"Straight Ahead" w/ Tony Lionni: Exclusive Interview
Tony Lionni was born in Liverpool in the 1970s into a multi-ethnic family based on European and Black African roots. Growing up in a multi-cultural family (in Liverpool) which was a mecca for black music during the 70s and having an enthusiastic black music loving father, Tony was exposed to all forms of black music from birth; Soul, Funk, Jazz-funk etc. During the late mid-to-late 80s, Tony made the migration to Manchester and became friends with the Manchester Black music community around the neighborhood of Manchester’s Old Trafford area. For the next 20 years, Tony began experimenting, writing Hip-Hop & House in the 90s, then to return to house music production gaining applause from the likes of Francois Kevorkian and Derrick May and signing major releases with Wave records, Freerange and Mule music.
After the massive anthem that was Found he released on Ostgut Ton for Berghain – which was voted as one of the top classic house tracks of the decade, we saw the release of a glorious 12 track album for Freerange records. Further releases have been on not only Freerange Records, but also Defected, Madhouse Records and Aesthetic Audio. His musical style is a perfect fusion of Detroit tinged techno and brooding deep house. And he has gained him plaudits and support from the press and DJ’s alike…
Tony Lioni’s latest EP is out now and climbing up the Traxsource charts and with that, we reached to chat with him about a myriad of topics regarding his release, his career and the music business in general in this Exclusive Interview.
“Straight Ahead” is available now on Traxsource.
1) Hey Tony, thanks for taking the time out to chat with us. Tell us where you are and how you are feeling right now?
I’m at home with my feet up as I have the flu right now, playing games on my iPad and listening to my favorite type of music; jazz music.
2) Sorry to hear that, hope you get well soon. Your recent “How You Feeling” cut off the the “Straight Ahead” EP on Goldmin Music is currently up the Deep House charts. Tell us about the EP and release, and how it came to be…
The current release are tracks I wrote for consideration for my last album on Kerri Chandler’s Madhouse Records – which I decided didn’t fit, so rather than them going unheard, I offered them to a label called Goldmin Records.
3) Excellent work to say the least. Where did you grow up and how did that affect your musical taste?
I grew up in Liverpool in the 70s and fortunately my father had good taste in music so I grew up hearing all of the very latest Soul, Funk, Disco and Electro as the black music scene progressed up to the minute. The mid 80s and onwards were spent in Manchester and after the riots in Liverpool, the city council didn’t want to allow club nights in the City Centre that would attract a large black crowd – so people like me and Greg Wilson had to join what was happening over in Manchester, as it was and is more open minded regarding race and culture. It was there I saw the introduction of House Music in the black music clubs – as well as the obvious Hip-Hop and Soul.
4) What are some blending styles you favor in your music?
Anything that’s heavy in harmony, soul and groove; so Soul, Jazz and Funk.
5) What is the one machine, program, sound, drum machine, technique that characterizes your sound?
To be honest, I don’t think there is one. If you listen to my releases say on aesthetic audio, which is a label from Detroit and say something I released on Ostgut Ton, they are completely different in style, genre and sound. I’m one of the few [artists] that’s all over the place when it comes to House Music production and genre wise.
6) What’s you’re opinion on the current state of House Music?
My opinion depends what day you ask me, to be honest and it’s pretty much the same answer if you’re asking about all types of electronic music, all the boundaries have been pushed to their limits experimentally. It’s simply a case now of someone creating something that’s good or bad.
7) What trax have been really tearing it up in club-land?
8) How do you communicate with your fans?
Mostly through Facebook as I’m not into the whole social networking thing. I haven’t owned a mobile phone in over four years as I realized I don’t need one and never did. Anyone who has attended my gigs will know the true friendly sociable type I am.
10) What has been your best business decision in favor of your music career?
Tricky one to answer. Be sincere musically.
11) Where does a music media store like Traxsource fit into your musical agenda?
Great! It offers every genre of House Music that I cater to and it’s pages are easier to use than some others.
12) Well thanks for that! And finally, what would be your short list of dream collaborations, past or present – dead or alive?
How short is a shortlist ? Being a real music-head and not just a House-head, the list could extend for pages. Off the top of my head and naming those in the house scene I still respect and are still producing quality black house music; Ron Trent, Trinidadian Black & Kai Alce. Non house off the top of my head; George Duke, Lionel Loueke, the list goes on and on…