Interviews & Profiles

Nocera
Interview by Francis Tanneur


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Well Nocera, I’m very happy to hear from you again thanks to your new band “Voice of the satellites”? So, what happened to you all these years?

It’s hard to explain. It’s more like what didn’t happen. I wanted to grow, do the music I love to do. Somehow between American music politics and the label (Sleeping Bag Records) falling apart, I got pushed aside. I was never really a “Freestyler” even though I loved to make and perform this style of music. Then, since everything fell apart anyway, I started to experiment with new sounds.

I took a break from “Nocera” and went back to listening to underground music. There I discovered a lot about myself, the sound I liked, and what I wanted to write about lyrically. But, by then, no one wanted to give me a chance to express myself. They looked at me as a Freestyle artist and Freestyle was dead for the music business. That’s when I started my own band, VOS, along with working, making music, and Djing. Nocera(asaDJ)no3.bmp (290574 bytes)
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How was born the “Voice of the satellites” project?

I was working on a track with Floyd Fisher (producer) and he spotted an ad in the Village Voice for 2 guys looking to collaborate with a singer/songwriter and it mentioned some of the bands and styles that I admire. Floyd suggested to call them and said “You never know”. And because I listened to him, my life was changed forever.

Check out (www.voiceofthesatellites.com)

What is the meaning of your band’s name?

I’ve always been a spiritual person. Ever since I was a young girl, I listened to all types of spiritual/religious ideas and people. I was interested in the stars, astronomy, and astrology. As a little girl, I wanted to encounter a UFO. VOS is the voice that speaks from all of us to our connection with the universe.

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How do you definite the musical style of your band?

A fresh new Atmospheric, Trippy, Funky style with a splash of love, peace, science and humorous lyrics.

 The music and the style of “Voice of the satellites” are very close from some bands as Portishead or Archives, just to name a few. Why did you choose this musical orientation?

I just go for my own taste, whatever connects with my soul. I’m my own follower. In the end, it’s all about being true to yourself and that’s what makes us happy.

Who are exactly the members of “VOS”?

Nocera - Vocals
Gregg Fine - Production, Guitars

John Roggie - Production, Keyboards 

Did you find a record deal yet, or is it in the verge of being accomplished?

It’s not easy these days to be an artist and get paid for what you love to create and work hard to produce. Today, you can get signed if you are 16-20 years old and you are pre-fabricated by a major label. We are looking for a label to take chances on getting our music out there. 

And internationally talking, are you in contact with some foreign labels? For instance, Trip-Hop’s style is very appreciated in Europe?

We aren’t familiar with very many European labels. We need more contacts. 

On the promo EP you sent me, which song you would love to release as your 1st single?

“Don’t You Worry”  

Why?

Because it’s a song that has a lot of meaning for me, and speaks towards global awareness. I also just think it’s a cool song! 

Could you tell us a little bit more about you?

I was born in Sicily and raised in Parma, Italy. I came to the U.S. at age of 18. I currently live in Manhattan, NYC. I’m Djing in lounges and clubs in New York City. I like to spin anything from Deep House to Atmospheric Lounge Beats and I’ve started a new party called “Electric City” which combines Djing with live improvising musicians. This party may eventually develop into an independent label, a dream I’ve had for quite sometime.

Since when you have you been spinning music as a DJ?

My brother has been a DJ for many years in the club scene in Italy. When I was a young girl, I listened to him play records. Here in New York, I'm friendly with many DJs and hang out at some favorite spots like Satellite Records and Vinyl Mania to listen to and buy 12 inches. A few years ago, I said to myself, “Why am I only buying records to play in my living room? I should be out there playing records for parties”. So I started looking for gigs and here I am today. I'm going all the way. I'm hooked!

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Are you DJing in other areas than in New York City?

Lately, I've been gigging in New Jersey and New York City. I'm still new but I'm beginning to become recognized for my own style now. 

Even if musically talking you are eclectic, which kind of music do you enjoy to mix during your parties?

Deep House/Atmospheric Lounge Beats. Music that makes everybody horny! 

How you would define your personality?

Happy/Sad, Friendly, funny, giving, outgoing, sarcastic, thinker, animal lover

How did you get started in Music?

Floyd Fisher and I were producing a lot of demos at the studio where he was working. Floyd had some free studio time and since it was June, we decided to start recording a song we wrote called “Summertime, summertime”. It was all about timing. If we had been in the studio in November instead, none of this would have happened. 

Why did you choose Freestyle music to start your musical career?

I didn’t choose it. The truth is, we recorded “Summertime, summertime” in a different musical style at first. When Mantronik did the remix, he changed the drums and it turned into a Freestyle track. I was actually into Depeche Mode at the time! 

In 1986, your first Freestyle track “Summertime, summertime” was released on Sleeping Bag Records. How did you react when you saw that your song had rapidly become a big hit and a classic in Freestyle music?

I was young and didn’t know very much about the music business. And since I was going to release a record on an independent label, I didn’t expect it to become as successful as it did. One month later, I did my first live performance and the club was jam-packed. When I sung “Summertime”, everyone new the song and sang along with me. My next gig was a wall-to-wall packed show at Roseland.

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NOCERA
" I am from Parma, Italy, which things are much slower. When I go home it's really hard to explain to them about my record, which is a dance hit here. How can I say, 'I have a popular dance record out.' If you have a record out in Italy, you're already famous. In the United States it's only the first step."

