It’s unlikely you’ll ever see Marco Faraone flustered; he’s far too laid back to process stress in any visible way.
Yet, right now there’s a look on his face that says the guy who was knowingly throwing cheesy heart hand-signs at Mixmag a second ago now has some work to do. Faraone’s due to take over his headline set in 10 minutes, but the warm-up DJ is playing too hard and too fast and the local crowd in this Modena club are, moment to moment, escalating into a state of frenzy. “How do I follow this?” Faraone barks in mock panic, before turning to his DJ bags to calmly work it out. His hands move briskly, but on his face is a look of serene concentration usually reserved for coders or surgeons as his brain processes the external clues, pulling out the record sleeves to match. His name is announced, the hype-man dragging out the four syllables of his last name – four more notches on the frenzy scale. Then he’s up, his opener a no-nonsense, heads-down techno stomper. Faraone smiles; the track is taken from his forthcoming EP for Drumcode. The name? ‘Boost’.
This is Faraone all over. Watching, waiting, ready to strike, but only when the timing’s good. Beneath a calm, genial exterior – and plenty of black layering – is an unflinching focus. “I grew up with the idea that you get results by working a lot, doing things at the right time, slowly, waiting your turn,” he says back at the hotel, sprawled easily on the sofa. His low-key chill is an intrinsic aspect of his character, as much a part of his identity as his undercut and vertiginous quiff. Not for nothing has he spent the last decade slowly building a reputation in that most old-fashioned of ways: by playing gigs and playing them with a level of technical proficiency that, well, takes a decade to perfect. Beginning in small clubs in backwater towns in Tuscany near where he grew up, he gradually levelled up through word of mouth. “One hundred people, two hundred, three hundred...” he draws out the numbers deliberately: club capacities as Buddhist mantra.
Growing up in the tiny city of Lucca in Tuscany, Faraone learned the value of patience early. “People say ‘How did you learn to wait?’ I always say I learned it from fishing.” He’s joking, but only a bit. “When I was young there was a lake next to my parents’ home. Maybe I learnt to control my karma,” he laughs heartily. Nowadays his life is far from solitary as he plays his own distinctive version of house and techno to crowds in their thousands. Indeed, when we meet, he still bears the traces of jetlag from playing BPM in Mexico, while his backbreaking European schedule will evolve into a US for a tour in February. In the mean time, however, there’s the small matter of finalising the showcase of his new label Uncage at Miami Music Week (“It’s ninety-nine per cent going ahead” he says, coolly; no biggie). From this angle, it seems that the waiting is over. Even if he wanted to slow down now, he couldn’t: this thing has a momentum all of its own. Fishing? We’re gonna need a bigger boat.