Touch Sensitive

Touch Sensitive Press PictureAs the bassist for Van She for over a decade and now the synthesizer-loving electronic producer known as Touch Sensitive, Michael Di Francesco has forged a unique career path. He spoke with TOM KITSON on being mostly unaffected by fame and shopping in his own record collection ahead of his set at The Aviary’s Rooftop Sessions on Sunday, April 20 with Sam Perry, Philly Blunt and Troy Division.

Taking this interview as he attempts to complete a four year overdue tax return, Di Francesco is not your typical contemporary musician. Not feeling the pressure to release tracks as often as possible has helped him focus on doing it just for the love of music, which is perhaps one of the reasons for his longevity and versatility in the business.

“I’d been doing electronic stuff at home and with Van She lead singer Nick Routledge for a while, that [music] wasn’t suited for the band,” he said. “I knew the guys at Future Classic and we were talking about doing some new jams, so Anna Lunoe and I were able to put out Real Talk.”

A solo career was never a goal for Di Francesco, despite dabbling in electronic sounds for years and being well connected with guys like Future Classic, who put out Touch Sensitive’s best known tune Pizza Guy.

“The fallout from Pizza Guy was a bit unexpected but it hasn’t changed my life – I’m still wearing the same shoes,” he said. “I used mostly computer and software based sounds on that record, but I felt bad because I had all this beautiful, old gear just sitting there.

“I tend to use those software based elements because when I walk into the studio, I instantly know that I prefer working at home as that’s where I’m most comfortable.”

An impulsive and expansive record collector, he has a solid plan in place to ensure he can never lose songs on forgotten hard drives or USBs.

“I always buy vinyl instead of mp3 singles, because otherwise I’ll just lose the track and forget I had it,” he says. “That means if I forget I bought the song, I can go record shopping through my own collection and be able to rediscover it later.”

Coming through on his music are distinct disco and house influences inspired by the genre’s different incarnations from the ‘80s to the early ‘00s, particularly prominent on his latest work, Slowments.

“I really like Change, Paul Johnson and Italo-Disco,” he says. “I’m also a fan of the late ‘90s and early ‘00s house, and jazz fusion as well.”
As he turns his attention to performing at Rooftop Sessions in Perth on Easter Sunday, he explains his method behind his aim of putting together a timeless and notable mix.

“Making the mix for the Solé Fixtape series for example, I didn’t want to do only new or old songs because that dates it straight away,” he said. “If you can make it ambiguous as to when the mix was made, that’s the key.”