Flemming Dalum is an amazing "italo fanatic" which has a story, a story coloured by the most beautiful fairytale - an italo disco fairytale! He is not only an italo disco fan, but more, kind family person and DJ, editor and music art creator and "King Of The Cut", not to forget ;-)

I remember exact date when I heared for the first time Flemming Dalum name. I was on my way to Italy, to Mantova on May 5th 2006. I and my friends Alen, Mladen and Dario were travelling to I Venti D'Azurro Italo Disco Party and Dario presented for us mix by a new guy for us, that was Amazing Run In The Tube mix by Flemming Dalum :-) Since then, my personal music life is reacher in every sense and I am grateful to Flemming for his amazing work!

I have read following interview in one breath :-) and I hope you all will be delighted as I am. Enjoy!

Flemming, would you introduce yourself in few words please?
Well yes… OK – I guess I’m what you might call an italo “fanatic” ! :-) The short story: I was really strong fascinated by italo in 1982/1983 – and I’ve been hooked ever since. And I love to share my old italo passion with the new younger generation of today… Besides my musical hobby I believe I’m a quite normal family man, with a lovely wife and 2 fantastic kids.

Was Italo Disco your first music love or...?
No, not really. I grow up with late 70ies sound. Bought my first record in 1979 (ELO), but was then strongly amazed when I discovered the synthesizers in a lot of the early 80’s music….! This synth-based musical direction started for me with examples like Human League, Depeche Mode, Yazoo, Patrick Cowley…. And lots more !

How you discovered Italo Disco?
During 1982 one of my old friends played a lot of italo for me – I remember one record in particularly: KOTO – “Chinese Revenge”….. I guess after hearing that record there was no way back for me….. soon I discovered so many more italo records full of amazing synths! - so fantastic and great …. I simply had to go directly to Italy to buy more! (only a fraction was available in Denmark)

Could you describe "italo situation" in Denmark in those early days of the 80's?
A few import record shops in Copenhagen did have some italo… and the radio stations basically played the most popular and commercial stuff like Righeira, Fun Fun, Baltimora, RAF etc. etc.

After my first trips to Italy buying records directly from Il discotto, Disco magic and non-stop distribution… plus a number of different shops - I became addicted. Big time addicted! But records were also released in between my trips to Italy so I had to make a plan….

In 1984 I arranged a local blues record shop to import italo records directly to me and my italo friends… the owner was a bit surprised over my entering his blues shop and asking this very special question: “Can we use your shop to import italo?” But he was very open minded and positive so we used his phone and called my friend Claudio at Disco Magic and my other friend Paolo (the export manager) at il discotto and later the shipping company – and bingo!... I’ve had a direct flow/connection to il discotto and disco magic. A perfect to add more italo records to my fast growing collection in between my trips. The blues shop sold pretty well of italo and became rather well known within the growing circle of italo buyers in Denmark. Actually Peiter Slaghuis also visited the shop once (at one of his tours in Denmark) He brought a big pile of records!
One on the best selling local hits was Koto – “Japanese Wargames”…which sold approx 200 copies.. pretty good for a small town with only a few hardcore italo interested buyers. Another funny story is about East Wall – “Eyes of Glass”…. The blues shop had sooooo many copies and no one wanted to buy it… people wasn’t interested in it. Now 25 years after a lot of people are very interested it this record…. funny to observe! I noticed the same situation regarding a number of other italo records.

I can't wait to hear about your trips to Italy! ;-) Tell us please how you got idea to go there and visit famous record labels?
The old friend who played that KOTO record for me – ask me in 1983 if I would like to join him on a trip to Italy buying more italo records. He spoke fluid Italian, which properly gave us the great possibility to visit Disco Magic and Il Discotto… and buy records directly from the source! Please note this was not possible for “normal” buyers….they normally didn’t sell to private people. I’m still amazed and I’m really pleased over this unique situation. It was sooo great to enter those distributions – and just to pick up all your favorite records from big boxes…. Like for example the ‘lectric Workers records… In total I made 11 trips in the years 1983 to 1986.

