To Calabria-born DJ Nersone, the love of DJing runs deep. Stemming from his passion for music, as well as his affinity to Hip Hop culture, he is a former painter and dancer who now focuses on DJing as his craft. From playing music selections in a club, to producing beats, to being the DJ of one Italy’s longest-lasting crews, Break The Funk, Nersome also DJs at Red Bull BC One Cyphers. We sat down with the staple in the Italian Hip Hop scene and discussed his past, his love of the culture, some of the projects upon which he is currently working and, of course, why he likes to keep his DJing as a strictly vinyl affair. Be sure check out his exclusive "MixOne" too, a generous mix of funk, Hip Hop and breaks!
How did you get into DJing?
It all started around '92 and '93 when Hip Hop was just taking off, and I bought the first records and CDs. In the beginning I loved writing- graffiti was the first of the disciplines in which I was really interested. I also tried B-Boying. There were different stages in my life when dance was important, but unfortunately for me I had little success. Between 1999-2000 I started buying vinyl records, and I bought my first console. That’s how DJing became my passion, I just kept practicing with the music I had and buying more records.
Why are you so interested vinyl, specifically?
After getting into Hip Hop, my musical horizons opened up. I began researching funk, soul and other types of music. I really appreciated the culture of sampling! So I wondered whether it was right to buy music on media that did not even exist in the era in which it was originally recorded! And since those were the years of vinyl, the choice, for me, was logical. It is impossible for me to imagine a DJ without turntables and plates in front of him! A DJ, in my mind, is one who manipulates vinyl records.
How were you first introduced to Hip Hop?
I was born in Calabria and lived there until I was 25 years old. I am from a town near Cosenza, which is where I eventually transferred from to go to university. It was in that setting that I started hanging out with people that lived the Hip Hop culture, and I met those who would become my writing crew. I also met DJ Lugi, one of the iconic names in Italian Hip Hop, who grew up in Cosenza, and who by then was already living in Bologna. Thanks to him, when I moved to Emilia Romagna, I met other people, such as Denis Di Pasqua and Break The Funk, who I’d already met in the late 90s at some jam sessions in Calabria and Sicily. I also met the Lato Oscuro Della Costa in Emilia Romagna.
How did the meeting go with Dark Side of the Coast?
I met them at a breaking contest, which had been organized by Duna together with Moder. I had to DJ for Clementino, because he knew that I was living in Ravenna and it made him comfortable having a DJ in the same city. So that’s how I officially met Lato Oscuro Della Costa, and I started DJing for them, mostly at their concerts. Also because DJ Nada (who had been their official DJ), had embarked on another career path, with God Bless Computers. I would also get together some nights with Moder, under the name of Black Sunday, where we just played music we liked, without paying much attention to the 'business' of making music. We had a lot of fun, but unfortunately that ended after about a year.
Are you still collaborating with Dark Side?
As a group they broke up, but I still work with them on solo projects. I’m on great terms with Moder, Tesuan and Max Penombra. We made some mixes with Tesuan named "Sounds like 90s,” the name of my collection of mixtapes, which inspired us. I'm working on a tribute to Lucio Dalla with Max Penombra, although we don’t know exactly when it will come out. I’m also working on an EP with Moder and Tesuan, which I am producing.
And what are you doing exactly with Break The Funk?
I started working with them gradually, first getting to know Denis, then Noccio, and then the others. A real friendship was born, that only strenghtened when I joined the crew. At the end of 2014 they called me to do a job with a DJ that was a bit particular and whe it finished they announced that I had become an official part of the crew. It’s an honor for me because Break The Funk has always been a point of reference in Italy. Now I'm collaborating with Dune on a musical project, we’re making some breakbeat, also involving some rappers ... But always with people we know well and respect.
What does it mean to you to DJ at the Red Bull BC One?
It’s great! It’s the top competition in the world of breaking. You won’t see the talent you see at the Red Bull BC One anywhere else. I’m really lucky to be a part of this family. I love the breaking contests, especially since deep down I also love to dance.
Is it difficult to DJ at a breaking battle?
I’m a little bit out of the loop when it comes to DJing at battles! I have a different life, and a job that doesn’t involve Hip Hop, so I can only dedicate just the right amount of time to it. I choose the music and the sound I like! I love Funk and I play that more than break beat. My crew helps me with this too, because by watching them dance I can choose the disks that excite them the most.
Photos by Mauro Puccini