Aesthetic: Mr Ties
Homopatik is a Berlin party quickly becoming infamous for its hedonistic attitude and devoted crowd. Mr. Ties isn’t listed on the line-up – neither are any other DJs for that matter – because Francesco De Nittis doesn’t believe in the idolisation of the DJ, the expectation, or the restriction that comes with outlining particular ideas with certainty. Declaring himself ‘over politics’ and ‘over gender’, although Homopatik’s queer origins inform much of the goings on there, it’s essentially a party for everyone.
Despite being against the increasing prominence of the DJ-as-icon dynamic, the Italian-born, Istanbul- based selector has gained quite the following for his fiercely individualistic skills on the decks. Anyone who’s seen him play speaks passionately of the charisma in his sets, eulogising the unique experience as if they had witnessed something sacred.
Through visceral twists and turns and layers of unexpected rhythms, Nittis is at ease mercilessly working three decks and often mixing without headphones. As he tells us, it’s his ceaseless quest for music that informs his adventurous approach to DJing: “I guess my veritable love and devotion to records are almost tangible in my mixing.”
Our intimate shoot with De Nittis is informed by rugged comfort, and the scuffed normality of digitised sexuality. In our interview, he speaks passionately about his penchant for workwear, the ideology of Homopatik, his “Homopatikers”, and their compulsion to abandon prejudice.
Describe your personal style.
Casual, punk, functional, arty.
Who are some of your biggest style inspirations?
The ‘worker’ look – workers from construction site or workers from fields – is definitely the one I’ve always loved the most out of any style or culture.
Where does your passion for workwear stem from?
I’ve always looked at the workers in any city I’ve been in. In Berlin, for instance, you have a lot of work in progress constantly, and some of the workers have a kind of flair that gives some sense of style to their outfits. I like the garments to be functional, resistant and timeless.
What inspired your move from Berlin to Istanbul?
I visited Istanbul two years ago and had a total crush for the town. It’s the perfect balance between history and modernity and the energy is incredible; all your senses are awake and amplified. It’s a great place to feed your inspiration. Although it’s just revolting to see that political interests are poisoning the lives of the people, often in a very violent way.
Your approach to DJing has attracted considerable attention over the past few years. How would you describe your DJing style?
I guess my veritable love and devotion to records are almost tangible in my mixing. The mixing also depends on the nature of the gig; the approach can be more experimental and ‘dramatic’ if I can build a story for 12 hours. Then I can offer a wide range of my taste and also transpose the vibe I get off the people travelling with me into it.
What’s so special about the crowd at Homopatik?
The Homopatik crowd is unique as the party is unique too. If you come to the party it’s probably something that stands out on the first look; Homopatikers are listeners, dancers, and they come because they feel free to be whoever they are in total safety and I think they enjoy the fact that they are fully ‘actors’ of the party. We don’t just put them in front of the DJs and make the DJs stand above them like some kind of God-like figure. They are with them. We do it all together. The crowd also gambles on the party as we have no line-up announcement and I think they like to come to the party and just find out what the vibe is like once they’re there.
You’ve previously spoken out against binary gender definitions and their harmful effects on society. Why do you think we should reframe these ideas of sexuality?
I just think it’s archaic and we should move forward to embrace a new vision of what humanity should be. Over the history of the world, politically or socially, this binary type has shown more lack of efficiency and put to the side so many people who feel left alone with no keys to blossom as just a person. I do think it’s wrong and we should have conscience that the human race needs to evaluate and quit the old and poor gender type in order to live together, looking at each other not for what sex we represent but just for our heart and brain.
How does Homopatik react to the idea of traditional gender roles? If ‘the personal is political’, do you see the culture at Homopatik as a form of activism?
Homopatik is over ‘gender’; if you come to the party you should be aware of this. I believe we participate in making this idea and this way of seeing things concrete for anyone who experiences it without putting any pressure on the minds of everyone.
You’ve spoken out against bad sound in clubs, how does a bad soundsystem restrict your DJing and how do you think we can tackle the issue?
It’s really important for me to make it clear to people, and most of all promoters, that the sound is obviously tightly linked to the art of DJing; as a sound engineer myself the quality of the sound is non-negotiable and if I put all my heart and soul into my mixing I expect to be provided the best tools to make it work; in the end it is just very logical.
Educating is the key, I guess, but when you are being requested for a gig you find out sometimes that people are not even able to answer and understand your needs, which is a real problem. My manager, for instance, is aware of what I want and need to play in the best conditions and that there is no flexibility on it; touring teaches you a lot about this as well. A lot of people interact for a gig and all those people need to listen to each other carefully in order to offer a real quality set.
Photography: Dexter Lander
Styling: Dean Davies
Assistant Stylist: Hannah Coorg