Did you met in those times any of the artists or producers?
I don’t think so – well ok maybe one time we saw Albert One at Disco magic…. And later in Rimini we were trying to hang out with the Creatures... But that didn’t work (we were too drunk) hehe…

And on another trip we wanted to visit Memory records… but we got lost….. it was our big dream to meet Zanni and Cundari…. We found the town but unfortunately we never found Memory Records. Would been some great pictures in my photo album…

We bumped into Limahl and his bodyguard in the street of central Milano. I remember we had a nice chat with him….which ended with his bodyguard showing us his gun.

I also visited the Cellophane Club in Rimini – and there we met Giorgio Paganini. He was so surprised and at the same time really happy to hear about our love for his 'Gimme Love' track. We had a long conversation with him.

Would you tell about your feelings when you entered inside all those labels and saw all those great records? :-)
Time stood still…..I completely lost sense of time. It was just such an overwhelming feeling… being able to pick up ALL those classics….. plus many news ones! I carefully searched every corner, every box – and brought as much as I could transport back home to Denmark.

Most of my trips were by car – perfect possibility to fill the car with records. Once we also made the trip by bus. That gave us a little tricky situation when we had to get back home to Denmark. We had to transport 600 records – that’s not easy… 600 records takes a lots of space. First the driver wanted us to put the records in the trunk – but the trunk was next to the engine…. And the heat would maybe damage our records. Somehow we managed to convince the driver to let us bring the records inside in the bus. Occupying 2 seats ! he he he crazy !

Could you describe the atmosphere inside, how you and your friends saw it?
Italo heaven – plain and simple ITALO HEAVEN! Another great thing was the very friendly staff. I really appreciate the kindness of the export manager Paolo at il discotto. And at Disco Magic we became friends the Claudio. Disco Magic was always full of records…. Packed with records all over the place. Il Discotto was a bigger building with more space, so it felt less “chaotic” – ok not always, I remember a single visit at il discotto….they apparently bought a hole distribution or something….there was soooo many records all over the place – I didn’t have any chance of checking all (still bugs me a bit…what did I maybe miss that day…!?)

How you choose which vinlys you will buy?
I was collection labels – so I brought everything from a wide range of labels… !!! EVERYTHING… yes maybe a little crazy…. But as I mentioned earlier: I was really really hooked !

Besides buying all releases from a lot of labels - I also had a lot of favorite producers which I also searched after…

I also imported records from a great record shop in Firenze – Disco Mastelloni (I love the sound of italo from the Firenze area too) One time this import became extremely expensive – we got a shipment via plane… shipping was approx. 700 euro…..for 50 records. But that’s what happens when you really really want everything !

I wonder, do you have next records in your collection: Ryvon Deejay - I'm Gonna Dance Tonight, Bruno Mosti - Zero Gravity, Sensitive - Driving, Oxo – Keep On Living
I think I somehow was lucky already to have a 100% perfect collection in 1986 – after approx 3 years of “extreme italo hunting” I had ALL the essential italo records I ever needed and had been looking for.

So now 25 years after I still now and then discover new unknown italo records which I just have to find. I really think that’s the beauty of collecting italo ?

Searching after italo now brought me in contact with the top italo collectors in the world – for example my good friends: Jörg Gassmann, Kimmo Salo, Dennis v. d. Berg, Peter Nederpelt… and also some new “italo freaks” such as my very good friends David Vunk and James Penrose

And not to forget Ferenc E. van der Sluijs who really triggered my old passion on his now defunct internet radio station: “Cybernetic Broadcasting System

In your opinion, what is the rarest italo disco record?
Hmmmm a difficult question… I would say it’s an almost impossible question. I was asked some years ago and picked a rare 7inch from Poker records: DIVIETO DE SOSTA - 'Forever' I noticed someone just entered this on Discogs…. With my scan of the label ? hehehe anyway I think some of the most rare italo records are released on private labels…. I know many of this “releases” which was typically without distribution…. So they seem to be very rare. Kimmo Salo has a nice collection of those – I also used a few in some of my mixes…. But now they become more “well known” Another rare record would probably be Jan Demis – “Preludio”.

