Sound Manipulator

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DJ Qubo

“I prefer to consider electronic club-music as a unique thing. And this means to me no idols, no icons, and no heroes.”

Matteo Bovio, also known as Qubo is a DJ and Producer, born in Varese, Italy in 1983. When he was eight years old he began to play the piano. From then on his passion for music kept growing and he became familiar with the guitar and bass. But his passion for music didn’t stop with instruments…

S2S met up with Matteo Bovio to find out how he discovered his true love – electronic music.

S2S: Do you have a special memory regarding your first encounter with electronic music?

MB: I consider myself lucky because ever since I was very little, I’ve been surrounded by true music lovers. If I think of the people who have influenced my musical culture, the first thing that strikes my mind, is that all of them shared one thing: an open attitude.

korg-m1-288912MB: Throughout different periods of my life, I have been attracted to various genres and styles. I’ve developed my personal taste by being pretty much open to exploring all kinds of distinct musical panoramas. Therefore, it’s quite difficult to recall a particular moment… It’s been a process. Probably it all started when I was around 14-15 years old. I spent an entire summer working to buy a new keyboard (back then I was learning how to play the piano but my new teacher, very open minded, insisted that I should keep on practicing with my keyboard, since I actually started playing it years before). At the end of the summer I had enough money to buy a second hand Korg M1. My teacher gave me the first clue about MIDI recording and sound designing, and that was it. The idea of being able to manipulate sounds was exciting; it was a part of music that, since then, had never actually crossed my mind.

S2S: When did you first start making your own tracks and experiment with sounds and tunes?

MB: I started composing music when I was pretty young, first on the piano and then with the guitar, and it’s always been fun. I liked to jam with friends, for some time I also played with a band – a metal band! We released an album on an Italian label which actually got very positive feedback. But electronic music has been a real revelation in my life. Despite what one may think, I am very guarded about certain aspects of my life, and music is one of them. If anybody was around, like my parents, I was too shy to practice the piano. It took me ages before I felt confident playing in a band. Even now, I am only completely relaxed when I am playing while nobody is around. I consider live music a  very intimate experience. So you can imagine how great it was to discover the opportunity of composing and producing tracks all by myself. Having the chance to isolate myself from the rest of the world for hours to emerge with my new sound, is something that gives me a lot of peace. Despite my ability to record digitally and to use MIDI equipment, I didn’t begin my first real electronic production until the age of 21-22. Around that age I also started to dj.

S2S: How did you get your name Qubo?

MB: I’ve been producing for a while as T and Psyk-O-Groove, when I was more into hardtek and darkpsy/psytrance. While I was switching to other styles I enjoyed my time every now and then solving the Rubik’s Cube. It happened sometimes that I was hanging out with my friends at home, DJ-ing and solving the cube at the same time. One day, I was talking with some friends about the fact that I should start playing in Berlin, and that I needed a new name. Somebody came up with “Cubo” (“cube” in Italian). I really liked it, we just switched the “C” with a lower case “q” and I had a new nickname.

Pantone Cube

S2S: What impact or influence did and does Berlin have on you regarding the music you make?

MB: Well, the techno / house / minimal scene in Berlin is so dense that it is impossible not to be influenced. This may sound naive, but I think what has influenced me the most is watching people partying and going literally crazy. It’s not easy to find something similar anywhere else! Honestly, I have to say that I have been influenced [by Berlin] more as a DJ than as a producer. But that could be linked to personal reasons, since in the last two years I haven’t really produced much.

S2S: In Berlin the Deep House scene is probably the most popular genre of electronic music. How do you relate to it? What does Deep House mean to you?

MB: Deep House, specifically, not much. Even though I also have my favorite styles – and Deep House, for sure, is one of them – I prefer to consider electronic club-music  a unique experience. And this means to me no idols, no icons, and no heroes. The DJ must play for the crowd and should, in my opinion, not to be idolized. And luckily, it’s what I see, most of the times. I don’t like rock-star DJs. This kind of attitude is completely inappropriate in electronic music. The best live-set / DJ-set happens when people are dancing and tripping, without even caring about who is on the stage – letting loose of everything to some extent.

S2S: What are your goals for “Qubo?”


MB: I’ve spent most of my life listening or playing music, but I never thought seriously of trying to make a living from it and I’m humble regarding my musical skills. Therefore, I never really thought about it. Right now I’m DJ-ing every now and then, and I am putting a lot of effort into producing my own tracks: what I would really love for the immediate future is to keep going this way, finding the energy and the time to do even more. But I don’t want to aim at anything specific, if not playing the music I like. Once a friend told me “there is nothing more exciting and cool than producing the tracks that you like to listen to yourself.” You know what I mean? At the end of the day, that is what makes me happy. And this spirit is the reason why I’ve played and listened to music the last 22 years and I’ve never (and I mean it… never) been bored with it.

S2S: Who do you want to reach with your music?

MB: Nobody in particular! Whenever I see that one person is honestly appreciating my music… that’s it, I don’t need much more right now. I like to see people dance to my music and I want to keep it as simple as that.

S2S: When it comes to passion for music or art, or simply the desire to act on anything that makes one happy, what is your advice?

MB: We spend a lot of time doing things we don’t really want to do! Only a few people  have a job they like a 100%, only a few people are free of everyday burdens, and that is the nature of things when you live in a society, among other people – somehow you have to work things out. So, this is my advice: don’t screw it, don’t approach your passion aiming at something else, live it intimately. When it’s been the worst day at work, or when I am mad with my friends and I want to punch them, I know I can go back home, switch on my equipment and have fun. I really don’t want this to change.

S2S: As Berlin seems to be a paradise for DJs, are there any negative aspects?

MB: I guess so. But this city gave me so much that I wouldn’t feel comfortable saying anything bad about it. If you look at the situation, there are plenty of opportunities for those who want to play or listen to electronic music, and nothing else really matters. The only thing negative I can see is that there are not other cities like this one!

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