On his recent tour, Marco V made a stop at Pacha NYC on April 26, and Crossfadr caught up with him in an interview.
An EDM innovator who initiated the tech-trance subgenre, the producer born Marco Verkuijlen has played at countless clubs and festivals across the globe. After his stateside stop in New York, he is doing Gatecrasher & TWSTD presents God Save The Queen and Dancetour 2012 in Amsterdam and Dordrecht, Netherlands, respectively, on April 30; the Bevrijdingsfestival in Wageningen on May 5, and Lookers in Almere on May 12.
Aside from touring presently, Marco V started two labels: RA: In Charge and, more recently, T.A.O., the latter of which has served as his platform for compilation series The Art Of. Additionally, his last studio album was 2009’s Propaganda Pt. 2 and has produced several remixes over the course of his career.
What equipment do you use live and in the studio?
Marco V: Well, live, I use the regular DJ stuff, just CD players and mixing board – nothing, no effects, no special things. So, my studio stuff and my DJing are completely different.
What equipment are you using in the studio now?
Marco V: I work with Logic, for the arrangement and to make music in, and then it’s also for the moment, there are also a lot of massive synths inside it, and I don’t use much hardware anymore – it’s more for the past.
How has your studio and live equipment varied throughout the years?
Marco V: Yeah, before, it was a lot of hardware, all synthesizers and amplifier stuff, but nowadays, it’s just, everything’s in the computer. It’s the only thing I really use, but it’s also some kind of soft stuff in the card that’s in the computer. But mostly, it’s soft synths now.
You’re considered a pioneer of tech-trance, but over the past few years in the U.S., the EDM scene has sort of shifted from trance over to house. Has this affected your approach to creating and producing music, and if so, how?
Marco V: Yeah, my music changed as well. You know, tech-trance is something I did 12 years ago, so I don’t think my music is that much tech-trance anymore. Yeah, they call it “house” now at the moment, but for me, what people play at the moment isn’t house – it’s just some melting pot of trance, tech-house. You can’t call it house; it’s not like house was back in the day. And the stuff I’m doing now, as well, my music is also a melting pot of different styles and different genres of music.
So, now, EDM has gotten a lot more popular in the U.S. What’s your perspective on the recent explosion of electronic music in this country?
Marco V: That’s great, of course. I think it’s the biggest market, to go out, for population, so that’s fantastic, you know. I never thought that, because I’ve been touring in the U.S. for over 10 years already, I never thought it would come this far, because people have always seemed interested in the hip-hop scene, and now, they are also finding something else they can enjoy to dance to. So, that’s great.
I know you just mentioned that you no longer consider yourself tech-trance, but do you think this genre can evolve anymore?
Marco V: I don’t know. At the moment, so-called house is so dominant in the whole scene. I don’t know where that’s going to evolve, so, maybe, tech-trance is coming along again. The same for trance. It’s some kind of dead end. The tech-trance producers – they don’t use new things. They just keep on doing what they do for so many years, so they need to explore a bit. But, maybe, it may happen in the next couple of years.
On the same subject as trance producers: One thing I’ve noticed over the past five years or so is, producers used to do primarily instrumental-driven tracks about 10 or 12 years ago, but that has since shifted to vocal-driven tracks. Do you think that’s necessary, these days, for mainstream success or for trance music to still be relevant?
Marco V: Yeah, I think so, and also, for me, I hated vocal tracks back in the days. Somehow, I play vocal tracks now, as well, in my sets, and I never thought I would play vocal tracks, but it’s also something you feel getting back from the dance floor. You know, it’s also a game you play with the dance floor: if you feel that people want to hear vocal tracks, you want to play more. It’s just the needs from the people. You know what I mean?
Do you have any projects – touring, recording, or remixing – lined up for the near future?
Marco V: Yeah, I’m doing a lot of remixing now. I just finished a remix for Madonna – the new single “Turn Up The Radio,” I did. Hard Rock Sofa remix coming out. So, it’s a lot of remixes. I just finished collaborating a new hit in Holland that I think is going to be a big one, and in the new future, that’s called VIRO So, a lot of stuff going on in the studio.
In the past, you have collaborated with other artists. Is there anyone whom you would like to work with?
Marco V: It’s not finished yet, but I’m working on something with Nervo. So, that’s for now, and there are a few people who I’m talking to now at the moment, but there’s nothing really finished yet.
On the same subject, you mentioned you just finished a remix for Madonna. Is there anyone else you would like to remix or produce?
Marco V: Yeah – Coldplay. Yeah, that’s something I would like to remix or produce for. It hasn’t happened yet, so maybe.
Tell me about your T.A.O. record label. Since it started in 2010, how has it expanded or changed? What do you see as the direction for that label right now?
Marco V: T.A.O. is more my – the stuff that I put out that’s all my music. I still have my RA: In Charge label, where I release stuff from other DJs and producers. And T.A.O. is more my hobby label. I put music on it I want to release directly and don’t want to be in and out, in and out. Normally, if you finish a track, you have a whole release schedule, and it has to fit in somewhere in there, and T.A.O. is more for me. If I want to put something out, I can put it directly on my T.A.O. label and send it to the market.
You recently released The Art Of compilation. Where do you plan to take this compilation series, if you plan to do anything additional with it?
Marco V: I, like everyone, has a mixing CD compilation. For me, it’s The Art Of T.A.O. CD three is in the making. So, that’s just a continued series.
On the subject of live performing, what’s your favorite place for doing a set, so far?
Marco V: Mostly, it’s more about the club you’re playing at than which city. Mostly, Argentina. Nine out of 10, you have really great gigs in Argentina.
For people who are up-and-coming DJs and producers, do you have any advice to give them?
Marco V: Yeah, the thing is, most people look up to their hero, and they want to be like them, but it’s important they make their own style and follow their own heart to what they really like to do, because, if you’re copying people, it’s not going to work, and that’s what I think is happening too much now in the music scene at the moment – people want to be like some other big DJ – and they start making the same music. And in the end, it’s all the same music.