It has been a decade since Railster and I have collaborated on music-related things. Instead, we’ve remained friends on social media, and the unfortunate events as a result of COVID-19 brought us closer. Railster is an Italian music producer, known for his wonky and bassy beats that marked an era of discovery through the internet in the mid-00s. I took a liking to his sound, so we worked together. I interviewed him for my second printed issue. Based on my memory, he emailed the coolest smoky photos to help tell the story. I think we were all intrigued to connect with likeminded people around the world, and newly able to be inspired by global lifestyles. We were all “green”, exploring what could be. We were young adults who cultivated the Experience Age. When Railster isn’t making music, he’s working on graphics and coding—someone who embodies the millennial spirit at best.
Today on his birthday, GRUNGECAKE exclusively presents his latest mix including music by new local artists, remixes for popular songs, and his own. If you stay for our interview, you’ll learn more about his life, his work, and how he’s dealing with the life-changing pandemic through an email we completed during the scariest point of the virus.
GRUNGECAKE: It’s been a while since we’ve connected in this way. How have you been?
Railster: Hi Richardine! It has been a crazy journey, and yes, already 10 years since I did the first podcast/mix for your magazine. Since then, I moved from my hometown Udine, in Italy, to London to live and work. I’ve been lucky to work in different places, having a wide experience between music and creative agencies.
GRUNGECAKE: The coronavirus hit your hometown Italy in the way it has New York City. How are things back at home?
Railster: Yes, it’s been really a difficult situation for all of us, and still every day we get updates and changes about the restrictions, and how we’re supposed to deal with this issue. Now, things seem to get better. Local businesses are starting to slowly open and are applying the new security rules in their everyday life. In Italy, many areas are affected negatively and I really hope the music and cultural events will start again. It’ll help. Lots of artists have used the streaming platforms more, but it’s difficult to replicate, virtually, the feeling of being at a festival, this just to say one example.
GRUNGECAKE: Are you dealing with any losses? Have you been blessed to create during the quarantine? Any healing or self-care in your daily activity?
Railster: Luckily, no one I know had the virus. I got more in touch with my friends and family; it hasn’t been easy.
I thought to use my creativity in a positive way. I have a project called BEAT.IT, an online community started from a FB group, encouraging the more ‘underground’ Italian beatmakers. Recently, we did an online musical contest on Instagram.
We asked our friends to upload a track using a hashtag. We reposted the best tracks received with the help of different judges. This lead to creating three singles available on beat-it.bandcamp.com. It was an interesting experiment. Sometimes in the lockdown, it was a bit too difficult to produce the video and all the content.
In my daily activity, I try hard to be more healthy. I’ve learnt to make smoothies (I love ginger), went out for walks or skateboard, tried some yoga or basic tentative of stretching routines.
GRUNGECAKE: What inspired you to select the artists/producers that you chose? Are any of them from Italy/Europe?
Railster: When you asked me, some months ago, I got really happy about it, and I wanted to do a sort of ‘updated’ version of the previous mix. I wanted to take the listener into a journey combining snapshots of different genres. I tried to collect a wide picture of Italian artists to give the listener a path to discover more.
Often, we do listen to similar ‘major’ artists, and the definition of a ‘cool DJ’ would be someone that puts together the most popular tunes to make the crowd happy. But in this case, as usual, I went in a different direction, doing some research, updating myself about new artists, and (drum-roll.mp3) there are some exclusive songs too, selected exclusively for you!
GRUNGECAKE: What inspired the design/ad currently running on the website? Who made it?
Railster: Marco Meloni is a graphic designer living in Milan, coming from Oristano (Sardinia). He took care of the artwork. We have a similar age and we met virtually when MySpace was cool. At that time he sent me, via post, his Demo CD. I was impressed because it had its own artwork and vision. It was inspired by Def Jux or Anticon labels’ sounds, and at that time, not many people knew about that music.
Marco, now, is working as a professional designer and I always have a look at his work. For the GC MIX artwork, we decided to have a retro-futuristic vibe, translating in graphics the combination of different musical genres, and artists melted together. It looks like a mixtape coming from another time.
His works are here: https://www.behance.net/marcomeloni
GRUNGECAKE: You’ve been around GRUNGECAKE from its humble beginnings. For anyone who is just tuning in and learning about the brand, describe what it was at the time. What is it to you now?
Railster: First, to all, at the time, it had a longer name! “GrungeCake Crisis Magazine’ was the full title and it had super rare printed issues with cool edgy graphics with lots of interesting news and highlights.
It was really original and freshly genuine. The web platforms used were different from now, and there was a bit of experimenting, as Facebook wasn’t vastly used. I remember once there was a GrungeCake forum/community, where I discovered many interesting artists. Now, you are inspiring, finding interesting news around the globe. For example, the African music, and Afrobeats, as well as interviewing NY-based artists (like Kim Viera), or the Mexican artist that collaborated with Lil Tecca. I find interesting, this wide vision. I like that you are connected with the people, giving interesting articles to read. Within the years, the website became complete, covering different topics and sections. I’m actually enjoying getting the notification from GC on Apple News!
GRUNGECAKE: How can we learn more about what you do? Where can we find you?
Railster: You can check my music on Spotify, or Bandcamp. www.thisbeat.it if you want to discover more about Electronic/Hip-Hop Italian artists, and my personal website where I feature my recent creative/digital works www.andreauliana.com.
– Dua Lipa – Thinking ‘Bout You (Railster Remix)
– HLMNSRA – Drako Mode Remix
– Flohio – Disengaged (Freestyle)
– NotMe x PuSh – Coffee (GC Exclusive)
– DrefGold, FSK – Snitch E Impicci (Railster Remix)
– Fiodor – Banchi di scuola (GC Exclusive)
– Gallone2000 – Malinconico (GC Exclusive)
– Koralle – Lost
– Kappah – 11pm (Borgo Stremiz)
– Clumby – Understand (GC Exclusive)
– Ocra – Skunk In The Space (GC Exclusive)
– Bluorangee – 87 Bpm
– Loris Mils – If U…
– Stelvio Cipriani – Marys Theme (1969) (+Local Radio Announcement)
– Ed Mud, Y’ma Drop – Cosmopology
– Alsogood – Special Herbs
– Big Joe – Mothership (Feat. Retrospective for Love)
– Agronomist – Wow
– Digi Galessio – Like The First Kebab of Your Life (+Morgan debates bourgeoisie in music)
– Looppolo – War
– DieBonsai – I’m Awake, Thank U
– Natty Dub – Huff
– Kaibe – Loory c (akakidbeat)
– NTRLY & Loris Mils – M_ESPR192’s Launch
– Skit – Richard Benson Greetings
– VA/AV – Yeah! (Yamashita love talking rework)
– Odeeno – Yuwithme x Beatsoup
– Agronomist x Zero Portrait – From West To East
– Mas&Delayer – Monday
– Railster x HLMNSRA – Give The Most With You
– RawAF – Volcano
– Giz – Control
– Clap! Clap! – Southern Dub (featuring Domenico Candellori)
– Zum Mond – Fortesque
– FOX – Argini
– Railster – F**k Corona Virus