“Searching for music has to be a pleasure,” Francesco Del Garda tells us. “It needs a lot of patience, and obviously time.” The Italian selector is a case in point for this. Del Garda is a vinyl obsessive, more committed to unearthing electronic music’s gems than most people could ever fathom. Over the last two decades he’s tirelessly amassed an expansive collection that charts the history of electronic music from the 90s to present day, though much of his taste stems from off-kilter house and techno, forgotten UK garage and spacey electro. He’s only ever put out a handful of productions, which means his focus tends to stay on digging (though he occasionally releases his friends’ music through his excellent Timeless label). In recent years this dedication has won him a lot of attention: search for any mix or set recording of his, and before long you’ll find a stream of comments asking after his track IDs. Today he also has a stacked calendar with regular gigs at places like Closer and Hoppetosse, but from what he tells us, we get the impression he has just as much fun spending hours trawling through warehouses for dusty second-hand records. Del Garda gives us a glimpse of his sweeping sound on his mix for us, which lands ahead of his Saturday night debut in Farringdon next weekend. Weird house groovers, trippy trancey bits, floating beatless stuff – here Del Garda shows just how deep you can go when you never stop hunting.
I’ve had an intense year. My time was mainly dedicated to my passion and I am pleased to have more time for myself, staying at home looking for music – but for now my schedule is limiting me.
What were you going for with this mix – was there a theme or idea behind it?
Building a podcast is not easy at all, it takes a lot of energy. In my opinion it’s much more complicated than a DJ set – it’s a document that remains online, so you have to try to be very precise in the mixes. Sometimes I take weeks before I feel ready to record it.
Do you usually dig deep through your own crates for mixes like this – is there a meticulous track-by-track approach or is it more spontaneous?
Everything is always natural, and depends on my mood. I start to select individual tracks, and it doesn't matter if they’re rare or not. What really matters is the evolution of the mix, and what you want to transmit. I always try to give my best, selecting music that I think is particular to me, and in this podcast I tried to summarise all of my influences in an hour. I hope you like it!
Most of your online mixes attract a lot of comments from people asking for your track IDs. How do you feel about sharing tracks you’ve put a lot of time into finding versus safeguarding them for yourself?
I am very aware of this. We all play records that were discovered by other DJs, but the most important thing is to personalise yourself with what you play. Music in this world is endless, just search for it and respect it. Unfortunately, through podcasts or videos, many of the records I play get found, but you can’t do anything about that. This stimulates me even more to search for new music.
You and many of your closest peers are known for maintaining a low profile online, avoiding social media sites like Facebook. Is there a reason you prefer to avoid posting online a lot?
I can recognise that social media is very important, but for me it is love and hate. It’s helped me a lot in the past, I know that, but right now, I think it's just too much for me. I have not used Facebook since I realised that it was no longer essential. I use Instagram, which I think is more personal for the way that it is used. I like sharing moments of my day, being in touch with friends and sometimes posting events or videos. Resident Advisor is an important platform for staying informed, and I think this is enough.
In recent years there’s been a surge of interest in digging for records online through sites like Discogs, so many rarer records have become very expensive to acquire through the second-hand marketplace. How do you think this online market will evolve 5 or 10 years from now?
It's a difficult question to answer. I don't know how it will be in 10 years, but I can remember in the past there was a market crash, where sales fell and it took time for people to go back to buying vinyl. I hope that won’t happen again.
How much time do you typically spend looking for music to play each week?
If I compare the time that I used to search for music to now, I would say not too much, but I think it is subjective to quantify time on this, because what I consider a small amount of time could be a lot of time for someone else. In the past I was searching for music every day from morning until night without stopping. I would like to go back and dedicate myself to doing that.
Where are your favourite digging locations aside from the usual online sites?
Living in Italy, I’m lucky to know a lot of places where I can go and dig. Without a doubt, I prefer to go and check warehouses of online sellers, or private collections of important Italian DJs from the past – DJs that also influenced my musical path. I also go out of the country to dig for records quite often, and try to combine my gigs with my real passion: digging.
Do you have any tips for any aspiring diggers out there looking to build on their collections? Are there any less obvious places you would recommend looking for records?
I think everything should come in a natural and spontaneous way. My advice is to follow things this way, without forcing yourself too much. Searching for music has to be a pleasure. It needs a lot of patience, and obviously time.
This is your first Saturday night with us, but you’ve visited and played at the club previously during your time living in London. What do you remember about Room One, and how are you planning for your return to the room?
After so many years of patience, I am honoured after so many years of patience to play at fabric on a Saturday in Room One, and share the night with a great artist like Craig. I’ve spent a few hours with him on a couple of occasions, and I was fascinated by his way of talking about some of his experiences. Regarding my set, I have a different feeling to how I prepared this mix. I will not prepare anything, everything will come by itself, as it always does when I play somewhere. It’s just a matter of feeling. Thank you to fabric for this opportunity.