Category - Artist Interviews

p0gman Talks Dubstep & More in Interview


Dancebreak recently had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Dubstep legend p0gman. Hailing from Wolverhampton, UK, p0gman brought the bass to Electronic Tuesday at the Cervante Ballroom in Denver, CO.

Dancebreak commentary is in italics, while commentary from p0gman is in normal text.

Where did you just come from?

What I’ve been doing is spending all of my downtime in LA. I just did Boston, Detroit, here now, back to LA tomorrow, Friday I go to Bloomington, Saturday I go to New York, then I go to Toronto for a week, stay with some friends, then I play Toronto, Chicago, then I go home. It should have been a much longer tour, but we had some visa problems, I had to cancel seven shows, it was fucked, but at least it got sorted in the end.

How did you get into dubstep?

I used to be into death metal, I used to be in a death metal band for three years but the whole time my brothers and cousins were listening to garage music, drum and bass, stuff that I hated at first but the one thing that I really liked was bass lines. Then a couple years later, one of my friends came down, who was also in a death metal band, who was into dubstep, and he showed me “Diary of an Afro Warrior”  which was Benga’s first album (2008)… and then I was like, “what the fuck is this?” ‘Cause it was just all bass lines, so I really, really liked it. So I started to get into it more, then the band split up and I just wanted to carry on in music and I thought I could do something solo instead of carrying on in a band. I challenged dubstep and it flourished from there.

Did you teach yourself?

No, I went to uni for five years. I started to self teach myself, but then, it was kinda like, I was doing things that kinda sounded good and I was so wrong, so I went to uni to get the technical side of everything, I studied Music Tech at uni. I came out of uni and got signed to a label, the last four years has been up and up!

How long have you been producing?

I started in late 2010. Made an EP in 2011, that’s when I found my sound. So six years, time is flying!

When you found your sound was it [an ah-ha moment?]

I was really into the deeper side from listening to Benga and stuff like that, and then SkreamMalaHorsepower, all the originals. That was all the heavy stuff that I was really about. Then Caspa and Rusko released Fabriclive.37 (2008), then I was like “Shit, this is the sort of music I want to make!” But I still wanted to [meet] kind of in the middle. So that was where that wobbly sound kind of came. Then just kept pushing it from there. My sound has evolved a lot now, it’s a lot heavier than it used to be, but I still got that P0gman sound. No matter how heavy I go, people still know it’s P0gman. I am still trying to evolve with the sound because I want to keep relevant to trends and stuff like that, so I try to keep it as fresh as I can.

Do you find it difficult to keep up with the trends?

New styles are coming out all the time, there are certain things that hit me, and I’m like, “that’s sick! That’s where I want to take my sound but keep my element.” The sound that’s the rage at the moment is that Never Say Die sort of sound, so I am reeaaally about that. Disciple are really pushing it as well, and I have had relations with both of those guys, so they are supporting what we’re doing as well. Trying to take it to that next level. So, yea, Never Say Die is a big influence at the moment. All those guys are just fucking killing it.

How did you come up with your name?

After I made my first song, I was sitting around with one of my oldest friends, and if I was going to start producing I needed a name. I wanted to have something that was not so serious but not so stupid at the same time. Do you remember pogs (aka milk caps game)? I just loved pogs, as a kid, so I said fuck, I’ll be called “p0gman,” the character was called pogman, and so I’ll probably get sued one day, until then it’s ok… I put a number in it for some reason, because it was cool.

We recently just rebranded everything, that went really good [sic]. (The number 0 has been modified with a large “X” overlaid on top). I got myself a new manager about eight months back, and that guy’s killing it as well, so it’s really good. The zero thing ended up paying off.

Is there a particular track that makes your set or do you feel that there is a particular influence in your set?

Well, the thing I have tried to do on this tour, is because obviously I am really enjoying that new sort of sound, the Never Say Die stuff. A few years ago I wouldn’t have really played that stuff because it was too heavy for my style. But now, on this tour what I’ve tried to do on this tracklist is from straight down to the old school riddimy sound that I use to make straight through Skrillex [and new released] tracks, just trying to cover the whole board. I am really enjoying it ’cause I think as dubstep has come along, it’s become much more energetic. So you need to keep that energy in longer sets and that’s where that new sort of style helps because it’s energetic as fuck.

