Exclusive Interview: MaRLo Talks His Prodigy Remix, Armin Van Buuren Collab And “Tech Energy”
With artists like Flume, Chet Faker and Thomas Jack hogging the spotlight, the average electronic music fan might not think of Australia as a major trance hotspot. As it would happen, though, a rising star who calls Melbourne home is responsible for some of the genre’s most refreshing innovations.
MaRLo might be Dutch by birth, but he’s spent enough of his life Down Under to call Australia home. His unique brand of dark yet high-energy trance – which he refers to as “tech energy” – might prove a promising tangent in the near future, as fans of the genre increasingly demand more “pure” sounds.
We caught up with MaRLo during Miami Music Week for a quick interview and he revealed, among other things, that he plans to debut a wealth of new music during his set at Ultra Music Festival this weekend. If anything he mentioned below piques your interest, make sure to catch his performance at the A State Of Trance stage on Sunday, March 20th.
Welcome to Miami! I understand that right before this you were in Melbourne. How did your performance there go?
MaRLo: Last weekend I played three shows, actually. Two of them are called “Atlantis,” which is the big trance festival right now in Australia. So Friday night I did Sydney, and then on Sunday night I did Melbourne.
I understand you live in Australia, but you were born in the Netherlands. Even though the Netherlands has such a strong trance rooting because there are so many famous Dutch trance DJs, do you still feel like there’s a pretty big place for it in Australia?
MaRLo: 100%! In Australia, there are actually a lot of cities that have weekly trance nights, and there’s so many bigger events coming through as well. There are constantly international trance acts visiting Australia to play great gigs, so as far as the Netherlands Vs. Australia for trance – it’s not a comparison I’d like to make, because a lot of the DJs are from Holland, but I think in terms of parties and gigs there’s definitely a huge market for it in Australia.
There’s been a big movement recently towards more classic trance styles. I would consider your style a bit more contemporary, but you do have some history with what they now call “pure trance,” don’t you?
MaRLo: How do I answer this diplomatically? (Laughs) Basically, what got me started in trance music was that when I was 18 and I first started going out, the acts I was interested in were more tech trance and hard trance. More acts like DJ Scot Project, Marcel Woods, and Sander Van Doorn. Those are the acts that really got me excited about trance music. I try to bring those influences back into my music today, but in a modern way – but they are my background. I’ve sort of tried to coin “tech energy” as a term for when I do the more banging sets.
Speaking of those classic styles, Insomniac’s Dreamstate events and stages have really done a good job of returning to them. They’re really trance purist-friendly events. Do have any interest in being involved in something like that?
MaRLo: Yeah, 100%! Just like back when I was going out back in 2007-2008, the main stages for trance events were always shared between tech trance, hard trance and uplifting trance. It was always all sorts of different trance. I think my sound would work really well at events like that, because I think it does offer something different and it’s more of a tech sound an uplifting sound, I suppose.
Since you’re playing Ultra, I imagine you must be using your set as a platform to debut new music. Is there anything people should expect from your set?
MaRLo: Yeah, this start of the season when you play these big live shows – like in Holland where I did A State Of Trance just a couple weeks ago – they’re huge opportunities to showcase what your sound is about, what you’re about, and what you’re into.
I’ve done a lot of new productions for this event, a lot of new edits and remixes of tracks from artists like The Prodigy, and a few originals. There’s one called “Dark Side” which is really banging, underground and dark, as the name suggests. That comes out on the 8th of April, and of course my last single was called “Titans,” which is the theme song for that Atlantis party that we were talking about.
That’s a lot! Anything else further out on the horizon?
MaRLo: Yeah, actually. First of all, I’m working on a collab with Armin van Buuren, that’s a big one. Also, I’m planning on doing my own solo shows in Australia in August. They’ll be in really big, stadium-style venues, they’ll be four-hour sets, and I’ll incorporate the tech energy sound into that as well.
So “tech energy” is really how you’re branding your sound, isn’t it?
MaRLo: Well, yeah. Not for every single set, but when I’m going harder, faster, darker – I call it “tech energy” just because I don’t know what else to call it, because it’s not hard trance and it’s not tech trance, and it’s not just uplifting, fast trance. It’s a mixture of all those things. It’s like a tech sound, and it’s super energetic.
That concludes our interview with MaRLo, but we’d like to thank him very much for his time!