INTERVIEW | Carlo Lio
In trying to describe the sound of Carlo Lio, two things come to mind: dynamic basslines and a whole lotta groove. With releases on Sven Vath’s Cocoon, Carl Cox’s INTEC, and Dubfire’s SCI+TEC, it goes without saying that Carlo Lio has been on everyone’s radar since he started releasing music in late 2006.
Alongside spending time in the studio and globetrotting for gigs, Lio also runs imprint Rawthentic Music, supporting both established and upcoming talent – including Wigbert, Einzelkind, Bimas + more. The goal for the label? “Simple. Release quality music from quality artists.”
If you’re wondering what’s coming next, rest assured that there’s plenty: along with EP “DeeBUG” to be released on techno queen Nicole Moudaber’s MOOD label in early 2015, Lio will also be releasing a second EP titled “Escobar Season” on INTEC before the end of the year. His remix for Audion’s “Motormouth,” which was featured on John Digweed’s latest Transitions cloudcast, will also be released on Spectral Sounds.
We caught up with the Toronto native in between his run of U.S. tour dates to talk cats, ADE, and his yearly move to Barcelona.
Since 2011, you’ve been spending your summers in Barcelona. How has that yearly seasonal move been for you?
Being able to be between home in Toronto and moving to Barcelona in the summer has meant I can focus on gigs in Europe during the summer months, and also have easy access to Ibiza. Europe has a huge techno scene so its important to be there for the summer months. Its like my second home, I have many friends there and love coming back each year. I do love being home though and I love the cold weather too, so I don’t just go to Barcelona for the sunshine!
What made you want to move to Barcelona every summer?
Dubfire always told me it was a great city and that it would be a good move! Turned out he was right. But I just wanted to be in a place where I knew lots of fellow artists and friends who I felt comfortable around. It’s also very easy to travel from in and out of. Barcelona gave me all of this and more so it was a no brainer! And after 4 years there, it’s amazing how many artists have made the move there. I’m really happy I made the move!
How has Barcelona influenced your music?
Barcelona has definitely had an influence, but its more being in Europe itself. It’s such a different world then what I’m used to here in North America. The people, the culture and the music have all played a big part in influencing my music. It’s amazing to see how DJs play in one place vs. another as well as how people listen and react to the music in each location. Europe has opened my eyes, and made me aware of the difference, which has then in turn opened my mind musically.
We’ve heard that you love cats. How did your love for cats start?
My obsession with cats is definitely no secret. Currently I have two cats, which I love dearly! Their names are Treble and Cleffy. When I was really young, my sister and I always wanted a pet. My parents weren’t so fond of the idea, but we finally cracked them.
They got us a Persian/Himalayan mix and she was the best thing on the planet. Her name was Roxy. We would fight about who got to hold her first when we got home from school. One would get the cat first, and the other would get the TV remote. Our walks home were always a negotiation!
You have two cats at home. Who takes care of them while you’re on tour?
My girlfriend is at home when I am touring, so I hope she is looking after them! We love them like they are our children, so I know they are in good hands! Also a good friend of mine Vincent plays a big part in my kitties lives when we are both away. They love him as much as we do.
You’ve described your music as a bridge between techno and tech house. How did you develop your sound?
It’s not something I intended to develop. I guess it kind of just happened. My first love was always techno, but I got really into tech house as well. So when I started making music, it contained elements of both that could work for a tech house or deeper style DJ, but I still found straight up techno DJ’s playing my stuff as well. So for people to say I’ve created this type of sound is super cool to me!
Who/what are your biggest influences?
I find it almost impossible to name just one. But guys like Dubfire and Carl Cox have always been at the top of my list, and I think they are for many others out there. Musically and personally they are people I look up to, and want to be like, in the hope that I ever get the opportunity to get to their position.
What was it like to perform at the Dubfire:live HYBRID debut during ADE this year?
It was insane to say the least. I was super honoured to be on the bill and even more honoured to have closed out the show. It was such a crazy experience for me. Dubfire always ups himself and he did just that with the HYBRID show. He really took it to the next level. The venue was crazy, the production even crazier. So yeah – it was a beautiful party!
What have been some defining moments of your career?
The one main moment that sticks out for me and really gave me the boost to the next level was after I released a track called “Breakfast in Bag” on Paul Ritch’s label QUARTZ. This was the defining track in my career that turned a lot of heads in my direction and took notice to who I was. It was played by literally every DJ I can think of. It was the stepping-stone to getting signed to an agency, and to start touring.
Techno, tech house and their surrounding genres have been gaining popularity stateside. In your opinion, what has been the catalyst for this change?
It’s known that EDM is still a very big part of the scene in the USA. It seems that the younger generation have caught onto this. But with more underground music being slowly introduced – opinions and tastes are changing gradually. Young people travel more now, they experience Europe and the music scene offered there which I think has opened up their minds, and its gaining momentum now in the US and Canada. Clubs are doing a great job bringing in new artists from the underground scene and showcasing some of the best music out there at the moment. So lets hope this continues!