Category - Feature

Imagine Music Festival 2015: The Aftermath

Imagine 2015

The weekend of August 30th and 31st has come and went and the second annual Imagine Music Festival is officially in the books, and what a weekend it was. There was incredible music, amazing vibes, tons of friendship and good times were had by all. I was curious to see how the festival would handle the increase in the crowd’s size that would be inevitable as a result of the stacked lineup, and as a whole it was handled very well. I’ll review all the acts I saw over the course of the weekend as well as the positives and negatives of the festival I experienced (not that there were many negatives but there were a few).

First off a disclaimer to all those reading this: I am a bass head to the core. I live for those gnarly crushing bass lines that smack you in the chest and make your face contort as if it were hit by a sledgehammer. I live for unique and original sounds, concepts, and rhythmic patterns, anything that catches me off guard and keeps me on my toes. So with every festival I attend that’s what I hunt for. If you’re looking for reviews of Morgan Page or Dada Life you can just stop reading this article now. I respect house artists and what they do, but I can listen to approximately 6 seconds of four on the floor music until I’m too bored to deal with it. SO without further ado, my weekend went a little something like this:

We arrived at the festival just in time to catch the up-and-coming melodic bass producer Illenium. I had heard some good things about the young gun so I thought I’d check him out. He wasn’t disappointing necessarily but I was very far from impressed. The all too familiar major chord progressions over basic bass lines left much to be desired. His tunes were pretty, sure, but he didn’t leave a lasting impression on me. Using a drum pad to add some percussive elements to his set was a nice touch, but it wasn’t enough to make it memorable. Followed by Illenium was the trap king Buku. Having opened for Buku myself as well as seeing him at last year’s Imagine Festival, his sound was very familiar to me, yet still very get-down worthy. His fat beats and fun synth lines always make Buku shows a good time and I was not disappointed with what he brought to the table, despite it being an early set.

Then came iLL.Gates vs. KJ Sawka and this is where it starts getting real good. ill.Gates kicked things off with the most absurd mash up I’ve ever heard of, his tune I’m Eel, Ice by Corporate, and a slew of other epic bangers perfectly stitched together to make everyone in the crowd effectively lose their shit. ill.Gates continued to bring massive amounts of heat including his super epic remix of Monkey Crunk by Opiuo, as well as some unreleased bangers that left multiple faces lying in a puddle on the floor. KJ Sawka was decent but trying to battle ill.Gates is like trying to battle Yoda in a light saber battle, you just stand no chance. ill.Gates is a certified Ableton instructor, mentor to Bassnectar, conductor of the fattest beats, and just an overall genius. KJ Sawka is an incredible drummer and as a member of Destroid is the single greatest at what he does, but directly next to ill.Gates his set seemed sloppy and unimpressive. Had he been his own separate set he would have been more appreciated for what he was doing, but side by side with the Phat Conductor just left me feeling like I wanted an all ill.Gates set and KJ Sawka should stick to what he’s best at which is being an epic drummer.

G Jones was nothing short of epic. He was one of my top acts to see and not only did he meet my expectations, he surpassed them. Hearing G Jones on a great sound system really allowed appreciating the genius of the young producer. You could really hear every subtle detail in his productions, the epic vocal panning, and experimentations with reverbs, crazy delays. Despite the speakers only being in front of us, it sounded like his music was coming from every direction. Listening from the mindset of a fellow producer, it really felt like getting to hear a master at work. The future is incredibly bright for G Jones and I can’t wait to see him again. Following G Jones was the always-incredible Griz. With the sun setting in the background lighting up the sky a brilliant orange hue, the moment couldn’t have been more perfect. Griz played the perfect collection of soulful sax-filled tunes and crushing bass bangers that had everyone in the crowd getting their boogie on. It was one of the more magical moments that life has to offer and it was amazing to share it with so many other people.

After Griz ended we made our way over to Shpongle, mostly just in anticipation of Tipper. Despite never really knowing what exactly is going on during a Shpongle set, I enjoyed it nonetheless. The lasers on the Amazonia stage were on point and watching how different people dance to Shpongle is massively entertaining. As Shpongle was coming to a close we steadily crept into an ideal spot for Tipper and Android Jones. If you’ve never heard Tipper’s music on a great sound system before, it’s something you should do if you ever get the opportunity. I truly believe everyone should attend at least one Tipper set in his or her life if anything to appreciate the genius that is Dave Tipper. The man is the king of glitch hop, a sonic wizard. The dude makes sounds that are so out of this world and hearing them on a big sound system really accents all the subtle details that makes his music what it is. Android Jones’ visuals were nothing short of incredible. The man is a true artist and it was a distinct honor to get to experience the combined genius of Tipper and Android Jones to close out day one of the festival.

Continued below.

