|Interview: Carita La Nina|
|Written by Dimitri Kechagias|
Carita La Nina is one of the Netherlands’ most popular female DJs. With her upbeat personality, superb skills and buckets of talent, she stands her ground in the cutting – edge Dutch dance scene, thus blazing a trail for all women trying to carve out a career in this male-dominated industry. These days, Carita is performing at the biggest venues in the Netherlands, treating discerning Dutch dance audiences to a varied mix of delightful house music. She has a natural instinct for what the audience wants to hear, but does not flinch from going off on a musical tangent with her mysterious minimal deep tech house. Adding her own smashing productions to her sets, Carita now has the complete package to stir things up and have the whole club boogying the night away to her powerful house beats!
Her latest collaboration with Dash Berlin for Dragonfly on Hardwell’s imprint Revealed recordings brought her to the spot light so we asked for an interview and we are super glad that she decided to accept this challenge and answer 18 juicy questions with 18 equally spicy answers.
Let’s welcome Carita La Nina
Interview was written and conducted by Dimitri Kechagias, Music Journalist, Radio & DJ
Dimitri: First of all I would love to congratulate for your great collaboration with Dash Berlin for Dragonfly.
Carita: Thank you very much! :)
Dimitri: It would be great to let us know how things started for you and why you took the decision to make your own mark in the EDM world.
Carita: My interest in DJ'ing & nightlife began 14 years ago. I would tag along with my friend DJ Melly Mel's bookings and became mesmerized by the scene & playing music for large crowds in clubs. I bought myself 2 Technics SL1200 turntables and got serious about DJ'ing. My interest in music & radio evolved by getting a job at a renowned HipHop record-store called 'Fat Beats'. A year later I started working for different Dutch TV stations selecting & creating music for well-know TV programs. During that period I got headhunted by radio coach Pierre Papa. I started FunX Club radio show w/ DJ Chuckie & Idriss Rouchiche. After hosting & DJ'ing FunX Club I moved on and worked for ID&T for several years. So far it's been an adventurous fun & privileged ride to say the least!
Dimitri: When was your first major gig as DJ in front of a large crowd and did you feel confident about your DJ'ing skills and selections at that event?
Carita: The first time I performed for a large crowd was at a worldwide Dance4Life event, for 10,000 people. At first I did not feel confident at all. I remember the presenters announcing my performance, it seemed to take ages before they were done and I could take place in the DJ booth. Getting up on stage, laying down my vinyl record and looking into the crowd took some calming of my nerves and shaky hands. After my first 3 records and looking into that huge crowd I just went for it. It's a memory I will never forget and I thank Dance4Life for that opportunity!
Dimitri: There is a wide discussion going on about how male dominated the EDM industry was in the past and still is in the present. Did you ever feel discrimination from your fellow male DJs and would you like to share with us the worst treatment you got as a female artist from a male counterpart?
Carita: I have to say I've never felt dominated to an extent I felt uncomfortable or mistreated as a female DJ. I've always been very passionate about music, DJ'ing and producing and I've worked hard to get where I am today, so they tend to take me serious. Yeah, sure some guys think you don't know how technical equipment works, but I guess it's up to you to prove them wrong! My worst experience was actually pretty funny.. I was playing a corporate event. Everyone was dancing and therefore I ended up playing longer than planned. This guy had been sleeping on the couch because he was tired and had to catch the corporate bus back. He came up to me and started yelling that I was playing too good and if I could please play something bad so they would stop dancing and he could go home. Of course I told him to piss off. About 30min later he came rushing through the crowd pushing dancing people out of the way, almost in tears, grabbed my record and frisbeed it through the air and said, there! Now we go home. I looked at him, looked at my limited print vinyl (which was exclusive and very hard to get) exploded, ran from behind the DJ booth and punched him so hard shouting "YOU DO NOT FRISBEE MY LIMITED VINYL ACROSS THE ROOM B*TCH!". He lost 'cause the party continued, my record was still intact and I played it again. Hah! Plus I got a written apology and he got fired for his absurd behavior.
Dimitri: From being a DJing you proceeded to produce music as well. Did you do this because you wanted to express yourself or because it seems to be requirement for this nowadays, to have the support of productions as well?
Carita: I started out producing when I worked at 'Fat Beats'. Back then it was more of an expression & social thing next to being a DJ and producing with external samplers & synths was the way to go. I saved to buy an Akai 2000XL MPC. Times have changed.. Now it's crucial to produce so people can pinpoint you and your sound from one song to get an idea what you're all about..
