Thank you Paolo for your time. Only one song in your Italo Disco career, but great one. After 26 years since Disco Winter saw the daylight would you share the story about the song please?
First of all Zeljko, great to find you again, thanks for your attention and for your need to put the spot light back on a character who was a bit in the shade and a song that, perhaps with the right promotion, could have done much more back in those times. But at the time there were many DJ singers and, honestly, the producers couldn’t do miracles, yet what I received from Disco Winter has been very important for me, professionally and personally. Disco Winter was born almost as a joke. At the time I was a DJ full time and I supplied myself of all the new releases in many different record stores and I landed to Disco Up of, curiously, Wish Key. With Massimo the cooperation was special, I had his admiration and I held in great esteem that person who, after a while, would become a dance music artist. The fantastic follow up to this partnership, after the release of his Orient Express, was his acceptance of my proposal to record a track with him: it was a trend for DJs to make records. I was so glad to cooperate with somebody already in the music world. We started up with some ideas, then the demos, etc and at the end the recording studio in Milan: lots of tension, lots of excitment, lots of everything at the point that Enzo Maffione, a famous sound engineer who used to work with big Italian pop artists, almost threw me out of the studio. I stayed calm and and was able to record Disco Winter. After the recordings I went back home with an enthusiasm I never felt before. I could finally show my dad (a music teacher) I was able to create something without help. On the contrary of what I thought, my father was so enthusiastic of Disco. Winter, that he drew the cover art for it, since he was also a painter. That was so important for me because, being in constant conflict with him before, I had achieved his esteem for my work.
Where you took inspiration
for the song title?
The name Disco Winter was born because the song was thought and created in winter. After the master, the first vinyl was consigned to me just before Christmas.
Disco Winter was released
by Sensation Records which is sublabel of famous Discomagic. Could you tell
more about choosing Sensation Records and your contacts with guys from there
and with Discomagic head Severino Lombardoni? Many controversies were said,
some confirmed, some not, about Mr. Lombardoni in the past.
Disco Winter was released under the Sensation label because his majesty Lombardoni didn’t believe that much in the artist and the song. I never had a close relationship with them, all I can say is that Severino is a keen businessman and that’s saying it all. The release respected the deadlines, perhaps just a week late, can’t say exactly, I should go see the dates on the masters, and I don’t have them with me right now.
You told me recently
that you are back in business thanks to Whish Key from Spain (!). Would you
tell more about it, please?
As for a comeback to music, it’s a bit ridiculous, Max and I found eachother after 15 years and everything was like before. He had come back from Spain where he had worked in the best clubs, I had come back from South America after a few years of living it up. We bought an amplifier and two loud speakers, and other stuff and we set up a mega system just right to blow your ears out in those sessions we burned.
Did you have music experience
before Disco Winter?
I had no music experiences before Disco Winter, just a passion for music, since I was born in a family of musicians, it was compulsory. When I was a boy, before becoming a DJ, I sopent evenings with my brother and his band playing music in the 60s and 70s. I was still young when I took confidence with the mic and my brother, who is 10 years older than me, as much as the rest of his band, would kindly tease me calling me Paulì the little one. I remember those moments with love and nostalgia.
Who brought you into
Italo Disco music?
I got to italodisco through Max Berti.
I wonder did you sung
any other Italo song, under different name or backvocal?
The time it was very common to give a voice to those characters that weren’t able to sing, it wasn’t my case, I just collaborated with Max, I didn’t care about the rest.
Paolo, could you please
tell about your post Disco Winter time? What have you been doing?
During the promotion of Disco Winter, I had a mental and physical down, I couldn’t cope with that infernal rhythm, I had the promotional events summed up to the disco sessions. For the first time I hated my job. Coming back from the Elba island I collapsed and started to get seriously ill. I was too stressed and weak, I lost weight till 54kilos. I abruptly stopped all events, you can imagine the consequences: when the train starts and you’re late, you’re off. In that moment I took it as a sort of liberation and under certain aspects I was glad. The partnership with Max changed, though we remained in touch.
Did you make any other
song after Disco Winter, but failed to be released?
After I got well I thought I could do things by myself and so I did. With the help of a few unknown but good musicians I started to work at a track and I great song to me - I’m a hero, different from Disco Winter. My voice was a lot more mature and professional. But because of my rebel personality I’m a hero was never released, and that will be my second project.
After the disappointment for I’m a Hero not being released I abandoned the music world and being a DJ. Max was already off to Spain and I had to think about my future without music. Having a building surveyor diploma, I opened a real estate agency. Then I left the agency to get into catering, but I didn’t like that either so I opened an import-export and I started travelling to South America. I had relatives in Caracas and I left everything to go live there and you know, take it easy, ha-ha. I came back from South America for family reasons and found a job as a person in charge of a textile company, and I still am. This is more or less what happened after Disco Winter
I guess you met many
famous Italo names during 80s, so could you tell something more about them,
any interesting stories?
I know many Italo disco artists without being really friends with any of them, except P. Lion, who is really a nice person, but I’d rather not talk about colleagues of Italo dance.
These days you are having
deja vu, in some way ;-) What are your expectations from your work with Wish
Key? Are you excited, after 26 years of together work with them?
When I knew Max had returned from Spain I contacted him and you know the rest. Now we are two old guys waiting to master the logic program to start doing a few productions again. I hope all goes well, you’ll be the first to know.
Like 26 years ago, while sitting in a bar drinking coffee, I suggested to start doing music over again. He was a bit taken aback at first, but after a few days he agreed. We talked to P. Lion (a great person) that gave us an offer for a recording session in his studio, but we decided to have a studio of our own, to continue producing. I hope it works, and first thing I want to remix Disco Winter.
Now with the new projects Max and I are thinking about, I feel like I’ve gone back to those fabulous 80s with the difference that having grown up we’re a lot more rational, and rational is the way I think back to those years. We did some good music and the proof is it’s returning forcefully. Maybe back then we didn’t appreciate it like today, but that’s normal, you need to get worse to understand that the past was better. I hope in a return of the whole system: when people went out to go dancing in the clubs and to listen to some good music without getting stunned to have fun. Thanks for everything Zeljko.
By the way,I’ve been to Karlovac in 1996 or 97, can’t remember, maybe we met, who knows. Ciao
Wow, that's great to
know but I am affraid we didn't meet :-( Thank you Paolo very much!
I wish to say HUGE THANX to Simona Zanini who helped me a lot in this interview. Simona, million times thank you very much! Your fan Zeljko forever! :-)
© Zeljko Vujkovic - November 2010