Valerio Bonfa is a label, a rhythm, a feeling. He is one of those fast-growing players in the club culture game. Valerio is from Palermo, he has been living on music since he was a teenager and now he is DJ and producer of the label Whole Story. His passion for Tech-House leads him to play around the world and to collaborate with several music production studios. When you listen to Valerio’s soft and melodic music you find yourself in another country, on another journey that you never had the courage to undertake in which his beats show you the way. Valerio experiments, puts together different sounds to create something originally urban. Inspiration can come from the slightest noise at night and you should never lose it.
We met Valerio, he told us about his music, which is something sacred, and his path from the beginning.
Hi Valerio, when was Valerio Bonfa Dj born?
Hello DARE CLAN, it is an honor to answer your questions. Valerio Bonfa DJ was born in 2007, but the passion and desire to become a DJ has been there since I was little, when at parties, instead of having fun on the dance floor, my first thought was to stay next to the console with the DJ, and watch how he mixed the records in time. After a few years I bought my first dj console and from that moment Valerio Bonfa DJ was born.
You didn’t choose an artistic name to stay true and real as your music. What do you think about it?
No, actually my full name is Valerio Bonfardeci. At the beginning I thought about an artistic name, I had chosen BVD, or others similar. They didn’t convince me though. Since my school days I have always been nicknamed Bonfa, it is simply an abbreviation of my surname, and it is also very simple. And, since all my friends call me Bonfa, it was one of the easiest choices. It reflects me and above all makes me comfortable.
Where do you live now?
At the moment, due to the difficult and particular moment that we are all going through, I live in my small hometown, San Giuseppe Jato, in the Province of Palermo, where I work, I own a house, and where I carry out my favorite activity in my free time, that is the music production in my studio. But one day, however, I hope to have many points of reference around the world.
Tell us about your beginnings. Have you always played Tech House?
At first I was familiar with the Tech House genre, but when I started mixing I preferred a less underground genre like House Music. Among these genres, I mainly dabbled in the Progressive House genre. It was my favorite genre to listen to and to mix at the beginning, I got to know it thoroughly thanks to a trip to Copenhagen where I visited several clubs where only this genre was danced. From then on it was an evolution, gradually a real love for the Underground world, and especially for the Tech House genre, blossomed thanks to the experiences made in the following years, and especially at the beginning of my production career, in 2012.
Today you have the opportunity to collaborate with artists such as Tom & Collins. How has your music changed, if it has changed, after this collaboration?
Well, I must say that this collaboration was born thanks to Luis and Starsky, who are my points of reference. They were the first ones to believe in my potential as a producer in 2018, when MING, after an exchange of simple messages, got me their contacts. I sent them 4 of my productions, the best ones of course, the ones I thought were most appropriate and that could have been successful. They contacted me shortly after, with a simple video call on Skype to better understand who I was and what my intentions in the world of producers were. I think I was clear enough! Mine is not a short-term project, I have many songs, and I’m not going to stop. They told me about their projects, such as Whole Story, and suddenly there was a connection between us. Luis and Starsky have many contacts in the world of music, and today what seemed impossible to me just over a year ago has become reality. Luis talked about me to Tom & Collins, a duo present in the charts as Top 100 Dj Mag and very famous all over the world. Obviously they have high standards for production, but they immediately put me at ease, leaving me free in the choices of production and creation. Luckily, they enjoyed the remix of their song Glad I Came in collaboration with Jem Cooke, and it will be released on Spotify and all other platforms on November 27th.
How does an Italian DJ get in touch with Whole Story?
Whole Story is a Mexican label, created by Starsky and Luis. As I said earlier, I got in touch with Luis thanks to an American artist, MING, who was already part of Whole Story. I sent messages to MING via Instagram, who kindly replied to me and listened to some of my songs. He really liked them and he immediately put me in touch with Luis. From that moment Luis and Starsky talked to me about their projects, which are very interesting and in line with the growth of the label and also with my artistic project realized between the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020. We have planned the release of 4 tracks on exactly 2 EPs., to immediately impress the audience. Fortunately, we did very well and were also able to enter the main charts of the genre on Beatport. From that moment on, it was a “climb” and today we find ourselves collaborating with Tom & Collins and other successful record companies.
Freak of the week and In control create a very urban atmosphere. Do you follow a linear path to bring your music to life or do you want to experiment every time?
