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Nialler9 Podcast: An introduction to Italo Disco

Nialler9 Podcast: An introduction to Italo Disco


This is a rewind of an episode from 2021.

Today’s episode is all about my favourite subgenre of disco and dance music – Italo. What it is, where it came from and why it’s so enduring.

Italo disco is a European form of electronic disco that proliferated throughout Europe in the early ’80s. It’s a catch all term for 80s electronic pop of mostly Italian origin.

Italo is what happens when disco starts getting made with drum machines and synthesizers –  a loveable curio of romantic pop, a  tasteless yet tasteful novelty item, A simple music born at a time when music was increasingly sophisticated.

Italo is big fun electronic pop music that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It is time capsule of a generally more innocent time of bad dancers, keytars, moustaches and chrome-shimmering fashion.

From Vice’s A Bullshitter’s Guide To Italo-Disco by Angus Harrison

Imagine, if you can, if somebody made a B-movie of the entire disco genre. Music so obviously emotional, it becomes inescapably affecting. This is Italo and its heartstring-pulling magic. It’s not disco, in fact in most cases it’s technically a lot worse, but there is untold charm in the chintz.

Niall and Andrea take you deep into how US disco morphed into Italo, how Moroder and Hi-NRG fits in, the characteristics of Italo disco, the glitz, the glamour and the keytars. Plus, we talk about the Nialler9 Podcast theme song – Red Dragon Band’s ‘Let Me Be Your Radio’.

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See also: Nialler9 Podcast: What is Balearic? The story of Ibiza, MDMA, Alfredo & a genre

Patreon members get exclusive access to my 8 hour Italo Disco playlist featuring all of the songs played on this episode, which includes classics like:

Doctor’s Cat – Feel The Drive
Mr. Flagio – Take A Chance
La Bionda – I Wanna Be Your Lover
RAF – Self-Control
Ken Laszlo – Hey Hey Guy
Ryan Paris – Dolce Vita
Sabrina – Boys
and many more.

Support Nialler9 on Patreon and join our Discord chat + member playlists & content.

Andrea has a Ghost newsletter

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Previous podcast episodes in this series

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