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Ilario Alicante: “A DJ Should Read What Is Going On Around And Play The Right Music No Matter Where You Are”

Ilario Alicante: “A DJ should read what is going on around and play the right music no matter where you are”

Ilario Alicante is an italian DJ and Producer that has been rocking the decks since the early 2000’s. Ilario’s rise has been nothing short of meteoric. A record-breaking Time Warp debut at the tender age of 15, acclaimed productions for Cocoon Recordings, Cécille Records and SCI + TEC Digital Audio, among many others.

We had the chance to speak with him ahead of his performance at Cosmo Festival in Italy.

Electronic Groove: Hi Ilario, thanks for chatting with us. We loved your ‘Zenith’ EP on Soma Records earlier this year, what have you been up to most recently and is there a forthcoming EP that you can reveal the details of? 

Ilario Alicante: Hey, it’s my pleasure! I have an EP on Cocoon that is coming out in the first week of 2017, two original tracks plus 2 stunning remixes from DJ Deep and Roman Poncet aka Adventice & Mark Broom. Then I have a solo EP on Adam Beyer’s Drumcode label coming out in the first week of February. Last but not least, I’ve just started a new label called VIRGO which will be the main focus for me in 2017.

Electronic Groove: You’re playing at Cosmo Festival at New Year in Rome, alongside heavyweights like Chris Liebing, Pan-Pot, Nina Kraviz, Monoloc, Loco Dice, Joseph Capriati and more. Do you adjust your sets depending on the lineup?

Ilario Alicante: I normally play what I feel without preparing anything… Of course there are some tracks which I am sure that I am going to play but I will go with what I feel in the moment.

Electronic Groove: How does it feel to celebrate the New Year in your home country?

Ilario Alicante: I love to play in Italy, it’s my home country and the energy there is something really special and unique. When every record drops it feels like you’re in a stadium, especially in Salone Delle Fontane (one of the venues where Cosmo Festival will happen).


Electronic Groove: Do you have any New Year resolutions music-wise?

Ilario Alicante: I just want to explore new musical horizons and for this I opened VIRGO, which will be the home base for my new stuff.

Electronic Groove: If you could name one track that has defined your year, what would it be?

Ilario Alicante: Not easy… There have been a lot of good tracks throughout the year. One of these is the ‘Mark Broom edit of Floorplan – Never Grow Old’. It’s an edit that Mark did for the colleagues and it works simply amazing.

“I love to play in Italy, it’s my home country”

Electronic Groove: Having recently started your label VIRGO, how do you balance your DJ career and all three of your labels?

Ilario Alicante: It’s not easy, I tour a lot and especially in the summer season I don’t have lot of time to manage everything in the best way, that’s why I have a great team of people taking care of the releases. I decide the music that is going to be released but all the deals with the distributor, mastering, contracts, artwork, etc is managed by them.

Electronic Groove: Would you say your debut at Time Warp 15 years back was the breaking point in your music career? How did it change everything?

Ilario Alicante: Timewarp is one of the most important festivals of our scene and you can imagine how important it was for me to play there. But it really didn’t change everything, it was just a part of the path of my career.

Electronic Groove: From DJing at such an early age, what has been the biggest learning curve?

Ilario Alicante: An important thing that I learned is that you have to speak less and work hard. I always try to let the music speak, I speak through the music. This scene sometimes has some “gossip” stuff which you have to stay far from… Apart from this, I’ve really played in almost every kind of situation, from a packed club to an empty one, from a festival with thousands of people to awkward situations.

This made my core, a DJ should read what is going on around and play the right music no matter where you are and how many people you have in front of you.

Electronic Groove: What do you think the key ingredient is to a successful label like Cocoon is?

Ilario Alicante: Of course the quality. Cocoon is releasing different kinds of techno but the thing that keeps it alive is the quality of the releases. I have to say there is a great team behind it with huge experience, this has helped the growth through the years.

“My label VIRGO will be my main focus next year”

Electronic Groove: What was the last piece of vinyl you bought? What is one record that never leaves your record bag?

Ilario Alicante: I just bought a new EP from Hector Oaks on his label OAK. Really good techno stuff. A record that never leaves my record bag is James Holden – ‘10101’. It’s one of my favorite tracks ever and when I find the right moment, it’s special for me to play it.

Electronic Groove: What are you most looking forward to in the New Year, either personally or professionally?

Ilario Alicante: My label VIRGO will be my main focus next year. I really want to work hard on it. To have a home base where you can be completely free to do the music you want, gives me lots of motivation and energy. Then I will continue touring and do what I love – play music. This is what makes me happy, trying to make people happy with the music.

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