There’s really not one sort of track, maybe the one I enjoy playing the most is “Wooboost” by Rusko, I fuckin love playing that track ’cause you can play it anywhere in the world and people just know it straight away, it’s nice to just put a little bit of that old school back in there… especially somewhere in Denver where I know, for a fact, every single person in the crowd is going to know that track.

What is your favorite venue or festival you have played at so far?

I played at Rampage in Belgium last year and that was fucking unbelievable, that was crazy. But I am also into the small intimate sort of venue, that’s why I really like Webster in New York, it’s got a nice crowd, Denver’s exactly the same. The reason I like these sort of crowds is that you guys are here to listen to the music and that’s what good about it, they really appreciate it. Sometimes it’s better to play to 200 people opposed to 2,000 people because I would rather play to 200 people where every single person is enjoying it, than 2,000 where you have people [completely immersed in the music] up front and the rest of the crowd is dormant. One of my favorites in the whole world is Perth, in Australia. I played a show at a place called Bassment, that was actually where I met my manager. It’s fucking unbelievable. There’s like 1,500-2,000 people there, but they are all about the music, so it’s like an intimate show on a bigger level. It’s fucking amazing, so sick. There are lots of places, the first time I played in LA, in Hollywood, it was my biggest show and it blew me away. As long as people are enjoying the show, I don’t care where I am playing to be honest.

Do you have a piece of advice you would give producers?

When I was telling guys at the clinic earlier, a big thing that changed my outlook on everything was I would work on a tune and get to a point where I fucking hated it ’cause I would listen to it so much. Then something clicked in my head, I was like, “well, I’ve listen to it for days, but nobody else in the whole world has heard this song.” So I started getting to the point where I was putting it on my Soundcloud to see what the reaction was like. Some of the songs that I didn’t necessarily think would do that well, ended up doing really fucking really, really well, so I think you really need to believe in what you’re doing. The beauty of music is that it is not wrong or right, just do what the fuck you want to do, and believe in what you want to put out. Don’t be worried to put something out if it’s a bit different because it could open a whole new fanbase that never liked you before. If you’ve got true fans as well, they will stick by you with whatever you do. Just keep pushing, keep fucking exploring the sound and everything, don’t worry about not putting something out because only a few people might like it, because yes, 10 people might think this is a bit different, but 100 people might think “this is fuckin sick!”

Sub.mission’s mission statement is to “move people through music not hype,” what is your mission?

My ultimate standard for everything is, if you believe [in yourself], you can get it no matter what. That’s what I did all the way through. I always said from day one, I am going to be on the big stage one day and I am going to be pushing my own records and it’s gonna happen. But I think if you’ve got enough passion and enough belief in yourself, you’ll fuckin do it, no matter what anybody tells you. If somebody tells you, you’re shitty, don’t even listen to that. That’s in any walk of life.

I tell myself every year, I set myself goals on what I want to achieve that year, sometimes it doesn’t happen, sometimes it does and you just gotta keep pursuing, to not be scared; just take a leap into something that you may not be that comfortable with. If you think it is going to progress you in the right way, then do it, definitely, fuck yea.

Big Wild Shares Inspiration in Exclusive Interview

Big Wild Performs at Okeechobee

In the days leading up to Okeechobee Music Festival, Dancebreak put together a list of artists that we were most excited to see, which included Jackson Stell, also known as Big Wild. Big Wild performed Thursday night at Aquachobee Beach, the night before the majority of campers arrived at the campgrounds. In spite of this, Big Wild still drew a large and enthusiastic crowd and put on a performance that got patrons ready for an unforgettable weekend. When he took the stage, he addressed the crowd with a tone that was giddy with excitement. As he jumped between instruments during his performance, it became clear that Big Wild is someone who is appreciative of the opportunity to share his talents with the world. After his show, we had the opportunity to sit down with Jackson and discuss his upcoming spring tour, his inspiration, his background, and what we can expect from Big Wild in the future.

Dancebreak commentary is in italics, while commentary from Big Wild is in normal text.

Welcome back to Florida. Thanks for taking the time to chat with me. It seems like you’re in a really exciting point in your career. To start, the name Big Wild, where did that come from?

It kind of originated during my first trip to California. It was maybe three years ago now. I went to Big Sur and camped there for a couple of nights and I was just really surprised by the landscape and the natural beauty of the whole area and it kind of, for whatever reason, gave me insight as to where I wanted to take my electronic sound from there. Because up to that point, I had kind of been shooting in the dark with what I wanted my sound to be. I decided from there that I wanted to be adventurous and blend electronic and acoustic elements. That name just came about naturally.

