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Carlo Lio: Rawthentic Techno

“There’s no greater feeling than holding a track of yours in your hand on a record…” Listen to Carlo talk Ibiza, Music On, and Vinyl.

Carlo Lio is a name that Ibiza residents and those spending the summer on the white isle will have become affiliated with if not in the past few months, then before the season began. Carlo has been an established name in both the European and American techno scene for quite a while and, in his ever-long quest to be at the top of his musical game, set up his Rawthentic Music label and is now setting up another label with a refreshingly different ethos on the process of releasing electronic music and keeping it current. Carlo has played multiple times at Privilege's Reverse party in the Vista Club and at Booom! for Coyu's label and party, Suara. However, as everyone in Ibiza prepares for the end of the season, Carlo Lio will be leaving the Balearic Islands with a bang as he is set to play at Amnesia for techno giants Music On in what will be his last show of Ibiza 2014.

As well as running two labels and playing across Ibiza and the world over, Carlo Lio still likes to keep his finger on the pulse production-wise, and is due to release a remix of Ghostface Killah's Cherchez La Ghost on September 8th on Transmit Recordings, which is already gaining a lot of attention from the likes of Carl Cox and Dubfire! With so much to be excited about in his summer calendar alone, Spotlight caught up with the Toronto's main man in techno to discuss the process of running a label, the differences in the North American and European party scenes, why vinyl is still the way forward and which techno party is the best Ibiza has to offer…

Having been raised on the rave scene of Toronto, Canada, what inspired you to take the next step from just a punter and start your career in music?

"It was simple. Once the rave scene died in Toronto, and believe me it died very fast, I had to figure out a way to keep this music alive in me. Even though the rave scene kind of moved into the club scene, it still wasn't the same, not for me anyway. So that's when it clicked: let's take a try at becoming a DJ."

Would you say there is a divide between European and North American attitudes to electronic music? If so, how difficult was it for you to cross borders and become such a success with the European clubbing community?

"They are definitely different. North America is maybe a step behind, but the scene is strong and growing rapidly. A lot of the underground sounds you will hear in Europe first are now being accepted and growing in North America. Even underground is becoming more commercialized in North America, in an underground way if that makes sense haha. I guess what I'm trying to say is underground is becoming much more popular. I grew up in Toronto, but always followed the European scene and its artists, which I feel has allowed me to understand both sides of the divide very well. I can adapt my music very easily to any environment or venue."

Does the current dance music scene, say in Ibiza for example, feel far removed from your early raver days? What has changed, and what elements have remained the same?

"No, not at all. It actually has that feeling I've been chasing for the past few years to try and get back. Obviously it has evolved but there are many key things that bring back my memories of my old raving days. The biggest part of it then was the unity that people shared - everyone is there sharing the same feelings and are there for the same reasons. Even though you only know 20 or 30 people in the party, everyone shares that common bond. That went along way for me when I discovered the rave scene in Toronto. So I do still see and feel it in Ibiza."

VIDEO | The last installment of Music On was a hell of a party. Look see.

You have previously said that one of your influences at the moment among many others in electronic music is Marco Carola. Does it therefore feel fitting that Music On will be your last appearance this season in Ibiza?

"Yes, Marco has been a great influence for me and my music for many many years. I have been buying his records since the minute I became a DJ. He is a great producer and a phenomenal DJ, as I'm sure you know. But yes, I'm happy to end off another amazing season in Ibiza with the Music On crew! I've played with them since year 1 and hope to continue. So it will be nice to go out with a BANG!"

This isn't your first time stepping up to the decks at Music On, having played last year and multiple times the year before. Given your close relationship with one of the biggest techno-based parties on the island, would you say that Music On is the dominant techno party in Ibiza?

"Hands down, Music On is the dominant night in my eyes. It still blows my mind to see the success and massive jump it's seen from year 1 to year 2. They really nailed it with everything from the artists playing each party to the amazing brand they have successfully created. They really took Ibiza by storm. In my eyes, Music On will be a brand that will last a lifetime."

