FRANCO SCOPINICH (Superradio Records)
(Sun La Shan, Atmosphere, Venise, Camaro's Gang, Barry Mason)

"..finding  a record label that truly captures a particular sound is a rare thing. To find a group of people who live and breath the music that they make is as much of an anomaly as it is a pleasure.."

One label that is almost a definition of Italo Disco is Superradio Records. Superradio Records is far from a household name when it comes to electronic music, but its mystic only adds to its prowess. Superradio first came into being in the early 1980s, a team of italo lovers by the names of Venise (Laura Mic Mac, Barry Mason, Sandro “Soul Time” Zigfield, Marinelli, Robin G, and Franco “Punk” Scopinich. The Italian imprint was founded from a radio station set up by the pair and some friends: Superradio. Like many great labels, such as B12, nobody out there would release the Superradio sound; therefore the ‘only option’ was to go it alone and start up a record label. The imprint, on its inception, began to instantly release top notch italo records, such as Sun La Shan’s hypnotically addictive Catch or Barry Mason’s classic Get Your Body. In 2000, the label began to reach a larger audience after I-F’s groundbreaking mix CD All Mixed Up In The Hague. The now infamous mix contained two tracks from the label: Camero Gang’s "Ali Shuffle" and Sun La Shan’s "Catch." Modern italo heads immediately began to turn to the small record label.


In its twenty five years of existence, Superradio has stuck to the principles of Italo solidly. Franco Scopnich and Venise not only make spaghetti dance, they live and breathe everything that is italo. To them, their music is as much a ‘lifestyle’ as it is a sound. From their clothes to their website, the team that started Superradio are what Italo music is all about. Tracks with amazingly up beat synth lines whilst having a solid dancefloor feel coupled with catchy lyrics to create tracks that are captivating, compelling and damn good. Everything about Superradio screams 1980s electric disco. The record sleeves with their fast cars, neon lights, sunglasses and sunshine are the embodiment of what the 1980s synth pop scene was. But, there is a distinct difference between what Superradio Records are and what the electro pop of the 80’s was. Superradio Records was not a commercial endeavor. Superradio was never about the money or the fame, it was about the sound. Superradio is emblematic of everything fun in Italo, the chirpy love orientated lyrics with a synthline to match.

The label began with Sun La Shan’s Catch, the debut 12” of the Italian imprint. The partnership of Franco and Venise got together to compile this outrageous italo number. The track is a synthline laden electric disco funk odyssey, as Venise’s melodic voice cascades across the backdrop interjected by Franco robotising it up on the vocoder; perhaps one of the best italo tracks ever made and a definite favorite amongst the robots of the cybernetic broadcasting system. Camaro’s Gang are another group that are at the heart of the Superradio experience. The Gang is Alex Novaga and a host of other people such as Barry Mason and sometimes even Franco. The Gang was named after Franco’s car, a “metallic red” Chevy Camaro, and have been with the label since the beginning. The team have produced an array of amazing spaghetti dance numbers, such as the wonderfully catchy toe tapping disco epic "Feurza Major." In this track candy covered chords swing through English lyrics spliced with shards of Italian, a synthesized discoball excursion that will have any italo high tops charged.

What Superradio records has is a love of everything pop. It is a label that creates music that is happy, catchy but extremely clever. The label is as much a family as it is a bunch musicians. Superradio is a group of people that embraced italo disco and made it their own. To this day, Superradio records is a pioneer in synth pop and italo disco. It is a label that made its records with a love. A label that made its records not for money but for the sheer pleasure of the sound, and making that sound for people who loved it. Superradio is what labels should be about, a deep focus on the music without the weights of financial and capital concerns. Superradio is a label that will go down in electronic history as a label that not only created a pure gold synth sound, but a label lived that very sound. It is an inspiration, both in its approach and music.

(Source: Superradio)

Interview with Franco Scopinich:

I.D.: Ciao Franco welcome to Italo Deviance!
F.S.: Thank you Marcello for the pleasant invitation!

