Meet the self-confessed 'nature boy' spearheading an Italian deep house revival
Ask most producers where they draw inspiration from, and they'll reel off a list of artists or genres. Cosmic Garden, though, offers a very different answer: "nature power". Outside the 29-year-old's Bari studio, there's a vibrant, blossoming courtyard garden, and any time he gets stuck for ideas, he simply pops outside, sits down and soaks up the pastoral vibe.
"That place is in my heart, and is always giving me inspiration," he says. "In the early morning you can feel the natural mystical power. It always sets my mind flying. The quiet is perfect after a lot of hours in the studio."
Over the last couple of months, the Italian producer has made quite an impact with his dreamy, colourful, melodious and kaleidoscopic take on deep house. Check out his EPs for Hotmix and Happy Skull, and you'll find them full of loved-up, mood-enhancing workouts - the kind that sound just as good lounging on the sofa at home as they do in a sweaty basement at 2am.
If this all sounds a little like the yearning, saucer-eyed fare famously served up by Italy's first wave of deep house producers in the late 80s and early 90s - and specifically those who released on the legendary DFC imprint - it's with good reason. "DFC has been one of my favourite labels since I started collecting records," he admits. "This music can make everybody dream and give a lot of positive vibes."
Much of the warmth found on Cosmic Garden records - be it the hazy aural sunshine of Feel The Vibe from the Sole Mistico EP, or the tumbling tunefulness of the recent Sealaconda 12" on Happy Skull - is a by-product of his decision to record straight to tape, rather than channelling his vintage synthesizers and drum machines through a computer.
"Recording all the synths into a tape recorder gives an old school flavour and totally different mixdowns," he enthuses. "I love making music this way. It's so funny and creative. Imperfections make everything sound dope."
The Italian's most recent release, an EP of more techno-influenced productions for legendary Dutch label Crème Organization, is a noticeably darker affair, even if the tracks do still come blessed with his usual melodic flourishes. It's Cosmic Garden in body music mode, rather than his usual dream-like state. "It's darker wave, Italo-disco influenced," he says. "I recorded it last winter, in Altamura. It's a different place from my home city, Bari. It is darker, colder, and mountainous. Bari is sunny, coloured, and the sea is epic."
To help celebrate the beauty of Bari, and the music made by local house producers, Cosmic Garden launched his own label, Cosmic Rhythm, last month. He promises us that we'll hear more fine music from his Bari brothers throughout 2017.
"The label is opened to other Bari producers with the same love of the concept," he says. "It's about communal ideas, working together with the idea of releasing some future classics influenced a lot by nature, mysticism and black grooves."
Words: Matt Anniss
Cosmic Garden's Sealaconda EP and Cosmic Tape 1 are out now, on Happy Skull and Crème Organization respectively