Based in the Tuscan sunshine, 303lovers is one of2009s hottest new labels. Since the trio of Manuel De La Mare, Alex Kenji and Marshall (aka Luigi Rocca) launched the label in 2007 it has been making serious waves in clubland. From the tribal rhythms of Marshall & Baldo’s ‘Swahili Song’ to the pounding techno force of Sara & Gill’s ‘Underground’ the imprint is exciting jocks as diverse as Richie Hawtin, Danny Tenaglia & Pete Tong.
With sales in excess of 100,000 they are obviously making an impact in the recordstores too. The 303 sound ranges from techno, through tech house and minimal. Modern and eclectic, but with a mainstream appeal, we thought it was about time we pinned the ringleaders down for a chat.
Who is behind 303lovers?
L: Emanuele Meini (Manuel De La Mare), Alessandro Bacci (Alex Kenji) and Luigi Rocca (Marshall) Originally it was Alex and I but Luigi joined in 2008. I was really excited the first time I heard his music (it was Marshall ‘Hipe’). I am still playing it now. Within two meetings Alex became part of the family.
Where are you based?
M: Me and Alex live in Tuscany, in small cities in the countryside. Luigi lives in Turin, a city in Northern Italy. I'm going this week to Brazil, we are going to make a new studio there. We spend a lot of time in South America so want to set up a second base there.
Tell us a little about the history of the label…
M: The original idea was born around three years ago, me and Alex were working with other labels but we were not satisfied at all, so little by little this project grown up in our mind. At first we just wanted an outlet for the kind of music we like regardless of the genre or style. However after a few releases we realised that we needed a more unified style for the label – so as not to disorientate our followers.
So how did you decide on the techno direction?
M:We decided that 303Lovers should take a more underground route. But we also launched another label (Hotfingers) which caters for the housier, commercial side of what we do. That seemed to make the most sense.
Tell us about the name? Surely a reference to the classic TB303 synth?
L: Sure! It is our tribute to one of the most important tools in the development of house music. Maybe one day we will make our theme using it!
Which artists release on the label?
A: We are collaborating with some great artists. Kolombo and Oliver Klein have just released a nice EP. We have a great remix from Riva Starr forthcoming. He is a big Italian artist and we are glad to have him in our family. Last Spring we released an EP from Richard Dinsdale and D-unity which was very successful. It was picked up by Mark Knight and David Guetta for their compilations.
What DJs are playing it?
M: It's difficult to find someone that has not played our releases! We tend to appeal to a wide audience. We have had everyone from David Guetta, to Richie Hawtin supporting our tracks. We’ve even found tracks in the playlists of Depeche Mode, and Groove Armada have been in touch to get copies of our tunes. It is a huge pleasure to get in contact with these big artists.
Check out the 303lovers sound for yourself at http://www.303lovers.com/