Apr 03, 2018
MaRLo Returns To Ultra
MaRLo, who missed last year’s Ultra Music Festival following the birth of his son, stormed back to the festival with a massive high energy set. Armed with festival weapons thanks to his thriving label, MaRLo’s set featured many of the label artists as well as some fresh new tracks of his own. We discussed life balancing his career with being a husband and father, a fascinating story behind “Enough Echo,” and much more as there’s a lot going at the moment for the surging Australian superstar. Be sure to enjoy his set from Ultra [tracklist here] while you try to uncover some of the IDs!
What was it like playing Ultra today?
MaRLo: It’s actually my favorite Ultra that I’ve ever played. I absolutely loved it. I couldn’t play last year because my baby boy had just been born on the 1st of March, so it was an awesome welcome back because I didn’t know what to expect. The crowd was phenomenal.
Last time that we interviewed you was right before the baby was born, so how’s life now balancing your career with fatherhood?
MaRLo: I think the most important thing is to find a balance, which is much easier said then done. Especially when you're pulled between producing music, touring, being a good husband and, most importantly, being a good dad – I want to be the most amazing dad for my little boy. So at the start of this year I took a couple of months where I didn’t do any intense tours. In fact, this is the first big international tour of the year for me. So trying to find that balance is something that you’ve got to actively work on and I'm learning to say no sometimes.
Let’s talk about some of your tracks now and jump into “Enough Echo.” Can you talk about the inspiration behind this track and how it came to life?
MaRLo: It’s actually a really cool story because “Enough Echo” is a song I made about 14 years ago. When I first started my career, I was a duo with another guy named Michael Simpson called Liquid M. We went our separate ways, but he’s still one of my closest friends. “Enough Echo” was actually a track that I made under my own name, but never released. I just made it for fun and for my sets. This year I sort of found the track again. Of course after 14 years it sounded really dated and old school. It was 145 BPM originally because I used to play a lot of hard trance and hardstyle clubs, so I made it for that really. Now I've redone it and made it more for today’s sound and for my own sets.
Can you talk about the music video for “Enough Echo” and where the idea for that came from?
MaRLo: I had a track called “Darkside” a couple of years ago and that first featured the bunny video. These guys that made that video, I think they’re amazing. A lot of people really connected with the idea of it so at a lot of my shows people wear bunny ears or t-shirts with a bunny, or even got tattoos of a bunny. It went crazy, which I didn’t really expect. So I wanted to bring the bunny back for “Enough Echo” and show all of the different types of people that go to festivals and clubs, and all of the different styles of dancing and things like that. So the bunny goes to a big festival, actually Altitude (which is my concert brand), and I think they did a great job on the video.
Your tracklist from today has lots of IDs in it – any that you can talk about?
MaRLo: I played my brand new track which isn’t out yet called “A Thousand Seas” with Roxanne Emery. I think Roxanne is amazing. I also played loads of stuff from my label. There’s actually about seven tracks that I had intended to play, but just ran out of time and got carried away in the moment. I’m really trying to support all of the guys on my label. I think there’s so much talent out there that is not recognized yet, so I’m doing my best to help them out. I didn’t expect that running a label would be so fulfilling on a personal level. I thought it would be great from a business perspective to have a label to release my tracks and other people’s tracks, but what it’s turned into is that I feel like I’m starting to make a difference for other people, and that is far more fulfilling. It’s a real honor to have reached the stage in my career where I get to play at places like Ultra, EDC, Tomorrowland, and all of the biggest festivals in the world. I have the opportunity to show off new music from other artists and it’s a real honor.
What’s upcoming with the Altitude brand?
MaRLo: There’s so much big stuff planned for Altitude as a global concept. The first year, I only did Australian shows and we sold 15,000 tickets. The second year we did the same, but expanded into Asia with Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur. What I’d love to do is turn it into a worldwide concept, go into the US and further into Asia and to Europe as well. I also want to do label nights, bring in those artists and showcase them. The label is called Reaching Altitude, so those nights will be called Reaching Altitude nights. And then Altitude is the big one where I bring in live vocalists and play a four hour set.
What lies ahead for you the next couple of months?
MaRLo: I feel like this is kind of the start, the calm before the storm. I’ve had a lot of time in the studio and with family, but in May I’ll do a big US tour and then in June and July I’m in Europe. Then August is when I do my Altitude shows.
I’ve finished six tracks of my own, so every two months I’ll have a new release for the rest of the year. So that’s kind of how it works for me now and how I find my balance. I take three months off – I’m still touring, but just on the weekends. Then during the week I try to make as much music as I can, which really worked for me this year. In past years I would tour for the entire year and then I would be squeezing in studio time whenever I can, which feels a little forced, whereas now it feels really organic. I have time to experiment, connect with people, find vocalists, and just play around. And I think that’s the joy in making music; the art of creation is in the playfulness. You don’t have that opportunity when you’re touring year round and only have two days in the studio to make a song. Now I can try different styles. I enjoy listening to other styles, trying to figure out how other people made a track, spending a few hours learning that technique. It’s not necessarily that I’ll make that type of song, but you can take influences from it and just make something new. There’s so many genres, so why not take the best bits and put it into your own sound?
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