Swiss stalwart Rob Insinna is a man steeped in disco knowledge. Inspired as much by David Bowie or David Byrne as he is the early pioneers of Detroit and Chicago, through his work as Headman since 2000 he's marked himself out as a purveyor of post-punk/industrial influenced forms of disco, house and techno alongside peers such as Chicken Lips and Cómeme's Daniel Maloso.
First cropping up on Munk's Gomma imprint, Headman served as a familiar face of the electroclash movement during the mid-'00s, continuing to craft “nu” forms of disco, riffing on Italo, acid house and techno influences on Relish, the label he set up in 2001, and he's refused to go away — thankfully.
Re-releasing a reprise of 2003's underground hit 'It Rough' earlier in the year, he returned to form once again in June with 'NOISE' featuring Scott Fraser & Douglas McCarthy (of Chelmsford new beat originators Nitzer Ebb), a clattering 909 work-out with gothic synths that — along with remixes from Maloso and Hardway Bros aka Sean Johnson — has the affection of Andrew Weatherall, plus there's a remix of Remote about to drop on Meant. Hence why we wanted to hear about what makes the man...
First-ever rave experience?
“The very first experience was when I was around 18-years-old in Switzerland in the early '90s. I was hanging out with older friends and they were reading the NME and going to London to buy records. They started to organize rave parties in a cave in the Swiss countryside. It was incredible as we had, like, our own scene going on. It was not connected to any other Swiss scene but completely
UK-orientated. The music was a very eclectic mix of dance records from the period. For example, one track could be KLF and the next one a hip-hop track and so on. I was doing the artwork and big paintings for the parties. That was also when I first started to play some records…”
Most crucial dance record of all-time?
“That's a hard one. In my opinion David Bowie was very important in crossing the bridge between black underground US music and bringing funk to a wider audience, so I would say a track like 'Fame' was extremely important...”
Three tunes that never leave your bag?
“My own 'It Rough (Chicken Lips Remix)', which I re-released on Relish [at the] beginning of the year. I'm playing loads of Red Axes. 'Caminho De Dreyfus' is the one I'm playing right now and another one I have been playing since I got it is Daniel Maloso's 'Ritmo Especial (Original Mix)'”.
What's your lights-up, end-of-the-night tune?
“'Naive Melody' by Talking Heads.”
If you could meet anyone — alive or dead — who would it be?
“David Bowie or David Byrne. Both for the work they have done and the way they managed to do music in such an artistic way and at the same time with great commercial impact. I think for me that's the highest form of art. Bowie especially for his period '76 to '81!”
Imagine the world is going to end tomorrow. What are you gonna do tonight?
“Think about what's gonna happen next...”
Three words to describe clubbing in Y3k…
“Saturn Space Dub.”