Fred and Gio: passion for electronic music

@Roberto Arribas

Federico Ponti and Giovanni Patrizi, BBA students at IE University, create FLANDA, a “collective” of artists united in promoting the most avant-garde experimental music.

As soon as Giovanni Patrizi discovered that there was another student on campus who was fascinated by electronic music, he didn’t hesitate to contact him. He just had to meet that other Italian student who shared his same musical tastes. From this first exchange of messages, a solid friendship arose naturally: they shared a passion, deep and unwavering, for the most avant-garde experimental music.

They are destiny’s capricious ones: just like Giovanni, Federico Ponti was from Rome and did his BBA at the IE University Segovia campus. Thus logic dictated that they both undertake the same path of projects where electronic music is the true protagonist. Since they met, the two Italians have already “mixed” at various Segovia and Madrid spots, and have just created “FLANDA,” a collective which brings together several artists—all of them graduate students from IE University—with the fundamental objective of bringing the best electronic music to the public.

Photo by: Roberto Arribas

Giovanni Patrizi has been listening to electronic music since he was twelve years old. He remembers that when those enigmatic sounds reached his ears for the first time, he felt a real fascination. The more he listened, the more he wanted to go deeper into this type of music, which usually wasn’t played on the radio. And the more experimental it was, the more he liked it. So he took action: at just 13 years of age, Giovanni already took his first steps as a DJ. He considers himself, above all, a real follower of techno music, the electronic dance music which emerged from Detroit, United States in the mid-80s, which was later also developed in Europe towards the end of that decade, specifically in Berlin, after the fall of the wall.

Federico, on the other hand, has received music lessons since he was a kid. His family has lived for many years in California, and the entrepreneurial, open-minded mentality common in that part of the United States made a huge impact on young Federico. His passion for the sounds from the other side of the Atlantic, for example, jazz, was passed down to him by his father. He learned to play guitar, bass, and drums, but he realized it did not satisfy him. At some point, Federico wanted to create his own music and, in search of a personal style, he discovered the composer Thom Yorke, from Radiohead, the great rebel of English rock, a genius of complex and enigmatic personality. “I was conscious that the possibilities for electronic music were almost infinite,” he says. “On a computer you can create any sound and incorporate hundreds of instruments, compose for one person or for an orchestra… There are no limits, the freedom is absolute,” Federico confessed.

Giovanni Patrizi and Federico Ponti tell us the bands that most inspire them: Tsuruda, Luude, Quix, Ekali, and Huxley Anne. They also both agree that the electronic music that Thomas Tsuruda composes in Los Angeles is amazing: “He mixes jazz with electronic rhythms, and he also puts in a lot of bass, its mindblowing,” they say.

After meeting at IE University, the two Italians decided that a good way to spread the music they were fascinated by was to mix at various locales around the city. Canavan’s Theatre, La Luna, and Sabbath have been some of the places where Giovanni and Federico have performed DJ sessions.

I’ll never forget the first time that I mixed in Segovia. The locale’s owner told me that that music was too intense, dark, and he asked me if the DJ was the devil himself,” Federico recalled with a smile. “We understood that the spread of experimental electronic music requires that people are educated on it beforehand,” declares Giovanni, who assures that “now the three hundred people who show up to our music parties do so joyfully since they have a better understanding of what we mix.” In this sense, they affirm that music is expressed in many different languages, and because of this it is important to be instructive. “If the public gets to know what the experimental genre offers little by little, they’ll end up understanding it,” they maintain.

FLANDA

The great project the two BBA students have taken on is called FLANDA. They don’t like to call it a company, because that’s not exactly what it is. Their end goal is not to make money, but instead to spread the latest trends in electronic music. Led by Giovanni and Federico, FLANDA is a collective that brings together around twenty people with a strong artistic spirit who organize parties to promote electronic music. “We create musical spectacles, with lights and videos under the FLANDA brand, which goes further than what the bars or clubs offer; we move away from the banality which is often associated with night life,” they clarify.

For these events, the two Italians rent sound equipment, lights, and a smoke machine from Track 13 Servicios Audiovisuales. “The music we mix centers on bass and we need a good sound system—around eight thousand volts of musical power—and this is provided by this Segovian company.”

Through FLANDA, Giovanni and Federico offer a different way to approach electronic music. Their idea is to organize events in big places, preferably outdoors. The group is responsible for renting the equipment, hiring security, designing the show, and sharing it on social media. “We have organized events, for example, in natural spaces, in an old building which we were later told used to be a temple, and in large industrial warehouses,” Giovanni explains. “What satisfies us most is that our college friends have their friends come from other countries just to see us,” Federico adds.

Their big plan is to increase the number of events in Segovia and Madrid, starting in September. “We want to gather more than a thousand people, and we think we’re capable of doing it,” they say. At the moment, they are finishing their second year of Business Administration (BBA) at IE university. “We think the degree we are doing is perfect, since they teach us how to build a business and important aspects such as marketing and accounting,” they say.

As destiny would have it, the city of Segovia united Italians Gio and Fred through their passion: electronic music. Their most immediate plan this summer is to travel to Berlin and Los Angeles to keep learning about the musical genre they are so passionate about. This has only just begun.