You said that you’re originally from Lancaster, MA, right? And you’ve since moved out to Venice Beach. When did that happen?

Well I lived in San Francisco for five months. I moved out there in April 2014, and after that I moved to LA. I’ve been there ever since.

Was that primarily because you wanted to focus on music?

Well I got kicked out of my apartment, because they were jacking up the rent. There was a lot of drama. But also because of the music scene, and my girlfriend was going to UCLA, so there were all these things telling me to move there.

You’ve previously supported Gramatik, Odesza, GRiZ, and others on tour. This month you’re embarking on your own headlining tour, two of the shows are already sold out. Congratulations on that. What’s different about your headlining Spring Tour? How does your preparation for headlining shows differ from supporting acts?

It’s tough for me to say, because I’ve never really headlined. Actually I’ve headlined one show so far. It was just a random charity show I did in Austin. But I think what’s going to be really cool now is I feel like I have more freedom to carry out my full vision of what I see myself doing on stage and performing. I’m going to be using more new music that I’ve been producing lately and this is kind of going to be an exposé for all of that. I’m going to be able to control the visuals and everything. It’s awesome to fully use your vision. Whereas when you’re support or direct support for an opener, you kind of have to fit in the mold of whoever is the headliner. Because it’s their show. But now I have that privilege of being the headliner. That’s the best part of it.

It sounds pretty exciting. Are there any specific locations that you’re excited to play at, or are you going into this kind of blind?

I’m definitely going into it blind. I’m really excited to do the San Francisco show. It was the first one to sell out and it’s at a venue called The Independent, which I really like. I’m really excited to perform there because I have a really solid fan base there. Whenever I play in San Francisco, they really vibe with my music. That being said, I’m really excited to perform pretty much everywhere. I’m just excited to tour the country and play my music.

Before you started producing music, were you ever a patron at The Independent?

I did play there once. I opened up for this group called Digitalism and then I also saw a show there, Slow Magic, which was really fun.

I asked you a little bit about your preparation, what kind of equipment do you typically use for live shows? What instruments are you normally playing?

I have my drum pad, my piano, a Cajón, which is kind of a wooden box, percussion instrument. Then I have a MIDI interface where I trigger things off my computer. I have a mic for whistling. And that’s pretty much it. It’s kind of like a small one-man band.

Big Wild Performs on Cajón

Big Wild performs using a Cajón

What kind of software are you using?

I use Ableton. And I use Kontakt to trigger my drum sounds off the drum pad.

What about in the studio? I previously read that you started out making hip-hop beats using FL Studio. Are you still using that?

I used that for a while. I switched over to Ableton about three years ago. That’s what I’ve been using ever since.

Has that affected your creative process at all?

I think a little bit. I think for me, warping samples and sampling in general is a little easier in Ableton. So it’s gotten me a little more into that world compared to when I was using FL Studio. Overall, it hasn’t changed my perception of music. My work flow is a little different, but not crazy different. I think at the end of the day a lot of it is very similar.

What were you doing before you started producing? What’s your background? Did you play traditional instruments growing up?

I played piano for about two years, then I played trumpet for six years. But it really wasn’t until I started to produce music, when I was in 8th grade, when I really started to get in to music. Before, I enjoyed it, but I wasn’t really all about it. It wasn’t until I started to song-write and produce where I was like “this is what I want to do.”

You seem to occupy this really cool place in music where there’s a fusion of modern electronics and technology with traditional instruments. It seems like these days the definition of a musician is a lot more fluid as a result of that. Would you say it’s an accurate assessment to call you an instrumentalist, a producer, and a DJ?

I think at the end of the day, the most accurate thing to call me would be a songwriter, because, while I am producing, I’m making music in a program, I’m writing the melodies and writing the drumlines. I’m basically crafting a song. For me, that’s my greatest skill. That’s what first got me into music. Then once I started to play more live, that’s when I was like “ok let’s start to work on my instrument performance ability.” That’s when I started to go back and re-learn all these instruments again. I would say that the labels you gave me are fair, but like you said, there’s a lot of gray area in terms of what qualifies as being a DJ and what qualifies as being a producer. I think a songwriter and a musician is the most barebones definition of what I am. Then you can kind of expand it to more modern names like DJ and producer.

Similar to how you have sub-genres of music?


How do these different skillsets affect your music persona? It sounded like you started out doing songwriting and then moved more into live shows. Did that retroactively effect how you were crafting music?

