Iappica Francesco, beter bekend als Jappo of Unexist, is één van de grote namen binnen de hedendaagse hardcorescene. Hoewel zijn populariteit groot is, weten we nog maar relatief weinig van deze Italiaan. Zeker als je dit vergelijkt met Nederlandse namen als Darkraver, Paul Elstak of een Buzz Fuzz, die al velen malen in de media zijn verschenen. Tijd voor een interview op Partyflock om meer over deze excentrieke DJ te weten te komen, die bovendien volgende maand zijn debuutalbum zal uitbrengen!
Om de interactie met de leden te vergroten, hebben we jullie de kans te geven zelf vragen te bedenken voor dit interview. Een aantal van deze vragen zijn opgenomen in het uiteindelijk interview. Bij de desbetreffende vragen staat de naam van het lid dat deze vraag heeft gesteld, achter de vraag vermeld. Indien je een vraag voorgedragen hebt en deze in het interview is opgenomen, maar je naam staat hier niet achter, dan wil dit zeggen dat deze vraag al in een eerder stadium door te interviewer zelf is bedacht. Tevens heeft de interviewer het recht gehad om naar eigen inzicht aangedragen vragen op te nemen in het interview of juist af te keuren (over de beweegredenen hiervan wordt niet gecommuniceerd).
*Het interview is niet vertaald naar het Nederlands en dus in het Engels geplaatst. Dit omdat Jappo zelf ook op Partyflock kijkt en zo precies kan zien wat er van zijn interview is geworden en wat de reacties van leden zijn.
Unexist in real life
Before we start asking things about your career and music, we’d like to get to know you a little bit better as a person. Can you tell us who the man is behind the name Unexist? Where do you come from and what are your interests besides music?
The man behind Unexist is Jappo a.k.a. Iapicca Francesco, that’s how I like to define myself!! Jappo is basically my name, all my friends used to call me Jappo since the time we were going to school together. It’s shorter and easier than Iapicca. First it was Iappi, then it became Jappo.
I grew up in a really small village called Osio Sopra; a very old fashioned and religious environment, where everyone knows each other. I love Osio, it’s my home, but the mentality is too restricted and that’s what led me to my current insanity. When I was young, I always loved to play soccer and riding bikes. I was too little to be interested in music. This changed when I was 10 or 13 years old, at that age the sickness started to develop inside me and my friends. We were ‘inhuman damage machines’ and we did a lot of crazy shit together.
One day we went to the Number One (this is the biggest hardcore club in Italy; what a memories!!!) with some older people from the town and there my life really changed. I loved that place and I immediately fell in love with the music. I bought a tape from Claudio Lancinhouse and it was so kicking. I remember the song that turned me on was ‘Fucking hostile’ from Lenny Dee. It had the same aggression I had inside of me. I was pissed off with the world cuz of my shit life, but hardcore let me relieve those feelings by going crazy on it. When I was coming out Number One after a night I was like a brand new person. All the hate had disappeared thanks to the music!
Since then my first interest is music, than comes AC Milan. This is my favorite soccerteam (unfortunately this year we suck big time!). I’m also a huge fan of Valentino Rossi. He is a natural talent, an artist in what he’s doing and I admire that! Scratching is also a big part of my life, I love to jam the turntablez!
You’re a hardcore dj/producer, is this also your favorite style or do you listen to more styles of music?
In the beginning it was my favorite indeed. It was the only style I liked cuz it reflected the same anger I had inside me. After a while I discovered other styles and I noticed they had the same sort of ‘profile’ as hardcore. Metal is a style that really got a hold of me. I had a tape of Metallica (live in Canada) that I use to jam in the studio with my friends. Totally crazy energy! Or I remember when I listened to the ‘1’-album of Korn. The first time I got in touch with their music was when a friend of my came to me with a videotape and he was like ‘Jappo you got to check this tape! Those guys are totally insane!’. So we saw it together in my studio and I totally flipped out. They were hard and they were nuts, just like us! Then a few years later Slipknot came out and I also discovered them through a tape. It was 1999 or 2000 I think (in Italy things always arrive a few months later than everywhere else!), anyway I couldn’t believe my eyes. I felt right a way there was a connection with hardcore cuz the first song on the video tape had the Al Pacino’s sample ‘Here comes the pain’. I had the same feeling I had the first time I listened to hardcore. This style also reflected exactly what I had inside me! Besides that I dig the lyrics 100%.
Now they (Korn and Slipknot) are my first source of inspiration. What I’m trying to do is to bring the same aggression and energy in my music, that they give me when I see them on stage. I’m trying to develop the ‘sickness’ in people, that have some reasons to be down of pissed with the world just like me. And hopefully they can release this anger through the music, instead of hanging around on the streets, attacking or even killing people.
