of hours making mash-ups for 3 weeks to a month beforehand. What I did was take a lot of the classic Space songs and mixed them with older classics, like “Hey Hey”, which I remixed with Depeche Mode’s “Lose Myself.” I worked with “Finally” and “Rapture”, and “Wonderland.” It was 15-18 songs that I mashed up with songs from that moment. It took me a long time. It was fun. It was fun because I could play the song, but it would sound re-modernized with the melody that people love. That 10-year anniversary party was really great. I can remember that. And playing those songs were awesome.

Miami has been incredible. There’s been up and downs. You can say Miami isn’t what it used to be, that the club scene was different. You could say it was pure, not innocent, but more local. Everybody knew each other at a point. When Space started, the original Space, everyone in that place knew each other. It was a small place, but the vibe was just incredible.

Miami is a special place. Was a special place. Is still a special place. Even though playing in other places is fantastic. (Europe, Ibiza, Italy, Turkey, South America, Colombia) But Miami…I’ve been lucky to have lived in Miami 28 years. And I’ve been able to play in some really cool places. 

The first three years of the Club Space terrace are special and priceless. Nobody can ever take that away from us. If you were there at that time, it is something you will never forget for the rest of your life. It was a really special place that will never be copied or duplicated.

Q. Almost 20 years ago, Danny Teneglia invited you to be a part of his, “Be Yourself @ Vinyl” parties in New York. Teneglia is coming back to Miami this weekend. Do connections like those made 20 years ago last in this industry? And if so, how do you show each other support while also being competitive?

Tenaglia was the most influential DJ probably in my career. Not just for the music, but more so in the way that he built sets. After I heard him play, which was the first time he played at Space during Music Conference, a 12-hour set, just a few weeks after Space first opened…it completely made me re-think the way I approached my sets as far as how you build the vibe and how you take people on a journey. It was amazing. I’ve been lucky enough over the years where we’ve played. I met him at Space. We ended up playing a few times together. He invited me to come play at his parties in New York, which were always fantastic. He’s a great guy. He’s as talented as probably no-one else. So yeah, we became friends. We’re still in contact. I just texted him today. I am going to see him tonight at the Pickle, of course. If I’m around and I’m not playing, and he’s playing, I always make a point to go see him, go listen to his music, say, “Hi.” We live in different cities, but we talk from here or there. Mostly that is the way it is. At least with me. There’s a whole bunch of DJs that I’ve met over the years, some that I met 25 years ago. And I’m still in contact with. We’re friends. We hang out when we’re in the same town. If they’re in my town, and they play, I go see them. If I’m in their town and playing, they come see me. Yeah, I know in some places, in some instances, there’s competition, but it’s never been my case. I don’t want to steal or get a job from someone else. I think there’s plenty of clubs and plenty of talent to go around. If someone wants you to play his party, then you play it. If he wants someone else, then someone else plays. That is how I’ve approached this job from the get-go. I’ve been lucky enough in all these years to meet people who share the same passion and the same job as I do. We’re in the same industry. We hang out. We’re friends. It’s cool.

Q. If there’s one thing you would like to see evolve in 2019 in Miami’s music scene or maybe in music in general, what would it be?

I don’t know. I think we need a refresh. It’s been a lot of the same clubs and a lot of the same music playing in Miami for a few years now. So it would be good to have a bunch of new clubs with new concepts and ideas. Not, we take the same people and we do it over again in another location. Just some fresh, groundbreaking thing. It doesn’t have to be big and huge and splashy. But really cool places where you can go and listen to music in a different kind of setting, a different kind of vibe, a different kind of sound. Bring DJs we haven’t brought before. Styles that we haven’t really heard about. I think that would be fantastic. We’ll still have the same clubs, the clubs that we know and love, or that we know and don’t love. Because you can’t love everything.

It would be cool to have a new breed, some new blood, some new parties. It’s the same for music conference. If you look at the line-up, it’s a little bit of the same. There’s some really cool parties, but there’s a lot of stuff that’s been going on and on for years. I love when the music scene gets creative with new concepts.

Q. How did you ring in the new year? Do you have any new year’s resolutions that you’re sticking to?

It was a long weekend because I played on Saturday and then I had two gigs on Sunday, which was the day before New Year’s Eve. I did like a 9-hour stretch where I had 5 minutes in-between. I had one gig where I played 5 hours and then I had to run to 1-800-Lucky which was a block away, where I played for another four hours. It was great. I had some friends from Italy from 13 years ago that were there. That Sunday was insane.

I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s. A lot of people who go out on New Year’s only go out once or twice a year. But you know it’s a part of what we do. So I played New Year’s and then I crashed for 3 days, where I didn’t do anything and that was fantastic.

My new year’s resolution is to get better at playing the piano. I’ve been producing tracks and mixing, but I’ve never learned how to play piano. I can play a couple chords here and there, but I decided this year to spend some time at home with tutorials to teach myself piano. This is something brand new, but I can put a couple songs together now with chords and chord progression. It’s been a long time dream of mine and regret of mine that I didn’t learn sooner. Not that I want to be a virtuoso, but I’ve always wanted to be able to put a couple songs together, sit at a piano, and play a few chords. So I’ve been getting into it.

Q. Lastly, what is your favorite thing to eat or drink at 1-800-Lucky, and why?

A. I love the food over there. I love the Asian ice cream. It’s probably not too good for your health, but I’m only there 2-3 times a month, so I can do it.

I’m not a huge drinker. I have one drink, maybe two. But my drink is the same drink everywhere. If they have it, it’s Zacapa, which is a rum from Guatemala. That’s been my drink of choice for the past few years. So when I’m at Lucky, and I want to have a nice drink, that’s what I’m having. A nice Zacapa, one big ice cube – life is good. Cheers to everybody!

—-Ivano Bellini is playing twice tomorrow and I highly recommend you see either one of his sets. You can catch him at a SuperBowl Brunch pre-party at No. 3 social, or you can see him opening up the evening at 1-800-Lucky. If you didn’t know, now you know! Cheers 🙂

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