Words by An introduction, please … who are you, where are you, and what pays the bills?
Hello I'm Leo Mas, born Leonardo Marras in Sardinia where I lived until I was seven years, when with my mother and my brothers we moved to Milan, where my father worked, and where I still live. Music has always been my passion, as a teenager I went to my mother for money and not always she can help me, my father was a worker and money was missing, so when I hadn't enough money I went to stores and stole the records I wanted. After basic school I started working and half the money I had I spend it on records, the other half I gave it to my father. He wasn't happy of this and I never had a great relationship with him, so when I was 15 I left home and took my freedom, living in street, in occupied houses, at my girlfriends' houses, in hotels. I went to Morocco, Mexico, California, Jamaica before my 23, then I bought a house in Milan, where I still live now. From 1980 to 1983 I played in a juvenile delinquent band influenced by Stooges, Cure, Stray Cats, then I didn't see so much perspectives in music's biz and I worked in the fashion world, in the musical side, working on Revox soundtracks for the fashion weeks in Milan. In the summer of 1984 a dear friend asked me to go to Formentera and there I become friend with Alfredo, the Amnesia's DJ in Ibiza. From the summer of 1985 I started play as a DJ with Alfredo and my passion become a work that pay my bills.Where was the mix recorded, and what is the inspiration behind it?
I recorded this mix at my home, with my vinyls, I had more than 30 thousand vinyls right now, and the mix is a kind of voyage in time for me. The first track is the first 45' I bought in 1971, Augusto Martelli – Djamballà, then there is Mina, my favourite singer ever, Morricone, that I love, Echoes Of – Echoes Of Jerusalem, a record that I played so much, and that I discovered on a night radio program called Supersonic on national RA. In the mix two more pieces from movie soundtracks (the Augusto Martelli was the first), Goblin & Giorgio Gaslini - Mad Puppet (OST "Profondo Rosso") and Pino Donaggio - Telescope (OST "Body Double"), I'm a lover and collector of movie soundtracks. What's more, Dead Can Dance, I have all their records, Air, with the first track of their first album (I fell in love with them as soon as I listen to their music, they bring me back my teenage's atmosphere and flavours and I gave this album as a gift to many friends at the time), and Jade 4 U - Rainbows (Midnight Mix), a track that I played so much in my warm up nights at Amnesia in the Summer Of Love, 1988. Finally two ambient tracks that I played as intro of my sets, Amnesia - It's A Reality from 1989 at Movida in Iesolo, near Venice, and Mystic Institute - Ob-Selon Mi-Nos (Re-Painted By Global Communication), from 1993 at Ex-O-Groove, one of the most important after hours in that year in north Italy.Strictly vinyl? Strictly digital? Couldn’t care less?
I keep on buying vinyls, I put all my money on vinyls, I don't know much of the digital releases, I buy vinyls and transfer on digital the stuff I play in the clubs, on CD, because it's rare and difficult find 2 working Technics in a club right now, it seems incredible but the situation is this. I don't care what kind of support is used by a DJ, it's a teenager thing, it's important what a DJ play. And I don't understand people going to clubs to see a DJ and not dancing, or to take a photo of him, like a circus attraction or something like that.‘Balearic’, seems to be a somewhat overused term these days, but if you had to – and we are asking you to - describe the essence of ‘Balearic’ in one record?
Elkin & Nelson – JibaroFavourite place you’ve travelled to? And why?
In the summer of 1979 I went to Mexico in a time when all my friends went East, I went to the opposite, being there for 9 months, visiting then Belize, Guatemala, and after this I went to California, and Jamaica, all countries walking and by bus, it was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life, I love going to places and Mexico will always be in my heart.Sunset or Sunrise? And the best place to experience it?
I lived deeper the sunrise, from when I was a teenager and with friends during full moons we went outside Milan, in the countryside taking LSD and waiting for the sun, a magic moment, to the nights with Alfredo at Amnesia in Ibiza when it was open air and everybody danced under the stars waiting for the sun, the light and a new day.The most you’ve ever spent on one record that you’re willing to tell us? Or the best bargain bin finds you’ve digged out over the years, which you’re happy to brag about?
I think it was between 1989 and 1990, a copy of Cruising movie soundtrack bought at Dimar record store in Rimini at 200 euro of now, at the time was very rare here in Italy, and now I see you can buy it in Discogs for 4 euro. And during the Nineties if you wanted to have stuff before the other DJ's there was the promo market here in Italy, with exclusives from USA and UK, each one with prices that could be 50 euro. Today I look in Discogs for the old records I'm searching, I have a wantlist of 2830 vinyls there, and at the same time I buy all the new stuff in record stores.Favourite DJ you’ve heard play out over the years?
Nicola Guiducci from Plastic in Milan, a legendary club that opened in december 1980, he was so eclectic and with a 360° vision, he was the first DJ I was into, I fell in love with his DJ style. And Alfredo from Amnesia in Ibiza, dear friend and brother, I have to thank him for being myself a DJ now, and my two musical partners from 1989 in Movida in Iesolo, Fabrice, that is still my production partner these days, and Andrea Gemolotto, italian DMC champion and cowriter of Sueno Latino, I made my first productions with him in the early Nineties, stuff like Night Communication. Then I was lucky to work with the greatests, with the masters, I was particularly impressed by Frankie Knuckles, Tony Humphries, Francois Kevorkian. And the list could go on...Anything else we should know about you or what you are up to …
In the last six years I was really active in studio with Fabrice and we had lot of releases, in 2016 alone came out ten vinyl releases, we collaborate with many labels from UK, Denmark, Japan, Italy, and we're working to an album for 2018. I'm finishing also the second volume of Mediterraneo / Rare Balearica, a compilation of rare italian tracks, first volume came out last year, and lots of remixes and edits too. In the last year I have a radio show, every last friday of the month, on LifeGate Radio in Milan, and my dear friend and brother Kenneth Bager every friday plays a mix I do on his Music For Dreams Radio in Copenhagen. Stop for this, more to follow and to be discovered, thanks for nowThis is the tracklist of the mix:
Augusto Martelli – Djamballà
Mina - L'Importante È Finire
Ennio Morricone - Metti, una sera a cena
Goblin & Giorgio Gaslini - Mad Puppet (OST "Profondo Rosso")
Mystic Institute - Ob-Selon Mi-Nos (Re-Painted By Global Communication)
Dead Can Dance - Song Of The Stars
Air - La Femme D'Argent
Jade 4 U - Rainbows (Midnight Mix)
Pino Donaggio - Telescope (OST "Body Double")
Echoes Of – Echoes Of Jerusalem
Amnesia - It's A Reality
Massive thanks to Leo for taking the time out to answer these questions. Listen to his guest mix by clicking on the image below.