Definitely. You definitely get a different perception of how people listen and understand your music when you play it out live. Especially—you have to do a lot of different scenarios. You have to be able to play at festivals, small gigs, big gigs, and tours, to really understand how people understand your music. When I’m behind the computer, making music, sharing it on the internet, I can never really get that perspective. Ever since I started to tour a lot more, I’ve really been able to basically understand how people—when I make something, I have a better idea of how people are going to understand it and how they’re going to hear it, as opposed to before, I feel like I was just kind of guessing.

I previously read that you used to focus on music that just sounded good, but now you want to make music that inspires people. Is there a track of yours that you find particularly inspiring?

I think that’s been one of my goals for almost every song I’ve made under the name “Big Wild.” I produced a lot of beats before that, but I think just by trying to make something different that people can still relate to, it’s kind of a key to making someone inspired. It’s easy to bite a trend or get involved with what’s current and I think that’s fine, but I think it’s really important to do it with your own style. That’s kind of what I wanted to inspire with other people—to have your own perspective, have your own individual style, and to bring them another world and show people.

What other non-music related people, places, or ideas influence your music?

I’m really big into—I used to hike all the time growing up and I reflect on those times when I was hiking in the mountains a lot. There are these very peaceful memories that I have. For the songs that are more serene that I make, that are less dancey, that’s where I try to go to. I base it off of feeling, usually I reference how certain moments in the past made me feel and represent that in the song I’m making and channel that. I do that all the time. It usually comes down to times when I was outside and important conversations that I have with people that made me feel a certain way, like really big events in my life. If you can distill that moment to a specific feeling and then if you can capture that feeling in a song, everybody that you play that to can feel something off of that. That’s what I’m trying to do.

I can relate to that. There have certainly been songs of yours that kind of felt outdoorsy to me. I know that’s a weird label to use for music, but the whole persona of it would bring up memories of going out hiking and exploring nature. I’d say you’ve been successful in that regard. That’s all I had for questions for you. Is there anything else you would like to add?

I’m working on a lot of original music right now. I plan on releasing it all throughout the year. There’s a lot of big things to come. I think people are really going to like it because I’m taking a slightly different approach than what I’ve done in the past. I’m working with more vocalists. I’m trying to create a really good mold of my production, with a vocalist, like a more well-rounded song I would say. I’ve been working a lot on that recently, because I haven’t put out too much recently. I’ve spent more time working in the studio, working on music. I would like people to know that I’m working on a lot of music to be released throughout the year.

So you’re bringing in external people to do vocals?

Ya, it’s kind of like expanding this project of Big Wild beyond just me. I don’t want it to just be about me. I just want to make great music. I think I’m finding the right people to make that happen.

When you look around and see the artists that are really successful, it’s usually the ones that have cultivated a certain culture around what they’re doing, as opposed to just making it about themselves.

Right, and that’s what I’m trying to build right now

Thanks so much for your time. Good luck with the rest of your tour.

An Interview with MARTyPARTy

Recently at Imagine Music Festival, Dancebreak had a chance to sit down with bass slangin South African goofball, MARTyPARTy. Fresh after his killer after-party set the night before and right before his daytime set, we had a chance to ask the man himself a few questions about himself and his music.

DB: We saw you at Electric Forest and you fucking crushed it. Was that your first time playing at Electric Forest and how was your experience?

MP: I arrived and my manager had rolled me a joint. We got stoned and rolled up to the [Jubilee] tent, and I had no idea where I was. I just got off the plane and was like ‘I dunno where I am’. I didn’t know what gig I was playing or what to expect. My manager was like ok let’s go and I was just like “fine okay let’s go play for this little hippie camp or whatever’ and when I walked out it was a GIANT purple fucking tent! And I’m a purple guy! So I was like is this a joke? So I went in and it was the most giant sound system I ever saw. There were like five people there. I started it up and it was the weirdest empty sound but then everyone started coming down that hill. By like the 5th song, that place was fucking packed. That place was packed for an hour. The production was insane.

DB: You said you’re a ‘purple guy’. What’s the origin of that?

MP: I mean, I dunno. I don’t know if it’s purple anymore. Everything’s just a movement for me. Now its red.

DB: Now it’s red?

MP: Yeah it’s my color.

DB: What type of mentality are you usually in when you write music?

