T78, or Manuele Tessarollo, is an Italian music producer, DJ, and Autektone label head with a rich background in the music industry. Known for pushing the boundaries of techno and captivating audiences with his signature sound, T78 has become a driving force in the global electronic music scene. Having produced under different monikers through his career to capture different sonic moods, we have also come to love Manuele’s work as recently revived alias Activator, but of course, as T78 with his distinctive #onlybombs style.
Recently heard from T78, Another Dimension emerges as a Prodigy bootleg transformed into an original composition after some reimagining of his original sampling. Soon to come from the multitalented Italian, a remix of Push to Start was born in a single afternoon, with T78 crafting his signature sound around a captivating vocal hook, resulting in the unmistakable #onlybombs vibe. Later this month, expected 29th December, Tektones 13, his compilation released every six months since the beginning of the label’s life, releases, highlighting new music from fresh talent and also showcases two of his own tracks, one hard techno as Activator and another one, Hard Trance as T78 in collaboration with Housework and Ducamp.
With METAL, T78 shares insights into his artistic journey, discussing the evolution of his sound and the influences that have shaped his musical identity. From the details of production to the experiences he creates for his touring audience, we uncover an insight into T78’s musical mastery. Additionally, we get a sneak peek into what comes next as T78 reveals exciting details about his upcoming releases.
Ciao Manuele, how are you feeling today, and where do you answer us from?
Hi everyone, I’m currently in the Budapest airport waiting to board, so I’ll take this opportunity to answer this interview.
You’ve had a very busy year with multiple releases, with more to come later this December. How do you manage to maintain such a consistent output, and what drives your creative process during this busy period?
I always need to create new music because in my DJ sets, I mainly play my own productions. Therefore, to have a wider variety of tracks, I am constantly producing. But I should also say that I don’t find many tracks that reflect my vision of techno, so I’m forced to make them.
Your music often defies genre boundaries within dance music, forging your own definitions and sound. How would you describe the sound you aim to create as T78, and what motivates you to explore beyond the constraints of a specific mode?
I grew up in the ‘90s listening to dance music, from house to techno to hardcore and trance, and therefore, I put everything that is my background into a cauldron and try to mix the best out of it by adding a personal touch that concentrates the whole nature of the song within the drop.
How has your musical evolution from DJing to producing and from hardstyle to your own brand of techno influenced your production style?
Having had the opportunity to play various styles when I was a resident DJ in the ‘90s gave me the opportunity to appreciate and combine them in a very spontaneous way when it comes to production. In fact, hardstyle was itself an evolution of several genres that came from the ‘90s, namely hardcore, hard house and hard trance. When hardstyle no longer gave me any type of emotion, I decided to move my creativity into techno, which at that moment seemed the most suitable to express my musical taste and my creativity.
How do you manage to balance your increasingly busy professional and your personal life, and do you have any words to the wise on maintaining this balance?
It’s a very difficult thing to manage but, together with my wife, we have found an accurate method to make our lives coexist. Without her help, I just wouldn’t be able to do it. I’m always away from home on the weekends and she stays to look after three children. When I’m at home, I try to dedicate my time to the studio when the children are at school, and when they come back, I love spending time with them and with the family.
You’ve created under different aliases throughout your career and collaborated with various labels. How do you approach producing under different aliases, and what factors influence your decision to release with a particular label or under a specific name? How do you personally mark your different aliases, especially in transforming from T78 into Activator?
In the past, all these aliases were only project studios. When I started doing many gigs at the beginning of 2003 as Activator, I decided to focus the production only for certain pseudonyms. In 2017, I decided to stop as Activator and dedicate myself totally to T78, but in the last two years, with the advent of hard techno, I decided to take things back in hand. That’s why in my current DJ sets I start as T78 and end as Activator, so from techno to hard techno.
Your recent releases, including Ikarus and Another Dimension, can you share some insights into the creative process behind these tracks?
Ikarus is called like that simply because I finished it a few days before playing at the Ikarus festival in Germany. Another Dimension, on the other hand, was born a year earlier as a Prodigy bootleg, but since I had also done many original parts I decided to remove the Prodigy’s samples and therefore create an original track.
The upcoming release T78 presents Tektones 13 in late December seems intriguing. Can you give us a sneak peek into the inspiration behind this compilation? Also, can you tell us how the collaboration with Noizu & Westend came about to make the remix of track Push To Start that will also be published in December?
Tektones is a compilation that has been released every six months since the beginning of the label’s life. I always try to bundle new music from new talent and also use it as a showcase for myself where I occasionally include more than one track. Specifically, this time I am present with two tracks, one hard techno as Activator and another one, hard trance as T78 in collaboration with Housework and Ducamp.
The remix of Push to Start instead came out in one afternoon, I was very inspired by the vocal hook, and I decided to create a typically T78 beat around it without drawing any elements from the original track. The final result is clearly #onlybombs.
Your shows and tour spans such a wide and different crowd, even just in the last year in touring Latin America and Australia. How do you prepare for such diverse audiences? Are there any specific differences in catering to them that you notice, or have you felt a difference performing in different places?
Being an artist who has become popular thanks to his own productions, I never change or adapt my music selection to a different audience. At most, I can play faster or heavier or something older, but surely if the audience has paid to see T78, they want to hear T78.
Vinyl selection must be such a crucial part of a DJs performance and inspiration, and it’s no secret how expansive your collection is. If you had to choose a few favourite vinyl records that have significantly influenced your career or resonate with you personally, what would they be?
L.A. Style - James Brown is Dead Robert Miles - Children Protector of Bass - Pitch-hiker Rave Creator & The Mover - Atmos-fear 
Mauro Picotto - Lizard
Daft Punk - Around the World
While techno is often associated with a serious and intense atmosphere, your music carries a unique energy. How do you manage to inject a distinct vibe into your sets and productions while still staying true to the genre?
All my musical creativity comes from my background and the ability with which I can manage multiple elements from different sources and put them in the same track. But at a certain point, I had to create the sound I preferred because it didn’t exist. At the beginning of T78, the techno scene was growing exponentially but I couldn’t find anything that represented my taste, so I had to make my own one. Sometimes maybe I shouldn’t even call my music with the name ‘techno’ because it is a mix of many styles put together which, however, are closer to techno.
Looking ahead, what can we expect next from T78? Are there any specific projects, collaborations, or milestones that you're excited to pursue in the coming months?
Certainly, producing a lot of music and obviously of high quality, this has always been the priority for me since the beginning of my career as a producer. The DJ side, on the other hand, is always a complementary but at the same time, integral part of T78. I need disco evenings or events to test the new productions in the field with the public and thus be sure that I am going in the right direction.
Already in January I will have a lot of gigs including a new date in the United States in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, while for the productions I will be involved in many collaborations including Reinier Zonneveld, MOTVS and Sam Wolfe.