New Jersey native Mike Simonetti is responsible for launching several influential record labels, in addition to recording left-field disco tracks and cinematic electronic music. Simonetti first became known for running Troubleman Unlimited, a highly productive label active throughout the 1990s and 2000s that specialized in post-punk, noise, and indie rock. As his tastes shifted toward electronic music, he co-founded Italians Do It Better with Johnny Jewel in 2007, helping to spearhead the Italo-disco revival. He began releasing his own disco tracks and edits in 2010, as well as more atmospheric pieces, collected on the full-lengths Capricorn Rising (2011) and Solipsism (2018). After leaving IDIB, he co-founded the experimental dance label 2MR Records with Mike Sniper (Captured Tracks), in addition to making ethereal dance-pop with Elizabeth Wight as part of the duo Pale Blue.
Born in Bayonne, New Jersey, Simonetti began collecting records at a young age, first getting into metal and rap before becoming immersed in the post-hardcore scene. He launched Troubleman Unlimited out of his mother's house in 1993; the label's first release was an early Unwound 7" that became unexpectedly popular, selling thousands of copies. Other early Troubleman releases included records by Rye Coalition, Karp, and James Murphy's first band, Speedking. Gradually, the label shifted away from hardcore and closer to post-punk and experimental rock. By the early 2000s, the label was one of the most important forces of the emerging noise rock and dance-punk scenes, with releases by Black Dice, Erase Errata, Wolf Eyes, and Glass Candy all receiving acclaim, not to mention early recordings by future indie rock stars the Walkmen. While the label was releasing harsh noise (Prurient, John Wiese), freak folk (Wooden Wand & the Vanishing Voice), and post-metal (Isis, Harvey Milk) during the mid-2000s, Johnny Jewel's Chromatics and Glass Candy projects became heavily influenced by '80s Italo-disco and synth soundtracks. Simonetti and Jewel launched the Italians Do It Better label in 2007. The seminal After Dark compilation, as well as Chromatics' Night Drive and Glass Candy's B/E/A/T/B/O/X, were immensely well-received, and the IDIB aesthetic became a massive influence on music and film throughout the following decade. Troubleman wound down by the end of the 2000s; their final releases included early recordings by Titus Andronicus, Zola Jesus, and Tamaryn.
By this time, Simonetti had begun composing music for film, television, and fashion shows, and he started releasing his original productions, edits, and remixes in 2010. Along with disco singles like 2010's That Look (on the short-lived Troubleman imprint Perseo), he also released a more atmospheric full-length, Capricorn Rising, on IDIB in 2011. He also became an in-demand DJ, and he launched the eclectic mixtape series At the Juncture of Light & Dark in 2014. By 2015, Simonetti had left IDIB over disagreements with Jewel. He formed the dreamy dance-pop duo Pale Blue with Elizabeth Wight; their 2015 debut, The Past We Leave Behind, was the inaugural release by 2MR (2 Mikes Records), which Simonetti launched in cooperation with Captured Tracks founder Mike Sniper. 2MR quickly became another reliable source for forward-thinking electronic music, ranging from disco (Bottin) to darkwave (TWINS). Following Simonetti's I Love You Mom, a 2018 EP for Jennifer Cardini's Correspondant label, 2MR released Solipsism, a collection of pieces Simonetti recorded during his tenure with IDIB. ~ Paul Simpson~ Rovi