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Interview: Marco Carola - Play It Loud!

The Napoli don talks about his latest release, moving away from hard sounds and Ibiza 2011 plans.

Spotlight: Maybe an obvious question, but what's the story behind you choosing the album title, Play It Loud?

Marco: Well it's kind of like an instruction on how I feel the album should be played because my music is really groovy and the bassline gives a lot of importance to the music I make. Basically, as a DJ I feel my music is there to be played so I tried to make it for this, whether for the club or at home and the key is still to play it loud.

Why did you release the album as a mix?

There will be a mix version but there will also be single releases too. I did the mix for everyone that's not a DJ, like I said, my music is made to be played and I don't make songs, I make tracks. The mix version is for those who don't play in clubs or aren't DJs, so they can listen to it too. The mix is an expression of what I am as a DJ and also as a producer at the same time.

How did you make the album, what kit did you use?

Its complicated because I did it over a long time and before I was working with Logic and now I'm using Ableton, so during the album I've been using different ideas with both systems. At the end I used Ableton to finish it, which I found great, some people complain about the sound quality but I think it's much more intuitive and so you can create much more, which I prefer.

You talked before about the groove and basslines. Along with the lack of vocals and the percussive elements, they seem like the standard trademarks for the album and your music.

Yeah probably, but it's a natural thing for me, I can't control it. This is really what drives me in the studio, which is probably why it's always there. Even when I'm DJing, there is probably the key of my sound and it's almost like an obsession with the groove and a good bass drum.

I first knew you as a hard techno DJ. What changed for you to not play as hard as you used to?

I have been playing and producing hard music for many years but I always wanted to play other music and diversify. Then there came a point where I didn't feel the hard music as much as when I was younger, but because of my name I was associated just with hard techno. So even though I wanted to express myself more diversely the crowd wasn't ready for this. For a period I had to choose to not play certain clubs, even if the fee was really high. So I played clubs for hardly any money, but I was enjoying what I was doing. I wasn't enjoying playing if my set was limited, I wanted to do what I wanted to do, but some clubs weren't ready.

So you took a risk on your instinct?

Sometimes people have to take risks but I think if you do what you like, then you put effort in and you're going to succeed. This is probably why I'm playing and even more than before. It's because i was able to do what I wanted and go to where I felt people would understand me.

With you techno background and upbringing, do you find yourself discovering more house music as you play less hard?

Hmmm, when I listen to something and it sounds too obvious, then it doesn't click in my head, I don't like it. With house, it's usually been used and double used and triple used, it's sometimes easy to go back into the loop of what was there before. But if it's mixed with new elements, then it can be something different, something better.

Moving onto Ibiza, in the last few years, you've really become one of the strongest names on the island. why do you think such a hype has built up around you?

Ibiza [big sigh!] has a big Italian crowd and Spanish crowd and of course big English crowd, but most of those follow English promoters. At the moment I'm playing at Cocoon and it's such a good night and so many people come, maybe people who didn't know Cocoon in the beginning but now come because of the name. They're discovering good music or music that they like and sometimes that means they discover me too.

So I'd say Ibiza is a mix between people that really know you and those that go for the party and then get to know you. I've been playing Ibiza every year since 2001 and so many people come. I love it!

But you do feel like things have really taken off for you in the last couple of years?

Well, I try always to keep my feet on the ground. Yes, it's growing and been getting better. All the parties I've played have been good too. But I always feel like I need to grow and give something more. I always feel like I wanna do more and give more music and play more music.

Marco playing at Cocoon, Amnesia

I know you're a core part of the Amnesia closing parties too, which have been particularly special the last couple of years?

Yeah, really special. I've been playing at Amnesia Closing for about 5 years and year-by-year - at the start it was just residents and now - they've decided to push some guests. And the last 2 years has been crazy, the number of people coming has tripled or quadrupled and I've seen it growing. It's a mix between really good club and choice of the DJs.

What are your plans in Ibiza for 2011?

This is something we don't know yet because all the dates have to be decided, but I don't think there is going to be any major changes.

Possibly some gigs at Pacha or DC10?

[laughs] I have requests all the time, even last year but.....errr.....[laughs] I don't think much is going to change from last year.

You've got really close associations with big labels and brands like M-nus, Desolat, Cocoon. How do you balance your loyalties?

I like the way I can do what I feel and I don't have obligation but every choice I make it's respectful. I'm always open and sincere with everyone. But in this techno community, between all the DJs and promoters, we're all friends. For example, in trance, the DJs won't even play the records of the other guys, but in our circle, we're friends and we help each other and there is less of this greedy vision of music and money.

So everything works fine because people know how I am. I love Richie's label and love being part of what has happened there. Same with Cocoon, the best party on the island and I'm part of it, even Richie is part of it. Loco Dice is a really good friend and when I play with him it's so easy, everything makes sense.

With Dice, you've played back to back with a lot in the last year.

Well we did start to do it sometimes years ago and you know it's not easy to play back to back with someone. But with Dice we know each other so much, musically, that in a way we've always found a balance. I know what he doesn't like and Dice knows what I don't like. So that makes it much easier and when it's b2b, it's more relaxed and it can become something really special.

Grazie Marco!

Prego, Ciao!

Marco with Richie Hawtin at Amnesia Closing 2009

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