Ilario Alicante is synonymous with Cocoon. He has been playing for the powerhouse brand all over the world and at their famous party in Ibiza for years.

He does so again when Papa Sven Väth and crew roll into London for a show at Printworks on Saturday September 29th. Dubfire, Dana Ruh, Patrick Topping, and many more all play.

Before that, we speak to him about the summer season that was, the move to Pacha and much more. 

How has Cocoon been this year, what have been big tunes or big moments for you?

Cocoon was good! I had a really great summer! There were plenty of big tunes this year but I have to say that I have played a lot my last EP on Cocoon during the summer. 

And how has it been playing at Pacha? Does the venue work? Has the party kept its spirit?

I like Pacha, the soundsystem is really nice and actually I like the vibe there. Of course it’s different to Amnesia but the spirit was the same. It doesn’t matter the club, wherever Cocoon goes, the spirit is the same.

How different are Cocoon parties in Ibiza vs in Germany or other festivals round the world? Do you play differently in the sunshine, in the super clubs? 

The parties in Ibiza are unique. I have a special connection with Ibiza and everytime I play there it feels like it’s the first time. I am always an excited little baby whenever I return.  Of course I play different, I think that a DJ should be able to read the crowd, the context, the moments and venues. I love to adapt my sound on the base of those things, but of course still maintaining my own sense and signature sound that stays there even if I explore different genres. 

And how will you approach it when you come to Printworks in London—do you ever plan specific music folders or re-pack your usb or record bag for certain gigs?

I always prepare my music before every gig, doesn’t matter which club or festival it is. Of course when there are some venues that I like a lot I feel more and more excited to do the best I can, so maybe I will spend some more time on finding something even more special for that venue. 

Does being Italian lend your music or style a certain quality? If American dance music is about soul, Berlin music is about authenticity, what does being Italian mean, do you think?

Italy influences me a lot. Being Italian, speaking about music, means: energy. 

You’ve had two EPs out this year, one on Drumcode and one on Cocoon. Is that normal for you or would you like to find time to produce more? Can you only write in a proper studio?

It’s not so easy to find the time when you are touring a lot, but I always take some weeks off to dedicate myself to the studio. I normally release two-three EPs a year and maybe some remixes, so I think it’s the right amount of releases in my opinion. 

Does it get easier or harder to write music the older you get? 

It’s not a matter of easier or harder, you develop more and more skills with the experience but ideas are coming when they come, naturally. So I can’t say if it’s easier, because the ideas are the game changer. 

How does it feel to have won an Ibiza award for best techno DJ? Does that mean something to you?

Winning the techno artist award is an important celebration, it’s really a reason to be proud of my sacrifices and work that I’ve done and that I am doing since day one. As I told you before Ibiza is one of the most important places for me, that island has seen me grow. I brought my parents for the first time on the island for that occasion. Was a really special moment, very emotional. 

Where do you get your music from and how long do you spend looking for it each week? Is it important to check new stuff and not just play what you have, even if you have  a vast collection?

I check the huge amount of promos and demos that I get in my inbox every week, then I like to dig in record stores or online for find some old gems in the back catalogs. I really like to play old tracks in my sets, especially at the end of it. 

What else have you got coming up?

I am preparing an EP for Drumcode and some more surprises on my label Virgo.