DJ and producer Carlita on her creative influences, remixing RÜFÜS DU SOL and her inimitable music-meets-fashion party, Senza Fine.
Having grown up playing the cello and training at the Royal Academy of Music, Carlita’s musical vocabulary is as varied as it is rich, feeding into her unique approach to production today. Drawing from genres from 90s rock to Israeli pop and Turkish Psychedelia, hers is a world of adventure and surprise.
Merging music with fashion, her Senza Fine initiative focuses on immersive sets, art and installations. This NYFW, she’ll host her second edition on 9th September at a secret warehouse location, with music from the likes of designer, DJ and creative director Heron Preston.
This week, Carlita has dropped a remix of RÜFÜS DU SOL’s “See You Again”, as part of their new 14-track project. Made up of remixes of their Grammy-winning album, it brings together some of the most exciting DJs from across the world to present their own takes on the band’s classics.
We caught up with Carlita about the project, her creative process, and the concept behind Senza Fine.
Hey Carlita, can you tell us about your musical journey? You are a classically trained musician so what got you to transition into DJing and producing?
My musical journey started from a young age. I started playing the cello around five or six years old and was always fascinated by music and the emotions it can bring out in people. This then led me to start listening to more electronic music whilst I was studying in Boston and I started to meet more people in that scene and culture. I then really wanted to learn how to DJ, and the only way I could afford to do this was by renting out my apartment in Boston on Airbnb to be able to buy myself a set of CDJ’s. From there on I started to teach myself with the help of others around me in Boston.
Your music weaves together sounds from all over the world. What drew you to alchemising different world sounds and textures in your production?
Being a DJ I’ve been very fortunate to be able to travel the world and see lots of different countries and cultures. All of these different places have influenced me in one way or another and I try to reflect this in my production, whether that be using certain percussion or different sounds I’ve heard along the way. Every place has so much inspiration and I like to draw on this and make my music a reflection of the places I’ve been.
How did growing up in Istanbul specifically influence your musical direction?
In Istanbul we have a very diverse music scene. This is because there are so many different cultures which are apparent in Istanbul because of its location. You have the Asian side and European side of the city, which all come together to create an amazing melting pot for all sorts of music. I was always going to lots of small vinyl shops around the city where I discovered lots of psychedelic Turkish rock, which I’ve always taken great inspiration from and has really influenced the direction which my music takes. Growing up there I never really had the chance to explore nightclubs or the electronic music scene so much due to the age restrictions, so this meant that I really explored and did a lot of digging from all the world music I could find.
You’re now living in Brooklyn. Why did you settle on NY as home?
Whilst studying in Boston I met a lot of amazing people who really helped me grow as a person and as a DJ, but I really needed to move somewhere which had more opportunities for an up and coming artist like myself. I always loved New York and felt at home there every time I visited, so it just made sense for me to base myself in New York. It’s such an amazing city with so much going on everywhere you look. You have people from all walks of life on every corner there and I really love that about the city. It has everything you could want. Amazing culture and great food are two big pluses as well.
Can you talk us through your creative process? Do you have any rituals for making music?
This is a very good question. Whilst I love making music, I never just make music for the sake of making music. I always need to feel some sort of inspiration. There have been many times when I’ve sat down to start making tracks and I don’t feel inspired so I will take a step back from it and wait until the right moment. I will never try and force it. When it comes to remixing tracks, I really need to feel a connection with the original song in order for me to be able to create a remix which I am truly happy with.
Who are you listening to at the moment? And who were some musical influences growing up?
As you know, growing up I was always playing instruments and was classical trained, so some of my earlier influences are people like Philip Glass. His compositions have always been a firm favourite of mine, I love his use of layers and repetition. One of my big influences now is DJ Tennis. At the moment I am listening to so much new music it’s hard to list, but a few artists I am really enjoying at the moment are Sally C, Barry Can’t Swim and Ry X.
Your DJ sets have taken you all over the world, what has been a standout performance for you? Do you have a dream stage or festival you would love to perform?
One performance that really stands out for me was last summer in Cappadocia. I played an extended sunrise set in one of the most beautiful locations in the world and got to play in front of a “home crowd”. The energy and vibe I felt there was like no other and the set was a real journey from start to finish. It truly was a magical experience. I got to explore a whole range of music including playing some real classics, which ended up in creating a viral moment on social media which really helped me a lot. Dream gig… That’s a tough one, but I would really love to play at Coachella and fingers crossed I get the chance to do that soon.
And any exciting gigs coming up? What can we expect from a Carlita set?
Obviously any time I get the opportunity to play in front of people I am grateful, but one gig that is coming up which I am really excited for is my Cercle set. This is taking place in Rome on Sept 5th, being half Italian it is amazing for me to be able to do such a show in such a recognised location and hopefully it will be a pivotal moment for me in my career. From this set you can expect to hear a wide range of different genres with lots of emotion involved, and a few little surprises thrown in as well.
Tell us about your upcoming project with Rüfüs Du Sol!
I was very fortunate to be able to get the opportunity to remix this Rüfüs Du Sol track. I have always been a huge fan of theirs and this really was a dream come true for me. It’s really given me a chance to showcase my sound and I cannot wait for everyone to hear it.
If you could describe your sound in three words, what would they be?
Groovy, connected & surprising.
Tell us about your NYFW party Senza Fine – what is the concept behind it and what prompted you to start it?
Music and fashion are two of my biggest passions and I wanted to bring them together in the party/events space. They both influence each other in so many ways and are so closely connected. I have always wanted to host and produce my own events, and this is how Senza Fine came about. I wanted to try and do something different than anything I have experienced before. At Senza Fine parties you can expect all of your senses to be involved, including sounds, smell visuals etc.
What’s next for Carlita?
You’ll have to wait and see…… but there’s lots of new music coming soon and some very exciting collabs.