CAROLA
The Marathon Man

BY GREGO O’HALLORAN September 2014 Read in PDF format N4/2014
CAROLA GET READY FOR THIS ONE, NAPOLI’S FINEST, MARCO CAROLA IS ON BOARD FOR USHUAÏA’S CLOSING PARTY THIS YEAR AND YOU CAN EXPECT A MARATHON SESSION FROM THE TECHNO LEGEND. RENOWNED FOR HIS ENDURANCE SKILLS AND ABILITY TO GO THE EXTRA MILE, CAROLA WILL PLAY 12 HOURS DAY INTO NIGHT, ALL THE WAY TILL CLOSE, IN WHAT IS SET TO BE A UNIQUE OCCASION ON HIS DEBUT AT USHUAÏA BEACH CLUB

Tell us about how the opportunity to play at Ushuaïa Closing came about?

I’ve been approached before from different parties to play at Ushuaïa, but I was focusing more on my party on Fridays in Amnesia, which is now in it’s third year. I think we’ve established Music On, even though 3 years isn’t a really long time, and this year’s been really successful. So I thought it was the right time to play something different and special. It’s always a good thing for an artist to experiment and try something new.

So what’s going to be special about this gig?

Well, I’m playing a long set, 12 hours.. I can really express myself when I play long sets. I find it difficult to play short sets because I like to have different kinds of music and 2 hours isn’t enough to express what I want.

Will you prepare for such a long set in a different way?

No, I never prepare anything. The only thing I do is 2 or 3 days before a gig, I’m listening to lots of promos and making edits, because a lot of tracks have good parts but aren’t always complete, so I’d do an edit version for me to play. This is the only preparation I do. During the session, I go with the flow, go with the crowd and build things up record after record. I honestly think it’s one of the most difficult things for a DJ, to understand yourself and your taste in music and the crowd in front of you and to make it work. After many years of experience, I think you learn to feel the crowd and also the factors that might change this: the lighting system, the sound system, everything that surrounds you that could make you set different. But it’s really difficult to think about that for preparation, for example, if I planned a set that had a lot of bass and it’s a club that doesn’t have bass, then my set wouldn’t work there anymore. If you want to have a successful night, every night, you can’t have the same set because you have a different crowd and a different location. So for the Ushuaïa Closing, I will just go with the flow and the environment and see how it goes.

In the last couple of years, you would often use a surprise track during your set, an INXS track or the Flash Gordon theme tune for example. Are those parts planned, because they’re so unique not to have been pre-conceived?

I understand what you mean. Firstly, every week I listen to between 1.500-2.000 tracks…...

How do you manage to do that?

When you do this so much, you are able to recognise tracks after listening quickly, it’s like a training. I have my own methods that mean I don’t have to waste 5 minutes to recognise if it’s good or not. I have a first quick listen and build my selection, so in 2 or 3 days, I’m able to know what I want to play from 2000 tracks each week. On those tracks, that you mentioned before, sometimes it’s an edit or something special from a friend and I think, “I’m going to use that at the weekend”. I don’t plan it, I just use it, maybe sometimes I don’t find the right space to use it in a few weeks. It’s just a combination of knowing it’s there and finding the right time to use it. It’s not a preparation when to play it, it’s more like, I have this tool and I’m going to use it soon. It’s not easy to explain!

How has Music On been this summer?

The competition is always strong on the island and you never know what is going to happen, but at the beginning I couldn’t really expect such a big year for us. You still need a few years to establish yourself as a new party, but the difference was that last year sometimes we suffered on some weeks, this year we haven’t suffered any of the dates, we’ve always been more or less pretty full and in August, we had to leave people outside.

How do you approach the programming in both rooms, especially as so much of the event is about you and the terrace?

First of all I choose artists that I respect and whose sound I love. We have 17 nights with two rooms, that’s a lot of DJs and a lot of music. The main thing behind choosing someone is always music, their sound, their career but also can be some new names. Like who? Well, now he’s really known but Joseph [Capriati] when he started to work with us, he had never actually stepped in Ibiza. He’d not played here before? No, he’d never been here! We’re talking about not even 3 years have gone, so you can see what can happen. There are lots of new, really talented and young DJs but what they’re missing is a contact with people. The most important thing for me is to feel the people, you can have the greatest taste in music, but you don’t know what to play because they don’t have this experience with the crowd. It’s difficult today with this new technology that kids are exposed to that makes it harder to have the connection with the people, it’s not impossible, just more difficult. When I started DJing nobody had a cellphone, you had home phones to make appointments, then you go in the streets and communicate with people. We’re not singers who go out and perform songs that we’ve prepared, we are DJs and we have to build with the crowd. This is probably why so many young, talented artists don’t make it. It’s really important this issue to me, we could probably do another interview just about it. The party didn’t seem to be affected when you took a couple of weeks out at the end of July for health reasons. I had to stop for two weeks due to an ear infection and it was the first time I’d missed a party, so everyone was thinking what’s going to happen. The party still worked perfectly and the vibe was amazing and it was incredible to see the response of the crowd. I didn’t expect this, so this really made me happy.

Have you fully recovered then?

My ear is almost healed. I had to take it seriously and take precautions, change a bit my lifestyle and be more careful. Now, I’m almost totally recovered.

Do you worry about your health, I mean sometimes last year you were playing really long sets and then going on to do the same at the after party, was it too much?

No it was ok, but you can do too much, so you have to balance your life, everything is a matter of balance. I’m not saying we shouldn’t party but what I’m saying is that you also need to take time off and let your body recover. If you don’t do this, you body is going to give you a sign that you need to stop, and you should listen to that.

So basically, last year your body didn’t give any signs, so you just keep pushing it?

Yeah, I just kept on doing what I was doing.

Where next for the Music On brand?

The thing I like about Music on is that I don’t have to think about this so much, I have my partners who manage this and I can focus on the music. With 2 or 3 gigs a week and then all the time listening to music, this means 5 or 6 days a week focusing on my music and I can let other people think about future projects. One of the key is that I can focus on the music and put more energy in listening to music and seeing how I can change the music each week.

Going back a few years, in 2009 you were playing many gigs at Privilege for parties like Monza and Meganite, what’s changed since then to allow your profile to grow so much?

I’ve just been trying to focus on the music and be happy with what I’m doing. I realised at all my gigs in Ibiza, I was having a big following whenever I played and people tried to get me to do a night but I wasn’t interested. In life you always have to make compromises, to talk deep, it’s about happiness, it’s about what makes you happy and for me, besides music, I need to feel relaxed and do what I want to do without any problems. At one point, I really had to stop and think for myself and about starting my vision on the island, having people I believed in musically and artistically. I wasn’t feeling myself 100% playing for other people anymore.

Finally, you’ve not released any new music since the ‘Play it Loud’ album in 2011, can we expect anything new soon?

I’ve been working in the studio since then, I’ve got so many tracks and ideas sitting in my computer; and just not finding the right time to finish them or release them or to create a concept. I’ve had pressure before when making music, but I think that makes you make mistakes and as an artist, you should do it in your own time and it will be something you like. When I first started making music, you had to do it to sell, so it wasn’t a pleasure to produce; but I learned early that you need to enjoy what you’re doing artistically. I’m going to spend more time in the studio after the summer and so probably next year something will be released.

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