A drink with Gabriele Guazzo
interview Jacopo Boggione / Francesca Pagliaro, photo Gabriel Iwa
Gabriele, you are known as one of the originators of the Xanax evenings at Astoria, but few know your double life: postman / producer. It seems like the life of a “superhero”. Which of the two spheres is more super and which is more hero?
To start with, there are a few inaccuracies because I’m not a postman (though I have been) and I’m not a producer because I never had the perseverance to learn to use a instrument (even though I’ve tried to in my free time on my comptuer). I prefer to call myself a simple worker, therefore, referring to the question no superhero life, although sometimes while putting together or working Xanax I’ve felt like I was. I’m just a worker enslaved to the passion for disc’s and the music I put together for the live DJ set at Astoria.
Did your daily life help you or has it ever influenced your second job?
I started working full-time in 2008, three years after starting to play some music .. if on one hand the daily work helped me financially to invest in and support Astoria as well as to buy a lot of nice discs, on the other hand it’s taken a lot of time and energy away from handling Xanax Party and later the club. In past years I have had the good fortune and pleasure to surround myself with people with whom I have been able to carry out successfully our projects.
What is the relationship between you and your partner Andrea Nissim? Are you guys great friends or just have a working relationship?
Andrea Nissim, before being 50% of Xanax Party and founding partner with me and Giancarlo Maresca of Astoria, he is among the most important people in my life. I’ve known him for more than fifteen years. As with every best friend you talk about everything, argue and fight and imagine big new projects… And who knows, in the future from our friendship could give way to something even bigger than Xanax or the Astoria, maybe a great festival!
Astoria is known to most as a alternative and Hipster type of club. Do you feel like you’re in a kind of box? Do you love or hate being labeled like that?
The core foundation of Xanax Party, ten years ago, was made up of me and two other people in addition to Andrea. One of them was Vincent Marando of Movie Star Junkies, there was time when all four of us were DJing, like a real crew. Each of us, with our own sound, gave their own contribution to the growth of the evening as musically and figuratively. I came from years of fighting about the name for my old high school band and when Vinz asked me “Xanax” I accepted it willingly, thinking it was interesting, not only the combination of an anxiolytic with a club night but also the fact that it is easily remembered as palindrome. I remember that he told me he had received a spam email from a well known pharmaceutical company where they advised against having a “Xanax Party”. The rest came by itself.
Where does the name Xanax Party? And was it your idea or did you get some help choosing the name?
In this era it’s increasingly important to have a recognizable name and brand. We are still the “children” of Myspace, where they were already beginning to get a glimpse into the potential of the company at the cultural level. The net is full of crap and you have to get in the game. We can say that the Xanax Party experience was invaluable to Astoria and really upset the established order. Something that has always been a our specialty, a true starting point, from the DJ sets to our image. We also have had the good fortune of working Fabio of Hannibal / Into The Wild for years, an institution, not only in clothing. He created his ideas into a lifestyle and its brands represent that inspiration for all of those who love that certain type of image, including us, naturally.
Music and clubbing have always had a close relationship with the aesthetic and visual world (from the graphics to the visuals to the setting). How important do you think the success of one particular evening is and what goes towards that?
Here, everyone will have different and conflicting opinions, honestly I do not care about labels, and I just want to keep doing my thing. Astoria is a club that a lot of different people from all over Turin go to, all the rest is coffee talk.
At the beginning did you ever think that the Xanax evening could ever take off like it hoped?
At the beginning? Try to talk to me every Thursday evening before the evening starts, I’m as nervous as if it were the first night!