Ivano started his musical career quite early, getting his first set of decks from his DJ uncle at the tender age of 12 and becoming what he calls a “bedroom DJ”. This early start ignited the sparks for what was to become a strong career in the clubbing business and the creation of an enigmatic style and an openness to experimentation.
His first residency was in Raynards club in Dublin, where he played to a host of celebrity audiences and kick-started his career in music. Ivano’s reputation and musical style then led to international acclaim, seeing him play the dance tent at the Oxegen festival four times, and travel the world with his music.
Ivano established entertainment and clubbing website www.afterdark.ie in March 2006 and he also runs club nights under the same name. “We’re eight years in business now and we’ve been running some of the biggest nights in Dublin over the last eight years,” he says.
The club nights have branched out to Galway, Cork and there are plans in the pipeline to include Letterkenny.
In 2012, he teamed up with South African native and saxophone player, Chris Engel. The collaboration sees them fuse live music with a DJ set, something that Ivano says is quite hard to do. “It’s kind of hard to gel it all together. We have a good musical understanding of each other. It can be tricky but we rehearse a couple of tracks.”
Ivano met Chris by pure coincidence, “like all great things”, at a gig that they were both booked to play on the same night. “He was booked to do the gig; I was booked to do the gig and I’d always wanted to play with a saxophone player. We played that night and we got on very well. And it just took off from there. We’ve been playing together now for almost two years and we’re doing some exciting projects. It’s going fantastic,” he says.
Chris is a classically trained musician and is adept at a whole host of instruments from piano to drums. “He plays everything,” says Ivano. Speaking about Chris’ ability to blend the saxophone with funky house music, Ivano says that “he knows when to come in and when to come out”, which makes for a smooth and fluid partnership between the musician and the DJ.
Rather than just having a DJ playing from a booth, this collaboration is all about the performance and the show and Ivano is certain that club goers want something different from the regular DJ sets. “In this day and age, things are improving and people are spending a little bit more. Nightclubs need to be diverse because people are willing to pay five, ten or sometimes €15 into a nightclub. People want value for money these days…you have to offer different entertainment I think. It’s definitely more towards the show now, everyone wants to be impressed,” he says.
Ivano’s plans for the future include expanding his musical horizons and he is currently being taught how to play the piano by none other than his musical counterpart. “For someone who’s done music for 15 or 16 years, I actually don’t know how to play an instrument and Chris is probably pulling his hair out as we speak trying to teach me how to play the piano but were getting there, slowly but surely.”
The upcoming gig in Halo nightclub is sure to be a lively one and the duo have a few surprises up their sleeves for their audience. They might even include some new tracks that they have been working on recently. Anyone who has already seen them perform will know that there are always some kind of surprise on the night.
“The last time, we brought an electric violinist just to add something different to it and that got a big reaction. We do have a surprise for them [the audience] this time round,” he says.
However, clubbers can expect the usual high energy show. “You never know, we might have that track finished just in time for Halo,” he says.
Cafolla and Engel play in Halo on Friday 28 March.
MusicList // Ivano Cafolla
What to espect: A high energy funky house show with a few surprises