Besides hardcore and metal I also listen to hiphop like The Wu-Tang Clan, N.W.A., Biggie and Eminem. It’s a style I really like, plus I love to use hiphop tracks to scratch on top of it. It’s awesome for practicing and some of the lyrics are fucking insane. But my favorite styles are definitely hardcore and metal!
As an artist, I guess you should be a little bit extrovert, since you’re standing in the spotlights all the time. Is this (extrovert) also how you are in normal life or is there a difference between real life and when you are onstage? And how do you deal with the attention you get?
Well, when I’m on stage I’m into a sort of trance, there’s only me, the crowd and the turntables. I’m totally into it and I freak out on the music and the interaction with the crowd. In real life I’m a pretty quiet (stoned) guy, but sometimes u can find me in my studio with a concert of the Knot blasting out loud and me screaming my guts out. So I think I’m sort of bipolar; very calm or very aggressive. But you can say I’m a calm person when I’m not busy with my music.
About the attention, I don’t feel to be standing in the spotlights at all. I’m the same person as I was ten years ago. It didn’t change me as a person now that I’m known as a DJ. I’m not different to anybody, we are all the same and we all have the same problems. I’m fighting my problems by making music. The point is that I don’t make the music for the people, in the first place I make it for myself and not for the attention of the crowd. I try to put all my pain and frustration, everything that pisses me off, in my music. That’s what I wanted to hear to freak out back in the days at the Number One. It seems like people dig it and that is fantastic. It means that I’m not alone and we are all the same. That’s why I don’t feel myself standing in the spotlight.
You have a couple of (big) tattoos, do they have a special meaning for you and how many do you have in total?
Yeah I love tattoos, I love every form of art, but they don’t all have a meaning. Some I took just because I liked them. I have three tattoos from Giger; one big tribal from my neck to my arm, a Japanese-style tattoo to cover my first tattoo ever (that was a tribal dragon that looked more like a turkey!) and I have the Industrial Strength logo on my elbow. Lenny (Lenny Dee; Industrial Strength labelowner and a well-known DJ/producer) was the one who believed in me when I was only 16. I’m really proud of that, especially because Lenny was the best there was at that time. So I wanted Industrial Strength to be with me from the beginning till the end!
Furthermore I have the word ‘Fuck’ tattooed in my lip, which basically means ‘Fuck you’ to everyone who tries to make you be something you are not! I also have the word ‘Insane’ on my belly, cuz if ‘normal’ is considered the world that surrounds me, including the people who have their power from religion/business/government etc.., than I’m proud to be fucking INSANE! Oops.. The other tattoos are another tribal one my leg and an uncompleted biomechanic spinal chord that who knows when I will finish it! They are all been done by my friend Corrado and his boys from Skin Fantasy tattoo. Corrado is a great artist!
Enough questions about you as a person, let’s talk about music!
Unexist behind the decks
At what age did you start spinning and what kind of music was this?
I started around 14 years, after the first time I went to the Number One. A few friends of mine had turntables, so after I had seen Claudio (Lancinhouse) in action, I started to hang out more with those guys in their garage! They told me the basic things to learn; how to match the records etc. The problem was that they were into progressive music and I didn’t like that very much. It was to mellow and aggressive-less, so I decided to put some money away and get my own turntables and records. My first record was a second handed Joe Inferno. So basically I started with hardcore.
You’re spinning and producing under different names (Jappo, Unexist, Lethal Insanity); why all these names and how did you come up with them?
Actually this is one big misunderstanding! Since 1998/1999 I’m only producing under the name of Unexist. Jappo was a chapter of my life that I closed and I wanted to make a new start under the name of Unexist.
About the explanation; I’m ‘unexist’ when I’m playing or producing my music. It’s the way I feel inside when I’m developing the aggression that gets out through the music. Jappo is the way all my closest friends are calling me. I consider it as my real name. Jappo can be related to the period from 1994-1998 when I was fully ‘Jappo’. I’m really a different person now. Under Lethal Insanity I only produced one song. I made it together with the guitarist of the Lethal Insanity Group, which was the project I made to bring the songs live. But it never really took off cuz the other members had other projects on their mind, so we could not really continue unfortunately.
I have a set of you at home from the year 1999 in the Number One. Although your style back then was also rough, it was more mainstream then nowadays. Why this change?
Cuz I more pissed off now than before, haha no that’s a joke. But you’re right about that, it was more mainstream. In that period I wasn’t so sure about my music anymore. I didn’t like the way that it was taking. I was playing what I liked at the moment, but I wasn’t as exited as I am now!
