Artist Spotlight – Giuseppe Ottaviani


When you think of trance legends that have been going strong for decades,

Giuseppe Ottaviani is the Italian gold standard. Since 2001 with NU NRG, Giuseppe has been delivering breathtaking tracks and albums that cover the spectrum of trance. What makes him stand out is how his music keeps evolving.  Staying modern and fresh but undeniably trance, Giuseppe is also changing the way he delivers his music live. To give a new twist to live performances, Giuseppe is the exact opposite of a ‘button presser’.  I was lucky enough to sit with the Italian master himself and see why he is a true music lover.

Thank you again for sitting with me. It has been 4 years since I last interviewed you and what seems like a different world, how has life and touring been in the post lock down era for you been like?  Any changes you like now compared to before? If you could change anything, would you?

Yeah, well, it’s so far so good… You know, coming back starting my normal life again. It kind of changed a little bit, especially the way I see the music. I saw myself before a pandemic being stuck in one single genre. [Being constantly going, never had the time to stop and evaluate] so with having the time to stop, relax, and getting a lot of free time to listen to other kind of music, I discovered a lot of artists that I didn’t even know they existed.  Just because I’ve always been focused on what I’m doing. I had a chance to discover a lot of different music and which I really love post-pandemic. I would say everything is very exciting right now, because basically I find melodies [everywhere]. Melodies in every different genre now, and I love the fact that you can play different type of sounds in one set and still fits together.

DS:  So, what we’re some of the artists that you discovered?

GO: Well, one guy was Ben Bohmer, like I never heard about him before.

DS: Actually, I heard about him because The Thrillseekers mentioned his name in one of his live streams, and I was like this is good.

GO: Exactly, I never heard of him, but love it. You see the type of music is completely different from what I used to play, right? So, when I discovered this, I was like, this is something different. I love it. And I fell in love with that with that type of sound, which I came out with an album – Horizons. Yeah, that kind of open my eyes to old many different things and every like to, to put all these things together now.

I was initially hesitant to ask this question? But I really want to know your thoughts since it caught a lot of traction recently. John Summit recently made a tweet saying, “That trance is back.” What are your thoughts on that?

What does he mean by trance is back? As I mentioned before, there are great melodies in every single genre now. But just because of melody, of course, yeah. But the feeling, you know, the soul that comes out from those melodies it’s basically what we love. Yeah, so you can play whatever it’s called, melodic techno, progressive house, do whatever you want. It’s still good music, playing melodies. And that’s the most important thing.

DS: I think that euphoric sound, that we all like, is coming back. And as you said, it is very exciting times right now because there’s a lot of genres that are blending.

GO: [It is exciting, and because you have the blending of genres] you can have a lineup with all different artists coming from different genres. Not sticking to the same lineup…and fits perfectly for the night.

DS: I’m excited for tonight.

You recently played for ASOT 1000 in Utrecht. Was that the biggest crowd you have performed live to? If not, what was? If so, how did you mentally prepare for it? How do you calm yourself to play for such a large crowd?

No, it wasn’t the biggest one in terms of numbers. But very exciting. Because [the audience] knows the music… [So, you know they are going to judge you if you are not on. It’s not like a club with maybe 500 people. It is like 15,000 people, and every single person knows your music and albums] … I don’t know the exact number, but definitely up there.

DS: What would you say was the would be the largest crowd you played for?

GO: I would have to say I played for a massive crowd in Spain this year at Medusa Festival. It was a multi-genre festival, and I was on the trance act on main stage.

DS: So how do you prepare when you have a crowd that large?

GO: I don’t do anything different, because from the stage you can’t see much.  You just see a wall of people in front of you, you have the light in your eyes, you can’t really hear. You know when they say, DJs can read the crowd, well you can’t. You can’t really see much, so you just play… I just smashed it out, had fun with it and you heard the crowd back, that is how you know.

When we talked in 2019, we talked about doing live shows and we rated shows from vinyl being .8 live to your 2.0 live shows. Since then, you have introduced your Live 3.0 show. What does this consist of? What is the next level of live for you? Have you ever thought of doing a live orchestra or band in a performance? Why or why not?

The main difference between 2.0 and 3.0 is that with 2.0, I was creating music live and on the fly. Everything was based on loops for example, like a drum loop. So, I would play a melody, put in the loop, and create this new song… the issue that I had with that it really, really kept me busy. I couldn’t even look at the crowd. And secondly, the music doesn’t have the power of a finished song. Sometimes you really want to give the extra power of a very nice drop [for the] crowd, but it didn’t have the same feel with that kind of production. It was working fine but not great. So, the 3.0 brings music coming from the studio already pre-made, but it comes with a different concept. Basically, I make 90% of the music so it is new and inclusively for every 3.0 show and then I have full control on the audio stems and then I play from the keyboards the main melodies, the main instruments, and then I have drums with my drum machine. It’s a lot but it’s a lot of fun. But you know, it’s way easier for me, because I don’t have to create something there, it’s already been made. And it sounds much better. So, it’s more about replaying life. What you have done in the studio,

DS: That makes a lot of sense, and you are really busy back there. Have you ever thought maybe doing like a live orchestra or do with a band?

GO: I’ve done that before in the UK few years ago. It was just a 15-20-minute set with an orchestra. I enjoyed it. It’s a little bit weird.

DS: Would you do it again now?

GO: Yeah, probably

DS: Okay, I need to speak with Jeff Ryan and Chris to book this at the Disney Hall in Downtown LA with the whole Orchestra ha-ha.

You are a family man and obviously a successful producer/DJ who tours around the world. How do you balance work and life? Do you have any regrets when it comes to your schedule?

No regrets. Honestly, it’s all good… The main thing for me is having the studio in my house. I see my wife every single day, I make breakfast. Get the kids to school and make lunch. I’m there. Everybody can go in and out from the studio all day. The other thing is that I’m flying out on Fridays and Mondays or Sunday depending on the show. So yeah, I believe it’s a good balance because I’m there even more than other parents. Most parents work during the week and have a free weekend. I’m just the opposite and this works out for me.

You have the nickname “Italian Maestro” or “Italian Stallion” what are your thoughts on that?

Well, I play the piano, but I’m not a pianist.

DS: I think with as many keyboards that you own, you should each to be considered a pianist. What is the difference?

GO: Okay, to compare, I can give you an example. I was in London, I had to play a show at this underground. The show had a piano out front and before my show I have to play this piano. It was supposed to be like a 20 people, but 200 people show up. All I was doing was playing this very simple melody on the piano because obviously when you play dance music on the piano it’s kind of a very simple. And all these people going crazy, recording live on Facebook. And all I could imagine that if I was a real pianist watching this, I would wonder what are these people listening to this garbage.

Finally, if you could only live by one motto what would it be and why?

I don’t know.

DS: Everyone says this is always like the hardest question.

GO:  It is. And honestly, I don’t know. I think just go. You know GO, GO!

DS: I love it. We’re going to run with it. Well thank you so much for taking the time to sit with me here again I can’t wait to see your live 3.0 live show soon.