 

Day 2 for us started with the representatives from the Pretty Lights Music label Eliot Lipp and Paul Basic. Both playing their signature hip hop beats and original music, which was a great way to get day two started. After Paul Basic, we left for our interview with MartyParty (full interview to come soon) and then rejoined the festivities. Here is one of the few moments in which Imagine could have done better. Lil Jon had to cancel his set due to health concerns and as a result all of the sets on the Oceania stage were moved back an hour and there was no notice whatsoever. There was no email or announcement of any kind informing the patrons of the schedule change and as a result there was massive amounts of confusion. We were very excited to see 12th Planet but thanks to the unannounced schedule his set was moved to the same time as MartyParty’s so we had to skip 12th Planet. Luckily he played at the afterparty so it actually worked out. MartyParty’s set was a great time, playing some of his signature tunes like Greedy and V8 and just slamming the crowd with his crushing bass lines.

Once MartyParty had finished playing he came out into the crowd and jammed out to Papadosio with us. Papadosio absolutely crushed their set. I have seen them a few times before but this was definitely the best Papadosio set I have seen to date. They debuted one of their new songs for us and it was absolutely incredible. I highly recommend seeing Papadosio if you get the chance. Crizzly absolutely blew me away. Another act I’ve seen a few times before but also the best time I’ve seen him. Something about Imagine Festival brings out the best in artists I guess. His mixing skills were so on point and the transitions were flawless. His blend of hip hop and grimy dubstep is unique and satisfying to a wide range of people. Datsik brought the heat too, playing banger after banger to close out the festival. With fireworks shooting off from the main stage and Datsik hitting us with wave after wave of heavy bass music, it was the perfect way to end a perfect weekend.

The only other negative note I have is that the festival ran out of water towards the end of the second day, which obviously posed a huge safety hazard for those in attendance. Hydration is incredibly important and not having water available exposes the festival to potential lawsuits if anyone were to suffer dehydration to the point where hospitalization was necessary. So for next year as long as they ensure they have enough water for everyone and keep those in attendance well informed of any changes in the schedule, I think they’ll have a perfect festival on their hands.

Imagine Music Festival | Dancebreak’s Most Anticipated Sets

Imagine Music Festival

It was the end of summer 2014. My girlfriend and I had the privilege of attending Electric Forest and the Hudson (Mudson) Project over the course of those summer months. Eforest was nothing short of magical and the Hudson Project was awesome while it lasted. But the start of the new semester was right around the corner and we weren’t going to let the summer conclude without one more bass- filled hoorah. Scouring the Internet for our next musical adventure, we came across Imagine Music Festival in Atlanta. The lineup looked decent enough. Destroid, ill. Gates, Caspa, Minnesota, at less than a hundred bucks a ticket, we were sold.

The end of August rolls around, we pack up the car and head towards Atlanta. I wasn’t too sure what to expect, coming off of two camping festivals out in the middle of nowhere to a two-day non-camping festival in the heart of a major city. I knew the vibe was going to be different but that didn’t matter as long as the music was good. The schedule had been released; we knew the artists we wanted to see and left some room to discover new ones. August 30th had arrived. It was the first day of the festival and we couldn’t have been more stoked.

Immediately upon entering the festival I was impressed. Sporting a magical underwater theme on all the stages, it was apparent the Iris team had put tons of thought and time into the preparation of the festival. The stage designs were beautiful, the sound system was on point, and the weather was beautiful (at first). Walking around the festival grounds, smiling faces and dancing people everywhere set the tone for a great day. There were some incredible acts on the first day as Phutureprimitive and Colorado natives Unlimited Aspect (a combined force of Unlimited Gravity and Project Aspect) who blew us away.

Day two proved to be just as much fun with the exception of a debilitating rain storm which cut Wick-It The Instigators set short much to our disappointment, cause the dude was CRUSHING it. Despite the rain delay, epic artists like Minnesota and Caspa quickly brought us right back to rage mode. Imagine Festival last year was nothing short of incredible and we bought our tickets for this year’s event as soon as they came out. Little did we know that Imagine would step their game up about twelve notches.

As incredible as last years lineup was, THIS year blows last years out of the water. Like seriously Iris, you guys really outdid yourself. This lineup is absolutely STACKED and I could not be more excited for the festivities. So in order to deal with my growing level of excitement, I have compiled my personal list of my top 5 artists at Imagine this year that I’m super psyched to see.

GRiZ

This selection is entirely biased. Griz is my all time favorite. I’ll admit it. Despite having seen him several times, the Detroit native turned Colorado resident brings some next level awesome every time he steps on stage. His unique and original blend of funk infused bass music is unrivaled. The sound design of his bass elements combined with the absolute shredding on the saxophone leads to the most boogie-filled groovetastical dance floor extravaganza the likes have never been seen. Throwing in crowd-pleasing sing-alongs along with his funky filled creations leads to one of the most dynamic, nonstop fun sets in the electronic music world today.

