If you haven't heard of Carlo Lio, you need to listen to more techno. Taken under the wing of the legendary Dubfire early on in his career, he has moved on to now run a record label of his own and perform all over the world. This true global citizen is so dedicated to his career that he has set up homes in both Spain and his native country, Canada, splitting his life between the two. He has an extensive catalogue of releases from Intec, SCI+TEC, Bedrock Records, MOOD, and of course his own RAWthentic Records imprint.
I had the opportunity to pick his brain about his musical past, inspiration, and career, and here is that interview!
What were your earliest musical influences? Did you play any instruments as a kid?
I was very influenced by 80s music. As a kid I really loved Pet Shop Boys, Erasure, Duran Duran, Phil Collins, Michael Jackson of course. There are so many I can name really! As a kid I never played an instrument. I actually took piano lessons for about a week until my ADD kicked in and quit. It's the one thing I do regret.
What was the first song that you can remember playing on repeat?
Talk Talk - Its My LIfe
Which came first for you, DJing or producing?
DJing, But only by a couple years. I kind of dove into all of it seriously at once, to be honest! I learned how to scratch, before I could mix. I was big in to watching the DMC battles and always wanted to learn to scratch.
When and what was your first DJ gig?
The first gig was inside this little club that was in an asian mall called Pacific Mall about 10 min from my house. Me and my buddy threw our own event. I can't recall the club name. But the party was fun and was a success.
What sparked your interest in electronic music? Who were some of the artists that inspired you to choose a career in producing and DJing?
Well once I went to my first rave in the mid 90s. There was no turning back for me. That sparked the love for the music and realized there's real artists behind it. However I did take a liking to house music in the 80s. My uncle and older cousin were always listening to classic house hits and they always put a smile on my face. Some inspired artists were Mr.G, Dj Sneak, Jeff Mills + the whole Detroit techno guys, also some fellow Toronto guys like Hatiras, The Stickmen & Paranoid Jack.
What is the program you use to produce? What goes through your mind when you sit down with a new project?
I use Ableton Live. I try keep a blank slate when I start a project. Going in with a direction usually becomes a fail for me.
You split your time living between Canada and Spain. Do you feel your sound or creative process is affected depending on where you are currently based? How so?
Yes, definitely. Every environment comes with different inspiration. Theres a different aura in Spain then in Canada, so it channels a different type of energy to me which will effect the type of music I make that day.
If you couldn’t live in Spain or Canada, where else would you like to live and why?
Amsterdam! Its always been at the back of my mind to live there at some point. Being from Canada, I love seasons. I don't mind the cold and rain and I tend to miss that being in Spain. Amsterdam feels closer to Canada I guess. But besides the seasons, I do love the city itself. I love its vibe and people and of course their strong music scene.
When you aren’t listening to dance music, what do you like to listen to?
You started RAWthentic Music, what influenced you to start your own label?
Actually no, my best bud, Nathan Barato originally started the label. I jumped on board a few years after as we became super close and eventually a DJ duo. I eventually took over the label. We wanted the same thing. A channel to release our own music.
What has been one of your favorite gigs this year?
I think one of my favs for this year so far was the INTEC Showcase @ Fabric London. Was a really special night!
What are a few gigs you are looking forward to? Are any at a club, festival, or city you haven’t played yet?
Im really looking forward to being back in Ibiza and doing Music On @ Amnesia & Space for Carl Cox. Also looking forward to Love Fest in Serbia this year. Oh and Beirut. Which will be my first time.
Who is an artist that you have not yet worked with that you would like to work with in the future?
MR.G! Seriously probably the biggest inspiration ever musically. He's untouchable on the production side.
Big thanks to Carlo Lio for taking the time to answer my questions. Here is a recent guest mix he put out on Adam Beyer's Drumcode Radio so you can hear his skills behind the decks!