The cult of Carola
A global ambassador of techno, is how Music On main man Marco Carola is described in his bio. It goes on to credit him as being one of the most respected artists amongst the techno scene, widely regarded as one of the key factors in driving the genre towards worldwide recognition within electronic music. It’s all about the music… is the brand’s unforgettable tagline.
Marco Carola himself might be all about the music, but to his legions of fans in Ibiza – so huge are the numbers that Amnesia regularly reaches capacity before 1am on Friday nights – Carola is God. His tribe – predominantly Italians, British, Spanish and German – dressed top to toe in black, come to worship at his alter all night long, then follow him to his outdoor after parties to continue partying for the entire next day. Those lucky enough to possess a Music On season pass (the dogtag style necklaces that allow the wearer free entry to the club) wear them like a badge of honour, all week long, not just on Friday nights.
Welcome to the cult of Carola.
What is it about Carola that inspires such loyalty? Sure – he’s got the skills. He’s the man who has no problem whatsoever smashing out hypnotic, 4/4, groove-laced techno across three decks for up to 24 hours, and then moving onto an after party where he can play for quite a few more. While the clubs here in Ibiza don’t technically allow it due to licensing laws preventing them from staying open more than 22 hours, he recently performed for the duration of a day at Sunwaves Festival in Romania. And his loyal fans were there for the duration.
Maybe he’s just not very good at making decisions. “When I produce, or when I DJ, I don’t really think about where I want to go musically, I just start to feel,” he says. So without a plan, the music can just go on… and on… and on. Ask any Carola devotee and they’ll tell you it’s all about the journey. If you’re not there, you can’t possibly hope to understand, though a few clicks around his Soundcloud account can definitely keep you entertained. Speaking of clicks, at the height of summer, Marco Carola’s Facebook page gains up to 1500 new followers per day. Per day!
For Carola himself, the journey began in Naples, Italy when he was around 12 years old. “I was living in a club,” the self-taught DJ tells Vice Magazine, of his formative years spent watching, learning, hovering over booths, practicing, obsessing. “In Napoli, no one cares about ages in the club. We made the rules.”
Fast forward 28 years and Marco Carola still does make the rules, as the global techno God commands the respect of not only his fans, but also of his peers, with luminaries such as Carl Cox, Jamie Jones and Richie Hawtin inviting him to play at their own club nights around the island. These hotly anticipated events become instant roadblocks due to the unprecedented demand for seeing the special guest outside of his natural habitat – that is, the cavernous Amnesia terrace.
About to wrap up his fourth season at Amnesia, Carola has undoubtedly claimed the ‘king of the terrace’ crown formerly reserved for the likes of Loco Dice and Ricardo Villalobos in their Cocoon heydays. Post Ibiza summer, he heads to the states, where the Music On flag is flown with residencies in New York and Miami, in addition to festivals all over the world. As is evident by his consistent lack of suntan, Carola’s downtime (if there is any) is clearly not spent in the sunshine, lounging on VIP daybeds in beach clubs (he’s not the most handsome of DJs, but his cult-like status sees him notorious for being surrounded by hot women and drinking champagne like it’s water in the booth by night).
Is Carola a modern-day hypnotist, practicing his tricks on a grand scale? Is there something in the repetitive, refined beats he spins that is causing thousands of revellers to fall under his spell? Is it all a giant ruse? Or is he just that good? There’s only one way to know, and that’s to commit yourself to the full journey, every Friday night at Amnesia until the closing party September 25, 2015. And the after party at Cova Santa. And the after-after party…
Then just one question remains to be answered: What happens to the cult of Carola when the music’s finally off?