Dimitri: Do you have your own recording studio and are self taught or have you attended music production courses? Do you believe that it's essential to attend those types of courses in order to become a successful producer?
Carita: I have my own little studio at home. I don't think it's essential to attend courses, but it can be helpful to better understand how things work. I like to get hands-on first myself and see if I understand how things work. I strongly believe passion & interest will get you very far in life and personally that's where it all starts for me. I'm mostly self-taught, but I've had great producing advice & tips from friends such as Madskillz, Laidback Luke, MPC King Kid Sublime, Chuckie & Afrojack. I attended the Red Bull Music Academy once, which was an amazing experience!
Dimitri: You co-operated with the master and originator of Dirty Dutch Sound; Chuckie. Do you consider him as an inspiration for you, and what is your opinion about his achievement to turn the Dirty Dutch sound into a global phenomenon?
Carita: First off, I love this guy! I've always had great support from Clyde because he knows I'm talented, passionate & skilled. He's even crowned me 'The First Lady Of House'! He's funny, talented, humble and not afraid of sharing his success with his colleagues. Being part of the Dirty Dutch family DJ'ing alongside Chuckie at events worldwide I definitely see him as a big inspiration, close friend & mentor. I have so much respect for him and I'm very proud of Chuckie being one of Holland’s biggest export products, therefore one of Holland’s leading DJ's paving the way for Dutch talent all over the world with his 'Dirty Dutch' sound. And this is just the beginning!
Dimitri: You worked various events with ID&T who are considered to be the leading organization for EDM events on a global scale. Are there any lessons that you learnt during your time with ID&T about organizing a strong event. What is your opinion about the massive success of events like Sensation and Mysteryland?
Carita: The most important lesson I learnt during my time at ID&T is that the visitor’s safety, comfort & experience comes before everything. This is something that can make or break your event, and I'm not talking bad publicity because the toilets weren't clean enough or you had to wait in line for the bar. I'm talking about making sure your stage doesn't collapse, lights don't fall from the ceiling onto visitor’s heads, and you have enough medical staff on board & have the fire brigade on stand-by. Every event has its own demands of protocol and procedures to make it safe & successful, so a high level of understanding of the procedures is required. I think a lot of people don't realize how much work, thought, preparation and most of all responsibility goes into organizing an event in general. To organize an event of such caliber as Sensation or Mysteryland requires an almost military regime. The people behind these events are well respected in my books and I think it's wonderful that they are taking the EDM experience to a whole other level and giving the visitors an unforgettable experience!
Dimitri: Is it possible to choose for us your Top 3 favorite tracks of all time and give as a short comment about the impact that those tracks had on your personal Carita La Nina sound?
1. Das EFX - Straight Up Sewaside Album
2. Derrick Carter album - Square Dancing In A Roundhouse
3. Masters At Work - The Tenth Anniversary Collection & HipHop Forever Album.
When I first started out I played HipHop, BrokenBeats, Nu-Jazz, Chicago House & Detroit Techno. I would play these albums a lot! So these records and albums shaped me into who I am now.
Dimitri: Can you define for us what we term as the Carita La Nina sound? What someone should expect to get when you notice your name on the record sleeve?
Carita: I love emotion in music, but I also like bass, drive and deep sounds. I believe my "Love & Destruction" podcast & productions portray exactly who I am and how I stand in life & music. "Love hard, work hard, play hard"! So I would say people can expect emotion, passion & musicality in my songs, but also that element of rawness and drive to balance it out.
Dimitri: Your latest smash is your collaboration with Dash Berlin. Is it possible to let us know how this collaboration came about and if there is going to be a sequel as well anytime soon?
Carita: Well cool fact is Jeff from Dash Berlin and I go way back. Sometimes I would visit him in The Hague and listen to some records in the record store he worked in and we'd hang out at his house and listen to records, so it only felt natural for us to collaborate one day. The timing felt right, we got together and brought two genres / worlds together and Dragonfly was born. I'm very proud it worked out so well. It's unique & pure in its sound and I feel like it's something which represents a refreshing sound.
Dimitri: The track was released on Hardwell’s record label Revealed. What is your opinion about his achievement to become number one DJ in the world in such young age?
Carita: I've seen Hardwell grow into the artist & icon is he is now up close & personal and I'm very proud of him becoming such a great & talented person at such a young age. He's amazing, he worked hard to get to where he is now and no doubt deserves to be the Worlds #1 DJ!
