Born in Switzerland, and raised in Chile, Luciano, aka Lucien Nicolet, has been electrifying dancefloors for two decades now with his blend of minimal techno and Latin rhythms.
While he counts releases on labels such as Perlon, Peacefrog, M_nus, Transmat, Playhouse, Klang Electronic, Metroplex, and Novamute under his belt, he’s best known for his work on Cadenza, the label he co-founded with long-time friend Philippe Quenum in 2003. He also helped soundtrack many a summer as the resident at Ibiza‘s notorious Circo Loco, as well as touring the world with his ‘Vagabundos’ event brand.
As he heads into 2024, he’s planning a host of activities to mark the 20th anniversary of Cadenza, including events, releases and collaborations, more on which will be revealed shortly.
But in the meantime, he sat down with 909originals to reveal ‘Five things you didn’t know about Luciano’. Over to you, Lucien!
1 – His father used to repair jukeboxes.
“My earliest musical memory would have to be my childhood home – my parents hosting dinners, having people around, and the atmosphere buzzing with the sound of disco music. I still remember the sound of my dad fixing Wurlitzers, old jukeboxes that were endlessly fascinating to me. It was like magic. You just press a button and watch the record come out and start playing. I was completely mesmerised.
“My mum was always singing and playing music around the place, when she was cooking or working, or whatever. And the music always created a sense of safety and warmth around us. It set the mood, and made everyone feel comfortable, welcome. Music was always around, and for me it’s never gone away.”
2 – He got into electronic music via punk.
“Going to a French school in Chile, I discovered punk music through bands like Les Garçons Bouchers and Bérurier Noir.
“But what really got me hooked were the drum machines they sometimes used. They had a unique sound that really got to me, which turned out to be LinnDrums. This fascination with the idea of a drum sequencer instead of real drums stuck with me, and before long I was playing guitar over a drum machine myself.
“That was the moment when a whole new world of possibilities opened up for me. That grew into a desire to use technology to create other sounds – and exploring and experimenting with those sounds and rhythms was the beginning of electronic music for me.”
3 – His clubbing ‘epiphany’ took place in Lausanne.
“Back in Switzerland one time, me and a friend discovered a place called MAD Club in Lausanne that was getting pretty popular with a younger crowd, and that was where I first went to a trance music night.
“The whole experience really left a mark – the music, the resonant frequencies, the whole concept of trance. Not trance as a genre, but more the state of mind induced by the repetitive beats. Getting into that transcendent state where language becomes irrelevant, no vocals, no clearly structured songs — just an endless stream of pulsating beats all throughout the night.”
4 – He launched Cadenza after Orange Mistake was repeatedly rejected.
“It all came together suddenly. I had just finished working with Quenum on the track Orange Mistake. I don’t remember exactly, but I submitted it to some renowned labels like Perlon and Klang – maybe the track was too intense, and they just sent it back.
“Around the same time, my sister was studying graphic design at university, and since I was so determined to get the track out there, I had the idea of creating a record label purely to release Orange Mistake. I hadn’t really been planning to launch a fully-fledged label, but the response in Germany and in England was incredible, and soon we were riding high in the charts, so we thought ‘let’s see where Cadenza will take us’.
5 – He’s in the process of building a new studio.
“The plan for this year is to ease up a bit on touring so I can spend more time in the studio getting creative. I’m building a new studio setup with a mix of analogue and digital technology, and I can’t wait to get it up and running.
“As for upcoming projects, I’m really excited about a new release I’m doing with Arapu. We’re also working on some tracks from the well-known techno producer Franco Cinelli from Argentina. Also, there’s this new voice from Moldova called Holchin that I’m hoping to collaborate with soon. So it’s going to be a great mix of fresh talent and established Cadenza artists like Reboot and Cesar Merveille.
“We’re also working on a book to celebrate twenty years of Cadenza, looking back on how we got here and where we’re headed.
“Basically we’re taking a new approach, with more time to brainstorm, incubate new ideas and come back with something big and bold for next year.”
Keep up to date with the latest releases on Cadenza at cadenzamusic.bandcamp.com.