Sydney Sibilia’s latest movie on Netflix celebrates music and the joy it brings among the masses, although the approach is slightly unconventional. Truth be told, the means by which international music was brought to millions of Italians in the late ’70s and throughout the ’80s was through piracy. Mixed by Erry, tells the dramatized story of the three Frattasio brothers, led by Enrico “Erry” Frattasio, and how Erry’s love for DJing created a piracy empire. The movie shows the rise and fall of the Frattasio brothers, and we take a look at every major detail in the brothers’ lives. A special question is answered at the end. So stay tuned to find out who was the mole for the Frattasio brothers at the Sanremo music festivals in Mixed By Erry.
How Did The Frattasio Brothers Get Their Start?
In the small Italian town of Forcella, Senior Frattasio was often helped by his three sons, Peppe, Enrico, and Angelo, to make counterfeit alcohol, and they never had to go to sleep on empty stomachs. But that was the extent of their means, and the siblings dreamed bigger, with Enrico having especially big dreams. Enrico, aka Erry, wanted to be a DJ and create music, but the closest he came to DJing was creating mixtapes in his free time after sweeping at the record store. However, when the store was sold, his boss, Don Ferdina, gave Erry a bunch of records, thus kickstarting his venture of taking his mixtape business to a national level.
Peppe was struggling to make a living for himself and his pregnant wife, Francesca, and things became tougher when Inspector Riccardi shut down the illegal cigarette business. Erry came to his brother with the idea of creating mixtapes as a business, but it was too difficult and would generate far too little revenue, considering the effort they’d have to put in. That’s when Erry had a brainwave: there was a new tool out on the market called Duplicator Graff that’d create a tape within 2 minutes, but it cost 7 million lira. So, an 8 million lira loan later, the Frattasio mixtape store was teeming with people.
Who Was The Moroccan?
Peppe and Erry had gathered a bunch of Moroccan smugglers to distribute tapes, but a Moroccan mob boss showed up and demanded the Frattasio brothers shut down the operation and pay the thug 10 million lira for damages. Fortune sided with Frattasios, and Angelo was back with the family after a brief stint at the jail, and he had an idea. The Moroccan was made to kneel before the brothers as Angelo let him know in no uncertain words that if he didn’t clear out of Italy by that week, his brains would be splattered on the very sidewalk he was kneeling on. To add gravitas to the threat, a massive explosion leveled the thug’s store, and the brothers had free reign on the music market in Forcella.
How Did The Brothers Attract Trouble?
Soon, Erry’s mixtapes were being sold to the entirety of Italy, with the highest traction being for the music at the Sanremo Festival, the biggest music festival in the country. The Frattasios were duplicating the music from the festival within mere hours of the festival, making their business boom so much that Angelo was pulling up at discos in his yellow Lamborghini. Soon, they were invited to the mansion of a mob boss named Lion, and he demanded a cut of their business, but once again, Lady Fortune took pity on the three brothers. Gang wars between the families took Lion out of the picture, but it invited Inspector Riccardi. He quickly began raiding the Frattasio mixing laboratories, as Erry liked to call them, but the brothers quickly lawyered up and hid behind bureaucratic red tape.
As the conflict with Riccardi got personal and he demanded more and more help from the police, the problem of music piracy began receiving massive attention. By the late ’80s, Erry’s mixing house was churning out copies, with music from the Sanremo festival being the biggest highlight. Around the same time, the brothers were invited to a lavish lunch by a Milanese businessman who wanted exclusive rights to the brothers’ blank tape deals. Arturo Mario Barambani quickly became a family friend, and he even gifted Erry’s daughter a very expensive painting on her birthday.
Why Were The Bothers Arrested?
By 1991, the newest technology in music, the CD, had been released and was about to revolutionize the music industry, but Erry had already begun learning about its nuances. However, the major record labels were angry that three nobodies had become the biggest LP in Italy, and they demanded massive police action to shut down the Frattasio operations. Barambani pleaded with Erry to quit while they were ahead, but when has anyone listened to such advice? Not only did the Erry not stop, but he also intentionally made Riccardi transfer his entire surveillance crew to Sanremo because Erry took his family to the festival. The inspector frantically tried intercepting the call Erry made from the hotel, but Riccardi slumped down on the couch, realizing Erry was speaking to his mother, and this was all for naught. However, the third time was not the charm for the brothers, and Arturo turned himself in and divulged everything he had on the brothers, which resulted in Riccardi getting the last laugh as the brothers were thrown inside prison.
What Happens To The Frattasio Brothers?
Despite his lawyer’s repeated insistence, Erry pleaded guilty in court, and the brothers were sentenced to jail for four years and six months. Their actions led to the creation of an anti-piracy organization in Italy because the government learned that the brothers had sold 180 million counterfeit tapes. All their properties were seized, but Angelo didn’t give up hope because he’d gotten an associate to bury 30 billion lira under a tennis court, and they’d get the money out in just ten years. However, Erry knew this was a futile attempt because he’d read in the newspaper that his wife sent his trial suit in about the Maastricht Treaty. This treaty that was signed in 1992 in the Netherlands made older currencies obsolete and replaced them with the Euro for the countries within the European Union. Therefore, the 30 billion that the brothers daydreamed of were pieces of paper by the time they stepped out of prison. After prison, Erry earned a livelihood by selling gift boxes, but he didn’t abandon his dreams of DJing. He’d pick up a vinyl record from time to time to let his real passion shine.
Finally, we, the audience, know who the mole was for the Frattasio brothers that got them the Sanremo music. It was none other than their mother, who’d tape the music from their TV from the tiny apartment where her children grew up, as Senior Frattesio kept making a living by selling counterfeit hooch. So, on that night during the Sanremo festival, when Erry had called his mother, he’d asked her to press the record and play buttons on the massive collection of Duplicator Graff that adorned their living room.