Dazed spoke to the DJ ahead of her performance at SXM Festival
It would be a fair assumption to make that Carlita can’t and won’t sit still. For the Turkish DJ and producer, the last few years have seen many miles travelled, multiple tracks produced, even more tracks spun and even a party, clothing and fragrance brand started in Senza Fine. Coming off the back of a recent Senza Fine performance at New York Fashion Week, Carlita’s next stop is to the island of Saint Martin. From March 8, SXM Festival will be returning to the island, with the DJ returning to play a set alongside fellow music-whiz DJ Tennis as Astra Club.
“SXM Festival is truly one of the most beautiful settings to hold a festival and I really couldn’t wait to get back here to perform,” Carlita tells Dazed. “The first time playing was so much fun and to be invited back this year to perform as Astra Club was an honour.” The island provides a scenic backdrop of idyllic beaches and seascapes for some of the best electronic DJs working in their scenes, such as French minimal house DJ crew Apollonia and Liverpool-raised heavy-hitters Camelphat. A classically trained musician, Carlita is no stranger to the complexities of mixing tracks from various genres in order to create seamless – and at times unexpected – transitions throughout her sets.
Dazed spoke to Carlita to talk about everything from new music and inspirations to dream festival line-ups.
Hey! How has 2023 been for you so far?
Carlita: Hey, 2023 has been great so far. It’s been a bit more relaxed than usual and my travel schedule has been quite friendly to me which is always great. I was recently in Brazil for Carnival, which is always one of my favourite places in the world. There’s so much going on and you can just get lost in the magic of the city and its people. I’ve also just had some time off in the Dominican Republic and got to record some new music which I am super excited about.
What initially inspired you to start producing music and DJing?
Carlita: When I was studying I was always fascinated by creating playlists for other people and always put so much thought and time into the order in which I was putting songs into these playlists that it sort of came as a natural progression to try and DJ.
Once I started to DJ a bit more, I realised that there were times when I had an idea in my head of a track that would sound amazing at certain points in my sets and because of this, I then decided to try to produce these tracks. Producing is very different to DJing and I am still learning every day about new techniques and ways to produce different sounds.
What new music are you currently working on?
Carlita: There’s a lot of new music in the works. Some really exciting remixes which I have been working on for some of my favourite artists and musicians. I’ve also been working on a new album which will be releasing later this year and I really can’t wait for everyone to hear it. There are some great collaborations and features on it from artists which you may or may not expect.
How do you feel that your formal training in music has shaped your approach to DJing and producing?
Carlita: It has given me a deep understanding of music theory, which allows me to create unique and innovative mixes. My classical training has taught me the importance of practice and discipline. I approach my DJ sets and production work with the same level of dedication and attention to detail that I would with a classical piece. This means spending lots of time practicing and learning new techniques.
Another key influence of my classical training is my appreciation for the art of performance. As a classical musician, I was taught to convey emotion and tell a story through my playing. This has carried over into my DJ sets, where I strive to create a narrative arc that takes listeners on a journey and evokes a range of emotions. Overall, I believe that my formal training in music has given me a unique perspective on DJing and producing.
If you could only spin one closing track for the rest of your career, which would it be?
Carlita: This is a very tough one as there are so many great ones to choose from, but I think I would have to go with Bicep ‘Glue’.
What inspired you to start Senza Fine, how do you find the world of DJing and fashion intersect?
Carlita: I always wanted to have my own parties and this was originally why I started Senza Fine. The idea behind it was to be able to bring together our community in a unique way which I felt was missing from the scene. Senza Fine is all about being guided by your senses. We have secret rooms in our events which we call the Exit Room where we like to open the decks up for people to be able to express themselves and play some music that you perhaps wouldn’t expect to hear. Senza Fine is also a fragrance that we have been developing for a long time. We love the party to always have that scent so people will always remember this when they come to the next one and it will help bring back memories and so on.
The worlds of DJing and fashion intersect in numerous ways and both industries are closely intertwined, often influencing and inspiring each other which is always great to see and be a part of. I’ve always had a big interest in both fashion and music, so to be able to combine both of these has always been something I've wanted to explore. To be able to do it with Senza Fine is really special for me.
Who would headline your dream festival?
Carlita: Moby, Nicolas Jaar and Gorillaz
What can Dazed readers expect out of Carlita in 2023?
Carlita: There’s loads coming in 2023. I will be playing in lots of new countries this year, which I can’t wait for. Senza Fine will also be appearing in New Cities around the world in many different ways and not just parties; Senza Fine will also be expanding into much more than just a party brand. We are currently designing our first clothing collection and perfume for the brand. It will also become a record label in the future as well and we will be releasing some great artists on it hopefully.
I have lots of exciting remixes coming out and also my first album which I am working on at the moment. I will be playing at Coachella this year with DJ Tennis which is a dream come true for me and is a big highlight for the year for sure.