May 29, 2015

MaRLo has touched the hearts of trance fans around the globe with his uplifting dance music and fairytale romance with wife Jano. We sat down with Australia’s #1 Trance DJ and discussed how he got started, life at Armada, meeting and working with his wife, and his advice for aspiring producers.

MaRLo feat. Christina Novelli - Hold It Together (Radio Edit) [Armada]
LessThan3: How did you get into producing music?
Marlo: If we go back far enough, the first thing I fell in love with in electronic music was with acts like The Prodigy, Aphex Twin, and some of Daft Punk’s really early stuff. It made me realize that I can’t sing, play guitar, or any other instrument, so this was a way to express myself musically in a digital format. At the same time I loved going out to clubs and going to trance events. I thought, hey, I can make this too with enough practice. That is one of things that is awesome about dance music–anyone can do it.
LessThan3: What got you connected with Armada and Armin van Buuren?
Marlo: I just started making music that I liked and eventually other people started liking it too. Armin started playing a lot of my music–I was on Spinnin’ Records at the time back when they were doing a lot of trance. Armin kept playing my tracks and being very supportive so I thought it was the right move to go to Armada.
LessThan3: How have you seen the trance scene grow in Australia?
Marlo: Australia has always had a big trance fanbase. Armin has always been a big name there, and when Tiesto was doing trance he was a big name there, too. Right now a lot more people are getting excited about it though, because a lot more clubs and festivals are catering to it. At festivals in the past there would be one trance act, whereas now we get a whole stage with 10-15 trance acts.
LessThan3: Who are some of your favorite rising artists on Armada?
Marlo: I really like things that DoubleV are making and Mark Sixma.
LessThan3: Who would you say are your trance influences?
Marlo: At the start, when I was clubbing, I was really into things like Mauro Picotto’s old stuff, Sander van Doorn, Tiesto, Armin, Ferry Corsten–a lot of the Dutch guys were really exciting to me. A lot of them don’t do trance anymore but Armin is definitely in the forefront and he is a great ambassador not only for the genre but for dance music in general.
LessThan3: How would you describe the MaRLo sound?
Marlo: For me there are a lot of emotional, hands-in-the-air type of moments, but there are still really powerful and heavy beats.
LessThan3: How is it working with your wife (Jano) so closely?
Marlo: It’s awesome. She realized that I wasn’t going to do anything else. When we met we were working at the mobile phone store–I wasn’t a touring DJ or anything yet. She wasn’t with me because of the music; she was there at the start. It feels like we built it together. she is my teammate and she has been there through everything. It is really special to share something like that with your partner.
LessThan3: Is there any artist album in the works?
Marlo: No, not at this point. I think I am one of the few that hasn’t done an album and really isn’t planning on doing an album just yet. For me the singles are working really well. In a few years I will focus on an artist album, but it will be different. I don’t want to do an artist album with tracks that I make normally. If I do an artist album, it needs to be a different form of expression and for a different purpose. It is not to dance to, it is more to listen to.
LessThan3: Do you feel it is important to produce an album?
Marlo: An album is a great marketing tool and it is a great thing to tour with. You could say to the press this is the new album I am touring for. It is a great way to capture your audience for a specific reason and it is a branding exercise as well. I don’t think you make an album for the sales these days. People stream or illegally download anyways. You do it as a marketing tool, to present a concept, or to have a different reason to tour.
LessThan3: How was it playing at the A State Of Trance Festival?
Marlo: It’s amazing! I have played at ASOT Festival a few years already at different shows around the world: Beirut, Kuala Lumpur, Holland a few times, and Sydney this year. They are pinnacle of events. To start they are led by Armin and they are live broadcasted so it’s not just 30,000 people at the event you are playing for–it’s 25 to 30 million people. It’s also a great opportunity to showcase some of the new tracks you are working on for the first time. You get an instant feel for what people are into and which tracks they are responding to most in your sets.
LessThan3: Does it get hard sometimes that your private life is so public?
Marlo: Sometimes. I don’t consider myself a real extrovert. I like sitting in the studio producing music and I like performing. Those are my elements, but I also wonder sometimes, “why does someone want to see what I am eating for breakfast? Who cares?” But people do.
LessThan3: What advice would you give other young, inspiring producers that you wished you had known when you were younger?
Marlo: Enjoy the journey. Accept that it is really hard from the start. Accept that it is going to take a long time and be at peace with that. If you get lucky and write a big hit record and you are an overnight success, great, but don’t plan for that to happen. Just plan on having a long career that will take ages until you get anywhere. You will be playing for 10 people at small clubs warming up for no money for years. If you are at peace with that, then anything that happens that is better is a win. You are doing it because you love to do it. I would still be doing this if I was totally broke and wasn’t touring. I would still be producing music even if no one was listening because I love making music. I guess what I am saying overall is don’t be too goal-obsessed. I was so hungry for success that I would not sleep. I would just work, work, work because I had to make a track that people cared about. It’s not about that. It’s about enjoying the journey as much as the destination.
LessThan3: What would your fans be surprised to know about you?
Marlo: I used to surf and skateboard. I was actually about to enter my first professional competition for both, but I was practicing and dislocated my shoulder two days before the competition so I couldn’t do it. After that I decided extreme sports were not for me. I still go for a skate every now and then, though.
LessThan3: What inspired your new track with Christina Novelli, Hold It Together?
Marlo: I’ve been working on that track for a year and a half. I toured with Dash Berlin and she was a live vocalist for Dash along with Jonathan Mendelsohn and Emma Hewitt. They are all great people. Christina and I really hit it off so we wanted to do something together. I sent her the strings and she wrote the vocal. I did ten different versions of it until I had a final version I was happy with.
LessThan3: Do you have any releases in the near future?
Marlo: I don’t have any collabs coming out but I do have my new track which is the theme song for Atlantis, a new Australian trance festival, that comes out June 1.
LessThan3: If the world were ending in LessThan3 minutes and you had an iPod with every song possible on it, what would you listen to?
Marlo: Let’s Stay Together by Al Green. It was my first dance with my wife.
Airplay enabled