MartyParty

This South African native BLEW MY MIND at Electric Forest. It’s funny because you think I’m exaggerating. I’m not. As half of PantyRaid, I was familiar with the name MartyParty and his work as part of PantyRaid but I had no idea what to expect when I saw him live. On the first day of Electric Forest we went to check out his set more out of curiosity than anything and oh. my. God. This guy blew my face off. His own self-proclaimed “weird music” thundered from the sound system, engulfing everyone present in enormous amounts of sub bass and ridiculous bass lines. His music gets down and dirty and he’s got the dance moves to go along with it. I was lucky enough to secure an interview with MartyParty at Imagine (time permitting) so stay tuned here for some words with the man himself after the festival.

G Jones

This is a new artist for me to see. For years I’ve wanted to see G Jones and literally EVERY person I’ve talked too who’s seen him has said his set is not to be missed. I haven’t had the opportunity to see him until now and I can’t wait. Known for his weird, glitchy beats, G Jones has been slaying festivals everywhere. With a recent release with Bassnectar and new side project with DJ Shadow, it seems G Jones is unstoppable. I’ve heard a lot of hype about this young festival slayer and I’m psyched to heard what all the hype is about.

Tipper w/Android Jones

After having his set brutally torn from me at the Mudson Project, there’s been a hole in my soul that hasn’t been able to be filled until I see Tipper. It was going to be my first time and the extreme excitement followed by crushing disappointment (and rain) was almost too much to handle. But then Imagine Fest came to the rescue, booking Tipper with his INSANE visual artist Android Jones. The king of glitch is sure to take us all on a crazy trip to holy shitsville and my excitement level is quite high.

iLL Gates v.s. KJ Sawka

This one should definitely be interesting. The two Ableton wizards have been on tour together doing head to head MIDI fighter battles. For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, essentially they will be performing by finger drumming (or stick drumming) on what I assume is a clip launcher of some sort such as a MIDI fighter or other type of Launchpad. I can’t confirm the details but I imagine they will take turns composing or performing songs live on the spot, putting their finger drumming skills to the test. This type of performance is unique and I’m excited to hear it in action.

Imagine Music Festival 2015

Imagine Music Festival

In its inaugural year, Imagine Music Festival made a distinct impression on festival attendants coming from around the world. Imagine makes its return this year to Atlanta, GA on August 29 and 30 with the honor of being ranked as one of the top festivals in the world by Fest300. The festival will take place at Atlanta’s Historic Fourth Ward and Masquerade Music Park featuring artists such as Dada Life, Datsik, The Glitch Mob, Tipper (with visuals by Android Jones), Griz, Chromeo, Morgan Page, 12th Planet, G Jones, Papadosio, Shpongle, Buku, Brillz, The Crystal Method, and many more.

The festival has been praised for its diverse lineup, art attractions, and organization, ensuring a carefree weekend of art and music. In addition, attendants take note of the booming after party culture, which will undoubtedly feature some special unscheduled performances in the local area, particularly at the Masquerade Music Hall.

 

Advanced General Admission tickets are currently on sale for $129 (plus taxes and fees). After that, ticket prices increase to $150 for General Admission or $299 for VIP. Make sure to purchase your tickets to get a taste of one of the world’s top festivals!

Mysteryland USA 2015 | Solving the mystery

Bringing together eclectic music, extraordinary art installations, and overflowing with positive vibes, Mysteryland USA 2015 smoothed out many hitches from its initial year in Bethel, NY and left attendees with smiles on their faces, candy on their arms, and one of a kind memories in their minds. Mysteryland’s mindful curation and diverse line-up, brought alive by a gregarious, fun-loving crowd, immersed attendees in a fantasy world of their very own. A land of mystery where barriers are broken and magic is not only real, but apparent just about everywhere.

1


 

THE ATMOSPHERE

Nearly everyone I spoke to at Mysteryland experienced a moment that sent chills throughout their body, brought on by the spirit of music lovers both now and of the past. Mysteryland USA is held at historic Bethel Woods, home of Woodstock ’69, and the energy from this monumental event remains. To stand atop the rolling hills and farmland that changed music forever is a truly remarkable opportunity. Now home to a gorgeous pavilion with bright green grass marked with colorful Mysteryland flags billowing in the wind, the impact of this history on the overall atmosphere was not taken for granted. The festival grounds of today are minuscule compared to the expansive hill of Woodstock’s past, humbling onlookers, and evoking an immense feeling of gratitude for all that came before. At the same time, this historic site was contrasted with futuristic displays of art, including a giant teddy bear and a life size Mouse Trap game, making you feel like a storybook character straight from a wild fantasy world.