MP: I like having fun with my music. I don’t like my music to get serious and all deep. I’ll listen to other people’s deep music. If I make deep music it takes me to sad times in my life, it brings it there, to my house. I’d rather make it lively and happy because I’m more that kind of guy when I’m hangin in my house or whatever. I make a song cause I’m like ‘WOO!! I just washed my car! I feel good! Let’s go make some music! Smoke weed’ ya know.

DB: So how would you describe the MartyParty experience?

MP: I think, you know there’s nobody else really doing what I do. I’m a really big fan of myself and I never really know what to expect when I get on stage. If anything, I’m dancing. I don’t really see a lot of people dancing these days just a lot of swaying back and forth. But yeah so I try to bring a lot of unique sounds, add a lot of interesting noise, and then the drops. Crazy dubstep. Weird crazy shit. So yeah, that’s the vibe.

DB: Hell yeah man. And you crush it at making that vibe.

MP: I’ve never heard anyone say it so well. I crush it at making that vibe, I like that.

DB: Does living in Florida influence the kind of music you make?

MP: Yeah man Florida’s all about their tropical music vibe, together with bass. I’m trying to get back to that. You’ll just be jamming out on the beach and some guy in the white supremacy and a four-wheel drive barrels past and you’re just like ‘whoa! You got to chill!’ It’s just so weird.

DB: So can you walk me through your live setup? When you’re performing live what do you have going on up there?

MP: I make all my tracks in Ableton. When I’m writing the tune I have maybe 20 to 30 tracks that I need to mix together. Then I edit the tune and render it. Then I load the full song into Ableton, all my tracks, hip hop acapellas, some one shot samples, some lazers, then I load it all onto a Trigger Finger so I can trigger them as I go. I keep just loading my new shit into the template and go. When I’m djing I use filters a lot. Throw in some acappellas. Give it a hip hop vibe. When I’m mixing songs I always just rely on my ears. I always test my songs on a bunch of different systems, like my Bluetooth speaker when I’m at the beach. I always ask myself “what does it REALLY sound like”. If it sounds good on my little Bluetooth speaker I know it’s done. I really aim for a full sound. It’s always full. When I’m writing music sometimes I feel like I’m getting really weird in a lab. Full experimentation.

DB: Occasionally you’ll link up with Ooah of The Glitch Mob and play as PantyRaid, how’s that going?

MP: Good man. He was here yesterday, we hung out on his bus, he came to my show.

DB: I was half expecting him to come out during the after-party for a surprise PantyRaid set.

MP: Yeah he was there and I was like “stand up!” and he was like nah cause he’s with the Glitch Mob you know? He doesn’t want to confuse people. He’s on the Glitch Mob tour right now. We’re like ‘whatever’ cause were just dudes you know? We don’t really care but you got to please the crowd dynamic. This music scene is like a giant ship. Even when you pump the brakes it takes twenty years for change to happen. So you can’t really influence it that much you just got to go along with the biggest swell. With yourself, with your own character, but it’s gonna take a long time. We want to do PantyRaid next year, but we want it to be a special thing. When you buy a ticket we want you to be stoked. We don’t people to be like ‘should we go? I dunno.’ We want people to be like ‘DAMMN LETS GO!’.

DB: So what’s in the future for MartyParty?

MP: I think I want to open a club in Miami sometime next year. I’m probably going to play every week, with guests. I’m going to have everyone play with me. It’s gonna be some real shit.

Until next time MARTyPARTy!

Artist Interview | MaRLo at SMF

In 2015, we are now fully immersed in the digital age of music. As a result of the changing tools and resources available to DJs and producers, there are a variety of paths to musical stardom. At Sunset Music Festival, which took place during Memorial Day weekend, we had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Australian trance artist, MaRLo. From his humble beginnings living on two-dollar noodles, MaRLo has become a world-renowned trance artist. Take a closer look at MaRLo’s musical beginnings, his inspiration, travel experiences, and more in our exclusive interview.

Dancebreak commentary is in italics, while MaRLo’s responses are in normal text.

Thanks for taking the time to meet with us today and welcome back to Florida. How does it feel to be back?

Awesome man, it wasn’t that long since I was in Miami and the crowd in America has been so warm and friendly. I think I’m pretty new in the US. I’ve been playing all over the world, like in Europe, Asia, and Australia for quite some time, but I’ve only been playing in America for like a year or eighteen months, so it’s exciting for me.

Ya, you played at Ultra for the first time this year, right? Congratulations, that seems like a pretty big milestone.

It was big, ya, it was good.

That’s awesome. So far how does the Tampa atmosphere feel different from Miami?