I.D.: Where, when and why did you start producing?
F.S.: Superradio Records was born as a radio station and its characteristic was to be musically advanced, being supplied daily to all the new releases imported directly from the U.S.A..
The first steps towards our productions were the records Mix DD1 DD2 DD3 where we delight in mixing the best disco music.
Meanwhile, we proposed at the radio also something done by us and Venise usually sang "on air" in his radio show with a professional vocal equipement. The transition to the first official production was therefore automatic. Even if really we do not expect nothing apart our satisfaction of making music. That's were "Catch". The debut as producers was so full of unexpected satisfactions that was logical to continue with the following productions: Swede's Scandal for the Atmosphere and Ali Shuffle for Camaro's Gang. Ali Shuffle was obviously the turning point. The Spanish Discos Victoria  and the German ZYX Records began to distribute our records and make ourselves known out of Italy.

I.D.: Which kind of equipment did you use at Superradio studio?
F.S.: We are using the original Synths of the 80s, perfectly working! Such as the Roland Juno 60, the Yamaha DX7, The Oberheim DMX Battery, the Roland Drumatic and Bassline in order to maintain the unique analogic sound of that time. In addition, of course, we use the current technology and computers for the multitrack recording and mixing.

I.D.: Who were your studio/production partners?
F.S.: In the 80s, we used to recording at studios of Forlì, Rimini, Verona and in particular the most technically capable of all was Giuliano from Forlì who created the unmistakable sound of Catch, Ali Shuffle, Swede's Scandal,Body get your body. Now we have our own recording studio in Superradio Records.

I.D.: Now everybody says "Italo Disco", but did you call it that way back in the 80s?
F.S.: Nobody used this terminology in the 80s. And it is not assumed that this style  would be acclaimed throughout the world! We did just what we liked using the sounds that captivate us at most. The Roland Juno 60's choice, for example: I was impressed by the sound of the Flock of Seagulls and I had just discovered that they used this "machine".
For the Yamaha DX7, we found it in the studio ( left us by Vasco Rossi - the first one arrived in Italy) and we used it (not exactly authorized ...) so few days after we had one too (maybe the second arrived in Italy!).
The Roland Bassline, that I have consummated with all the "bass lines" placed in every my songs of the 80s, has become a myth and still remains unparalleled.

I.D.: Which is your own favourite production and which way was born?
F.S.: It is not easy to answer: each production has its own very special location. Catch was the first and continues to give us satisfaction ("Some Djs in Detroit tell that is one of the three records from which originated the House music")
The Ali Shuffle brought us out of Italy making us enter into the charts of half Europe. Playboy is the first song in which all music is performed by me and sung by Venise. Roissy is born into a sleepless night, after a exhausting
day in the recording studio (for another song) and has come out from nowhere with throughout the score and also the text. The morning after I perfected it in Superradio and two days later I went in recording studio to record it. Geisha Moon represents the rebirth and the continuity of Superradio after almost two decades of silence. Bitter Wave , born in these days, seems me one of my best things and gives me strong emotions.

I.D.: You production's style is unmistakable, how you define it?
F.S.: Commenting on the music of a French group of Electro someone said: "interesting intro in "Superradio" style". We don't know personally the group or who wrote this definition and then there was a particular gratification.
The fact is that I naturally support my harmonic lines with non-usual accords. And often in great numbers. Result, probably, of my classical studies (at the Conservatory of Venice) that influenced substantially the way of perceiving and conceiving the music.

I.D.: Who are your favourite producers/groups from the past? (Italian and others)
F.S.: For the Disco music, producers like Bernard Edwards (unparalleled as bass player) and the "partner" Nile Rodgers and all the groups associated with both them. From Chic to Sister Sledge, from Duran Duran to INXS and so on.

I.D.: We know that you still get involved into music, can you tell us about your new projects?
F.S.: The rebirth of Superradio Records saw the reunion of various Superradio's groups of the '80s and interesting musical adventure between Sun La Shan and Hong Kong Counterfeit (Crash) which caused the release of Supermix 2 . 
Then a hike in the house music, with the birth of the new group of Houseclub, and its CD. Then to a rethink of my classical studies with the review of several master of classical music and the release of the CD Rebirth. Now there is a new group of House music, the Housenoise, with a CD just ready. 
Venise has material for a CD of his own, and Sun La Shan and Camaro's Gang some new songs that will be placed in the CD Supermix 3. The desire to make music appears inexhaustible. Then we continue this musical adventure...

I.D.: Ok Franco, thank you very much for this exclusive interview. Good Work!
F.S.: Thanks to you Marcello it was a real pleasure!

Music (YouTube):

(by Marcello Giordani)