Exclusive Interview: MaRLo talks insights on the trance scene and plans for 2017 at ASOT 800
Trance fan’s favourite MarLo wrapped up 2016 as one of the most successful ones in his career. Playing shows such as the legendary Tomorrowland, Creamfields, A State of Trance, to name a few, has continuously put him in the spotlight as one of the most energetic, vibrant and versatile performers in the scene.
MarLo has built an incredible name for himself in an industry, that has been changing drastically over the course of the past years. The Dutch artists, who perpetually produces and tours internationally, epitomises the notion of a hardworking producer and established himself as one of the most in-demand trance DJs in the world.
We had the pleasure to sit down and talk with MaRLo at this year’s ASOT 800 in Utrecht, Netherlands. His unique sounds characterised by a blend of techno-infused beats with euphoric trance melodies has gained him a massive fan base all around the world. Without further adieu, let’s jump into our conversation with MaRLo on the current trance scene, production inspiration, and plans for 2017.
So how does it feel being back in Netherlands?
It’s good to come back here, A State of Trance is like the biggest party of the year. The venue, the production, and the amount of people that stream… Also all the sets are recorded so people can watch it for the years to come so it is a special experience to be here.
We want to congratulate you on the official anthem of ASOT that you did for Armin Van Buuren, can you tell us a little bit more about the creation process of this track? Did Armin approach you to do the remix or how did it happen?
Armin has become a really good friend of mine and actually he was touring in Australia for Armin Only and he came over to my house for a barbecue and it was really nice. I am still building a studio so I didn’t have that much time and I got sent the remix and I sort of finished it in a few days because I was on such a tight deadline. But I am really happy with how it turned out, sort of that tech-y sound I am going for at the moment.
Do you remember the first dance record you have ever bought?
It would probably be something from Aphex Twin or The Prodigy. For electronic music, those two really inspired me. “Come to Daddy” and “Window Licker” and those sort of tracks were amazing. And when I first heard “Voodoo People” by The Prodigy, I was in love with electronic music. I think I am trying to bring those sort of darker elements into my tracks.
Do you still listen to these tracks nowadays?
Yeah, I just bought The Prodigy record “The Greatest Hits” and I got it cranking in my car. Those records are amazing because they are like 20 years-old now and they still sound fresh.
So, you listen to The Prodigy and Aphex Twin, but you ended up being a trance DJ. So what drew you to trance?
So I was listening to those sort of tracks but I was going out on the weekends, a lot of trance top parties. So, as far as trance goes – the sound that really got me into it were the pioneers such as Armin Van Buuren, Tiesto, Ferry Corsten at the start for the uplifting trance sound. And later on, I got into the harder stuff as well such as Scot Project, and then the tech-y sound such as Sander Van Doorn. My range of music has formed the type of music I’m into today and it has changed a lot over the years.
If you can tell, what is the biggest difference between playing at a trance only festival as compared to a conventional festival?
People come from all over the world for this event and what makes it special is that people are into this specific genre of music. It creates a very special atmosphere. At normal festivals, you have to play something more accessible to get new people excited for what you are doing. At something like this, you’ve got more freedom to do exactly what you want.
Congratulations on becoming a dad. How do you think will that change your career? Will you focus on the music as much as you do now?
I think I will, I’ll be focusing a lot more on studio and stuff, probably make an album. I want to launch a label called “Altitude”. I will be focusing on my concert-style shows, where I will play a four hour set with guest vocalists called Altitude and bringing it worldwide. So my focus will be different but I will be very busy still. I don’t want to do the 8-week straight long tours and I will probably be more selective and do a 3 or 4-week tour in specific regions. I think I was only home for 6 weeks this past year because I was touring non-stop.
So you mentioned an album is coming up, can you name any potential collaborations?
The album is not for certain yet, but the label definitely is. I am very excited about that because it gives me an opportunity to do things I believe in.
If you could name one artist to look out for in 2017, an upcoming artist, who would it be?
There’s too many. Especially now that I am starting a label, I can’t single anyone out, I am going to help everyone the same.
In your opinion, why do people in the Netherlands embrace electronic music more than other countries?
I think there are few things, first of all, it’s cultural that it is sort of in your surroundings constantly, so it’s like a circle that happens. When your friends are into it, you get into it. When you hear it in the stores and radio picks it up. And I think the reason why there are so many great producers from European countries such as Holland, Sweden, or Germany… is because its cold. It’s cold for 9 months in a year! If these people have the passion in music, they’re going to sit in the studio all day, all night. Whereas in a lot of warm countries, they’ve got great musicians, but I don’t know if they would want to sit in the studio all day all night.
Is this why you moved to Australia?
The winters? Yeah, the winters are too long for me. I love Australia for that. But there are a lot of great talents in Australia as well. It is such a generalization, people make amazing music everywhere. But I think the reason why there are so many good producers in Europe is because of that. It happens organically, it is such a compact city with a small community, you get to know everyone in the industry,
You’ve achieved a lot of stuff in your career but you definitely need something there to motivate you, is there a big goal that you are still striving for?
Yes there are a lot of goals, but I’ve stopped focusing on just one big one but instead a lot of smaller ones. For example, this year, my label. For next year, my concert-style show, bringing that world-wide. There are a few territories that are going to do that this year. In fact we sold out all the shows in Australia already, we did 15 thousand tickets amongst 4 cities. It’s something that I am really excited about and I guess it’s my own version of A State of Trance or Armin Only or an Above and Beyond type show. That’s something I am thinking on more rather than thinking too far in the future. I think it’s important to set goals that are just outside of your reach.
Is this the advice you would also give to an up-coming producer?
Yes definitely, the most common thing I see, they have this sort of opinion like they deserve more. I did the same thing, don’t get me wrong. “It’s unfair, there is politics, there are all these reason I am not successful” – stop that kind of thinking, no one else is going to help you become successful, you have to do it yourself. If someone helps you on the way, awesome, but it’s not something you should take for granted. It is only until when you build a fan base and people are paying money just to see you, that’s when you ask for help. But if you haven’t got a fan base to go to any venue and sell tickets, then why should a manager take you? Why should a label sign you? You haven’t proved yourself yet.
Last question, what are you looking forward the most to besides music in 2017?
Well… my baby is about to arrive, my wife is about to give birth. I leave tomorrow straight away to go home, this is the most exciting thing about the year for sure!