How did you get in touch with such great and talented producers / remixers as Todd Terry, Mantronik, Little Louie Vega, and the regretted Chep Nunez?

“Sleeping Bag Records” was the coolest label at that time. They had already been working a lot with names like Todd Terry and Mantronik… 

You did your entire Dance / Freestyle career with producer / writer Floyd Fisher. How did you get in touch with him and why did this mutual complicity last so long and so well?

When Floyd and I met, we clicked instantly and immediately understood each other’s taste in music. Floyd and I are like family and will always be there for each other no matter what.

Between 1986 and 1988, you released three singles (“Summertime, summertime”, “Let’s go” and “Tell u so”, and a full-length album “Over the rainbow”. After that, you practically disappeared of the Dance music scene, what happened to you?

I was starting my second album when the two partners who ran Sleeping Bag Records broke up. This was a stumbling block for many artists. 

Why did you make the decision to only sing on projects from other artists as Safire and India or for the Information Society’s band (you did the back up vocals)?

While I was waiting to be legally released from Sleeping Bag Records, I became friends with Safire and Information Society. Safire asked me to write, produce and sing on a song for her. Information Society asked me to sing on their album and, later, asked me to join them on tour. 

And about India, how was your collaboration?

We sang on separate occasions even though we sang on the same songs. 

In 1997, Corina interpreted your hit “Summertime, Summertime”. What is your opinion?

I have no relationship with Corina. We’ve never even gone out for coffee. It kind of hurt my feelings that she didn’t even return my calls to go out for a drink. But, besides all of the personal stuff, there is a magic in the original song that can’t be recaptured. Corina’s version was fun and playful though. I’m honored that she chose my song for a remake and, also, put some extra money in my pocket!

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Greatest Hits: Strange Haircut

 

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Vol. 2-So So Def Bass All-Star

Will we have the chance to see you back on the Freestyle scene?

I have a freestyle song called “Everybody Wants You” that I recently wrote for another artist. Nothing ever came of this, but the song is hot. Maybe I need to find the right label for my next freestyle release. 

Are you still attached to Freestyle music, even if you are not in the business anymore?

No, because I’m a different person. I currently enjoy the music released by labels such as OM records and Naked Music. 

Your answer confuses me. You are not attached to Freestyle music anymore, yet you are still interested in doing Freestyle music if you have the opportunity. Intriguing, isn’t it? ;-)))

I'm not attached but I'm an open-minded person and for the love of music and all the people who are still into Freestyle, I would like to see this culture stay alive, succeed and, again, to grow and change into Future Freestyle. If I can help to do that and had a budget, I would. Even if it meant producing for someone else's voice. 

When you are not singing or writing your songs, you’re writing some poems. What does poetry inspire to you?

I routinely write down my thoughts. Months later, when I read them back, it’s almost like Science Fiction mixed with Future Reality. 

What is your main goal into the music industry?

Well, we haven’t found any labels yet that are willing to take a chance on our style of music here in the U.S. In the mean time, our goal is to license our tracks to different compilations.  Hopefully, this will lead us to a label that will understand our sound. We have gotten great reactions from fans who’ve come to our live gigs in NYC. Also, our site on MP3.com has gotten a lot of attention and we’ve gotten a lot of fan mail from people interested in purchasing the full length CD. It will take one person in the record industry to take a chance on our music and help expose it towards a wider audience.

Who were your main influences?

Beatles, Elton John, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Esthero, Bjork, Depeche Mode, Sade, Smoke City, Sneaker Pimps, Dee-Lite, Frank Sinatra, Fred Astaire, Mozart, and various D.Js. and remixers. 

What is your personal definition of Freestyle music?

Breakbeats mixed with melodic songs. 

What do you think of the present Freestyle scene?

It needs to grow and expand to a higher level. 

Do you still believe that there is a market for this music?

Yes, if only it could grow! 

In your opinion, why has Freestyle music become an underground music?

It was so fresh and new but, unfortunately, people started to copy the same formula over and over again and that’s why a lot of people who first became interested in it eventually lost interest. 

Why is Freestyle music not represented in any official Dance music awards (Grammy Awards, etc.)?

For exactly the reasons I mentioned earlier. People in the industry thought “Hey, here is a formula that works, let’s do that too and make MONEY!” These people killed the scene by copying.  It just became the same thing over and over until people couldn’t distinguish the production of one song from another… 

What would you change in the Freestyle industry today?

Production, Style, and Sounds. 

What advice or message would you give to future artists?

Create your own vibe. If more and more people would be courageous enough to do that, there wouldn’t be as many stylistic restrictions in the industry. 

Do you have any particular message to give to the Freestyle community, and to your fans?

I thank all of you for listening to my music and what I have to say. I feel very lucky that God has given me the gift of music. Everyone has a gift. It's up to you to discover it and use it well. That's the essence of you. Enjoy it! 

What is your best and worse souvenir during your Freestyle music career?

It was all good! I became friends with quite a few of my fans. 

Thank you very much Nocera for replying to these questions. I sincerely hope that you will encounter a big success with your new materials. Personally, I’m a big fan of “VOS”’s tracks. I wish you good luck in your new musical career.

Thank you for letting me use my voice and speak from my heart…

Best wishes, Nocera.

The End


Interviews & Profiles