Dimitri: Tiesto, Armin van Buuren, Hardwell. Why you believe the Dutch EDM scene is so strong and the DJs from Netherlands are so successful? Is there something in the air, climate, and weather that turn Dutch DJs into superstars worldwide or is because Netherlands is the entertainment capital of the world?
Carita: We always joke it's in the water..! It is unreal how many successful artists are from Holland. Which we're very proud of, of course. I think Dutch people in general are very driven in what they do. We're very set in our ways which probably makes for us being very dedicated and structured in what we do.
Dimitri: Your forthcoming track 'Hypoxia' will be out soon on Bad Manor. Would you like to tell us about the background of the production of this track and what exactly you had in mind when you produced it?
Carita: With the festival season & UMF/Winter Music Conference right in front of the door the idea was to make another festival banger. The track contains old acid influences, yet embraces the sound of now still staying unique & containing that 'Dragonfly' signature sound in the bassline & synths.
Dimitri: After this track are there more productions lined up and if yes would you like to give us some details?
Carita: Absolutely! I'm working hard to be consistent in my releases this year, as well as dropping my monthly podcast "Love & Destruction" and putting up free downloads of my mash-ups, bootlegs and re-fixes on my Soundcloud channel. I do this as a token of appreciation for the fans support. I call this my #GivingBackToTheFans day!
Dimitri: In which countries have you performed so far and which gig is you’re all time favorite and why?
Carita: I've been privileged to play all over the world. From Ibiza to America & Poland. London to Egypt, Australia and The Antilles. For me the most memorable DJ set was at Burning Man. That's a memory I will never ever forget. I recommend everyone visit BM at least once in their lives. It's amazing!
Dimitri: One of my favorite questions to all the DJs is that one about self-reflection and self-criticism. Out of 10 with what score do you rate the various elements of your DJ performances and why?
Carita:a) Your mixing skills:
8/10. I like to experiment on the spot. Sometimes that leads to a mistake here and there, but "hey!" we're only human and you learn from mistakes. If something does end up working well it can take your set & the crowd to the next level. So I will always stay creative in the moment.
8/10 I make a lot of eye contact with the crowd when I'm playing. I do this because I enjoy the contact, but also to feel the energy & see the emotion on the clubbers faces. Taking this all in I plan my next move. As a DJ it's important to read your crowd and make them leave in awe of the night. It may happen you've been booked for the wrong concept, on the wrong night and people are just not open to your genre. In that case I mostly play what I think is quality in an attempt to change their state of mind.
c) Your friendly attitude towards the fans who want to shake your hand when you perform and after that?
10/10 Note, this 10 is to a certain extent haha. I'm a very patient person and I'm friendly to most people. But if you act like an idiot or you're being negative or disrespectful or way too forward & in my face I will cut it short. I get along just fine with people that are respectful, positive and polite.
Dimitri: Amsterdam is globally known because of the Amsterdam Dance Event. What is your opinion about it and its impressive growth and recognition?
Carita: I think it's great! I was born and raised in Amsterdam. To see it evolve into this Mecca for DJ's, producers, clubbers, promoters and tourist is wonderful. ADE is like a big playground for everyone who’s interested in music. It's a great opportunity to catch up with each other, network & meet up with new people. I also think it's a great way for us Dutch to share our talent, experience and knowledge regarding these strong movements we've been making worldwide. I welcome initiatives like this with open arms!
Dimitri: Summer festivals are just around the corner. Do you have any bookings to perform at any of them and is there a festival that you would like to perform at soon?
Carita: I have a bunch of cool stuff coming up, which I will be announcing. Therefore I would like to invite the readers to click on whatever link they're interested in, below. This way they can stay connected on my whereabouts and future bookings!
Subscribe Carita La Nina now! > http://www.youtube.com/caritalanina
Join Carita La Nina on Facebook >http://www.facebook.com/caritalanina
Join Carita La Nina on Soundcloud > http://www.soundcloud.com/carita-la-nina
Join Carita La Nina on Instagram > http://www.instagram.com/caritalanina
Join Carita La Nina on Twitter > http://twitter.com/#!/caritalanina
Dimitri: Thanks so much for your time to reply on this interview.
Carita: Thank you. I enjoy the interview!
Thanks very much to Whitney van der Zanden at Bad Manor for her assistance to organize this interview check the web sites: