Since 2013, experimental Italian producer Carlo Whale has been making waves, developing and honing his craft in his hometown of Cagliari. Inspired by his surroundings he has worked to present an emotive and unique sound by pursuing boundaries between music, technology and nature. Classical-trained musician, he has deepened his connection with synthetic sounds with a degree in Electronic Music at Cagliari Conservatory under various influences that range from Erik SaCe to Nils Frahm to David August.
Carlo Whale’s organic approach to music finds his emotions reflected in the nature around him and with this mindset, he aims at turning those emotions of a moment into music through a unique and mature production technique. With no signs of slowing down, Carlo has found a handful of quality releases landing on labels such as Atlant, Einmusika, Steyoyoke, Inner Symphony, Poesie Musik and Manual, and establish himself as one of the most exciting breaking-trough artists of 2020
Hi Carlo! Great to have you here with us today at Techno Mood. Could you start by explaining how you got into techno music, and your early beginnings as a producer?
Hey guys, thanks for having me! Yeah, I started making music over ten years ago now… Wow, I literally just realized how much time went by! But I clearly remember I was at my friend’s home and he and my elder brother were working on some stuff in Ableton. I was hooked by the DAW concept and I immediately felt the instinct to go home and start making music myself. The first attempts were unspeakable of course, but after some time I started figuring it out. I was making that kind of tech house that was big at the time, trying to recreate – or I’d better say, to copy – the most famous, chart-topping tracks. Also in these days around early 10’s, the overall techno scene was facing some creative deadlock I believe, as the minimal age was about to end and everybody faltered in finding new ideas and inspiration. I’ve made some releases on small labels but then I started realizing how generic my sound was and how much I still had to learn in order to start being satisfied with my compositions. I’ve been tempted to quit on more than one occasion, but in 2015 I decided to enrol the Electronic Music program at the Conservatory here in my hometown and it has been a crucial step for me, not just in terms of what I’ve learned technically, but also and mostly in terms of mindset I’ve been transmitted. It really changed my perspective on composition, sound design and overall approach to making music.
How has the last year been for you creatively, and what have you been spending your time doing considering the current global situation?
I was just about to quit my daytime job around this time last year, right before the pandemic started but thank god I didn’t! I’ve been working from home all the time, so it really didn’t affect my routine that much to be honest. Sure, not having to go to the office every morning is saving me some time that I can put into Ableton and that’s positive, but overall, the amount of time I have to spend making music remains pretty much the same as before. Like all the other artists in the world, I guess the biggest difference is not being able to perform and that’s bad of course, but hopefully we’ll start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel quite soon!
Your latest release, ‘No Romance’ was released as part of Einmusika Recordings’ new VA EP series, ‘Collage’. You’ve previously released with them on their ‘Bella Mar’ VA compilation series — what’s your longstanding relationship with the esteemed Berlin-based imprint been like?
I do have quite a long story with Einmusika actually. I think my first release with them has been in 2017, it was actually on their sublabel EIN2. I had a couple of tracks there, including one of my favourites, ‘Crackle’, then later in 2018 another track of mine, ‘Silent Night’, was selected for that year’s Bella Mar edition and the following year my first full EP was released on the label. In 2019, I also got to meet Samuel (Einmusik) for the first time and saw him and Jonas playing at ADE, we had a really good time! Last year they released one of the most successful tracks of mine, ‘The Future Is Now’, which Samuel loved and played out a lot. I enjoy releasing music with them, they’re a very good team and very reliable. Can’t wait to go meet them in their studio in Berlin, yet another thing I had to postpone due to the pandemic!
What was the production process like for your new single ‘No Romance’?
I’m not gonna lie, most of my tracks were born quite randomly. I mean, I sit down in the studio with no particular purposes, just get my hands on the keyboard and play. Sometimes I tweak sounds, sometimes I try melodies, whatever inspires me in that particular moment… Rarely I start with a groove and all the rhythmic elements, I’m a fan of melodies and textures so most of the time I start from there and let it flow. It wasn’t different for ‘No Romance’, I began with the chord progression, drafted the breakdown and build up and I started empathizing. There I knew I was going in the right direction.
Your debut EP was released 10 years ago this October — what does it feel like to have been producing your own signature brand of techno for a decade?
As I said before, it took me some time to develop a sound I can call myself satisfied with. To be honest, I’m not sure I can even say it nowadays, you never stop learning, growing and improving yourself. I’ve been following different flows I have within myself, in terms of sounds, mood etc… Sometimes I find myself in the mood to produce dark and banging stuff, other times I am into more laid-back kind of vibes. If you compare for example my tracks ‘Privilege’ and ‘Breeze’ I think you’ll see what I’m talking about. They’re like two different sides of myself. Sure, there are some sonic elements that characterize my sound, but I’m struggling to find two tracks of mine on the exact same style. Maybe I still have to craft a fully-shaped signature sound or maybe I won’t even do it, who knows? What I know for sure is that I don’t want to be repetitive. My sound will eventually develop and take some more defined outlines in the future, but it’s crucial that it will continue to be a manifestation of my feelings and emotions as it has been so far.
What’s a piece of advice you would give yourself 10 years ago when you were just starting out?
Oh, that’s a very tough question! I think all of us have our own path and everything happens for some reason, even mistakes, rejections, failures and dark periods. I’m happy with my journey in music so far, and I think it kinda reflects the maturity steps I’ve made as a person. So, if I had to talk to 10-years-ago-me I wouldn’t hurry him into anything in particular, as I know he will find his way.
You’ve got an upcoming release on Venezuelan duo Fur Coat’s imprint Oddity Recordings, which is your first time releasing with the label. How were you approached to be part of the 4th volume of their ‘Odd Echoes’ VA EP series?
Fun fact, they literally just split up like a few days ago and Fur Coat will continue as a solo project by Sergio. Anyway, gossip aside, I was actually the one to approach Sergio with the demo of Mar Nero, a few months ago. I just finished producing the track and I was really into it, and I had a good feeling that he could have liked it! I was lucky enough I found him in the process of selecting music for the compilation and he immediately came back to me saying he wanted to sign the track. I honestly didn’t expect it would have gone so fast! I’m very happy to be in the compilation, and on the label itself of course. Hope it’s just the beginning of a long relationship!
What aspects of your picturesque Mediterranean surroundings do you find creative inspiration in?
Silence and quiet above all. I love how nature sounds around me. I’m a big fan of field recording and sometimes I just take my Tascam and go for a walk out of town. I take deep breaths, smell the sea, the sand and the woods… It’s the best way I can think about clearing my mind. And if I’m lucky I’m also able to gather some interesting sonic material to use and manipulate in my compositions.
What’s been your personal favourite live performance of yours to-date?
As an emerging artist I didn’t actually have so many chances for live performances outside my country so far, and surely the pandemic didn’t help on this side as it came right in the moment when I was starting to get a bunch booking requests! But among the few I can’t not mention my debut gig in Istanbul back in the summer of 2019 at Electronica Festival. The setting and the stage looked sick, the atmosphere was great and I honestly didn’t expect the Turkish crowd to be so responsive to my own tracks I was playing, literally every drop was followed by roars and whistles and hands in the air and the energy was at the top the whole time! Can’t wait to be back experiencing that kind of feelings, that’s what we all need right now, I think!
Thanks for talking with Techno Mood! Is there anything else you’d want to add, such as any upcoming releases or news for fans and listeners moving forward into 2021?
Thank you, it has been a pleasure! I think we spoiled enough about my plans for the near future, the rest is still work in progress but I promise there will be some cool surprises! Keep an eye on my spaces if you’re curious and I hope to see you all on a dancefloor anytime soon!