Francesco Pagano is one of the biggest and best London-based gay DJ-producers working the international circuit right now, and this weekend he’s back in the capital to rock his monthly residency ahead of his second anniversary at XXL this summer. Here he talks releasing singles, how he prepares for his signature nine-hour sets (one if which is coming up at XXL Fusion at the end of the month!) and Star Trek.
Hi Pagano, how has 2018 been for you so far?
Really good so far! My DJ gigs have taken me everywhere from New York City to Moscow and in every major city in Europe. My residency at XXL in London is going from strength to strength. My recent mixed compilation Evolution Vol. 1 – out on my label KISM Recordings – has been praised online by DJ Mag and has rocked six different Beatport charts simultaneously, hitting the number one spot in one of them!
We know you are always in the studio, what have you been working on and what’s coming up for release?
I have just released a track on Mark Knight’s label Toolroom Records titled The Rebel, which has been getting great support worldwide. At the end of May I will release my new single Give It To Me, in collaboration with Reza and vocals from Sweet Female Attitude, whose song Flowers made it to number two in the UK Singles Chart. Give It To Me has already been supported on KISS FM and we are also producing a cheeky video for this one that I can’t wait to unveil.
Apart from XXL where else have you been DJing?
This first quarter in 2018 has been pretty hectic for me. I have toured extensively throughout Europe and DJed in Berlin, Cologne, Brussels, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Madrid, Paris, Lyon, Rome, Padua and a few others cities. I have also played in New York City at Alegria and in Moscow at Play, plus back in January I joined the Atlantis Caribbean Cruise for a series of gigs. I need a staycation, soon…
This Saturday you are back at XXL, can you sum up what the club means to you on every level?
There is no place like home! First week in July it will be two years since I first joined the XXL team and it has been a great ride. The management is very supportive, the venue looks and sounds amazing, the crowd is always up for it. It is a great platform and a rewarding gig. In my career I have DJed or held residencies at some of the most legendary London clubs and events: from Trade to DTPM, Heaven to Crash, Beyond to Fire, MegaWoof! to Brut. Right now XXL and Pulse are the best London has to offer and the perfect fit for me and my sound.
At the end of the month you are back at Pulse for Bear Pride weekend playing a nine-hour set on the Sunday at Fusion. How the hell do you get through a nine-hour set?
I can’t wait for my first ever nine hours DJ set in London for Fusion at Pulse on bank holiday Sunday 27 May. I have been playing these marathon DJ sets in Amsterdam for more than 10 years now. They are as exciting as they are tiring and challenging. Imagine a nine-hour shift, on your feet, under constant people’s eyes and scrutiny, without any breaks and where you have to stay continuously focused on what you are doing and the room you are playing. OK, do not call the social workers just yet! It is still a DJ gig and the energy I receive back is incredible. During these extended DJ sets I do not drink any caffeine and very little alcohol, if any. I usually have a fridge full of healthy snacks and apple juice to help me with my energy levels. As for toilet breaks, when I am lucky some clubs have toilets adjacent or in the DJ both. Otherwise beware what cup you might pick from my DJ booth as it might not be apple juice after all…
And on the same night at Fusion those cheeky boys from Beefmince are in room two, and we know you’ve been spotted at their night at the RVT. What is it you like about Beefmince?
Dan and Argyris from Beefmince are great hosts and I have indeed enjoyed letting my hair down at their event a few times. The event is very sociable but at the same time DJ Silverhook and his team do a great job keeping you interested in the music by mixing 80s influenced nu-disco and house with remixes of rave and electronic classics. Thanks to this, Beefmince has developed a very loyal and friendly following, and so the collaboration with Mark Ames and his infamous Fusion events seemed the logical next step.
We know you like a bit of sci-fi and your heart is Klingon. Have you been enjoying Star Trek Discovery and Lost in Space?
HIja’ petaQ! I have enjoyed seeing the puny hoo-mans suffering at the hands of my fellow Klingons and cannot wait for season 2. However, as much as I have enjoyed Discovery, I wish they’d kept in a bit more of the original Roddenberry vibe and philosophy. I am enjoying Lost In Space as well. I like how they are exploring the relation between AI and humans. I still have a few episodes left. I’ll let you know what I think of it during our next chat.