I only just arrived. It’s a lot wetter here. A lot more rain.


I think it could just be the time of year. This is your first time at Sunset, is there anything in particular that you’re excited for that you think would be different from other festivals?

I’m not sure. I’ve only just arrived, I don’t know what to expect. Gigs like that are the best, where you don’t know what’s going to happen. I haven’t even looked at the crowd yet, so when I’m up on stage, I’ll just go with the flow.

That’s fun, sort of like opening a new present on Christmas day.

Ya, sort of like that, so we’ll see what happens.

Are there any sets that you’re excited to see as a fan here or do you not really have time to do that?

A lot of these guys that are playing at these festivals, we tour all the time and I see them constantly. So I’ve seen most of the DJs I’d like to see play lots of times already, but of course it’s great hanging out with all your friends.

You’ve already mentioned that your wife, Jano, is not here with you. Your collaborations are great, it’s so cool that you’re able to work together like that.

Ya we’re actually working on a track together called The Dreamers, which I’ve played an intro/teaser version of at ASOT [A State of Trance]. But I’m working on finishing that as a whole track, so that’s going to be cool.

I’ve seen that you’ve previously talked about how Armin van Buuren was one of your earlier influences and now you’ve done quite a number of remixes of his music. How does that feel to go from having someone who’s one of your big influences become one of your peers that you work with quite a bit?

I’ve played at a lot of his events and would definitely consider him a friend by now with the amount of times we’ve seen each other and hung out and stuff like that. But he’s amazing, you know what he’s managed to achieve in the industry first of all. Not only as a DJ, but also I think he’s a real ambassador for the sound and for dance music as a whole, but also especially for trance. I think he’s definitely the leader and he’s very supportive of new talent. I think without him, a lot of new talent would never get heard, because he has a radio show with so many listeners, like millions of listeners every week, so when he plays your track, even if you’re an unknown DJ, suddenly you can create your own little buzz from the momentum he can give you.

I kind of get the feeling like he makes a big effort to try and play the up-and-comers.

It’s really simple, he plays what he likes. So he doesn’t care if you’re a big name or not, he plays the tracks that he likes.

I also read that you don’t prepare for your sets and you go with the vibe of the crowd. That’s great, how do you do that and what do you think of DJs that don’t do that, for example some DJs that might have a whole pre-recorded set.

I think everyone’s different and everyone’s performance is different. I’ve been DJing for quite a long time and I’ve played to a lot of different types of crowds and I’ve learned to adapt on the spot. For me, that’s very important, because every crowd is different and if I prepare a certain style and it doesn’t work—well, I need to have the flexibility to be able to change it up every track. I don’t even know what I’m going to be starting with today yet. I’ll just go up there and as soon as I’m plugged in, I’ll look for the first track. It also depends on what the other DJ finishes with. That’s the other thing, what if he plays two or three tracks that I had planned to play? Then I’m screwed, right? I try to do it very spontaneously and go with the flow.

Some of these artists that have more pre-planned sets, I think they put more of an emphasis on interacting with the crowd visually and vocally, but not as much with the music. What do you think about that? How do you balance the visual and vocal part, while still DJing?

I think everyone’s performance is different. I don’t think one is better than the other, or more valuable than the other. The actual mixing part, the actual part of getting two tracks to play at the same speed is not the hard part anyway. The hard part is creating a good atmosphere and getting the crowd moving. If you can do that with your pre-planned set or you’re comfortable that the DJ before you is not going to play the same tracks as you, why not? I don’t see the problem with it. It just doesn’t work for me though.

I think the line between DJs and producers these days is getting a bit blurred. Can you comment at all on the distinction between the two and is it necessarily important that a producer DJs and a DJ produces?

Yes, I do. It’s very, very, very difficult to just be a producer. There’s hardly any money in sales. Everyone either illegally downloads the music, or even if they do buy the music, it’s only for $1.99 on iTunes. In the old days, when producers would make tracks, a vinyl record would sell for $22 and the wholesale price was $10, so there was $12 profit to make between the label, the artist, and the distributor. So there was a lot more money from the start to go around. And sales, everyone bought the vinyl, so you could sell 50,000 vinyls no problem. So there was real money to be made as a producer without DJing. Nowadays, it’s almost impossible to make a career—as in, not have another job—out of just producing, unless you’re also ghost producing for other artists and they’re paying you fees to make their records. They’re never going to recoup the money they invest in the track, but they’ll make it back on their gigs. So you need gigs to make a career out of music, you need to DJ to make a career out of music and quit your day job. And on the other way around, you won’t get invited to DJ at a big festival unless you do have tracks to your name. It works both ways. How I see tracks is a lot like a business card or a flier, where you’re sending them out around the world and people are downloading your music, whether it’s illegally or legally, whatever, but that actually doesn’t matter. If people are consuming your music, then they’ll buy a ticket to see you at an event. People wouldn’t know who I was if I didn’t have tracks. They’d have no idea, even if I was a great DJ technically. You need one to be the other. You need to be both.

