UK Duo Solardo has held a place at the forefront of the international House music scene for several years. James and Mark have become a larger than life pairing, known for their emphatic performances and highly charged productions.
Expanding on their presence as established and genre-leading artists the pair’s blossoming label imprints – Sola & Sola Nauts – have become largely influential and aspirational in their own right.
As the duo prepare to breathe new life into their popular ‘HIGHER’ events series, we caught up with the Mancunian tag team to talk all things Solardo and more…
Hi lads, thanks for joining us. We hear that your renowned HIGHER event series is coming back for September, taking place in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Tell us what to expect from these parties. Have you got any tricks up your sleeve for the hotly anticipated return?
We’re bringing “HIGHER” to one of the best clubs in the world, Club Revelin in Dubrovnik on the 23rd to 25th September. It’s going to be a full-blown party from start to finish. The club is situated right in the centre of Dubrovnik in the most amazing settings. We’ll be hosting parties on the world-famous roof terrace in the evening which looks over the full city and then we move into the club later at night. The club is insane and has a gothic warehouse feel to it with one of the most incredible sound systems. We’ve got a sick lineup including; Andrea Oliva, Heidi, Nic Fanciulli, Waff, Danny Howard, Max Chapman, Sosa, Wade, Syreeta plus a load more. During the day, we’ve also got the pool and beach parties lined up so there will be plenty of partying to do for all involved.
Your label imprints – Sola & Sola Nauts – are holding their place on the forefront of the Tech House scene. How has it been watching them grow into benchmark labels and helping push through new talent?
It’s been amazing seeing the labels grow. I remember we started Sola around 5 years ago and it was solely because we didn’t have anywhere to release our own music as no one would sign it. A few releases in and a number of successful releases started to see the label gain more traction and really start to grow. Now, we release monthly on both Sola and Sola Nauts with a whole host of different artists involved. We’ve had some huge tracks on the labels as well as some of our favourite artists. We’ve also signed a lot of new artists recently and it’s been great seeing them continue to grow and do so well.
What artists surprised or excited you over the last 12 months?
We recently signed a duo called Maur to Sola who have had a few releases so far. Each of their releases just keeps getting better and better. It’s been so good to see them gaining so much traction over the past 12 months, and we’ve no doubt they’re going to be huge! We’ve also recently done a collaboration with them called “Power” which is out on Ultra on 20th August that has been a highlight track in our sets.
Do you have any other plans for HIGHER this year outside of the Dubrovnik dates?
Yeah, we want to expand the brand and do more and more around the world. We want to make sure all the venues we do them at are world-class and have something about them. We have a huge event coming up in Manchester at the Warehouse Project on the 29th of October where we have Nic Fanciulli, Pan-Pot, Fjaak, Paul Woolford, Waff, Eli Brown, Rich NXT, Rossi, Nancy LIVE, Sosa, Syreeta and a load more. Alongside this, we’re also hosting our own stage at Sundown Festival in September, and we’ve also got some other massive ones lined up which we’ve not announced yet.
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced during the pandemic?
The feeling of uncertainty and not knowing what’s going to happen has been the biggest challenge. It has, with most people, affected our mental health too. This sometimes affects our creativity in the studio and in life in general. As artists, your life is built around creativity and when there’s nothing there to inspire you it becomes very hard to get anything done. Seeing how toxic some people became during this time has been difficult to watch also.
How do you keep yourselves well-oiled creatively? Do you have any specific downtime rituals or tips for staying fresh?
Now we’re feeling far more creative and fresh. We’ve been doing a lot more exercise and other decent well-being activities, which has really rejuvenated our creative process. Now we’re fully back in the game and going full force in the studio and with shows.
What is the single best piece of advice you can offer aspiring artists?
Never give up and be prepared that 95% of being involved in the music industry is rejection. What makes a successful artist is those who are able to take that rejection build upon it and activate that 5% of success. When you send out music don’t be put off if a label doesn’t want to sign your music. That’s just all part of the process of becoming a successful artist.
If you could collaborate with any artist from any genre – past or present – who would it be and why?
The Prodigy without a doubt. Because the level of their productions is incredible. They have always been in front of the music scene and set trends, making timeless music.
Name your three biggest musical inspirations.
The Prodigy, Calvin Harris & Timbaland.
Lastly, have you got anything exciting in the pipeline that you’d love to share?
Yeah, we’ve got a new single out now with Maur called “The Power”, then next month we’ve got a huge collab with Calvin Harris under his alias Love Regenerator which we’ve been sitting on for a minute now and can’t wait to get it out!
Solardo brings their ‘HIGHER’ event series to Croatia in September with a three-day weekender in Dubrovnik. They recently announced the final wave of star-studded names across the weekend, with some of the industry’s biggest names all playing a part in what will no doubt be an unforgettable experience.
For more information/tickets, visit: https://www.skiddle.com/whats-on/croatia/Culture-Club-Revelin/Solardo-Presents-HIGHER-Dubrovnik-/35788945