Eclecticism is the way. While many others have found a source of inspiration, Marlowe has always appreciated different genres from hard metal, to hip-hop, reggae and most of all psychedelic rock. Eventually, when he encountered electronic music, he found himself having a natural talent, other than a craving, for production. Since he started Dj’ing in the 90s, Marlowe has been bringing his eclecticism into the long-lived creative partnership with Gregorythme – Digitaline – which has received worldwide acclamation for the perfectly studied live sets, which soon attracted the attention of big name of the like of Luciano. Looking for a way to rework his beloved psychedelic sound into a new, more groovy one, Marolwe has now undertaken a solo career. His debut EP, Moonshine Heater, was released on Cadenza last year. MEOKO sat down with Marlowe to talk about his new adventure, what influences him and how he is further developing his very own style.
Marlowe thanks for stepping to MEOKO for an interview where in the world are you and what’s been keeping you busy of late?
Actually, I’m living in Barcelona, before I was living in Berlin for 6 years. I’m working everyday in my Studio and do many other things, but my principal activity its to think about how I will find a new idea and make a new track. It is always a new challenge and it’s what I like in my job.
It’s been stated in information about you that you maintained a really eclectic musical upbringing, going through many forms and stages of music from hip hop to metal and beyond. What is it about music that makes you tick in general?
Yes, I like all kind of music when its sound good to my ears, I specially like crust/punk and extreme metal, but I’m also a big fan of Hip Hop, old Funk and Reggae and of course electronic music. Since I started listening music I have always been naturally interested in all kind of sounds, thus I developed an eclectic taste. My principal focus is on harmonic sounds in the melody or on rhythm, they both fells the same. If you listen to some extreme metal you can find harmony in the sound, as you would do in classical music and psychedelic music from the 70s, this is what I’m looking for. Even the “new” Hip hop/RnB, I like it a lot… all those new sounds they produced, it’s brilliant.
What was the defining moment when you discovered electronic music and began to explore dance and DJ culture?
It was late 90s, when I started to go clubbing. But the very first moment I realized I wanted to start producing music was in Zurich, during the Street Parade, in the late morning when I listened the dj set of this guy whom I didn’t know before Ricardo Villalobos. That set had changed a lot of things in my ears/head, so I decided to undertake a career as Dj and tried to find a way to produce that kind of organic sounds and minimalistic esthetic, it was the beginning of the process.
Listen HERE for MEOKO‘s latest podcast by Marlowe
As one half of Digitaline you are used to working in the studio in a collaborative manner and working alongside Gregorythme how do you approach producing when you are on your own? Do you find it tougher without bouncing ideas off another person?
When I’m working on my own, I’m really starting a track without a precise idea of what will it lead to. Generally the idea takes form during the production process as it happens to many others, I guess and that’s how I manage to make a track… of course my mood is the capital thing when I’m working.
Hailing from Switzerland, the country’s club scene seems to focus on the more glamorous side of clubbing, with lots of the underground clubs still not recognized in cities like Basel and Lausanne.
Is dance music slowly being accepted by the Swiss society as a whole? Do they have a relaxed attitude to our beloved scene?
I think in Switzerland the club culture is really strong and has been accepted a long ago. In Lausanne, Zurich and Basel there are lots of underground clubs really appreciated by society and you can see this good attitude that Swiss people have towards electronic music represented in many festivals (Caprices, Street Parade,etc), which focus more and more on electronic music and clearly show how much it is being appreciated.
How would you in your own words explain the difference in sound, style and aesthetic between your Digitaline and solo works?
With Digitaline, we played really minimal sounds with psychedelic melodies and a solid aesthetic of groove. I try to make something like that with “Marlowe” but in a different way. Maybe the idea its to rework that kind of sounds making them more appropriate for the dance floor, working more on the groove and FX sounds and on the atmospheric melody.
After the minimal explosion around 2005, people started to turn towards the ‘deep house’ sound as it became increasingly popular. Do you think that, essentially, dance music’s many genres are too fractioned off and too separatist?
To be honest, I do not focus on any of such styles. It is like in rock music, you have so many styles, but after that it’s just a label that people gave to music. I am quite sure you can find good tracks for each style and of course it is good being able to mix all the styles together, specially if Dj’ing. Right now, Techno music is coming back and it doesn’t change nothing for me, it is just a trend and trends usually disappear as quickly as they appear.
How much of an impact did your big hit, Moonshine Heater, have on your solo work? Do you plan to ever take your sounds to the live stage as you do with Digitaline?
It depends on the tracks, but I try to include all the tracks I produced and released in my live act, so to have a big bunch of possibilities and it’s really fun to play music that nobody else has, specially when it’s your own. It is a really a great feeling and also a good challenge for me.
What can we expect to hear from you when DJ? Do you focus on melody and rhythmic tracks to play out?
When I play DJ, I like to play energetic and groovy stuff. I like especially the old stuff.
Speaking of DJing, what is your schedule looking like for the rest of the year in terms of bookings and releases?
Actually, on terms of booking I’ll be touring in EU and enjoying my time. I have an EP “Moody” that came out on Nite Grooves (King Street Sounds) on the 23rd of June, and I also have a release on Visionquest later this year and of course there will be more coming on different labels.