Dance music seems to go through trends pretty rapidly now. But it seems like trance music has been popular for quite some time. What do you think makes trance different? How do you keep it fresh and interesting and maintain the connection with your older trance fans, as well as developing new connections with up-and-coming fans?

I think trance is such a broad genre. To me, the meaning of trance is that quite often it has a pretty emotional response. It’s quite an emotional genre. I think everyone likes feeling something, especially when they’re out at an event and it’s about unity, experiencing the moment together. I think trance is very good at bringing people together like that.

Were you always a fan of dance music? What were you listening to when you were young, like 10-16 years old? What was your taste in music?

At first I liked rock. Then I liked hip-hop for a while. Then when I heard some of The Prodigy’s early stuff and Aphex Twin and some of those top acts, I was like, oh this is cool. Even some of Daft Punk’s very early stuff. When I was old enough to go out clubbing myself, then I got into trance.

Who or what have been some of your biggest influences unrelated to dance music?

Like unrelated to music?

Well, anything really.

Aphex Twin was a huge inspiration. His music was so experimental and weird that I had no idea how it was made first of all. He makes a lot of his own instruments and stuff. It’s really out there. And that experimentation attracted me to try it myself. That you didn’t have to follow rules that you didn’t have to be able to sing, you didn’t have to be able to play guitar. Because I can’t. I can’t sing or play guitar. Electronic music was something that anyone can actually do. You can express yourself musically without having to be able to read notes or play an instrument, and for me that was really exciting.

Do you play any other musical instruments?

No. Well, I mean I play the keyboard, I know my chords and things like that, but no.

In your course of music, did you ever have an “Aha!” moment where you realized that you could turn music into a career?

I didn’t have an “Aha!” moment where I could, I had an “Aha!” moment where I said, this is all I want to do with my life. So it wasn’t like “oh hey I can do this,” it was more like, “I want to do this,” no matter what. Even if I was completely broke, I would have done this. I was for a long time. I was struggling to pay my rent, I worked shitty day jobs that I hated. But then as soon as I got home, I’d stay up to four in the morning every night, just working on refining my craft and getting better and better and better and playing more and more and more gigs on the weekend as a DJ and getting to know more people. My mom once asked me, “Marlo, what are you going to do if all this doesn’t work out? Like what’s your plan B? Are you going to go to university, are you going to learn how to do something else?” I looked her dead in the eye and I said: “Mom, my plan B is to try plan A again.” It took a long time before I could quit my shitty day jobs that I hated. It took a long time.

That’s quite a bit of perseverance. I know some people wouldn’t have the drive to do that.

I was living on two-minute noodles and borrowing money off my mom and my friends just to survive, just to pay rent. I was really broke. But there was never a question of maybe I should do something else, because this was all I wanted to do with my life and if I was still working crappy day jobs, I’d still be producing at home every day, like this is what I love to do.

You have a lot of great singles, but no album.

No album.

What’s it like being an artist in the digital age that’s focused more on music streaming? Do you feel pressure to make more singles?

I don’t feel pressure, I just enjoy making singles. I would like to make an album one time, but I’ve got really good momentum happening. With singles you have to make a track that everyone is going to play and that’s going to get people jumping. I’m enjoying doing that for now, so maybe in a few years I’ll sit down and do an album, but I’m not even sure if the album would be only tracks that make people jump up and down, because what’s the point of an album if you could just do them as singles anyway? If I did an album, it would be more like an artist album where I express a different side of me I suppose.

I like seeing that. You see artists that are quite different live and then they’ll put out an album that’s a different style; it’s a different mode of expression.

Exactly, it’s more for listening at home and listening in the car or for putting on when you’re going to sleep, not necessarily just for jumping up and down. An album would be a different thing for me.

You’re quite the world traveler these days. What’s been one of your favorite traveling experiences you’ve had while on tour, that’s not related to music?

