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Nick DiFilippo a.k.a. deflipo: Turning heads with his turntables
By Sean Smith
Fort Wayne Reader
Nick DiFilippo is a happy man these days and why shouldn't he be? The monthly electronic music event that he helped to co-found is celebrating two years in October and during this year's Three Rivers Festival there was a free all day electronic music festival, Free Flow, which took place from noon until midnight on July 19th at Friemann Square, with two stages worth of electronic music for people of all ages to enjoy. The Free Flow event has taken place in the past, but this was its inaugural run as a 3RF sanctioned event.
Not bad for a genre of music that seems to have been all but overlooked over the years. DiFilippo a.k.a. deflipo says he isn't surprised, "To be honest with you, the roots of electronic music, especially around here, have always had an underground flair to it. There have been events for the last 10 or 15 years, but it's been hard to find support. In Chicago, it's a big enough city that whatever you're into, there's a club with like minded people and you can hear what you want to. I think Fort Wayne is coming around to that point. There are a lot of good, local bands and the local music scene seems to be getting stronger."
One event that has found support is Second Saturday, the longest running electronic music showcase in the city. DiFilippo founded it with Jason Lebel a.k.a. Symmetric, who later stepped down due to family obligations. Currently, the event is administered by Josh Helton a.k.a. Doc and Joe Christopher a.k.a. Sneaky. Up until now the event has been held at O'Sullivan's, but DiFilippo has decided to take the month of August off and look for a new venue. "I'm proud of it and it's been a real pleasure to work with them, especially Carmen Young, but it's time to move on and try out some format changes."
Before DiFilippo began Second Saturday, he was working alongside Julie Morrison with Proper Productions. The two worked hard to bring quality electronic music to Fort Wayne. "We brought in nationally recognized DJs, including Terry Mullan, Punisher and Errol. 300+ people would show up at the events," shares Morrison. "That kind of crowd amazed me, but also reaffirmed that there is an audience, a market if you will, for electronic music."
Wait, enough already. Electronic music? Isn't it all considered techno? Not so, says DiFilippo. "Techno is actually a sub-genre which was invented in Detroit. Chicago is known for house music, which is bouncier. Techno is spacier, synth heavy and moody."
DiFilippo performs techno music and was drawn to it when he was just a teenager. "I've always been involved with music, even from an early age. I used to play guitar in punk rock bands and from that I moved into the industrial genre, with bands like KMFDM and Front 242. I still love that. At my first rave party, I was probably 15 or 16 and it was amazing. There were really nice people and it was unlike anything I'd ever heard before and I liked it. Shortly after that, I got turntables and was kind of a bedroom DJ for the next few years. There wasn't much going on back then in the late 90s."
The events might have been few and far between, but the amount of other musicians pursuing electronic music was growing and DiFilippo found inspiration in early upstarts like Eclipse, Jack Schitt and Mad Chiller. The high level of musicianship in the genre still continues to this day. "Fort Wayne has a plethora of talented electronic music producers and DJs. We've got some local producers here in town that are producing on a national scale now, global really. Kyle Geiger would be one of them," points out DiFilippo. "He's blowing up in the techno sub-genre and has three releases on Drumcode, which is one of the top labels in the industry we're in. Bryan Jones would be another one. He has his own label, High Caliber Recordings."
DiFilippo says that for all of the good music and positive strides that the musicians have made, there still remains a stereotype of sorts that hangs over those involved in the genre. "There's a lot of bad hype that I think this particular scene has received over the years. Be it with drugs or what have you. I wonder if that turns people away. But, these days it seems to be more and more accepted. The electronic music scene has grown up. I'm a father now, so I have less time to devote to it. But, it's grown up and become more legitimate."
As the scene has grown, so has DiFilippo's style and approach to electronic music. "I kind of started out doing hardcore, which was 180 beats per minute. That's stuff that I can hardly listen to now. There was something about that dark and gritty sound that appealed to me. I was into industrial, so it was a natural progression. I didn't know much about the music at the time, but what I liked about it was that it wasn't like being in a band, where you're not the only voice. This gives you complete creative control, which is something that appealed to me then and still to this day is something that I value a lot."
For those who wonder what makes DiFilippo any different from a wedding DJ or a Hip-Hop DJ, he says the answer is simple, "I'm not a cover band. I don't just play songs. The biggest difference between a Hip-Hop DJ and me is that I aim to be seamless and create one long track. With Hip-Hop, there's a noticeable change. It's kind of like having an iPod. You have a wide variety of music that you like and basically your job is to make people move. The time of night and mood of the crowd are factors. Some nights are on and loving what you do helps with that. If you love what you're playing, then other people will feed off that energy. It's a great feeling when you're up there and people are enjoying what you're doing. I encourage everyone to support electronic music. Dancing is good for everybody. It's good for the soul."
For more info on DiFilippo and his music, plus updates on Second Saturday, check out: myspace.com/deflipo