Marco Carola's clubland reputation most certainly precedes him. Over the course of a career spanning two decades, the Italian-born DJ-producer and label magnate has become a global dance institution.
His driving, groove-laden signature sets have made Carola one of the most in-demand selectors on the international scene, particularly in the dance-tourism mecca of Ibiza.
And now in its third year, his Music On Ibiza residency at legendary club Amnesia puts Carola at the epicenter of techno with a finger firmly on the pulse of its ever-evolving sounds.
"I wanted to create something special," Carola tells Crossfade about the Music On concept. "With my partners, we created Music On around my vision -- taking music seriously but having fun with it."
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The Music On party is also about place.
"Ibiza," Carola adds, "is still the most influential place for DJs, producers, clubbers, promoters, and the whole industry. But I don't think commercial music is growing more than underground music. The magic of Ibiza is that it brings all kinds of people together -- people you'd never imagine sharing the same dance floor."
Of course, since launching Music On Ibiza, Carola has expanded the brand to other international dance music capitals -- including Miami as of December 6, when he launches his new three-month Music On residency at Story.
"Miami is a completely different concept," he explains. "Weekly, Music On Miami won't change as much as in Ibiza. But Miami still has a really important role for the music scene, connecting North, Central, and South America. Each Music On event is really special to me. It's my direct expression. It's always focusing on the music."
Indeed, the focus on programming quality music and breaking cutting-edge new records is what distinguishes Music On from other big-room club events, where the emphasis is often on the flashy trappings of commercial nightlife. A night with Marco Carola offers the type of immersive dance-floor experience that only a seasoned master selector can deliver.
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"In 20 years, my taste in music has changed and improved," Carola tells Crossfade. "The difference between today and when I started? I'm much more into the sounds, and I'm able to perceive a track more accurately.
"Many of the new DJs today, they like a new track right away because it's new," he adds. "But then after a while, they realize that it probably didn't do anything special. It takes time for the ear to recognize this. When you have more experience, this process is faster -- you recognize faster, in a more mature way, the quality of a track."
Surprising and engaging his listeners with the novel sounds at the edge of global techno is definitely the priority for Carola. "Now, when I look at a new record, what I don't look for are the same exact sounds and techniques used over and over again in the same way," he says.
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"What I'm looking for is something new, that interests me. Something I haven't heard before."
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Marco Carola's Music On Miami. Saturday, December 6, and every Saturday till February 28. Story, 136 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. The show starts at 11 p.m., and tickets cost $30 to $40 plus fees via wantickets.com. Ages 21 and up. Call 305-538-2424, or visit storymiami.com.