If there was ever a college course on becoming a DJ (DJ 101), one of the main objectives would probably be whether to keep your real name or have an alias. Whether you want to be known as a Deadmau5 or a Ferry Corsten (or if your name is difficult to pronounce, a Tiesto), it's almost an immediate question any artist has when they begin to promote their work. However, after being repeatedly introduced as ‘Mario', MaRLo has become one of the rare artists who uses his actual birth name but stylizes it to avoid being called another name.
The Dutch born, Australian resident has become a powerful force in the dance music scene by showcasing his “MaRLo Sound” (a blend of tech, trance, and tech-house) that has set him apart from other artists in the industry. In the last few years, MaRLo has taken the stage at some of the biggest festivals in the world, garnering him fans from all over who have taken to his different approach to trance music.
I spoke with MaRLo ahead of his two performances during EDC Week in Las Vegas where he was very eager to share his new endeavors, including the launch of his new label and the recently announced “Altitude” World Tour.
Q: It's EDC week, we've got a very busy week ahead of us. MaRLo, how are you?
A: I'm really good. I've been touring America for a few weeks now and it's just been incredible. This is definitely about to be a crazy weekend. We have the Dreamstate Marquee Pool Party tonight and then EDC on Saturday.
Q: How do you prepare for two back to back shows?
A: I dont prepare.
Q: You dont prepare? At all?
A: No, I don't prepare. I try to look for new music and see what people are releasing. But I don't really prepare a set because to me it's all about reading the crowd of the day. Obviously, a pool party is a different setting than EDC. I always try to put myself in the crowd's shoes; if I was standing there, what would I want to be listening to right now?
Q: What's influencing you?
A: I was recently on a road trip by myself for six days from Vancouver to Calgary and I had a lot of quiet time and I really appreciated that. That actually influenced me more than listening to music; experiencing all the beautiful nature made me feel really connected with our planet. I felt really alive and I can't wait to get back into the studio.
Q: Any artists that are giving you that same influence or a kick out of your creativity?
A: Not really, but that comes across weird so I want to explain that. When I first started making music there were a lot of people that did influence me and opened my eyes to many new things. My initial influences were acts like Aphex Twin, Prodigy and The Chemical Brothers and then I was getting more into hard trance, which was at the time a German sound like Scot Project and guys like that. Then I felt a real deep connection with the more melodic trance sound with Ferry Corsten, Tiesto and Armin van Buuren and then I got inspired by the new tech sound. So I wrapped all of those experiences from my past that I was really into when I was growing up, bundled it all together, mixed it all up, and made my own music—the MaRLo sound, or if I'm playing a little bit harder it's called Tech Energy.
Right now I've let go of trying to follow anyone else; I'm making music that I like to make based on all of my past experiences. It's not like I'm listening to music and saying, “Oh, I want to make music like this.” I've let go of all of that and just create music that I really enjoy to make and hope that people like it.
Q: What can we expect out of your EDC set?
A: I've got a lot of new music, so you can expect some new sounds that I hope the fans will like.
Q: Insomniac is introducing a new stage this year, Quantum Valley, specifically for trance fans. You're playing there, are you happy trance is finally receiving its own stage?
A: Yeah, this Dreamstate thing has really blown up and it's so good for the U.S. to have Dreamstate. Such amazing talent gets booked for the shows and I'm really proud to be a part of it.
Q: You'll also be performing at other festivals in Europe this summer. How do those differ from American festivals?
A: I always say that playing in different territories is as similar as they are different. What I mean by that is that everyone is there to dance and have a good time, but at the same time people also dance differently and respond to things differently around the world. What may work in one country may not work in another.
Q: I heard you're launching your own label?
A: Yes. It's taken a bit longer to launch, but its called Reaching Altitude. I've got so many talented artists already and I've got a lot of new music myself, which I've been holding back until the label launches. I had a really hard time breaking through and I feel very privileged and honored to be in a position where I play to big audiences—I like to help new talent by showcasing their music on a bigger stage. I hope that my label can be sort of a vehicle for nurturing talent and people can send me demos and if it suits the label, I'll support it.
Q: You're from Australia, are you showing any love for your fans down under?
A: I've got my own concept style events which I do in Australia; I play four-hour sets with live vocalists and a warm-up DJ too. We've sold out every show and a big goal is to bring that worldwide. This year we're bringing it to Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur and hopefully bring it to the U.S. by next year.
Q: You've got a busy year ahead, anything you're looking forward to after this busy summer season?
A: Well, I've had a baby not long ago—first of March he was born and his name is River. I miss him like crazy but the touring schedule is crazy the next two months.There's a lot of incredible shows coming up—Tomorrowland, Ibiza, Ultra Europe—but I'm really looking forward to spending some time with my family.
You can attend MaRLo's upcoming “Altitude” World Tour by purchasing tickets here.