Now, this feature is not like an usual one, as there is even more content in store for you. In the summer of 2019, I met Lorenzo Chiabotti during a party in Moscow, where we bonded instantly over the same sense of humor and taste in music. A few years and parties later, he told me about his new project, which is not a new album (he has many of those too), but a podcast series. Planet Release is a monthly show hosted by Lorenzo Chiabotti and his colleague Karolina Jakubowska. Highlighting fresh releases and trending, interesting subjest, everything revolves around our love topic: music. During the podcast, a variety of different perspectives are brought to us from DJs, podcasters, producers, sound engineers, journalists, music lovers and morning dancers. An easy-going panel that impresses with interesting guests and unexpected dialogues.
Since it’s in my nature wanting to find out more, I met up with Karolina over a yummy pizza. But before reading the interview, here are a few facts about Lorenzo, who has also recored a podcast for mixedalone which can be found at the end of the interview.
(… more surprises to come)
Lorenzo Chiabotti, originally from Turin, became fascinated with music at a young age. He first played drums and then studied music at the Academy of Music where he learned many diverse aspects of music. During this time, he began to study step sequencing and midi programs, which took him to the next level of his passion for electronic music. As he continued to experiment with these sounds, he no longer wished to play drums and traded in his drum kit for machines that would allow him to create the sound of his symphonic love. During his teenage years, he also immersed himself in the Turin rave scene, where his inspiration further matured and grew.
Soon, everything was about to change for the young, determined artist. In 2006, he decided to spend a summer in Ibiza where he met Luc Ringeisen in his record store on the island. Lorenzo gave Luc a demo of his unreleased productions and after a few weeks he became part of the Vinyl Club family. Shortly after, he heard that his tracks were being played all over the island that summer in clubs like DC-10 and Privilege. In 2010, he moved to Berlin permanently. It was here, that he uncovered a new level of inspiration from the wide variety of quality music in the excitement of Berlin’s thriving scene.
Lorenzo’s sound can be described as funk-driven techno blended with house, adding a certain darkness that ties everything together in a forward-thinking way. When he’s not in the studio, he can be found behind the decks in Berlin and around the world spinning at clubs like Doctor Sax, The Zoo Project, Club Der Visionäre and Arena.
And now, let’s find out more about dear Karolina (founder of Cosmic Podcast) as well as the story behind Planet Release.
So, tell me a little bit about yourself. When did you come to Berlin and where are you from?
I come from the area of Poznan which is in west Poland. My hometown is very difficult to
pronounce, it’s Wrzesnia. I grew up there, moved to Poznan when I was 21 and I was living there for five years. There, I started to go out a bit more, attended more parties and I began to figure out what my style was, what kind of music I like. In the beginning, I was just going everywhere, listened to drum’n’bass, house, minimal.
A love a good drum’n‘ bass party! And you studied Journalism, correct?
Correct! I was studying Journalism and Communication during that time, so then my focus was on writing. And I was thinking, I would actually like to do something more. I wanted to do some music and thought I should collaborate with some websites, so I started to do that. I began to write for one magazine which was very small, but then I moved to another one where I was actually working with just one other guy and almost all of the content was mine. I started to do interviews and went to the artists when they were recording. It was not always possible of course, it was also a lot of emailing. Then I changed to another very big website in Poland and wrote a few articles there. But then, there was this moment when I got bored. I was always following a similar structure and I got a bit uninspired. So I started to question if I really even want to continue and write about music. I also wanted to do some radio stuff. So I started to look for opportunities and joined a student radio. That was around 2016/17. Writing started before that, around 2013 I think when I started to live from it. So then I had my radio show at this student radio.
And that was dedicated to music, or what was the topic?
Of course, the show was about electronic music and I linked the themes to the shows, so I told the audience we are going to listen to music from producers from Georgia for example. And I started to invite guests, but we had some misunderstandings in the team and we split.
But I found another student radio at a different university that was super nice. It was on the top floor of a very tall building with a nice view where I had much more freedom. I could say what I want and choose music the way I want because the previous radio was a bit more curated.
I’ve been there, too. It sucks.
Yes. And there, I also learned how to use equipment. At the other place I had to prepare a playlist and discuss with another person what to play and when which was quite limiting. At the new place I didn’t know what I was doing in the beginning, but I somehow figured it out. Unfortunately, the radio was closed in 2017 then.
Had it been founded by the university?
As far as I remember, it was a private one, and the radio station was on a floor of an economic building, and they had plans to put in a restaurant or something so it could be financed, but unfortunately it didn’t happen. I was very disappointed, I had so many shows planned upfront and needed to cancel then.
I can imagine! What happened then?
