Francesca Lombardo recently stopped by Toronto to play the closing party of Electric Island, and we caught up with her to talk a bit about her past training, collaborations, her studio setup and more. We got to know a bit more about the Echoe and Echolette label head as she played ahead of artists like Claude Vonstroke, Pleasurekraft, and Joris Voorn on that day, while the prior day featured Adriatique, Chris Liebing and more. The set was a day time one, and I was curious to know what she felt about that set time. "I haven't quite thought about it yet, thanks for reminding me it's a day time set :-) but yea I usually take all my favourite collection and improvise as I need to feel the vibe and the people in order to know what to really expect. Even if I would know in advance and plan something I would probably change it at last minute. Having said that I am very happy to play a day time set in Electric Island, I think it's a lux."
Francesca has played Toronto a number of times so there's clearly something that makes her want to come back, right? She says, "I love Toronto because it has an open minded clubbers community, who is not only interested in clubbing for the fun but also in taking it further, they see clubbing as a culture, a life style and a state of mind. Each time I played in Toronto the dance floor has been truly inspirational and always left me with a sense of pride." Hearing a top DJ speak so highly of the city and its clubbers is great to hear, and confirms why Electric Island is such a top tier festival with a terrific, diverse crowd.
Her recent album release, Life of Leaf, draws on her extensive vocal and classical training from her youth. "The LP was a collection of my favourite sounds, inspirations and ideas," she says. "I wrote it with a certain flow, I had no expectations and didn't think of it as an album at first. It kind of resolved itself during the time I was writing the tracks. I have recorded lots of strings, which was a lovely experience as I loved working with musicians. I also recorded the piano and vocals myself. Everything else comes directly from the studio, I have used several of my favs synths and the result is a mix of all my styles."
Her studio setup, like all artists, is unique to her own, but the burning quesion: analog synths plugins? "I use both, Nowadays I use mainly analog synths and fx and then I use some plug ins for certain fx only. I love my hardware and I feel the difference in sound when I listen to a track if anything is coming from a soft synth, it makes me go funny. It's crazy how some people are more sensitive to certain frequencies than others. However I think there is nothing wrong in mixing the two but I wouldn't go all digital."
With regards to her other recent releases, I was most intrigued by her collaboration with Hannes Bieger for their release on Bedrock. "The collaboration with Hannes Bieger was quite straight forward. Me and Hannes have worked together on some material before, he is a great producer and I was really happy to receive a text from him asking me to put my vocals on a track he was working on. I was in my studio in that moment so I asked him to send me the track and one hour later I sent him the vocals back. He loved it and the track was done. It was the quickest collaboration of my life but also a lot of love and passion was put into the project and I think people can sense it when the track comes out."
Francesca runs two labels and there's a distinct difference between them. "Echolette and Echoe are both electronic music labels. I call Echolette, the female energy and the more slow, downtempo and musical label where Echoe, the male energy is strictly dance floor."
Crosstown Rebels, Damian Lazarus' esteemed label, helped catapult Francesca Lombardo to the level she is today, and she's still playing his parties these days. How big of a mentor and inspiration is Damian in her development as an artist? The answer is straightforward - "I love Damian, he is a friend and a very important figure in my life. I can't wait to work more with him. He has always believed in my music and loved it since day one, he is a big influence for me and I love what he does." With influences and believers like that, clearly she's on the right path.
Francesca's most recent EP on Poker Flat is out now, check it out below.
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