2


THE MUSIC

One of my favorite parts of Mysteryland was the extensive variety of artists represented. While many festivals are inclined to a specific genre of music, Mysteryland purposefully showcases an expansive array of music, represented through the different stages, many hosted by notable pioneers of their given genre. For instance, the Boat was hosted by trap powerhouse Bro Safari on Sunday. The boat stage hosted heavy hitters in dubstep, funk, trap, and all things bass, and as a self-proclaimed basshead myself, by the end of the weekend the boat definitely felt like my home away from home. All types of electronic dance music fans were able to find acceptance at the stage of choice, with new and old friends, joined by a common love for music, dancing, and connecting with others. Many displayed their genre of choice with flags or totems of their favorite artist or stage. Notably represented were Q Dance paraphernalia and costumes for the famed hardstyle themed stage on Saturday. For those not inclined to a specific genre, the numerous acts to explore made the festival a smorgasbord of sounds to taste test. The stages were uniquely built to fit to the music played there as well. The gnarly nautical boat was a proper match for bassheads, while the Main Stage, complete with two massive, brightly colored horse heads, matched the degree of talent and larger than life acts which graced the stage. The Main Stage held memorable performances by Dillon Francis, Diplo, Porter Robinson, and Netsky.

3

Curated by the Brooklyn venue and hosted by THUMP, the Verboten Spiegeltent was held in an enclosed house of mirrors and wooden floors. On Sunday, Verboten presented the notorious Flying Circus party with Ibiza mainstays The Martinez Brothers, Audiofly, and Guti (live) that awed onlookers. Another NYC venue, Webster Hall, hosted a stage on Sunday as well, a favorite location for the heavily New York based crowd. The Owari No Nai stage by Sin Sida was another site to see. Meaning “No Exit” this was a unique party that lived up to its name by enticing individuals with outlandish acts. Complete with geisha girls, dancers, and other performers, I found it beautiful that while some stared at the stage with confusion others found it to be their home for the weekend. There was truly something for everyone.


NOTABLE SETS

Space Jesus

Space Jesus was the first set on Saturday at the Boat and whoever was able to squad up in time soon found it was worth every effort. Playing at the height of the afternoon, with the sun shining in a cloudless blue sky, Space Jesus took the crowd to space church, tantalizing fans with his signature sounds of bass with heavy hip hop influences. The vibes at this set were unbeatable and he got the crowd jumping and moving in every which way. A notable set and artist to keep your eye on.

4

Netsky

Netsky was a highly anticipated set this festival weekend, and although this legend had lofty words to live up to, together with his live band, the drum and bass DJ/producer delivered ten fold to a massive crowd at the main stage on Sunday evening. Live instruments, an energetic MC, and their impeccable drum and bass mastery awed the audience. I enjoyed the end of this set in the front row, and let me tell you, that was an experience I will never forget.

5

Beats Antique

Having seen Beats Antique before I was excited, but thought I knew generally what to expect. Boy was I mistaken. They were relentlessly mind blowing throughout their set, playing an array of beats from tribal to breakbeat to dubstep and more! Their unique style was not lost, but amplified with a fullness and expertise that only Beats can continuously deliver in the way they do. A spectacle to see and hear alike, they blew die hard fans away with their fresh set and gained many new followers.

Doctor P

One of the original dubsteppers and hailing from the UK, Doctor P did not let up for a minute to deliver his heavy hitting baselines, high energy beats, and dirty drops. Everyone went GORILLAS. Nuff said.


SOLVING THE MYSTERY

While I may have got ship wrecked at the boat, I ultimately realized that that is the true beauty of this festival. Everyone finds a home of their own. Everyone enters as nomads and organically makes a family over the weekend. You are able to connect and camp with people from all different places and who may have favorite artists you never even heard of. You are able to see your personal picks while discovering new artists and even new genres all together. Because overall, every single person came together for one underlying reason, the love of music.

The theme of Mysteryland, and slogan “Yesterday is history, today is a gift, tomorrow is a mystery,” was notably strung throughout the festival experience. Attendees were encouraged to be present, cherishing each magical moment and intimate interaction, while keeping in mind that the future is yours and can take you anywhere your heart desires or mind imagines. Overall, I learned the mystery is never completely solved…and that is the beauty of this life.

6


PHOTO CRED

1.Atmosphere: Danilo Lewis for Mysteryland
2.Teddy Bear: Julian Cassady for Mysteryland
3.Mainstage: tomdoms.com for Mysteryland
4.Space Jesus: Andrew Rauner//@AJR_photos for Mysteryland
5.Netsky: Danilo Lewis for Mysteryland
6.Sign: Julian Cassady for Mysteryland

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.

(laughter)

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.

(Laughter)

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.