The last year has been a wild ride for Nathan Cozzetto, better known as Volaris. Arriving seemingly from the ether, he debuted with the stunning “Through The Night” (alongside Nightlapse and Nathan Nicholson) on Armada in the summer of 2022. His anthemic sound landed him in the Rekordboxes of house and trance elite, making it easy for Cozzetto to slide his follow-up, “Slow Motion,” to John Summit, who released it on his Off The Grid imprint. In the six months that followed, he battered the melodic techno scene with a barrage of releases on Sola, mau5trap, and Purified Records.
In February, he made history performing at Printworks as part of its final run of shows, and to mark the occasion, he debuted “Hand Of God,” yet another massive entry in his catalog of transcendent melodies and stomping beats (and a song written specifically for the iconic venue). With this many accolades and career highs, one has to wonder how a seemingly fresh artist makes such a massive splash in an oversaturated scene. Well, this isn’t Cozzetto’s first spin around the block. The London-born multi-hyphenate’s previous musical life saw him traveling the world as a resident of Ministry Of Sound and releasing chunky house on Simma Black and Toolroom. However, with his newly reimagined global sound, he’s taking on dance music with a revitalized spirit and renewed authenticity.
Ahead of his performance at Electric Zoo Hyperspace, we sat down for a chat with Volaris to dig deeper into his musical past and find out what he thinks the key to his overwhelming success is.
What was your relationship to music like before you discovered dance music, where you a particularly musical child?
Music has been a big part of my life for as long as I can remember. I’ve played instruments from an early age, from saxophone to piano to guitar. I moved more towards learning to DJ and found that mixing and playing records connected with me massively, as you can control moods and emotions through the power of great songs. I was instantly hooked and spent hours and hours locked away learning how to mix on vinyl first, then moved to CDJs later. My dad has a massive collection of 70s/80s records, so I found myself crate-digging from the off!
When did you first fall in love with dance music?
The first time I was opened up to proper dance music was when I was given a Pete Tong mix album from my uncle at Christmas one year. I remember hearing the first few tracks and was like, “What’s this type of music?!” I would say, though, that I properly fell in love with dance music on my first trip to Ibiza when I was 20. That trip changed everything for me!
You had a history in the industry before becoming Volaris. Can you talk about your early days as a DJ and producer?
Yeah sure! In the early days, I was involved with Ministry of Sound and their brands as a tour DJ, which is where I cut my teeth on working crowds. After that, I got involved in starting up a label with Solardo called Sola. I was there from the start and saw how Solardo shot into the limelight with their incredible sound at the time, and I helped A&R some of the records you’ve heard on that label which I’m super proud of. It helped me understand the label side better and what it takes to make it in the industry. As a producer, I’ve always made high-energy music, and my first ever release was on Toolroom for a remix competition many years ago. Since then, I’ve released on various other labels, but I’ve always had an eclectic taste in music, so my sound hadn’t really developed much back then.
What led to rebranding under a new name?
I felt I needed to hone in on a sound and try to create music I’m passionate about but sounded fresh with massive melodies and my style of rolling beats. I wanted to create something that could have brand identity and be recognized globally. The name Volaris came about organically with a friend of mine one night as we listened to the music in my car. He just said, “How about the name Volaris?” I was like, “I love it!” I went on to look at the meaning. “You will fly,” in Spanish, and “the palm of the hands” in English. Being half Italian, I’m always using my hands to talk, and as a DJ, you are using your hands a lot to connect with the crowd. So it just felt right! The rebrand had to happen as I wanted to move away from my previous sounds and unify it.
Your debut release was just over a year ago on Armada. You’ve accomplished more in a year than many in their careers. That may look like “overnight success” to some, but there had to be years of trials and tribulations leading to it. What’s been the biggest lesson you’ve learned during your journey in the music industry?
Tenacity! It may look like someone’s become an overnight success, but I tell you now, they haven’t got there without the hard work and dedication needed. The music is going to be the biggest driver but networking and connections massively help! The biggest thing for me is never give up. I’ve tried and failed many times but refocused and kept going. You need a plan. Write down what you want to achieve, build a body of work you’re proud of, and go out there and promote the hell out of it. If you want it bad enough, you’ll do what it takes.
What does success mean to you?
I’ve always wanted to make music and DJing my full-time career, and I have recently just left my job to pursue my dream, which I’m extremely excited about! As long as I can do what I love and provide for my family, I’ll deem myself successful.
You’re the host of the Sola Radio Show. How did you hook up with Solardo to host such a tastemaking show?
Mark booked me to DJ in Dubai many years ago, before Solardo was a thing. Him and James were both at the gig, and we hit it off! I’ve been with them from the start, so Mark just rang me one day and said do you want to do the show? I snapped his hand off!
What excites you about the future of dance music?
The future of dance music is so bright, and I’m buzzing about the endless possibilities. I feel crowds are now more open-minded to hearing multiple styles and sounds that you can get away with loads more in sets or even play darker extended sets, as well as more commercial if you wanted. I’m working on writing an album at the moment, and I’m trying to experiment with the Volaris sound in different ways, which is where you always find magic moments in music production!