Milan-based record label and recording studio FLUIDOSTUDIO was founded by Italian DJs and producers Stefano Libertini Protopapa and Pierpaolo Moschino as a way to spotlight and provide a platform for LGBTQ+ artists within Italy and beyond. We spoke with founders Protopapa and ilromantico on how they support the LGBTQ+ community through FLUIDOSTUDIO, the Milan club and music scene, and the pieces of advice that got them to where they are today.
How did you two (Protopapa and Ilromantico) first meet each other? When did you decide to form FLUIDOSTUDIO?
(ILROMANTICO) We met a few years ago working on sound designs for fashion shows. After first meeting each other, Protopapa showed up in my studio with David Blank and boyrebecca. After a few sessions, we agreed to start doing business together and create FLUIDOSTUDIO.
FLUIDOSTUDIO is both a studio and a record label based in Milan. Which venture came first and how do you juggle operations for both a recording studio and a record label?
(PROTOPAPA) It first started as ilromantico’s recording studio, where he was working as a sound designer. When I joined him we developed a more complete line of services, including visual production and creative direction. Right after our first couple projects together we realized the best way to evolve was to become a record label due to our common vision.
FLUIDOSTUDIO has been described as “one of the most creative and prolific centers in the local LGBTQ+ scene.” Tell us more about the mission behind FLUIDOSTUDIO and how you support LGBTQ+ artists and the community.
(PROTOPAPA) I am part of the LGBTQ+ community and I’ve seen the struggle LGBTQ+ artists and musicians have experienced. They had practically no representation at all in Italy, and their stories were never under the spotlight.
Our mission came out of a need. We want to give space and opportunities to those artists, not only LGBTQ+ ones, but to all minorities with amazing and beautiful stories to tell.
What role do you believe music can play in expression and identity?
(ILROMANTICO) Identity is a process, and it goes through different shapes and shades. Music is probably the most powerful medium to experiment with, allowing artists to translate emotions into sounds, and listeners to discover more about their identities.
You’re both active DJs, producers, and collaborators in the Milan clubbing and music scene. How would you describe this scene? Paint us a picture!
(PROTOPAPA & ILROMANTICO) Milan has been our playground for many years and it’s the best place to experiment with creativity, people in Milan are thirsty for new stuff! The club scene hasn’t been so cohesive in the past years, but I can say there’s a different approach now. It’s less individualist and more cooperative.
Tell us about some of the artists on your roster. Who should we be looking out for?
All of them! [laughs] We scout artists that are one-of-a-kind; each one of them has some uniqueness that deserves to be discovered and listened to. Just keep an eye on FLUIDOSTUDIO because we present new artists each month.
What artists have, and continue to, largely influence you? Is there a specific music moment (release, music video, concert) that inspired you to pursue music?
(PROTOPAPA) I grew up listening to disco music and it still is my biggest inspiration. Sylvester’s falsetto probably made me gay.
(ILROMANTICO) My music journey started around 2008 when I accidentally began to play as a DJ. It was the time of Blog and Fidget House – they definitely became the core of my influences. Growing up I fell in love with Global Bass. From there I began to dig into the traditional music of various foreign countries; from Sud America, to India, Africa. I’m very fascinated by how those regions are re-interpreting their tradition and mixing it with contemporary music and modern sounds.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
(ILROMANTICO) As a producer you should be at artists’ service. Be the medium through which they can express their vision.
(PROTOPAPA) Be the speaker for those who have no voice.
What is something you wish you could tell your younger self now? Whether it’s a piece of advice, words of encouragement, etc.
(ILROMANTICO) Stop pushing away emotions! And develop your falsetto.
(PROTOPAPA) You’re not alone.
What’s the best way to keep up with FLUIDOSTUDIO updates?
Our social media is the best way, especially our Instagram at @fluidostudio.