THE MAX FACTOR
In which our intrepid king of the consoles contends with flight delays and non-appearing panthers, but still ensures that the party goes with a wallop
WHAT A MONTH March was! Only one trip – this time to the UK and Italy – and as always it was a whirlwind journey filled with excitement and adventure.
Before my departure I’d been busily working on a project to design a series of mixes for the internationally renowned Il Pellicano Hotel on the coast of Tuscany. The hotel, whose glamorous past dates back to the ’60s, had published a book celebrating its history, with countless photos depicting the property and the procession of famous and familiar faces who spent their vacations there over the years. To enhance the mood at the book’s launch party, which took place in London and attracted press from around the world, I’d been asked to prepare a soundtrack that reflected the hotel’s past by including plenty of timeless classics, while throwing in some contemporary flavour.
The mixes turned out to be a huge success and, with a triumphant smile on my face, I headed off on my travels. I’d been engaged to play at a private party for an old friend and client, whose dazzling annual events have become a regular fixture in my diary. Her past festivities, which have always involved a wild night of fancy dress and fun-filled frolics, usually took place at her London home. However, this year she decided to shake things up a little by holding the soirée at her second home in Rome.
I departed LA for Rome, having organised a brief overnight stopover in London, where I was to attend an early evening cocktail party for fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg – for whom I’d also designed a musical backdrop to set the evening’s mood. Sadly, my plans were thwarted by British Airways and, thanks to a two-hour delay at LAX, I ended up missing the event.
I did, however, arrive just in time to join friends for dinner at the new Hakkasan restaurant adjacent to Berkeley Square. After dinner we headed off to another event, this time for another client of mine, the Italian shoemaker Tod’s. Having made a brief guest appearance, I then went to check out the super-hip new nightspot The Box before retiring for the night, since I had to be up only a few hours later to catch my flight to Rome.
On my arrival, I was greeted by my hosts at their stunning villa by the sea, where I was briefed as to what they had planned for the following evening’s celebrations. The hostess goes to great efforts each year to ensure that her party is an unforgettable experience – and it certainly seemed that this year would prove no exception.
Every inch of the house had been dressed and decorated especially for the night. In addition to arranging my performance, she’d hired a violinist, a circus acrobat and numerous human lizards and geckos, who scaled the balconies and patrolled the grounds. The pièce de résistance, however, was to be the two black panthers borrowed from a local zoo, which were to be placed in cages at each side of the front entrance to welcome guests with a feral snarl.
Everything had been perfectly planned, and the evening, which attracted countless local politicians and celebrities as well as the entire AS Roma football team, went off with a bang.
Sadly, the panthers never materialised. Word had got out before their arrival, and the local constabulary, keen to prevent the savage cats from breaking loose and terrorising the surrounding countryside, had lain in wait, ambushed the truck and sent it straight back to the zoo. The felines’ absence, however, did nothing to hamper everyone’s enjoyment of the evening and, once again, the party was an enormous success that the guests are doubtless still talking about.
The following morning I left for Milan for meetings with my manager and various clients, then flew back to London to decompress for a few days before returning to my wonderfully sun-drenched home of Los Angeles, where I began preparing for my next great adventure!
And now that the Savant Sounds website is up and running, you can download both the Diane von Furstenberg and Il Pellicano mixes, along with our regular monthly output.
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