Interview by Zeljko Vujkovic & Mark Knight

Zeljko: Hi Domino. I would like to say big thanx for this interview! It is my great pleassure especially you are the second female singer I am interviewing. The first one was Alexia in 2000. Welcome to my „The World of Italo Disco Interviews®“!
Thank you, it is a privilege for me!

Zeljko: Your music career is reachfull and I think we should start from the late 80's. But first, can you tell me who is Alessandra Mirka Gatti, since early years of your life?
My real name is Alessandra Gatti. Mirka is a nickname given to me by my father. What can I say… music has been in my blood since I was little, I used to sing all the time, all kind of music, even at school, where I was continuously punished by my teacher. My mother asked our parish priest to please let me sing in the church choir; I sang in my first concert as a soloist when I was 9, it was a musical organised (by the parish priest) in the village. Music was in my blood, and still is. I could not live without it! My star sign is Scorpio with a Capricorn ascendant (practically a “rock”)…. I live in Mantova (a small city in northern Italy) with the Great LOVE OF MY LIFE: my son Federico who is 13 years old; He is a Fantastic mix between me and his father Dave Rodgers! The son of my dreams. .

Zeljko: You have started with the work with Giancarlo Pasquini alias Aleph / Dave Rodgers in 1987, according to my information. You were his fan (he said that) and that is very interesting but what intrigues me also very much is that, if you were his fan in 1987, then you must be a fan of Italo Disco music also!? If that is true please could you tell me some thoughts on Italo Disco from your perspective?
Ok…What Dave said is true! I was a great fan of him … I always followed him everywhere because I loved to hear him singing. I started working with him in 1985, as a back vocalist, also because my voice as a soloist was not suited to the music of the ‘80s… When I started at 16, I loved Italian Disco music, I grew up with this kind of music, I remember I adored RAF and his song “Self Control”, and the amazing SPAGNA with “Easy Lady”, Radiorama, Aleph, Sophie, ….

I think it was a revolution in the Italian way of making music. Even today in discotheques, pubs, etc…. wherever youngsters or adults go, this type of music has made a huge comeback! P. Lion with “Happy Children”, and also Spagna, Raff,…. Everyone is having a great time!!!!!

Zeljko: Before we start to talk about your career with Giancarlo, I would like to ask you about „Asia Records“ (you were back vocal on their projects: „Eskimo“, „Superlove“). The owners of „Asia Records“ as part of „SAIFAM“ are Mauro Farina and Guiliano Crivellente. Since I am huge fan of them and I have interviewed Mauro Farina few years ago, please could you tell me how you started to work with them, how you met them etc.?
I met Farina and Crivellente for the first time when Aleph made “Fire on the moon”. I did the spoken intro and the back vocals, and until Dave worked with them I stayed and did some choral work, but nothing more than that. Farina was a great singer and a “special” writer. I was fascinated by his way of switching from the songs he sang to those he was writing and then to artists he was organising in the studio … Crivellente was nice and creative. I was very shy, when I walked into the studio they would really try to make me feel comfortable. Ah… lovely memories …

Zeljko: Is that the real beginning of your music career or it will come later?
Well, let’s say it was the start of my career..

Zeljko: How you started to work with Giancarlo? At the beginning as back vocal?
As I said earlier, I started working with Giancarlo in 1985, as a back vocalist, because my voice as a soloist was not suited to the music of the ‘80s ; I suffered a lot because I couldn’t understand what was wrong with my voice; I remember that whenever an experienced girl used to sing in the studio I would watch her for hours in silence, concentrating on her performance …

Mark: What attracted you to the supereurobeat style of music?
Eurobeat has really pleasant melodies and lyrics that are easy to listen to … I think that this was the reason why I was attracted to this type of music; I think that eurobeat, produced for the Japanese market, could also work very well in Europe, perhaps with some minor adjustments like softening the “beat” for example… My Italian friends who listen to what I do first told me I was crazy, but then I catch them humming some Eurobeat song … The most “popular” is: “MY SWEET BANANA”..

Zeljko: The crucial moment in your career, in my opinion, was when you decided to take the name Domino in 1988. Is that correct and I wonder how you choose that name? Then you recorded song „Fever“ for Discomagic label?
Yes, the crucial moment at the beginning of my career was when I sang “Fever” for Discomagic. Giancarlo choose for me the name Domino; At that time the Pet Shop Boys were singing “ Domino Dancing” and both Giancarlo and I used to sing it often; this is how he gave me my Domino stage name … Nice! I addition I’m rather “complicate” just like the domino game …

Zeljko: After that you and Giancarlo established „A. Beat C. Records“ and became more popular and hugely successful in Japan?
The label AbeatC was created from an idea of Giancarlo’s, by Alberto Contini and me … and, yes, it was successful!

