Here’s a brief Q&A with one of our fave diggers Cesare Barbetta. His blog, Boxes Of Toys, changed our musical vision around the same time we started Krossfingers. He’s sharing crazy discoveries there for almost 10 years and this year he launched his next project, the reissue label Orbeatize.
Cesare, there’s almost no info about you in the internet, introduce yourself please.
I’m 39, have a degree in Economics (for my parents’ joy) and work in my family’s clothing company, but I’ve been collecting CDs, music videos, tapes and vinyl since I was 10. I started collecting rap and R&B then electronic and dance records (I was an MTV-holic in the 80s-90s), then moved to Italo/disco/funk and also prog/fusion/kraut/psych/experimental jazz and recently to libraries too, but electronic and proto-techno sounds are my favourite (my dream in life was and still is to become a techno producer). After spending thousands of hours (and Euros) on music, last year I decided to start my own label Orbeatize.
But we know you through the blog, when did you start it?
I started «Boxes of Toys» on the 30th December 2008. Natalie Cole «La Costa» was my first post: fantastic track, maybe a proto-Balearic one, or better to call it an «Open sound» track!
There’s something similar to our ear in the records you share there.
Yes, I dig for sounds «out of time» or «ahead of the times» which I like labelling as «Open sound» or «Weird». So I prefer «Open sound/Weird» rather than Balearic or other «temporary» styles.
Was the blog your first project of sharing music with the world?
No, I had contributed a bit to Basso’ blog «The Growing Bin».
How did the «music internet» look like at the time?
I felt in love with the «Kraut-Team» and «My Jazz World» blogs and used to fill my hard discs with album rips (but never had the time to listen it carefully). It was like living in Eden garden: you didn’t know where to start
What were the biggest stories/meetings connected to the blog?
Why do you continue making the blog?
As Alexander Supertramp said: «happiness is real when shared».
How did you gather your crazy record collection?
I’ve always had the misfortune of meeting big and good-ears collectors, so my life was and still is a records spending.
Do you even have time to check other people’s discoveries?
I started from other people’s discoveries then moved rapidly to a personal digging.
How would you describe your taste at the moment and in perspective (did it change with time)?
My ear is constantly hungry and improved over the years. I love electronic sounds shaked in a modern weird psychedelic way à la Bentley Rhythm Ace or Sean O’Neal / Chemical Brothers first productions: that harmonic dance beat resulting from mixing different genres is an orgiastic pleasure for my ears.
And what was the turning point to start the label?
Actually seeing other people successfully publishing the records I introduced to them.
How would you describe your native country musically?
Precursor and brilliant: Italy of the 60s and 70s contributed a lot to change the world’s musical paradigm.
Do you listen modern music?
Do you like anything?
Nowadays it’s very very hard to find that «weird» sound I like.
Your favorite labels releasing music today?
Music From Memory, The Growing Bin, Invisible City Editions, Kompakt, Traum, Cinedelic.
And from the past?
Tell about your last crazy discoveries.
The most unusual place where you found a record?
A disused warehouse of Italian «RAI TV» company.
Do you see some diggers like you around? or who do you appreciate?
Few but good (I mean diggers of weird «multigenre» records): Dan Psychemagik, J. Evan Jordan & Charles, Simone DJ Serio, Valerio Lo Dico, Duba @cinedelic, Juliana & Keith @pourquoimoivintage.
Do you have some records in your wantlist that you still can’t buy?
Unfortunately I did everything for getting a record from my wantlist, even if there are about fifty records that I’ve never seen in my life (mostly libraries): no Discogs, no Popsike, no Google, nothing. My wife says I could sell her if I should find a mega rare record, and I use to reply her: «Which one?»
What do you think about modern «digger classics» with crazy prices on Discogs that everybody wants to have?
When the reissue is available I’m not crazy anymore. And when prices become very high it is mainly due to the first pressing hunting.
What’s your home audio setup?
My next step is to become an audiophile. My home system is very simple with Technics SL 1200 turntables, Pioneer CD players and BOSE amplifiers.
Why do you think the Fantastic World by Armando Bertozzi is the best Italian record ever?
An «ahead of the times» drums technique together with electronic and folk genius. I love records like Bertozzi’ one where different genres mixing magically in a unique harmonic style.
Almost all artists on your label are hidden heroes — are they all your own discoveries?
Yes, except ORB-04 Kondens LP (which I discoveried through sheyeye.com). When I contacted Knut Skodvin, he sent me the original master tapes of his unreleased 80′s theatre pieces. You can imagine how I felt when I heard those «weird» sounds for the first time (which have been included in the bonus 2nd LP of the reissue).
What’s the plan about the label?
I’ve scheduled to publish 10 releases per year, and I’ll be very proud when I reach agreements with very obscure artists I’m keeping in touch with.
Do you have the mission of the blog/label?
Sharing «weird» music.
What are your passions besides music?
I have a wife and a little son