While you were in Italy you were going to parties in some discos! ;-) Altro Mondo Studio etc. Could you tell us about atmosphere inside? About amazing tube there as well as about artists you saw there (The Creatures) etc.?
Yes “number one” for me is without doubt L'Altro Mondo Studio in Rimini..... The Creatures show was just “out of this world”… fantastic show which included the rise of the amazing spacefly and the most advanced lazer show in the world at that time. The vibe and atmosphere at L’altro Mondo Studio was truly unique. Robots on the floor etc..etc…

Hehe I just remember another crazy story. We were so fascinated by the spacefly….so we managed to get permission to step inside…. WOOOOW ! (Normally this was not possible)

That experience was so strong - that me and my Danish italo friends got a new ritual. At every party for many years we had to listen to the full track of “Spacefly”….. with goosebumps ha ha ha

One of your mixes is titled as The Amazing Run In The Tube. We don’t have to guess how you got idea to name it ;-) Could you tell us more about this mix, series of mixes actually?
I basically wanted to share my passion and present some italo records which I didn’t see in other mixes at that moment. Over the years I selected different themes….. pure italo in “Amazing…” series and later more funky, groovy and boogie italo sounds in the “Boogie down…” series….”The Early days of Italo” included records from 1977 to 1983… and so on. Each mix has an overall idea.

Could you named other discos you visited and tell a bit about them?
Cellophane (Rimini), Plastic (Milano), Odissea Due (Milano), Mistral (Milano)

In Milan there was this cool dope underground club called "Plastic". Smoke machine and strobe running all night – all TV screens was rotated 90 degrees – hehe yeah quite freaky and with a very raw atmosphere. They didn't play Italo. Other clubs in Milan were "Odissea Due" (huge discotheque) and "Mistral". "Mistral" had lots of great neon light/effects and a nice DJ mixer with separate faders for left and right channel. I remember the DJ really used the possibility of making great stereo effects in his mixing with those L/R faders ! Very inspiring.

Oh and also “Pata Pata” – a small but very nice club. I forgot the town – but it was in north west Italy close to the French boarder. I was on holiday there in 1984 - became friends with the resident DJ – he invited me to DJ one night. So I actually played a 45 min. Italo DJ-set in 1984...in Italy ;-)

You are not only Italo Disco fan, but also deejay and later we will see much more ;-) How you started dejaying?
Local parties… later some bigger parties….. but not much – Denmark was a bit funny back in the 80ies…..People wanted to hear well known records – radio hits….. and I didn’t play those…I loved to play the records I liked. So no big success I guess. I think the DJ scene has become better and in the end DJ now play what ever they like to …

Could you named your favorite records you played the most?
Hmm not easy… for example: The Creatures – “Spacefly”, Marzio Dance DJ – “You can Do It” and “Rap o hush”, Klapto – “Mister Game”, Cellophane – “Gimme Love” ….. oh this list would easy become very long ? ….this particular musical style/sound really get’s under my skin and I believe it represent a unique moment in the musical history !

No one did ever catch the same vibe after !!!…..I’m talking about the italo sound from approx. 350 records made in 1982, 1983 and 1984…… some of those special synth’s sounds are never made again. ….

Did you already in your early phaze of deejaying started to make edits?
YES big time ! Already in 1982 I had echo machine with loop function and synth plus recording gear which allowed me to make edits.

Which song was your first edit?
Sorry I don’t remember… could have been Koto – “Japanese Wargames”

What was the first mix you made?
Hmmm I don’t remember either– I’ve made hundreds of mixes since around 1983. I’ve managed to find a few of my early mixes which had been saved on cassette tape. One of them (Tape mix from 1985) was included on the PANAMA RACING release: “The Amazing Run In The Tube – Volume 1”. I made the “The Amazing Run In The Tube – Volume 1” in February 2004…. Very fast without any focus on the mixing. I wanted to present some more or less unknown italo records. (at that moment) The mix received great feedback and gave me motivation to do more. One feedback was from Yves (Label manager of Radius records). We talked about the mix and also a bit about the actual mixing style. He inspired me to have more focus on the mixing – so after that all my mixes has high focus on mixing.

