Techno Tuesday: Ilario Alicante dishes on owning a label, techno, and pasta

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Techno Tuesday is a feature on Dancing Astronaut documenting the culture of underground dance music. We’ll bring you exclusive interviews, tracks, and narratives from artists within the techno, tech house, and deep house world in an effort to shed light on some of the best talent outside the world of mainstream dance music.

Ilario Alicante’s prosperous musical career was born during the climactic eruption of underground dance music that spewed from the fires of Ibiza nightlife. As the underground scene swept the globe, aspiring producers craved the revolution that originated from the crowded, kinetic floors of club venues such as Circoloco and Amnesia.

At the ripe age of just 15 years old, Alicante emerged from his regional roots in Livorno, Italy and began performing at some of the most renowned venues and festivals in Europe, including being one of the youngest acts ever recorded at Time Warp. His affinity for deep, grooving, and often island-inspired shades of house quickly established him as an artist to be reckoned with despite his age, with singles like “Vacaciones En Chile” and his re-work to “Melancholiebe” sealing is his success.

His sound has since evolved over the years, with the young star now pumping out copious amounts of percussive techno, but his consistency and passion for dance remain all the same. We sat down with Alicante to talk about his career thus far, finding and maintaining success at a young age, his residency with Cocoon, and of course — pasta.

Your successful career started at such at a young age, 15, where you began performing at massive shows and also releasing on notable label. Being so young at the time, what are some things you wish you knew at then, or maybe would do differently if you had more previous life experience?
Actually I’m happy that things worked out like this. I wouldn’t change anything because all the choice I made, right and wrong ones, all reflected on my experience and where I am today. It’s necessary to do something wrong sometimes because if you were able to change the mistakes or any other choices that you made in the past, you would be a different person now. I understood a lot of things from my experiences, so I’m thankful for those moments.

Many producers attribute their inspiration to their roots and cultural surroundings; growing up in Italy – do you feel like your environment influenced your early work?
Well the first environment that influenced me was Ibiza. I made one of my biggest tracks thinking about Circoloco, so that island was the first experience that inspired my music. Then yes definitely Italy was a big influence for me. The energy that the crowd transmits in the clubs is something that you can’t find anywhere else and that influenced me a lot.

Were there particular artists you admired during your early years? Who are some artists that influence you today?
I loved the early Naples’ techno tracks from Gaetek (Gaetano Parisio) and Marco Carola. Music wise they helped me build my own vision of techno that I have now. Speaking about DJing, Sven Väth is the one that influenced me a lot, alongside Laurent Garnier. Artists today, Ben Klock has one of the best and finest taste in techno in my opinion. I love his sets a lot.

It’s been 10 years since your one of your most well-known singles, ‘Vacaciones en Chile’, has been released and continues to hold true as a techno staple today. Looking back, what do you think has most changed or impacted your style today?
My sound has evolved. You can still find some shades of what it was before, because it hasn’t completely changed, just evolved. I take inspiration from my life, from what I experience travelling the world, playing in front of lots or few thousand people in different contexts and these experiences are impacting my sound constantly. I don’t like to have boundaries, I like to explore and change but firstly do what I feel, that’s the most important thing for me.

Speaking of success, how has your residency at Cocoon been going the past few years? Personally, what makes Ibiza nightlife and culture so different than the rest of the world?
I am really really happy with my residency at Cocoon Amnesia. It was an important part of my career. It gave me lots of emotions and experience that I will never forget. Now it’s time to change, as you know, Cocoon is moving to Pacha. Of course I will take part in it but I will also do other events which I will reveal soon with more details. Ibiza is something special because there you feel more free than normal, there is an unique spirit of freedom in the island that will always stay, even if things are changing a lot. The mix of people from all over the world creates a strong alchemy. Every time I step out from the first plane of the season I feel something that I can’t describe. I saw Ibiza from a lot of points of views. I’ve worked on the island as PR, selling tickets when I was 18 years old. Ibiza changed my life and for me, will always be unique.

Your latest album release, “Figures & Echoes” has tracks filled with mesmerizing beats accompanied by heavy drum patterns – was there anything different about the production on this album vs. some of your older tunes?
When I release on Drumcode, I focus on doing tracks for the dance floor with more melodic synths than usual. It’s a happier side of my techno. I normally do those kind of tracks for big festival sets. I like to put load and heavy hats on a lot. Anyway the synth lines are the different parts of my other productions I think.

What’s the best and worst part about owning your own record label?
The best thing is that you can really push your vision of sound that you have in mind and also have the possibility to promote young and talented artists. The worst is to deal with the distributors and pressing plants, most of which never respect the timing of the releases.

What are you most looking forward to in 2018 – in a professional and personal aspect?
I really look forward to developing my label Virgo and I look forward to Ibiza’s 2018 season. I am always open to changes and I think this will be year with a lot. Regarding personal aspects, I can say that I decided after 10 years living in Berlin, to move back to Italy to Milan. This is something I’m really looking forward too, going back to my own country.

Obviously being Italian, we have to ask, what’s your favorite pasta dish?
My favourite ones (one is not enough) are: tagliatelle al rage bolognese and one special kind of risotto that you can find at “

Ookay Releases His New EP, “The Cocoon”

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Ookay has been riding high off of the success of his massive single, “Thief.” Even after having his Soundcloud deactivated, Ookay was able to bounce back – it wasn’t like he wasn’t allowed to play “Thief” live anymore, after all. Still, he’s been teasing new music for quite a while and finally, his new EP The Cocoon has dropped.

The new EP sees Ookay deviate from his older, trappier persona as he delves even further into his more melodic, more song-like self that we saw on “Thief.”

“Back Again” and “Sure” exemplify this change most starkly, with calm, serene vocals and a not-so-lit beat. “New Jack Swing” is definitely the heaviest track on the bunch, but even then, it isn’t really trap. The remaining two, “Long Time” and “Bring It Back” continue to shine a new light on Ookay’s production and direction.

Are any of these tracks individually better than “Thief”? I don’t think so, but that’s up for anyone’s interpretation. However, the release as a whole is going to be monumentally important in Ookay’s career as the moment that he really found his sound. With the way that electronic music is heading as a whole, it’s become so much easier for producers to experiment with new sounds that truly reflect what they want to make, rather than what the audience demands to hear.

Listen to The Cocoon below.


Image via Frank Apollonio

This article was first published on Your EDM.
Source: Ookay Releases His New EP, “The Cocoon”