Deep, techy and colourful vibes served up by one of our favourite producers of the moment Cleveland.

Luxembourg-born Andrea Mancini, started the Cleveland project back in 2012 after moving to Brussels and has not looked back since. With stand out releases on labels such as Hivern Discs, ESP and Kalahari Oyster Cult amongst others, his music has become a regular fixture in the record bags of tastemakers from around the globe. A multi-faceted artist, he has fused his experiences across mediums, exploring visual arts alongside his musical exploits. And with this distinctive approach, he creates an abstract and stimulating blend of music, that explores the sonic boundaries of modern electronic music.

We caught up with the European maestro to hear about the launch of his new label Suzi and his other artistic endeavours both in and out the music world. Whilst the accompanying mix, is an assortment of hypnotic flavours, that also includes 2 tracks from the next Suzi record. Dive in and enjoy!

Ciao Andrea, how’s life? How have you spent the holidays?

Ciao ragazzi life is exciting at some times and frustrating at other times, I guess you know the frustration part. But I’m also quite motivated since it’s a new year with new projects. I spent my holidays with my girlfriend, my dog, my friends and my family. NYE was quite fun, not playing, just celebrating! I’ve also been quite busy working on some non-music related sound work.

You have an intriguing background… From Luxembourg, Italian roots and now based in Brussels. We can’t imagine there was much of a scene in Luxembourg growing up? (Although we could be wrong) what led you on the path to be an artist and what are the key influences in the development of your own musical style?

Let’s call it European haha, that’s how I feel. Yeah, I mean we grew up with Miss Kittin, Vitalic, The Hacker mixes and going to I love Techno in Gent or Dour festival once a year, but locally it was very hard to find a so-called scene that we could relate to; that’s why we decided to throw events ourselves in small bars or commercial clubs but with the music we liked. Today Luxembourg is in better hands, with collectives like Lagerkultur that combine the young art and club scene finding exciting line ups and locations.

A key moment in my life was the decision to leave the secondary school near my village in Lux to go to another one in Luxembourg City, the capital. That decision led to hanging out with friends that were musicians studying in the European school. At that moment I decided to buy a Microkorg and I bought a CD-ROM of a DAW software that was called “Music Maker” and started to make my own music together with a friend. Then another big moment was moving to Brussels and quite straightforwardly hanging out with the right people from the underground electronic music scene. Another key moment was probably going to art school and opening up my musical horizons even more. I think that these plus various other moments and encounters have contributed to what I have become as an artist and contributed to my sound.

Big congrats on the launch of the Suzi label just a few months back, we’re really feeling the vibe from your first VA. Can you tell us a bit about the label inspiration, ethos and what you have coming up?

Thanks! Launching my own label has been a dream coming true, thanks to Crevette Records from Brussels. My idea of a label is creating a platform for musicians and artists to express themselves freely. Having collaborations and talks between the musicians, the visual artists and myself is very pleasant and enriching. As you could have guessed through the first release, the label will not stick to one genre – the curation is not fixed, I love many things. I want it to be a home for adventurous and intimate music that doesn’t necessarily have to be 100% club ready or “experimental”. A good release for me is all about balance. The next SUZI is going to be a 4 track EP from an amazing artist from NYC – the release is ready and being mastered right now. Let’s see how the record plant delays are going to be in the coming months.

In terms of your own music, we loved your latest release on Kalahari Oyster Cult too, knowing Colin and the label pretty well, it seems a perfect musical fit. What can you tell us about that release and are there any follow up plans?

Congratulations to Colin for his excellent work with the label! Golem EP is a snapshot of my sound in 2021 basically. I’m very happy with the title track, it has everything I love, bleeps, and weird spooky sounds. Having Junes on board for the remix is amazing; I had been following him for years and this has been his very first remix, so quite honored, and the result is great! Golem is my second Kalahari EP and right now we have no real follow up plans, also because I have to finish new music first. But Colin will always be one of the first to hear new music from myself, so who knows? 🙂

Of course the future looks pretty uncertain still for the scene with the ongoing pandemic, what’s your personal outlook? And how have you and will you continue to navigate what is a difficult landscape?

Personally I’ve been using the time in this pandemic to try new things, alternative non-music-only circuits; in coding and visual arts but also in sound design. That’s also the plan for this year; trying to get projects approved that are not only musical but more multi-disciplinary, trying to find new opportunities, which is basically what everyone is doing hehe.

Also we remember reading in another article you have a Bachelors in Visual arts but at the time of that particular interview you were very much fully focused on the music. Any plans to mix these mediums in the future?

Yes, like I said before that’s been the case in 2021 with two art residencies; one that lasted 6 months, in collaboration with a center of contemporary art in Luxembourg called Casino and another one at Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris that ended in December. It has been very exciting to work on non-musical stuff and also very nourishing for musical ideas. This is also the plan for 2022, to work on media-art projects and music in parallel.

Picture of Cleveland

Finally, what can you tell us about the mix you’ve recorded for us?

This recording is my second take (recording) for this podcast series, it has a lot of club vibes but it’s more or less built as a podcast that goes around different moments, some more quirky, some smooth, some more intense, others more tech-housey, basically all I love in club music. It also includes forthcoming SUZI tracks.