Don Carlos the Italian house music legend who has released some of the most influential and genre-defining deep house tracks of all time is back with his new “I’m Steel Here” EP and we had the chance to do a Q&A with him. In 1991, his debut release Alone was presented to the world via Calypso Records and quickly gained classic status, blissing out dancefloors worldwide with its euphoric piano stabs, sun-drenched strings and laid back groove. Establishing the blueprint for what would become known as “Italian dream-house,” Don Carlos followed up a year later with another masterpiece in the form of a mini LP entitled Mediterraneo. Which took influence from the Chicago master Larry Heard but added a European “Balearic” perspective which would pave the way for a wave of warm, emotive and evocative music.
We had the pleasure of talking to Don Carlos about his new EP on Freerange. Check out the full Q&A below!
Where are you based these days, Don Carlos?
I’m still here where I’ve lived for the past 34 years. I did move house 4 years ago but I have always remained in the same town on Lake Maggiore.
When did you start playing around with music? Did you dream that you would still be making it today?
When I started, I was 12-years old. I started singing in a church choir that we put together, an opera, like Jesus Christ Superstar. Over the years I continued to sing in a jazz rock band with aspirations that one day I would record an album. Later I got into more funk, soul and disco and I liked that music a lot. I started off singing but it didn’t electrify me like the sound of Philadelphia, so I started DJing and here I am still today.
What do you wish you knew back then?
I wish I knew that you should go your own way with your own ideas and inspirations. Not to copy others but to take inspiration from your own emotions, to experiment until you get your own musical imprint, so that you can be recognized by your own sound.
You are the originator of the Paradise House How would you define this style of house?
I believe that this musical genre has a double function. It is beautiful to dance to and also to just listen to. If we still talk about it today it means that that musical direction has created an eternal sound.
What was the first record you made?
The first record I made was Forbidden Fruits – Disco Halloween released in 1986. It was an Italo disco record, it was my first release experience.
What is the most important record you have made in your career?
Without any doubt Alone.
Which one of your releases do you think should have had more love?
I believe that is “Inspiration”. It’s a song that I made and that I still love today.
Who do you think is making great music these days?
I listen here and there to music today but I don’t feel that there are records of late like “The Dark Side the Moon” that makes me emotional today.
Are there some new parts to your production process today, and who are the musicians that you work with?
I have always worked with the same analog keyboards, some have been replaced, we’ve modernized the effects and logically updated the software.
Several musicians have joined along the way. Since I started I have always worked with Luca Martegani who has been with me since the beginning.
Tell us about your new release on Freerange Records – I’m Steel Here.
‘I’m Steel Here’ on Freerange Records is the combination of electronic disco sounds from the 80s with what was subsequently produced with house music in the 90s, logically trying to make the whole piece current.
What else are you working on that you can share?
Right now I’m making a new album with Irma Records. It’s almost finished with just a few details missing, and a new track that still doesn’t have a title and that reminds a bit of that Nervous/Strictly 90’s house sound.
We want to thank Don Carlos for taking the time to talk with us about his new EP on Freerange Records and share some of the insights he has gained throughout his career. It is clear that he puts a lot of thought into how music affects people emotionally, as evidenced by his passion for music. We are excited to hear what will come out from his album collaboration with Irma Records! This interview with Don Carlos made me realize again why it’s important to have artists who push boundaries in their sound, something which Don Carlos does effortlessly. Here’s hoping we can continue listening to amazing tunes from him in years ahead! Make sure to grab yourself a copy of this dope EP here.
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