The times where my wife does get to come with me are awesome. Last time she came with me to Mexico, after EDC Mexico, and we went snorkeling; we saw a barracuda. We’ve got a big aquarium at home, so we love snorkeling together. Experiencing things like that all over the world is definitely one of the big perks, and a huge luxury. Not many people get to travel to the opposite end of the world and get to experience that. And if they do, it’s like you save for a long time and then you go on your big trip once a year or once every two years. Whereas, because it’s part of work, I go there anyway. To be able to take advantage of those situations, where I’m in amazing places and I have to be there anyway, and then to get to do that stuff, it’s really cool.

How do you beat the exhaustion of traveling, playing at shows, and making yourself feel at home when you’re not?

I try to just sleep when I’m tired. You can’t keep up with the jet lag. The jet lag will beat you every time. You can’t say “I’m going to stay awake until 10 or 11” and then get up at 7 or 8. You can’t do that when you’re traveling as much as I do. I just sleep when I can. Whether it’s two hours or six hours.

We have one more question before we wrap things up. For me, I’m really appreciative of music. When I got into electronic music, I thought that was huge. It really was a constant force of positivity and I think that most of the artists that experience long-term success, they have a similar outlook. They’re not doing it for fame or for anything else in particular, they think it’s a powerful thing. That brings me to the thought that there’s not a lot of women in the electronic music world, other than dancers, servers, and bartenders and whatnot. Is that something that you’d like to see change. Would you like to see more women involved? What advice would you give to them?

I would absolutely. What I don’t really understand is—there’s some women involved, but they don’t really produce music themselves, and I don’t really get that because there’s so many songwriters that are female—like a lot. I think women like the creative process as much as men. I don’t think it’s a sex issue. I don’t understand why they don’t learn how to use the software and produce music themselves. There’s really not many that are actually sitting down, spending eight hours a day in front of a computer, learning the technical side of how to produce. I think if there was someone like that, they’d have great success. There was a female DJ that was asked a similar question and she basically said the door opens a lot easier for a woman. It’s easier to get a show in the first place, but you’re scrutinized a lot harder once you’re on that stage. If you made your own tracks 100%, and they’re good tracks, and they’re getting played by all the DJs, that door will open for you in the first place, you’ve got the substance and content to back it up. If you’re just a DJ floozy that’s using sex appeal only to get shows, that’s not going to last. It’s a hype based thing, and the hype never lasts. It’s like “Oh this girl’s great!” and then it’s on to the next girl or the next guy or whatever. If you have content, if you have a back-catalogue of great music, I think females could have it easier, actually, than men, because you are an exception, and you’re special. People like to see things that are special and different than what they’ve seen before. The fact that you mentioned it, a lot of other people will think this way too. And so, if you have somebody that says “This girl is actually really special and she’s one of the only one’s doing it,” she’s going to sell out shows everywhere.

You look at the Nervo twins, a lot of people say that sort of stuff about them. They like them because they’re different.

They’re great songwriters as well. The Nervo girls write a lot of tracks for a lot of other artists.

They also have a lot going for them—two blonde, good-looking twins.


Ya, a lot of that stuff is the marketing side of things, but they also have the content to back it up. But there’s a lot more men. I don’t think there was a single woman playing on this stage today.

We saw Mija play earlier today on the Horizon Stage. She was pretty fun to watch. But you’re right, it’s definitely disproportionate.

I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because girls like singing more or writing songs more than they do the nerdy stuff. Producing music is very nerdy. It’s a lot of just staring at a screen and looping one kick drum for two hours, so maybe girls get impatient, I don’t know. I wouldn’t think so though.

You look at people like deadmau5, deadmau5 is a huge computer nerd. He started off as a nerd in IRC chats and moved to music production. He didn’t start as a musician in the traditional sense.

His music is amazing and his production is super tight. I think we are all actually nerds.

I love being a nerd. I embrace it. When people call me a nerd, I take it as a compliment.

It just means that something is really important to you. I think “nerd” gets misused in a negative way, but if you’re a nerd, you’re really interested in something. Like, you’re really into collecting comics, or you’re really into computer games, or you’re into producing music. It’s the same sort of thing, you get obsessive about it. And it’s all I want to do. I dunno, is that nerdy? Maybe. I spend a lot of time in front of a computer. A lot.

Thank you so much for your time, good luck tonight.

If you haven’t heard MaRLo’s brand new single, Atlantis, check it out on Beatport or iTunes.