You got name "King Of The Cut" ;-) Would you tell me how you are making mixes, from the beginning until the end? I would like to know how you made your mixes before and today? Could you tell us which equipment you used and still using?
First I search through many MANY records – so I find a bruttolist. Then I record them and listen to them in my car stereo. Then I starts to cutting the tracks down to the essential parts…you might say light edits…including some parts which might work in the mix/transition.

Intro….trying to find something which fits to the overall theme….mix title etc…. I’m VERY inspired of Disco Mastelloni mix tapes from Firenze….used to have some of his cassette mixes with crazy intro’s !!!

I’ve made many hundreds of mixes over the last 27 years… here’s a list over the latest…
Mixes I made traditional with 2 turntables:
Tape mix from 1985
The Amazing Run In The Tube – Vol. 1
The Amazing Run In The Tube – Vol. 2
The Amazing Run In The Tube – Vol. 3
Lost With In The Fog And Strobe.
CBS Megamix 2005 (which was the winner mix in the first CBS megamix contest)

Mixes made with Ableton Live:
Cybernetic Disco Mix – part 1
The Cybernetic Guide To The Galaxy
Digits To A Slow Flight
Hard Rocking
The Dance Of The Obscure Robot
The Last Days Of Italo Disco
Flowing Through My Veins Of Steel
Boogie Down Milan
Boogie Down Rimini
Italo Fetish
The Dark Side Of Italo
Spanish French Italo Connection
Cybernetic B-Boy
Boogie Down Firenze
Italo Breaks 1
The Early Days Of Italo
The Holy Grail Of Italo
Space Odyssey 2010

…now I find many creative possibilities in Ableton Live…

Flemming, is it hard to get right atmosphere in the mix? My favorite mix from you is BOOGIE DOWN MILAN :-)
No – just takes a little time,….. and I really try to put atmosphere into the mixes, typical using sub elements and effects to give the mix a certain sound….sometimes even a story…records must fit together outside the bpm..etc…. I try to create something which will last forever.

Do you need lots of time to decide which songs you will use in your mixes?
I just feel it….. plus I also love to present records which I don’t see in other mixes. So again in this way I love to share my old italo passion….that’s what really gives me motivation

In your opinion what good editor need to make great edit of the song, like you are doing?
Basically extend the good parts and reduce or remove other parts – and very important to keep the atmosphere and style.

If we are talking remix… then major changes are fully acceptable and understandable

Your Top 10 of italo records? Is it possible to name it? ;-)
Tricky one…. I would properly not pick the same 10 favorites each time. Maybe it would be more fair to split the top 10 up into several top 10’s….
For example like this: Classic italo top 10, Synth italo top 10, Beautiful italo songs top 10, Odd/strange italo top 10, Darker italo top 10, Funky / boogie italo top 10, Private labels italo top 10, 7inch italo top 10

Your favorite italo artists are….? Producers….?
Oh that would be a very long list – but here’s a few in the top:
Gigi Farina, Franco Rago, X. Monneret, Alessandro Novaga, Mario Flores, Franco Scopinich, Dario Del-Aere & Victor Life, Salvatore Cusato, Zanni and Cundari, Walter Bassani & Marcello Catalano, Domenico Ricchini, Sergio Bonzanni / Salvatore Pileggi / Gigi Vavassori, Marzio Dance DJ, Sangy, Paolo, Favati, Roberto Negroni (Naylon), Neurox, Mazio Belli, Alex Valentini … and I could go on….

What is the first italo disco song you heard?
Hmmm …. surely a lot around 1982/1983….. I remember Kano was also something which really stands out for me….. ah yes and of cause also: KOTO – “Chinese Revenge”‘, Lectric Workers – “Robot Is Systematic”, B.W.H – “Stop”… that list would easy become very long :- ) hehe

Thank you so much Flemming for this. I have enjoyed a lot and I know we could talk and talk about your italo life forever, he he.... Thanks again.

THANKS Zeljko – I enjoyed our chats !


© Zeljko Vujkovic - March 2010