Now I see things a little different. I have my own distorted view about what I do. I see it more like I’m a one-man band. I make my own music that reflects my feelings and then I bring it live as a DJ in a way I would have wanted it to hear if I was standing in the crowd myself, waiting to go insane! Nowadays is for sure the best period of my career. I’m very proud about the music I make and a lot of people seem to dig it too and that so awesome!
So how do you describe your current style?
Hardcore seen through Unexist’s eyes, that’s a the better way to described it. It’s an expression of my feelings and the mixing of different styles that I love and that influence me everyday.
How did you learn the scratching, which really became a fingerprint of your style?
Practicing is the key. You don’t have to be a genius to learn how to scratch. It’s just the time you spend on your gears and how much passion u have, the better you’ll become.
I started after I saw the Slipknot tape that my friend showed me. I saw Sid jamming the turntables so fast! I was like ‘that’s dope man!’. So I started to get some knowledge about it and I bought some dmc tape’s and after I watched the first one I was exited, shocked and a little depressed at the same time! Excited cuz what they where doing was so fucking awesome! Shocked cuz I couldn’t believe that was possible and depressed cuz I felt like a little shit compared to them haha.
So I decided that I wanted to learn that as well. That was a good thing for me to do, because it was a complete new challenge and made me move to New York for a while. That was really good for my development and there I found exactly the sound that I was looking for! When I came back from NYC, I met Dippa a.k.a. DJ Ether, he’s a real scratchmaster! He taught me everything I needed to know about scratching. Only looking at him doing his thing, was enough for me to give me the power to practice and improve my own skills.
Unexist in the studio
With what equipment did you start producing? (question asked by cosper)
I started producing with an Atari with Cubase and an Akai 900 sampler in Claudio’s studio.
Ofcourse you’re not using that anymore, what equipment and software do you use nowadays for producing tracks? And what are your reasons and arguments to use this equipment and software? (question asked by cosper)
I have a Mac G5 with Logic 7 and I use all the internal plug ins. I’m using Logic for a really long time now and I feel very comfortable with it, so there’s no need to choose other software.
Where do you get the inspiration from to produce tracks or to play a set time and time again?
My main inspiration for producing tracks is everything in this life that pisses me off and the music from other artists that I admire.
Playing a set is really the best part, cuz it’s a challenge every time. I battle with myself and I know when I play good or when I suck big time. I just want to do the best I can. Not only for myself, but ofcourse also for the crazy maniacs that want to freak out with me and my music. I really enjoy doing a DJ-set. It’s like finishing the work I started in the studio by playing this music at a party.
Which track and which remix, produced by yourself, do you consider as your best and why? (question asked by MEO MEDO)
I can’t name one, but I have a few favorites for some reasons:
Fistortion: is for sure one of my favorites, cuz it’s exactly what I wanted to make and what I would have wanted to hear if I was in the crowd! It has everything in it that influenced me at that time, from the scratch and the samples from Slipknot, to that kick that is a fucking punch in the face. I’m also very pleased with the samples, because they are like a little story. It’s like me speaking to the crowd through the samples.
Paranoia: I’m also very proud of this track, cuz it so aggressive and it has a little distorted melody at the same time. The kickdrum is for sure the most powerful I ever made. And since I consider the kickdrum as the main ingredient of hardcore, I can say this is for sure one of my best.
Line got crossed: means a lot to me, because I wrote the lyrics myself and I’m ‘dedicating’ this song to all the people that go too far. Who are abusing people who trust them, till it comes to a point (excessing line point) when they become insanely wrathful and fucking destroy those people. I’m sure a lot of us have been in a situation like this where we’ve been used or cheat on or lied to. Well this is a big ‘fuck you’ to all this people who did this to you!
You’ve produced quite some tracks, especially this year. Can we expect an Unexist-album of you in the future?
Yeah! The album is on its way as I’m writing this. It will be released in March on my new label called ‘DT6 Inc.’. The album is called ‘Contagion’ and will contain two cd’s: one with full length tracks and the other cd turntablized! Most of the tracks have just been released, some of them are pretty old (but totally a part of Unexist) and there are three new tracks on it. ‘Contagion’ will be the first release on DT6 Inc. and the three new tracks on the cd will also be the first vinyl release on the label. These tracks will be ‘Reknocked’ (that’s been on cd already), ‘Exploited’ and ‘Counter virus’, which I didn’t even play on a party yet!
DT6 Inc. will be a label for all those artists who make music with their heart. These artists can have their own different styles. The label won’t be restricted to one style.
Unexist and colleagues
Is there someone in the scene, except for Claudio Lancinhouse, who you really respect or admire a lot, and why?
