Cesare Marchese (aka Cesare vs Disorder, Azimute [with Quenum], Queen Atom, Strangers in Heaven [with Sierra Sam], Cez) is an Italian now Brazil based artist, composer, music producer and audio engineer. Having lived for many years in London, Cesare relocated to Berlin a few years back, a city that he’s always held close to his heart, during his time there he held residencies at the most acclaimed clubs. Now based in São Paulo since a few years he’s setting Brazil nightlife ablaze with events in main cities but also touring the planet constantly. His background is eclectic, obsessive, ranging from classical music studies and live drums to a deep passion for jazz, electronica and hip hop and his discography stretches over for years and continents and includes top labels such as Cocoon, Bpitch Control, Transmat and Vakant plus his own label Serialism that has been a reference in the industry since more than a decade.
Can you describe your studio setup for us?
Synths: Roland Juno 106, Clavia Nord Rack2, Roland sh101, various pieces of Modular System, Vermona Mono Lancet and Korg Volca Bass.
Drum Machines: Jomox 888, Korg Mx Elektribe, Roland tr8, Electron Analogue Rhythm and Vermona drm1.
Besides that, I have mixing desk Allen&Heat GL2400, Akai MPC1000 Sampler, Roland Electronic Vdrums, Yamaha digital piano, Arturia Laboratory, Arturia Beat step pro, BCR2000 Berhinger, Maschine and Kore from Native Intruments as midi controllers.
I also have few outboard FXs from Boss, TC Electronics, RAT and Rhodes Mark1 Seventy-three, few acoustic and electric guitars, a couple electric basses, a lot of old and new ethnic instruments like harps, latin percussions, ukuleles, harmonicas, flutes.
Could you tell us the story about your first gig?
I still remember it like it was yesterday. It was in 1999, I was living in Milano and I was part of a collective of artists and DJs called Tokoloshe. We had our first official call to play a real gig in Lugano, on the Italian side of Switzerland. It was a rave in an old warehouse in the middle of nowhere in the mountains. There were a couple dancefloors, one big stage with trance and industrial techno and the other one was a bunker with drum&bass, hip-hop and breakbeat. I and my partner Kamekaze (my alias was Czar at the time) had an all night long room for us. I was so excited! I had spun records for a couple years already but only in my bedroom and in front of few friends. This time I had around 200 people in a room to shake for hours at a rave party! The funny part comes now; At the time marijuana was legal in this region of Switzerland. Long story short, just before starting to play in a packed room, I smoke a big fat skunk joint with the promoter and I got so stoned I couldn’t mix one vinyl with the other for the first hour, although I’ve had prepared the set for weeks! It was a disaster haha… but I won’t forget the beautiful adrenaline of playing in front of a crowd for the first time.
Name three artists that currently inspire you.
Ricardo Villalobos, Four Tet and Flying Lotus (but it’s a real shame to name just three).
Recall the worst experience of ‘killing the vibe’ in the club.
I had a few bad experiences of course but now I recall this one particularly. It was around 2008, I was headlining a super party at AlteBorse in Zurich, probably one of the best locations/clubs I’ve ever played (this wasn’t my first time). I had just started playing with Traktor (paired with turntables) a few weeks before as Native Instruments was sponsoring the new product to some labels and artists. I had a full floor of hundreds of people dancing like there wasn’t a tomorrow. I was playing after Margaret Dygas and before Mike Shannon, two of my favourite colleagues and the party was 100% dope. Time code went, records started to jump, flow got stocked in a loop and, as I wasn’t that smooth yet with the new system I just made it go too long – too weird. I changed the tune and nothing, same thing, and a third one and the same again even after trying to re-cable. By the time I changed plan I’ve already lost the love of the crowd. I decided to put a CJ instead. No way, the sky wasn’t with me on this one. The CD also jumped!! I got the CD out, had a laugh with the crew but unfortunately, I was never called back to played there anymore.
What do you do before and after your set?
It always depends. Now I mostly relax or sleep after dinner before the gig and then when I finish playing, I stay a little longer before returning back to the hotel. It wasn’t like this before. For years, I was well ready to pre-party and then to after party. I was definitely a party monster. Still happy to break the line when it’s the right occasion of course but that’s not my vibe at the moment.
Serialism first launched in 2007, tell us about the hustle of putting out your first releases?
Serialism was launched with the very first Various Artists EP in 2007, but the label was conceived in 2006. It all happened in London, where I was living for a few years at the time. I was organising parties (mainly after-hours and warehouse parties) and had a very special music partner in Stefano Pellegrini, a leader in the East London underground community. We became very good friends and decided to open the label, showcasing the sound of friends and artists who were around our parties. It’s actually rewarding to see that many of those artists now are known worldwide and have made a strong career out of the music that started from our little family. So big shout out to guys like Cesar Merveille, Marco Shuttle, Pablo Tarno, Rudolf from BirdsMakingMachine, Onirik and Rainier. But it wasn’t really a hustle, more a label of love. Besides that, I know what I was doing as I’d been running another label at that stage for a couple of years, Mean Records. So we just sent the music to the same distribution company we worked with, Rubadub in Glasgow, which employed a young Jackmaster at the time. They loved the new concept and music at first sight and decided to produce it and distribute it.
What is your typical day to day regarding the label, do you manage it yourself or is there a team behind the curtain?
There isn’t a typical day, we are a small label and are not fully organised as a major. We have a team spread worldwide in different cities (between São Paulo, Berlin and London mainly but also other major cities all over) with collaborators and partners working on different parts of the process. There’s work behind the vinyl production process, the social media accounts and internet marketing, the A&R and of course our events. I supervise it all together with a few key components of the family, my main partner and co-owner since a few years Quenum in London together with a small team, our A&R and resident in Berlin, Weg, our production manager in Frankfurt, agents in different territories, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia, friends and partners who help us produce parties and carry the brand.
What record on your label are you most proud to have put out?
I’m proud of almost all records I’ve released on the label. I must say I made some mistakes in the past, fortunately not many so I generally love each record I put out. I have a few favourites of course but each piece goes hand in hand with the period when it was released, our general taste and mood in the moment and different experiences around that record which make it special. Saying so I prefer not to mention any favourites. Find your own favourite piece.
We live in a time when there are thousands of new tracks coming out everyday, what has been the key to keeping Serialism above water in a sea of mediocre music?
Real passion, experience and a bit of talent still can make the difference.
Who can we expect music from on Serialism in the near future?
We have a lot going on for 2019. We just signed a distribution deal with Yoyaku from Paris and are very happy for this step as they know their game. We are going back to vinyl only on one side and digital only on the other side.
We are releasing in a few days a beautiful EP on vinyl by the always amazing The Mole, then an EP from myself with a remix by Romanian brother Dan Andrei, then Quenum with a remix by the master Luciano, a re-make of a 2005 tune by Jin Choi with remixes by Baby Ford, Dubphone, myself and a surprise guest.
An EP by Monika Ross, an EP from our A&R Weg, an EP from Loquace, a couple of EPs (part1 and 2) with big remixes from myself and Quenum as Azimute and a 3 x vinyl compilation confirmed with Cristi Cons, DeWalta, Dan Andrei, Alexkid, Quenum, Weg & Loquace, East End Dubs, Denis Kaznacheev, myself and more tbc.
On the digital side we have the second EP by young Italian talent Reclame, Brazilian boss Rods Novaes with his collaborator Nik Ros, Japanese Sound of Vast boss Red Pig Flower, Ukrainian house masters Orbit & Belogurov, Puerto Rican talent Cali Lanauze and Ibiza based Handcrafted head Nazt and more eps tbc.