Techno Tuesday: Enzo Siragusa dives into the FUSE philosophy
Techno Tuesday is a feature on Dancing Astronaut documenting the culture of underground dance music. We’ll bring you exclusive interviews, tracks, and narratives from artists within the techno, tech house, and deep house world in an effort to shed light on some of the best talent outside the world of mainstream dance music.
Fuse began as a humble afterhours party thrown by house-loving friends who’d been raving since their teenage years. When something is born out of love, it often flourishes, and such is the case with this—and such is the case with this gathering put on by Enzo Siragusa and his colleagues Rich Nxt andSeb Zito.Their infectious energy, keen ear for quality deep and minimal house records, and a staunch loyalty to their brand regardless of what was trendy or not drew multitudes to East London every Sunday to partake in what would soon become a clubbing institution. Over the years they took on some new family members as well; Archie Hamilton, and Rich Nxt, for example, found his way into the fold during Fuse’s early years and have since been able to launch their own hugely successful careers that stretch beyond a mere residency.
The series has just passed its tenth birthday—a milestone, given a tough and saturated clubbing climate. What better way to celebrate than expanding its wings? Fuse will be hopping across the pond beginning February 8, where the brand will be kicking off its debut US tour in Brooklyn via Teksupport, a New York underground staple. Enzo, Archie and Seb will provide a night full of high caliber house music nestled in a warehouse for a particularly classic feel. We were able to snag the aforementioned co-founder of Fuse for a quick chat ahead of the touchdown, where we dug into his inspirations, the story of Fuse, and what the brand has in store for its next decade.
Grab tickets to Fuse’s Brooklyn appearance here
Do you feel the EDM bubble has popped in America? How have you seen the scene here evolve, and which US cities are your favorites to play?
I haven’t been aware of the EDM bubble to be honest. It’s not on my radar because it’s not part of the scene I’ve been in. For me, the US has always been the birth place and hub to house music which massively influenced me from the mid 90s. I was really into Masters at Work, and I’d always be digging through the ‘US imports’ section in my local record shop. Hip-E, Halo and Naked Music, DJs like Miguel Migs. I’ve always found a time and a place to play that music, and that’s what America is for me, not EDM. Choosing a favourite city to play in is hard! Miami always seems to go off, and the FUSE sound has really travelled well over there, perhaps Miami enjoy the bassier side of things! Flash in DC I always enjoy, and there are some really cool in parties going on in LA too. I really can’t wait for our FUSE10 tour to start this weekend.
You started your brand out of love for the rave culture you grew up in. What aspects have stayed the same over the years, and which aspects have you seen change (for better or for worse)?
When I started out clubbing it was rawer. The biggest shift I felt is when music became digital. It became easier to access and therefore quite consumable, driven by money and business. That said it’s not a negative thing, it’s exposed our music the masses and got new generations involved. I feel like we have seen around four generations of clubbers come and go at FUSE. The digital world made things com, go and come back round again.
Of course, a venue needs a good, tuned-up sound system and often could do without overly flashy lights when it comes to throwing a party like Fuse. What other aspects tie into making an environment perfect for a rave? Does layout play huge role, programming, etc? Describe a perfect party outside your own and what made it so.
At FUSE we cultivated a community of clubbers out of a group of core residents, and people then started to come because they wanted to hear what we were playing, week in week out. If you add in the right sound system, not queuing forever to get in, with a friendly reception from the door staff and security which makes you feel instantly welcome, there are so many little details. We strive to provide a certain experience, so the venue and execution of the event need to be at a certain operational level. It has to be an equal balance of all those things, those fine details help make the vibe of the party. As your party gets bigger you have to remember those core values and keep them all in place to keep the people coming back.
How do you organize your music/record bag when it comes to playing sets? For example, some djs have folders w/ moods marked down, some go in cold turkey + randomly, etc.
I have more of a loose system that tends revolve around the mood of the people I am playing in front of. I tune into the energy and vibe and the room and cater to that. A lot of it is set around what me and the FUSE guys have been making also.
What have been some of your favorite events to play over the past year, and why?
Our 10th birthday in November going back to our original home of 93 Feet East after 6 years of absence was so emotionally charged. I had people coming up to me crying saying how great it was to be back in the club with us, and that really touched me. Many of whom were people from our original community that I hadn’t seen for many years.
Sonus Festival in Croatia was also phenomenal. We did our own Saturday night FUSE party I don’t think anyone expected 3000 people to turn up!
I always enjoy playing Gottwood Festival in Wales, they put a lot of attention to detail into their parties and I’ll be playing a Drum n Bass set this year which was really cool of them to let me do.
Every DJ has at least one bad night in their careers. How do you/how did you cope when it happens/happened to you, and did you learn anything from the experience?
You have to take the rough with the smooth and the bad nights help you appreciate the good ones. You have to learn that you can’t judge, nor take things personally as there are far too many factors into why a night hasn’t quite gone your way. It’s all part of the journey isn’t it.
Tell us about the evolution of your music taste & what you’ve liked spinning in sets over the years, and which labels/artists you’re most excited about at this moment.
I have always played a melting pot of music that has inspired London. Deep House, Minimal, DnB, Jungle, House, rooted by warm basslines and big moments. I guess what you’d expect from someone who has been into raving for so long and been influenced by different parties. Your sound evolves to different time periods in your life. Doing a weekly party at FUSE had a huge impact anf we used to play a lot slower in the early days as minimal scene was really kicking off. As the party evolved and got bigger you play to bigger rooms and adjust again. As I got older and had a family, I started playing a bit deeper as I was in more of a reflective mood.
Artists that are exciting me right now are Burnski and his Constant Sound label which is pushing a more garage and dnb sound that resonates with me. East End Dubs is doing some great things, he is a wizard in the studio. Adam Shelton is doing a lot for the UK up in Birmingham. I feel there is quite a big revival with the bass / breakbeat sound. People are re discovering our past and it’s great to see.
As someone who’s been doing this longer than average, how do you “keep the spark alive” and find new ways to feel refreshed and inspired while remaining relevant enough to make a living?
I have applied myself to many more aspects of this business than just DJing and producing, and it’s kept me inspired too because I am forever learning and growing. It’s like a rabbit hole, keep digging and you find interesting things. From running and growing an event brand, to overseeing the FUSE and Infuse label offshoots. Also having an amazing group of pals like the FUSE boys, with such a shared strong passion for raving and music helps. We all have our own labels, and give each other advice, and the community aspect there is really inspiring.
You’re huge on meditation + healthy eating as a way to find balance and retain sanity while on the road. Are there any other key parts of your pre-show ritual that you must involve these days? Pro-tips for avoiding getting sick?
I meditate when I go on tour because I find it helps me with dealing with different time zones and gives me a quick rest and reset before playing again. Food wise I try to be mindful, but I love my food, I’m Italian so I’d say I’m more wholesome than healthy. I’m no spring chicken anymore, and so I have to make better decisions when on the road firstly with picking after parties wisely! Rest is essential and cutting back on alcohol really helps.
What is your biggest fear as an artist?
I don’t have any fears within the business, the only concerns are missing out on the family life. A heavy-duty touring schedule leads to your missing out some key moments of your children’s lives, and that is difficult.
Finally, the usual – what’s coming up for you throughout the rest of 2019?
As well as the upcoming FUSE10 USA dates, we have events at SXM Festival, Fabric London, Off Week Festival in Barcelona, Hoppetosse in Berlin. Rich Nxt’s Hard To Be EP is out on FUSE this month, and Seb Zito’s has an EP on the way in March. I also have a big project coming on the FUSE label in April soon to be revealed!