Zeljko: What was your responsibility in „A. Beat C.“? Did you have any limitation in creative work and I also would like to know did you need to ask Giancarlo for approval for most of your ideas or you had free hands?
Let’s say I didn’t have a specific role. I was free to do everything I could; from chorals to public relations and even graphics,…the first few years were really difficult because Giancarlo sometimes had to work until dawn to keep Avex happy, we worked hard, but we had incredible rewards. If I had to do it all again, I would do it the same, if not better and more.
Talking about my way of singing, I had to keep precise rules, I had to change the timbre of my voice, from very “warm” and “soul” tones to tones that were “slight and pungent”; this was the request of the Japanese market; but as a songwriter and composer, there were no limits!
Everything I write goes through the suggestions and opinions of Alberto Contini, I like it this way. He is a great producer, author and editor, who has never limited my work in any way, but is continuously giving me good advices. He was the one who suggested that I try to write Eurobeat songs; Giancarlo was then in charge of the final production of the song.

Zeljko: In your opinion what is the secret of Eurobeat success in Japan?
I think that part of the “Eurobeat” secret comes from “natural” melodies, immediately remembered and that can be straightforward associated to a cartoon …

Zeljko: One of your aliases was „Bella Model“ („Don't Touch Me“, „I Can't Stand It“)! I am not wondering why you took that alias because you look so wonderful J Have you been working as model before? Italy, especially Milano, is the world's centre of fashion so it wouldn't be anything strange to see you on fashion stage!
No, I have never worked as a model, but regarding the choice of “aliases” I wasn’t the one who decided.

Zeljko: During all those years for „A. Beat C.“ you made lots of songs under various aliases and, I guess, the dearest alias for you is Domino. Could you tell me which song(s) is for you best and why and which alias (excluding Domino)?
You know, there is a small part of me, of my life in each one of my songs… sometimes Domino, sometimes Alias… I can only live you the choice of my best …

Zeljko: As for me, among many of your songs very interesting song name is Mickey Mouse March. How you made that song and got idea for the name?
Mickey Mouse March is a very famous song edited by Walt Disney, in 1999 Avex bought the distribution rights for Japan for the Disney trademark and suggested we re-write some famous songs in Eurobeat style. We accepted and the first song was Mickey Mouse March; Alberto Contini and Giancarlo asked me to sing it. So I sang and they did the rest.

Mark: Do you have any upcoming projects you would like to share with your fans? What are Dominos music plans for this year? Zeljko: And does it including Gaincarlo? Also what could you tell us about rumours with „SCP“ and „Delta Records“?
I have a number of projects that I can’t mention right now because they are still in the experimental phase, and I don’t want to spoil the surprise… I’m sorry but everything is Top Secret for now!
As regards “SCP” I am on excellent terms with the entire team and I have been friends with Stefano (Castagna) for a long time, we also worked together on some projects, Stefano has been able to create a really special team of work!
I have great respect for “Delta Records”, but I have never thought of working with them because as a Team I think they are complete.

Mark: In what way or style do you think Eurobeat music will evolve in the future? Zeljko: Eurobeat songs are becoming slower (less bpm's) these days. This is significant I guess.
I don’t think it is significant that there are less “bpms” these days; I rather think that in order for the Eurobeat style to evolve there must be love, writers, composers and producers who believe more and more in what they are doing.

Zeljko: What do you think about „Para Para“ dance and do you know how to dance it? It is something totally different what we used to see in dance stlyes!?
The “Para Para” phenomenon is just incredible… The first time I saw a group of Japanese youngsters doing it, I thought they were using sign language, but then I realised that it was not the case. I think that the reason behind the success of “Para Para” is that it’s a dance that joins youngsters together in a group and it helps them enjoy themselves in the company of others. Think about a typical day in the life of a Japanese youngster,“very tough” schools that aims to create great Brains but often seems to neglects the human relations aspects, than computers-internet chats-cyber games and comic strips! Anyone instinctively can question himself: Why shouldn’t a dance like “Para Para” work?
I like seeing how these youngsters manage to move well together when they are dancing, I have also learned a few steps, but believe me, it’s really complicate! I prefer learning Japanese ….

Mark: Do you feel that the production company Avex Trax releases each super eurobeat cd a bit too close together? What are your thoughts on this ? I feel that they are churning them out a bit too quickly and people would feel that not very much feeling is going into the songs.
Speed production has very little to do with quality...BUT, can you remember Mozart ? In one day he composed most beautiful songs…so what can I say? And you , what can you say?

Mark: What city does Domino live in and what would an average day for you consist of?
The wonderland of Mantova is a mixture of ancestral traditional roots in the spicy modern world, where quality of life is twice as good as elsewhere, just think: nice people, great friends, and gorgeous food from the first cappuccino… not talking about the architecture… in such a paradise working seems just twice as difficult as elsewhere!!... This is why I need 12 hours to work, 10 hours of sleep, and all the rest is jam packed in a couple of hours. I think my fans are getting the best part…

Mark & Zeljko: Do you have any message for your fans Domino?
I would like to thank all my fans for supporting me all these years: Your suggestions are very important in order to maintain an exceptional level of quality for future Eurobeat productions … Just think: when you hear one of my songs it will contain a small part of each of you! You are Fantastic!

Mark & Zeljko: Thank you very much Domino for this interview!!! We wish you all the best in your music career as well as in private life. Ciao.
You most welcome and I’m very much thank you for your warm wishes! SAYONARAA!

© Zeljko Vujkovic - 2004, 2005