This week E-goTimes would like to introduce to its readers Gabriele Salerno, known under his alias T Kode, a rising Italian techno artist currently based in Berlin.
Gabriele grew up in Rome and approached to music at a young age through the study of the piano, which to this day reflects in his productions proving a natural feeling for rhythm, playful sounds and delicate details. His passion for techno and the rave scene already derived in his teenage years, spending countless hours on the dancefloors of techno events in Italy and festivals all around Europe. Eventually, Gabriele’s professional journey within music began in Rome, when he started studying technical sound and analogical synthesis under the guidance of Enrico Cosimi, ultimately resulting in the techno prospective we now know as T Kode.
Driven by his dedication to electronic music, Gabriele moved to Berlin where he has been part of events at Tresor, Arena Club, Suicide Club, Wilde Renate, OHM, and many others since. Representing an unconventional techno style, T Kode aims for complex yet powerful and energetic sounds in his productions and DJ sets. His style is characterized by intersected grooves and hypnotic beats, dark and light at the same time. The combination of Gabriele’s various music selection and his early experiences on the dancefloor as a ‘true raver’ himself has given him this special eye for the crowd promising quality sets you won’t forget.
In 2016 Gabriele announced his independent record label Stratosphera Records and continues building a discography representing his musical vision and addiction to futuristic techno. Since 2019, T Kode obtains residency at the newly established art and music Friendship Collective, and has recently released on the highly respected Spanish techno label Subsist Records.
Gabriele’s continuous passion and love for music will derive in many future releases and drive his alias, as well as his label Stratosphera Records, to a well-known and respected position in the techno panorama:
Music is the voice we have chosen to represent the feeling that we live, we have inside, or better yet, what we are or want to be.
Hi Gabriele, to start our interview we would like you to tell us how you switched from classical piano to electronic music during your teenage years.
Hey everyone, nice to have a talk with you. Let’s start! It was a radical change, I studied piano when I was practically a child, music has always fascinated me and has often been the key to face a simple day in a positive way or many experiences that have characterized my person until today. I approached electronic music at the age of 14, attending many festivals and events in clubs all over Europe. This – unlike the study of the piano as a child – was rather a form of rebellion, perhaps also generated by adolescence. I needed something else, something that would upset me but at the same time I felt emotions like an Einaudi’s classic.
What do the 90s represent for a musician specializing in electro and techno?
Having been born in the early 90s, I was too young to be able to experience ﬁrsthand everything that electronic music was unleashing at that time. I wish I could have lived in that period and not just studied it. Having studied and understood it in my own small way, it is for me an ideal, a concept; being able to make people feel emotions with a music that has no words most of the times it is not an easy thing. Bringing together different races and cultures with a movement of people united by music is something unique and I want to be part of it.
What are your myths and your masters, the musicians you are inspired by or forged by?
In the electronic music scene is full of great artists, who have grown over the years and become key ﬁgures of this movement. I have collaborated and had the fortune to play with some very famous artists in the Techno Panorama who have inspired me, transmitted even more passion and desire to grow in this environment. To name a couple: Stanislav Tolkachev and Mike Parker. There are also some timeless artists like UR (Underground Resistance), Drexcya, Jeff Mills, F.U.S.E, and I could go on for hours.
How would you describe with electronic music Rome, your hometown, and Berlin, where you grew up professionally? What rhythm would they have?
I spent most of my life in Rome, I lived it deeply, went around it, loved and even hated it, but for a Roman Rome is home, it is a sense of belonging, now Rome is my refuge. I left it at the age of 19, when I moved to Sydney for just over a year, my ﬁrst experience away from home, an educational experience that led me to see life from a different perspective. As I returned to Rome and things changed as I grew up, I could no longer take anything from my city, perhaps because it had already given me everything. I staked everything on myself and my passion. And here I am in Berlin, another challenge to myself, but also an investment! This city is giving me so much, it’s an effervescent city, people never stop and are always productive, all this makes me want to be active, to put myself on the line and never give up. I prefer these rhythms, at least I feel alive!
How did the idea of opening your own independent record label, Stratosphera Records, come about?
Well, it was an impulsive and countercurrent choice, like most things that see me as the protagonist. I didn’t think about it twice, I wanted to share my music with everyone, without barriers, without schemes. I thought it was the most effective way to make my music heard. Today, thinking back on that choice, I know I did well, with work and passion I was able to present my label in one of the most respected clubs in Berlin: OHM Berlin, with which I have been maintaining a solid collaboration for almost two years now.
Tell us about your recent experience as a resident artist with the Friendship Collective.
Friendship Collective represents so much to me, a collective of friends with an idea of blending art and music in unique events around Europe. The feedback is good considering that the project has been open for less than a year, precisely since June 2019. We managed to bring our idea already in cities such as Budapest, Rome, Lecce and Kiev. Soon we will debut also in Moscow, Barcelona, Montenegro and who knows, I can’t tell you all of them.
You have performed in Kyiv, Budapest, Pristina, as well as many clubs in Berlin. What’s the stage you absolutely want to perform on?
Yes, beautiful experiences and very formative all of them. Well, if I had to choose one of the clubs where I would like to perform again, it’s definitely the Trésor Club in Berlin, a legendary club which has been a source of inspiration for me for years.
What about a pop artist you’d like to experiment with?
In the future I will release a product very far from the electronic music I usually produce, it’s a project involving a Jazz label called: Jazz-O-Tech. The name says it all, a project that blends music and artists of the Jazz scene with artists of the electronic scene more in evidence in recent years. Collaborating with musicians engaged in another field is very stimulating, there is a continuous exchange of ideas. Belonging to two worlds so far apart, this label and those who run it have found the key to show that music has no boundaries or barriers.
Last weekend you debuted and performed at Goa Club, the temple of electronic music in Rome. How long have you been away from Roman clubs?
I have been away from the reality of Roman clubbing for more than three years and I must say that there could not have been a more beautiful return. I’ve always been a Goa Club client and I’ve heard many artists for the first time behind that console, it was an honour for me to have played there and I hope to get back to play there very soon.
Before we say goodbye, we are curious to know your plans for the future. What’s in the store?
For the moment I’m focused on finishing some of my productions and releasing them in the not too near future, I’ll keep you updated! As for my Stratosphera Records label, I will be busy with a couple of events at OHM Club, obviously if you are in Berlin you are welcome. What can I say. I had a great time chatting with you, in my own little way I hope I left you
something good. I enjoyed telling about myself!!!
We would like to thank T Kode for this amazing interview and give him an appointment soon, when nightclub life will awaken from these dark and creepy days of winter in isolation.
Leila Tavi is a journalist specialized in Russian Politics and Culture and PhD c. in Russian History at the University of Vienna under the supervision of Prof. Andreas Kappeler. She studied Political Science in Vienna and Rome, graduating in History of Eastern Europe at Roma Tre University, with Prof. Francesco Guida and a thesis on travel reports about Saint Petersburg by West Europeans at the beginning of the XIX Century. Previously she obtained a degree in Foreign Languages, with a specialization in German Philology at the University of Rome «La Sapienza». Her new book "East of the Danube" is coming soon.