They call him El Diablo...Next level Milanese Dj and founding father of The Hakke Show, he also dabbles in choreography and clothing design. A man of many names and many moves, he is turning the tide for the next generation of gabbers and "gabberinas" alike. The techno scene has a new frontier and this is your front man.
Your name is Alberto Guerrini aka Gabber Eleganza. What do your friends and family call you?
They call me El Diablo.
What name and message do you want on your tombstone?
Alberto Guerrini "I wanna see the rainbow high in the sky; I wanna see you and me on a bird flying away; And then I hope to see your smile every night and day”.
How old are you anyway?
I've passed through your hometown a few times (or at least the general area - between Milan and Venice). The very first time was in 2001....I was on a huge tourist bus looking out the window. As a teenager I wondered what I was missing out on and where the cool kids were. What was I missing out on (in 2001) and where were the cool kids?
Between Milano and Venezia there's "Pianura Padana" the most industrialized, polluted and working class area in all of Europe. Through the highway you just see warehouses and fabrics for 300km. There is no time to be cool. It's a strange area....we grew up with a deep depression and many cultural needs.....with true feelings and suburban charm. The cool kids are in Milano and they never die.
I know you started listening to hardcore techno music around the age of 10 years old. A stark contrast to me at that age. I was playing "Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam" on the piano and listening to Boys 2 Men on the radio because of my older sisters. Was it the older kids that got you into techno? Did you have to learn the piano growing up?!
In the area of Padana there were many of the most famous 90s clubs and discotheque kids. Everybody had some brother or sister or cousin involved. Tapes were the most wanted things. We were hungry for the new weirdo stuff; extreme and outrageous music with horror artworks - especially hardcore music.
In your interview with Dazed you mention that at one point you had to choose btwn two different scenes: Harcore Warrior and Gabber. Is it still that way or are there new subcultures emerging within the Gabber scene itself?
In Italy, there was a big scene in the late 90s until 2002. Hardcore Warriors are a strange mix of hard trance and fluo raver with punk style and extravaganza. It was all d.i.y. style - absolutely unique. Meanwhile, gabber was a copy of our dutch cousins. There is no huge scene anymore, now hardcore fans are more casual, hybrid and black like in all hard sound scenes.
How does one train physically to be a Gabber? Can you explain the intensity of how people move to the music and maybe touch on a few different styles represented in your crew? I watched the video of one of your newer members Young Cippo and it blew my mind how liquid his movements were! Tell us about him and/or the Hakke Team players.
Training is done at home. Hardcore sound is more about deep rooted feelings and emotions. It isn't just the new fashion or trend. The moves follow the intensity of the sound, everybody wants to follow the beats and when a song is 180 bpm the moves are extremely fast. My Hakke crew is composed by all ex gabbers, but in the last month I added a young gabber. Other members are all my close friends with different heritages and works, but they never forgot the hardcore sound. Members of the Hakke crew: Young Cippo: age 18; a fucking devil on the stage; he has the power of youth; Holy Elenia: the only girl member in the crew; her moves are really light and polite; a holy ghost with the blue eyes; Mino Luchena: my best friend; a mix of host - master of ceremony and the CEO of the stage; Magic Mike: powerfull moves; aggressive presence; pure energy; Burning Greg: a real hardcore soldier with a boy-next-door face; i suggest to don't fuck with him.
I wonder how many steps a gabber completes when dancing at one of your dj sets? Do you have a guess? Has anyone ever worn a pedometer to test this?
LoL, probably a half marathon.
You've recently experimented with re-branding. Like with pharmaceutical logos (Bayer) and brands like Kappa. Do you consult, design, and do it all? How did this come about and where is it going? Any collaborations we can expect?
I'm working also like a creative director so all Gabber Eleganza stuffs are from my suggestions from my crew and extra technics help from Studio Temp.
Tees are just merchandise, was a natural first step for a mind that grew up inside the d-i-y like me; at the moment I am collaborating with stores for some limited tees and pieces.
As a stylist and creative director, I'm really into the Dior Homme video you choreographed recently. Tell me about that experience as I drool. Is choreographing something you do a lot?
It was super natural. They called me a bit like an ambassador to explain the hardcore rave vision and to teach some moves to the models. This was the first time I ever choreographed, it's not something that I usually do.
Are females as welcome in the gabber scene as men? Are the roles and rules on the dance floor equal to both sexes?
Yes of course, everybody can feel the same. I always love gabberina style, smooth and androgynous.
Have you ever tried virtual reality gabbing? Is Gabbing a word?
Images courtesy of ALBERTO GUERRINI
words ASHLEY MUNNS
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