SofaTalk is known for his wide ranging tastes that spans house, funk, neo-soul, jazz, broken beat and downtempo. He’s the founder of Cognitiva Records and has a monthly residency on the ever-growing Universal Rhythms. His sounds can be found on Banoffee Pies Records, Yam, Ini Movement, Tusk Wax, Broken District, Omena, and Anma. Up and coming Italo talent XL Regular hails from Rome, and operates with the dancer firmly in mind. He’s been making a name for himself by skilfully mixing and cleverly blending a myriad of elements of jazz, hip hop, and jungle, all squeezed into broken beat. Together Piero Paolinelli and Alessandro Giacchi have released previously on Omena, ANMA, Cognitiva, INI Movement, Nómada and Monologues.
On the ‘Afro Quarters EP’ Sofatalk & XL Regular cook up a collection of loungey deep house and intricate broken beat, laced with the live instrumentation, the result being this wonderfully jazzy EP. It is comprised of four electronic jazz-funk infused house tracks which make for a perfect testimony of their musicianship. ‘Rumble Strip’ kicks off with broken beats turning into a 4×4 house beat filled with percussion, dreamy keyboard licks and sultry vocals to underline the floaty vibrations. ‘Afro Quarters’ is up next pushing further into their signature jazz infused broken beat house style, with funk bassline and key stabs that make it hard for the dancer not to move! Throw in some tastefully done flute and Rhodes solos for the mature sound they’re known for. Third track is ‘Easy’, and contrary to its name it’s not as chilled as you’ think! It’s incredibly groovy, and is reminiscent of the masterful work of Kaidi Tatham, with its heavy staccato bass and keys, and dreamy jazzy chords balance it all out. ‘On The Run’ closes out the EP while continuing the overall vibe of luscious warm chords and some unbelievably impressive broken house beats.
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
ST: I’m Pier (SofaTalk), musician, producer, sometimes DJ, I share my life with music and graphic design. I like to blend these two art forms as one thing.
XL: I’m Alessandro , producer, DJ and student (on my way to be unemployed)
Tell us where you are today and what are you doing?
ST: I live in Rome, Italy, I teach Graphic Design at university, I spend the rest of my time in the studio, working on my projects and managing my label “Cognitiva Records” with which I have a lot of fun scouting for new emerging artists
XL: I live in Rome as well, right now I’m dealing with the roman summer heat, hate this hahaha. I’ll start doing what I do every day (producing, digging & more) as soon as the heat will drop.
If we make it to your city, where should we head for a cold beer and some good music?
ST: I really like going to the Magic Bar, a summer club on the banks of the Tiber, where you can certainly listen to an excellent selection of music as well as drinks
XL: Can’t go wrong with this one – Frissón. It’s a listening bar in the centre of Rome, the first place to give me a solid slot to play monthly and explore all kind of sounds, beers, natural wines and food.
What kind of vibes can we expect to hear in your DJ sets?
ST: I don’t have precise reference points in my sets, I love to mix many genres, I do a lot of research, listen and buy vinyl everywhere. I get carried away by my state of mind trying to create a story that however goes from a range that can start from Jazz, soul, Bossa, funk, Hip Hop and end with more electronic sounds such as Downtempo, House, Broken Beat, Global Bass, Breakbeat & Drum & Bass.
XL: I think Piero said everything. A couple of weeks ago we played our first b2b together (crazy that we didn’t before), and our vibes matched perfectly.
Who are the DJs, musicians and producers that have inspired you over time?
ST: My “Idols” since I was a boy are Herbie Hancock and Yellow Magic Orchestra. I believe they have totally contributed to my education.
XL: I have too much influences and a lot of names I could tell you! I always try to change my listening habits and not stick to the same influences. Helps me to keep discovering new tunes. Music is a never-ending circle
If someone wanted to get to know your taste, what album should check?
ST: There are two records that are carved in my mind! “Two Pages by 4Hero”, released on Talkin Loud in 1998 and “Peace Orchestra” released on G-Stone in 1999. Milestones!!
XL: Hard question. I’ll go with Afronaught’s “Shapin Fluid”. I recently re-discovered this one after a long time and completely blew my mind again.
How did you come to work with the Outplay crew on this release?
ST: I’ve been following Outplay for a long time, I love their record line. It was easy, I sent them the demos and they immediately believed in this project.
XL: Since I consider Piero a mentor, I completely trusted him and I’m really happy to have this opportunity. One love for the Outplay Crew that had the patience to wait for us lol.
Talk us through the EP a little
ST: It’s a project we both care a lot about. Born from the desire to do something together. We have known each other for a few years, I immediately understood that we could mix our creativity, we have a very similar approach and musical tastes. We had these songs that we had started, they were a but rough around the edges and we exchanged them. It’s amazing how well we managed to work well with arrangements, rhythm parts, each of us managed to fill the moments when something was needed. We are really happy with the result
XL: I consider this EP the most important, demanding & intense project I’ve worked on since I started producing. I’m really happy about how it came out, we combined our best skills on this one; working with Piero is always a time of growth.
The Afro Quarters EP is for lovers of ….
XL & ST: Good music!
Where should we listen your new EP and what should we be drinking?
ST/XL: I’d love to hear it played anywhere from a festival to a supermarket! The vibes are there and would be fun to play it in unconventional spaces. Drink whatever you want with it, try various combinations and see/hear how different it sounds!
What other artists do you have your eyes and ears on right now?
ST: Today I follow artists like Kamaal Williams, Vels Trio, Joe Armon Jones, Zeitgeist freedom energy exchange … I could name many others. Among the producers I listen a lot to K15, Kyle Hall, Hanna, Glenn Astro & Max Graef and of course, Italians TurboJazz & Patrick Gibin. I love their sound. Sources of daily inspiration.
XL: I’ll give you 3 names: Prest – who just released his first EP, I like to learn about different styles and scenes from him. And grab the best tunes out of his Usb. Bass Toast – who is the next broken beat soldier and a super interesting D with wonderful selection skills. Alia – a real trendsetter, tastemaker.
What you got coming up in 2022?
ST: I have an EP I have an EP with the collaboration of Veezo, very talented keyboard player. It will be released on Boogie Cafè later this year. I also have a collab-remix for Skygaze with Angelo Mazzone aka FootNote, label owner of Anma Records, coming out at the end of the year on Flumo Recordings.
XL: Graduation, I hope. And lots of music!