With his hit 'Pizza Guy' taking out a highly contested spot in Triple J's Top 100 last year, Touch Sensitive is sharing the synth and sartorial love with Australian and international club goers everywhere.
A multi-faceted muso, whether it be piano, bass or his favourite—synths, Touch Sensitive, aka Michael Di Francesco, has taken a break from his other projects, including Van She, to focus on his beautiful 80s/ dance-esque anthems.
We talk to Michael about selling his BMX for a bass, his style inspiration, how it all began and just what is on his 'Love' playlist—check it out below.
TUL: Can you tell us where the moniker Touch Sensitive came from? Haha so wonderfully, wonderfully creepy and thoughtful at the same time . . .
Touch Sensitive: Hahaha I'm not exactly sure but I know that at the time it had to do with technology, and that I had started collecting vintage synthesisers and drum machines. Then when I suggested it to my friends they all approved.
TUL: How did you get musically started way back when?
TS: During high school I started playing bass and was lucky enough to have a couple of cool music teachers. My bass teacher, Justin Dileo, had an amazing record collection consisting mostly of bass-centric stuff—so lots of funk, jazz, disco, fusion etc. etc. So that got me collecting records and then when I heard Daft Punk Homework, while I was at uni, it changed everything.
TUL: You play quite a few instruments very well, and love synth . . . How do you combine all these talents?
TS: Thanks, how well I can play is questionable and I can only play one at a time but I love playing with other people, swapping instruments etc. It's always fun to step out of your comfort zone and onto an instrument you don't know too well. But then if you know how music works or have good ears, it's down to technique. My dad refused to buy me a bass until I learnt piano, so I sold my BMX and bought one, he said that if you can play piano you can play any instrument, and he's kinda right.
TUL: Who inspires you musically?
TS: Mauro Malavasi, Davide Romani, Joe Tucci (also known as Eric Matthew), and instruments or sounds. For example, whenever I turn on my Memorymoog it just plays itself, sounds can inspire you to play things you normally wouldn't. I also really like old art directors' guides to photography books.
TUL: 'Pizza Guy' has been a massive hit, and number #38 in Triple J's Top 100. Tell us about making the video (some familiar faces in there)?
TS: Yeah it was Nathan from Future Classic's idea. I really didn't see the point in making a video for it because to me it was just background music, but I'm glad we did. We shot it in one day and everybody was very kind in donating their time—and for the record the Ferrari is not mine. I've received messages asking if I was in the Ferrari club, I was in the Alfa Romeo club when I was younger but no longer.
TUL: Your sartorial style is fresh—a little 80s, a little Italian—do you have a style icon?
TS: My uncle Francesco Di Francesco is a tailor and made suits for lots of people, including Johnny O'Keefe. For a period he only wore white, drove a white car and lived in a white house, easily the best dressed man in my eyes.
TUL: You have been touring the US, can you tell us about your favourite gigs/ places you visited?
TS: I love America.
TUL: What are you most proud of to date?
TS: The other night I was out to dinner with some friends and the lady sitting next to me remarked that I had lovely manners, so maybe that and my synth collection—oh, and my cats.
TUL: Tell us about your playlist?
TS: These are a collection of songs that I love but funny thing is it's been a long time since I've had a romantic soundtrack—but this is what I'm thinking—these could also work in a break-up scenario quite well too.