So that’s when I felt like nothing was keeping me in Poland anymore, besides family and friends of course. And I already cooperated with everyone around town which was good, though I already dreamt about moving to Berlin for some time. But I couldn’t afford to just move and look for a job, I had to have a plan before. So in April 2017, I got an answer from a job that I applied for, so I started to look for a flat like crazy, which was luckily quite easy for me. I moved only two times since I came here. So I came here with only one suitcase. I left my record collection that I started in 2014 in Poland because I also didn’t have a turntable or anything. But step by step, I began to bring all my stuff here, each time I went back to Poland, I would plan what I would take next time.
Did you look for some positions at a radio station in Berlin?
Yes, when I started bringing all my stuff I was actually thinking that I should go and cooperate with some radio. First one I found was interesting and I was also listening to a lot of radio here in Berlin, but when I approached them, I figured out that actually, I have to pay them to do a show. Depending on if I had my show produced, I would have to pay less or if I would need a studio to make a show, the price would go up. And I mean, big names and big DJs for sure do not have these conditions. But newcomers, people who are not known, they do.
In my opinion, this is not the best approach. I also ran into some obstacles because I didn’t have the money. Particularly in Berlin, this is a well-known problem.
I didn’t feel like paying the amounts they asked for, which were not even so high. And then, I found this other radio, Cashmere, but they were not really looking for a show which would be musically and commentary, they were looking for something different, like making a talkshow or talking about poetry and other stuff. But this wasn’t something I wanted to do.
So then I thought: I already have a pair of turntables and a mixer, microphone and speakers – I should simply start and just do it at home. So I was just recording some shows, testing how it would sound like because I expected it to be very bad.
It was not that bad actually, so I was doing it from time to time. And then, I wanted to get back to how I initially planned to do it for the whole time and invite some guests, but I lived in a small room and didn’t know how to fit it in, how to host. And then my roommate told me she will move out and I can take the whole flat. But I was also very nervous when I set up everything in the new extra room and I didn’t really know how to start. In the beginning, I set up everything with my old turntables, and its cables were broken so sometimes on the recordings it made a weird noise. But once, a good friend, who is running this record store in Poznan, he visited me and we started talking about it and he was like: „Ah, what about we sit down tomorrow, have a coffee and we start recording, talk a bit and I bring records which we will play.“
So we did it and it was super funny. From this moment, I started to invite other guests. So between the first and the second episode was a long pause, from there I had another guest, and then I was on fire. And at some point, there was the lockdown and everyone had time. So I put a lot of effort in and I had guests almost every week.
What a dope story. And what a way to enjoy the lockdown. When did you meet Lorenzo then? Yes. My goal always was to look at different types of music. Every interview was very interesting and special itself. And I think my 10th or 11th interview was with Lorenzo, so it was also a very good episode and I really enjoyed it. So that was in Winter 2020. And then I think, it was March this year, 2021, and I think it was actually my birthday, when Lorenzo asked me if he could come over as he an idea. He suggested that we make the podcast together, which I appreciated a lot. So we started to discuss our ideas. It was clear that it had to be different from what I was doing so far. So before, my show was focussed on the records, no digital music. And we decided that a big part of Planet Release will be new music, so new music from new artists which is accessible. First difference it’s going to be both: records and digital music. And we were wondering about how every episode will address a certain topic, like how to run a label, how to do a festival or how artists are doing live acts, and from time to time we can also have an episode where we just sit and we share the music we know. So that is how it actually evolved from one to another. I took a break with Cosmic Podcast, but after a while I decided to go back to it. Not every week, because its really was a lot, but being more relaxed again and take time to find the right guests. But now, there is of course Planet Release, where the guests are not only limited to Berlin.
For sure, scheduling can be a tricky one. And tell me, why are you not on Spotify?
There was always the problem with the licensing rights, of course, I checked if I could do it somehow. But also the only examples I found were from some big names, like Armin van Buuren, where he talks, but it’s more like a playlist and it’s divided into songs and the talking parts.
And also, we often asked ourselves, maybe this topic is too nerdy. But no, people are learning. We would talk for one hour about synthesizers or machines. But yeah, it is the most interesting thing for people who are in the scene and into this music, but also in general.
Yeah, sure, that’s called broadening the spectrum. The scene is full of niches within niches, and your work serves as a connector exposing it to those who aren’t in that particular one. I really like your project, I have to say it’s great what you’re doing.
Thank you. I really like to do it. I even enjoy the scheduling, when to make a call and so on. Especially with Planet Release, we needed to combine schedules of myself, Lorenzo and the guest or even 2 guests. And in the end, the outcome is nice. It’s like gymnastics sometimes.
And last but not least, what is your current favourite track and what does music mean to you?
As promised, the last surprise is the epispde with founder of allalonemagazine Julia Richter where they discuss music journalism these days and her take on it.