Interview with Alessio Bertallot, July 2019
Alessio Bertallot (pronounced "Bertallò" in Piedmontese) is not the founder of a style, he is the style himself when it comes to music in Italy. Dee-Jay, musician, author, radio host with an unmistakable tone, Bertallot has always been a source and connector of new trends: from the first rap sung on the stage of Sanremo to the introduction of concepts like Cross-mediality and Storytelling – his trademarks – in a profusion of formats for radio and television, dedicated to music.
A die-hard Ducatista, he is especially passionate about the XDiavel and Multistrada models, which he fell in love with at the first rpms (and it's no coincidence that there's a difference of only one letter between the rpms of the engine and the bpms used to measure the rhythm of music and heartbeats!). As a lover of sounds and atmospheres, what he loves about Ducati motorcycles is not just their technology and design, but their "voice", the roar of their engines, the feeling of riding them. Today Alessio is also the curator of our playlists on Spotify, and of course, how could it be different?
We met him in his studio in Casa Bertallot, the Milanese loft where he lives and from where he broadcasts his homonymous web radio, a publisher of podcasts that plays music 24 hours a day. The console is immersed in colourful, soft lights surrounded by hundreds of vinyl records and CDs: a place where the intimate becomes public, a workshop of ideas for the dissemination of music, the home of a 4.0 DJ.
Alessio, tell us how you came to manage the Ducati Spotify account and how you choose its tracks.
The objective of my research is to explore alternative worlds, to offer new, stylish music. I manage several playlists for Ducati, each with its own characteristics: Sophistication contains more alternative tracks, Performance is dedicated to the most "intelligent" pop, while Ducati Music collects the best of what's new, even from unknown musicians, who will come out on the long run. Then there's my own personal playlist, Casa Bertallot Revelations, which joins the others. What Ducati and I have in common is the search for an outsider style, something with a distinctive character that stands out. I don't like standard music or standard motorcycles: I'm won over by motorcycles with a strong personality that I have to adapt to.
How did your passion for Ducati come about?
I got passionate about Ducati because Ducati invented the XDiavel, which has a style and way of making you experience the road that are different from anything I'd felt before. With the XDiavel Ducati dared to go against the rules of the market, mixing a cruiser with a sports bike. It's not just a matter of power, but being aware of what's happening in the world. It's the same quality I look for in musicians: the capability to be courageous artists.
What does the word "style" make you think about, especially for motorcycles?
Style is a balance among elements. Knowing how to put together apparently contrasting characteristics and make them work well in a new form.
If we say Crossover, what comes to your mind?
A Crossover is a method that a talented person uses to invent something new using elements that already exist. Everything comes from a Crossover: in music you can compose endless combinations to explore new territories. But this is also true in motorcycles design, like in the case of the Multistrada or the Hypermotard and Scrambler bikes, which were born from mixed universes. There are primary functions that you have to respect, the rest is creativity. Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed: in this light, Lavoisier's law of mass conservation applies perfectly to creativity.
So, designing a motorcycle is both a creative and a technical act?
Designing a motorcycle is like making a musical work: there's culture, technology, care, craftsmanship, innovation, exploration. Because motorcycles – especially Ducati bikes – are a product of Italian ingenuity that conveys much more emotion than others. Behind that prodigy that you are riding there are many sleepless nights of people who poured their commitment and sweat into it. It's the same process followed by musicians when making a record and therefore deserves respect.
What makes Ducati bikes unique?
Ducati motorcycles have power and elegance, which makes for a very strong mix. I'm attracted by their reliability, their design, their unmistakable "voice". You can feel the engine's vibration inside you. The XDiavel, for example, has a torque curve that is as constant as a metronome, perfect. So much so that I'm thinking of doing a DJ set with a microphone next to the exhaust.... I'll start with the idling engine's rhythm and then start mixing based on those bpms. Better...from those bprs.
What kind of biker are you?
I love a relaxed riding style. I know I can get more performance if I want to, but I like to hear the engine with a low tone, so at low rpms. I like the feeling of a journey of exploration, which doesn't mean just exploring the outside. If you're enjoying the journey you enter another dimension, more within yourself, outside of everyday life. There's almost a metaphysical element to motorcycle riding...like listening to and making music.
So you're a Ducatista with an original approach, almost philosophical. What does the way you make music have in common with riding a motorcycle?
The flow: a point of magic, of physical and inner balance. The musician maintains a rhythm; the motorcyclist balances a dynamic physical element in time and space. It's the flow that allows you to travel 1,000 km at the right pace, like when you're in console and you have to make 1,000 people dance for two hours.
So, what's the right motorcycle for you?
To be honest there's no point in asking which bike is right for you. It's the bike that decides if you're right for it, not the other way around... You have to ask yourself what experience you're looking for and let it choose you. Today I ride a Multistrada, a blend of power and fluidity.