I love to experiment every time. I’m not a producer who often uses the same sounds. Many times my production stems from many variables, such as a bass line that suddenly comes to my mind, a type of sound I like, a nocturnal inspiration and so on. From the moment something comes to mind, I try to insert it immediately into a project, and from that sound, like a type of bass line, a track is born. Freak of The Week comes from a collaboration with MING, a great American producer. We agreed on some choices regarding the project and from that moment on we created a beautiful track, which was then supported by many famous artists, including David Guetta. In Control, instead, was born from old school sounds that I found in some libraries and VSTs, and it was a great unexpected big hit.
Are your creations your alter ego? How much of Valerio is there in your music?
There is a lot of Valerio, my ideas, and my productions stand out from everything else that belongs to this same genre. In this world there is often a fine line that distinguishes one genre from another just by a simple melody, Kick or Clap. Obviously, I try to prefer my favorite genre trying to insert variations that don’t go beyond this line, not because I don’t like to vary the style or genre (it’s also the beautiful part of creation and production), but simply because before that I want to affirm myself in this field.
You have played for a long time in Egypt. How is Tech House music considered in a country like Egypt?
To be honest, my experience of several months in Egypt was the most significant for the growth of my career as an artist and not only. Living with people with a culture different from yours is never easy, but what you receive and add to your knowledge base, not only regarding music, is never little and trivial. They have different tastes and musical genres obviously like every culture, but they also love Underground music when they want to have fun. In any case, you know, music always brings together any culture. I’ve been to Sharm El Sheik, where Pacha is located, which is a big club where many artists of my genre have also played.
What are the prevailing influences in your music?
My most prevalent influences come from sounds with full-bodied bass, distinctive Kicks, Vocals and melodies that can also come from other genres such as House, Soul, Urban, Old school, but also Funky or Latin. Surely also Synth and sounds in general, depends on the type of project.
You took part in the Warmth Episode 222 of the MINGsMusic podcast. Was it your first experience in this field?
Yes, I participated as a guest on Warmth 222, MING’s weekly podcast, during which I chose some of his songs I prefer at the moment and I mixed them for this episode. It was my first time as a guest on a very popular podcast, but for many years I have been dedicating a monthly appointment on my Soundcloud page to the best tracks chosen by me and mixed. So it wasn't that difficult to take part.
What does DARE mean for you?
DARE has many meanings to me. It is very important for an artist to always try to dare to improve your standards if you have specific goals. Increasing your audience, improving your songs, satisfying your brand more and more, without neglecting the skills and knowledge that need continuous training, have great relevance in this context. Although I have another job that gives me great satisfaction and a stable economic base but which unfortunately also takes a lot of time away from production, I have always believed in my project to build and present myself and my music to an ever wider audience. Certainly it is not easy to make room in a world where great artists already have a certain fame and following. It often happens to receive hard blows after spending days, weeks or months creating your project which is then not appreciated by other people, or you are not taken into consideration because you don’t have a famous name, or your emails are ignored and much more. I went through all of this, and there have also been some dark moments in my career, during which I had also given up on production and my dreams for a few years. Then a spark, a contact that helps you, and today I found myself working non-stop, creating songs for so many requests, and having created a small space in the Underground music world. Only 12 months ago my fifth official song was launched with Whole Story, and today the Remix for Tom & Collins just came out. These are so many great steps forward, successes and beautiful projects that increase my expectations and make me hope for a 2021 full of surprises and many news that will bring me ever closer to my goals and dreams as an artist.
How can DJs reinvent themselves in such a particular historical period?
Music always changes, sounds over the years vary regardless of the historical period. Surely, for producers, 2020 has been a very profitable year thanks to new experiments and releases of many songs given the various lockdowns that have hit the world. On the other hand, for my part, I must surely consider myself lucky since I carry out a job in addition to production. But there are many artists, even of great fame, of my same genre who live only on parties, events around the world, and production. And for them 2020 has been a really terrible year. Unfortunately, the production and release of underground tracks does not always manage to make you live peacefully and get the right income for your efforts. You also need parties or events around the world, or at least in your city. Fortunately, many have managed to come up with something just to try to move forward and hope this period will pass quickly. Many great artists and producers have created courses for aspiring producers, others hold courses for DJs, others weekly programs on musical genres. Some, through Tik Tok, managed to have great notoriety and become famous. Fortunately, every cloud has a silver lining. I wish those who haven’t been able to remedy their situation that this bad period will end as soon as possible. In general, I hope we will return to normal as soon as possible.
To know more about Vaerio's work, click here.
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