QX Meets…Pagano

The superstar DJ talks dream collaborations and his new album!

On Christmas Day just gone, while most people were mainlining Quality Street and biting tongues while distant uncles sang the praises of David Davies, XXL resident DJ Pagano was busy releasing an album! Seemingly not even the Queen’s Speech can stop a globetrotting mega DJ from doing what he does best.

It’s still riding high in the Beatport charts, so we got in touch with the Italian-London DJ to tell us about the release, as well as dancefloor awakenings and dream collaborations!

Hey Pagano, so you’ve recently released a new album! How did it come about?

Yeah, it’s called ‘Evolution Vo. 1’ and it’s just been released on my label KISM Recordings. I’ve been thinking about producing a new mixed album for some time. During the past few years, I’ve mixed official compilations for Barcelona’s Circuit Festival, Beyond and the Ministry Of Sound label, and for the legendary Trade. These were all great and exciting opportunities in their own ways, but I was always moulding my sound to these events. So I felt it was finally time to go back to do a more personal project, a project that would represent the evolution of my sound and so I came up with this new concept!


Who’ve you collaborated with for it?

I’ve collaborated with some of my favourite artists who have provided either original tracks or have worked on remixes for some of my label’s biggest tunes. First of the many exclusive tracks is Toolroom’s Ben Remember’s new thumping remix of my track with Jason Chance, named ‘Timeline’. Followed by a number of original tracks from acclaimed artists such as Carl Cox favourites Filterheadz, Mark Knight’s collaborators Tuff London, NYC’s Techno finest Agent Orange and Paul Van Dyk’s protégé Chris Bekker. Other highlights include remixes from Techno masters Paride Saraceni, Skober and from House guru Paolo Martini. 

How would you describe the sound of the mix?

The compilation has my signature written all over it and perfectly captures the intensity and edge of my live DJ sets. It moves from house and tech house beats to more upbeat techno and tech trance grooves, always keeping the momentum and the energy going!

Who are your biggest musical influences, both old and new?

My influences are very broad. I grew up listening to new wave, Italo disco and proto house in the 80s. Then in the 90s, it was all about techno, nu-energy and hard house. The ever evolving and energetic sound of Trade has certainly played another big part over the way I DJ and produce music. These days, I get inspiration from lots of different places, but most of all from the underground straight clubbing scene. 

What’s your earliest memory of the dance floor?

Picture Sicily 1993! A young boy is dancing the night away at this underground club called Taitù. The DJ suddenly drops this nearly 13 minutes journey of a track with a deep male voice that kept repeating ‘Follow Me’. I think I had an out of body experience. It was the first time I’ve ever heard an electronic track quite like that and it blew my mind. To these days it still gives me goosebumps. Check it out: Jam & Spoon – ‘’Follow Me’ (Original Mix)

You’re a regular DJ at XXL. What keeps you coming back there?

In spring 2016, Mark Ames approached me to discuss the possibility of a monthly residency at the club. He explained to me his vision and how he wanted to shake things up musically and bring some variety to the programming. I was immediately intrigued by the prospect of a new platform, especially one with such great sound and lights. Fast-forward to today and our collaboration has proved to be extremely successful and rewarding. Every month I have the opportunity to play the music I love to an up-for-it crowd at a great club. 

Do you still ever find yourself on the XXL dance floor these days?

I have been known to throw some shapes on the XXL’s dancefloor. I usually come in disguise wearing padding and a fake beard! Jokes apart, I find that XXL is not only a great party, but also a very sociable environment always providing a great night out whatever you are looking for. 

Who would be your dream collaboration?

I am a big fan of Depeche Mode, Gus Gus and LCD Soundsystem, so remixing these electronic bands would be a real treat. As far as collaborations go, I’d love to get John Grant to provide vocals on one of my tracks. Also I always wanted to get in the studio with the Deep Dish to get an insight on how the hell they came up with the drums programming behind the intricate rhythms of some of their 90s remixes. To this day they, still sound so fierce!

What plans have you got for 2018?

I have upcoming DJ gigs in Moscow, Brussels, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Madrid, Paris and Cologne to name a few. On the production side, I have a new collaboration with the Cube Guys and a new single with Reza and with UK Garage stars Sweet Female Attitude on vocals coming out in Spring.

‘Pagano presents Evolution Vol 1’ compilation is out now in mixed and unmixed formats on all digital stores and streaming services. Pagano’s next DJ gig at XXL at Pulse is on Saturday February 24th 2018.