RA.252 Marco Carola

The veteran Italian techno jock records his first podcast.

Marco Carola is quite simply one of the biggest in the business. The Neapolitan selector was there from the very beginning of Italy's love affair with techno, helping to kick-start the scene through extensive DJing, production and party promotion in his hometown. His message throughout the late-'90s/early-'00s was spread via a number of successful labels he founded—Zenit, One Thousand, Question—although the ascent towards his currently enjoyed level of fame seemed to begin around 2006/07 with the release of his excellent fabric mix and association with Minus/Plus 8. By this time Carola had quite drastically altered his approach from the frantic three-deck mixing style he previously employed, instead concentrating on stripping things down in search of the ultimate groove. However you look at this transitionary period, it most certainly worked for him: Carola now enjoys one of the busiest touring schedules on the circuit, regularly given top billing for some of the largest scale techno events in the world.

Carola's dedication to the rhythmic exploration is certainly apparent on his RA mix, although as he explains below, he allows a little more warmth and a lot more breathing room then you might ordinarily expect from hearing him pack a dancefloor.

What have you been up to recently?

I've been on my album release world tour, which started at home in Napoli in February. I've just finished some of the South American dates and a party at SXSW with Richie—and am currently in LA getting ready for the Miami parties this week.

How and where was the mix recorded?

I recorded it in my studio at home in Napoli using Traktor Scratch—that's what I use when I play out now, with two decks and the C-Loops machine to make longer mixes. I get asked a lot about the three-deck style I started out with for many years, but I eventually found that there was too much thinking about the technical side. The way I play now means I can think more about the music and where the set is going.

Can you tell us a little bit more about the idea behind the mix?

I recently did the BBC Essential Mix at the time of the album release in February. I was really pleased with how that turned out, but as that was a two-hour club-style set, I wanted to do something that was a little more relaxed for this. I recorded it during a short break in the tour dates a couple of weeks ago—I try to always play new tracks in my sets, so these are ones I was into at that time.

You're credited as helping to kick-start the Italian techno scene during the '90s. How would you assess the scene in 2011?

Back when I started, Napoli was really the only real techno scene in Italy. Rome had a scene, but that was more of a rave style. You could say that in the beginning it was perhaps more contained, but now it's opened up and there are great parties put on by amazing people around the whole country. I think it's great, I always love to play in Italy—Italian crowds have so much energy, so if you play well they really love you.

Do you see your particular brand of techno as being divisive? Certainly online it seems to evoke very strong reactions for and against it.

Well one of the best things about techno is that the people are so passionate about it. Perhaps sometimes some people forget that the purpose of it is to have fun and to dance, though. There's room for all kinds of styles—my style is not going to be loved by everybody, but that's OK because I'm just expressing who I am, what I like to play and hear in the club. My music is quite specific, it's made to be played by DJs in clubs—pretty much everything on the album was tested this way so I could see what was successful and what I needed to work on some more. And the reason the album comes as a mix is that it makes more sense for the music to be heard played as part of a DJ set than individual tracks.

That's why I called the album Play It Loud!, because without that context of being played by a DJ it's not going to make sense. My music is about the groove, the bassline—if you can't feel that, if you listen to it on some laptop speakers with no bass, you're not going to get it! So it's great for people to have those strong reactions and to be passionate—just don't forget to have fun!

What are you up to next?

The album tour continues with more European dates from the beginning of April. There are the festivals like Timewarp and Exit, and of course there will be Ibiza too which I am always excited to do. And after the tour hopefully some new EPs on 2M later this year.

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