Out of all the shows you've played in 2014, which ones stand out the most both in Ibiza and around the world?

"I've had a really great time this summer playing at both BOOOM! for Coyu's Suara events and also a super time at Vista Club playing for the Reverse crew. I'm sure the Music On show coming up will be at the top of the list as it usually is. As for other parts of the world there have been some amazing show this summer. I really loved Barrakud Festival in Croatia, Balaton Sound in Hungary and of course my B2B with Dubfire at Plagues Electronique in Cannes France! That was nuts!"

You've recently launched a new label named ‘On Edge Society' for vinyl only releases. What is it about vinyl that you love and why have you chosen not to release digitally?

"Yes, I started this new project with my good buddy Kareem Cali from NYC. Vinyl has always been special to me. I'm pretty sure every artist feels the same. I love everything about it - the look, feel and sound it has. There's no greater feeling than holding a track of yours in your hand on a record. You can't hold an mp3 file, and I feel that music these days has zero shelf life digitally, meaning its just not as special anymore. With a new digital release, it could get flooded with garbage in a matter of days, so we wanted this to be something special for us again, encouraging us to go down the vinyl route."

STREAM | The latest On Edge Society tracks.

"I am still a die-hard vinyl shopper, so I know that there is still another world of music out there that will never hit the digital platforms. Plus, I want to have tracks that nobody has! I don't want to play music everybody is playing, that feeling of going into a record shop and getting a copy of a record when only 300 were released – that's what makes music special to me again."

"Who doesn't like digging and working for your tracks? That's what its all about - not shopping on the Top 100!"

What is the ethos behind your own label, and what did you plan to achieve from your new project?

"The sound of On Edge Society is a tougher, raw old school techno sound - phat, funky, deep and of course always groovy. As I said, this is a special project for us, so we are not accepting demos from just anybody. We are approaching artists that have held a special place in our hearts over the years, incorporating both newer artists and of course the old school ones. Techno is timeless and at the moment it's on a huge up! We want to contribute to that in any way possible."

As well as being the main man behind On Edge Society, you are also the head of ‘Rawthentic Music'. Juggling between two labels, producing and being on the road a lot of the time can't be easy – do you plan to put more focus on one particular element of your career or split your time between all projects?

"Yes of course it's a big load to carry. But when you really love something you make time for it. This is my life; it's not a 9-5 job. I live and breathe it. I go to sleep thinking about music and wake up thinking about music. I definitely have to co-ordinate my time better with having so much on my plate but I have had no problem making it work so far. Also the help of my partner Kareem really takes a nice load off me, especially during the summer months when the touring is madness. He really does a lot for both the labels."

STREAM | Carlo's other project with the latest releases ready to enjoy.

We've heard you've got a new remix on the way on September 8th on New York based DJ/producer Boris' label Transmit Recordings. What can we expect from your latest release?

"Yes I do. My homies from Miami called Cocodrills made an original mix of the legendary track from Ghostface Killah (Wu-Tang-Clan) called ‘Cherchez La Ghost'. Boris got the official rights to the track, so I was excited to make a remix of it. It's already got some great early support from Dubfire and Carl Cox. So yes, you can expect the package soon!"

When you're in between shows and get to spend a few free days in Ibiza, what do you like to do on the island?

"RELAX!!! I love finding new restaurants to eat – the food is always good anywhere near the sea! Of course, I love meeting up with friends. There's always someone on the island from around the world. But honestly it's just about the little things in life."

You got some big breaks from other successful DJs – for example Dubfire and Carl Cox playing and releasing your music. How important is it to an emerging DJ's career to have support from the big names? Can you make it without that?

"I think it's very important. I owe most of my success to guys like these. Without them pushing my music, maybe people would have never known who I was. They believed in me as a person, as well as an artist and I am forever grateful to them all."

"I think it's the nature of almost every business, where someone in a higher position than you brings you in or takes you further in your career. I can't complain!"

WORDS | Janson Goldberg

Don't forget to check out Carlo Lio's Facebook page along with On Edge Society and Rawthentic Music.

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