There are a lot of artists I look up to, for example:
Lenny Dee: he is like my big brother, he believed in me when nobody did. ‘Fucking hostile’ was one of the songs that attracted me to hardcore.
Promo: awesome producer and innovator. His records gave me the power to come back to hardcore.
Ruffneck: in my opinion he is the king of all time. How can you not respect a man who produced such huge amounts of quality and meaningful tracks.
Neophyte: back in the days Neophyte was my idol. He had the biggest influence on me because of the fucking aggressive kick he used in his early tracks, that was really great!
Those are the ones I feel close to because of the music. I have nothing but respect and admiration for these guys. Although I respect every artist who does his own thing!
Who do you consider as the leading dj/producers in the scene these days, looking at skills, personality, progressiveness and things like that?
As a DJ for sure The DJ Producer, Manu Le Malin, Hellfish and Vince are the better skilled. As a producer Ophidian (genial how he always makes some kick ass shit) and Promo (he always comes up with something I dig deep).
Is there someone who you’d like to cooperate with in the future? (question asked by verwijderd)
Ophidian and D-Passion, without shadow of doubt!
How did Claudio Lancinhouse and you come up with the idea to use the Enya-sample in ‘EXAXALX’? (question asked by verwijderd)
Claudio is a great collector and he has thousands of cd’s and records. One day we heard this Enya-song on tv. We thought it was perfect to use in a track as a ‘silence before the storm’. I didn’t even know Enya, but Claudio did and he had her album, so we tried to see what we could do with it. The rest you know!
What can you tell us about your DT6 project and what can we expect of DT6 in the future?
DT6 is when I team up with my friend Dippa (DJ Ether). He has another job that keeps him very busy, so we only can work together when he’s free and unfortunately that doesn’t happen so much lately. Anyway, we will see each other soon cuz we gonna play two gigs in March; one in France and the day after we play at Outblast 2006. We are also going to spend some time in the studio that week, I’m looking forward to it!
Unexist and some general questions
Last year just ended, how do you look back at 2005?
You know, my life has always been a rollercoaster of insanity and this year was nothing different to that. I played at some fantastic parties like In Qontrol, Q-BASE, A Nightmare in Rotterdam, Beter kom je niet and that was great. But I also had the big disappointment about the ‘Fuck this Tour’ and the whole PAM story. But enough about that shit. That’s the past and there’s nothing I can do about it to change it, so I only look to the present now.
What is your favorite hardcore track all-time, and why? (question asked by Pressure Torture)
- ‘No more regrets’ from Delta 9, cuz it’s so aggressive.
- ‘Fucking hostile’ from Lenny Dee, also for the aggression.
- ‘Psychiatric ass’ from Mr. Nosferatu and Ophidian, it’s an art masterpiece!
- ‘Bitch sexuality’ from my man Tieum, cuz it’s filled with energy!
But there are so many good tracks, these are just a couple of tracks that just passed my mind right now.
What do you think about remixing ‘classics’, why not, or don’t touch them!?
I guess it’s up to the original artist to decide. For myself I wanted to remix ‘EXLXAXL’ and make a DT6-remix of it. The idea behind the track was the same as eight years ago and I didn’t want to change the whole song. But I made a remix cuz I wanted to add the hardest kick I ever made, plus the new ingredient of the scratches. The scratches are completely live, from beginning to the end, we didn’t cut anything in the studio afterwards. It was great to do and resulted in a simple but powerful thing. Anyway, as long as the original producer digs it, I’m definitely pro remixing.
Jappo, this interview has come to an end. Is there anything you would like to say to the members of Partyflock?
Believe in what you are doing and use music as a gateway of your feelings,
it helps a lot!
Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule for this interview and I wish you all the best for the forthcoming album and the rest of your career. It was a pleasure for me to do this interview!
The pleasure was all mine! I hope the readers will like the interview and thanks for giving me the opportunity to explain my point of view, I appreciate that. Ciao!
I also have the word ‘Insane’ on my belly, cuz if ‘normal’ is considered the world that surrounds me, including the people who have their power from religion/business/government etc.., than I’m proud to be fucking INSANE!
So true... Be proud to be different than anyone else. Don't try to act like someone you're not, be yourself.
I've seen you at MOH 18-02-'06, Decibel Outdoor 2006 and Cityrave can't tell which session was the best becuz they all fucking kicked ass!
Can't wait for Project Harcore.nl When you're going to battle with Wesley (Partyraiser) I think when you're going to battle with him it'll bring up the best of the scratching skills you've got in you.
BTW Contagion and the Thunderdome - Turntablizer mixed cd kick ass!
suo musica é presto
Great story about how you comes to the music