Artist of the Week: MaRLo

April 02, 2009
To some, it might be this annoying track that gets stuck in your head.

To some, it might be this annoying track that gets stuck in your head. To others, it's total madness piled up in an arranged set of beats, loops, melodies and a very strange but contagious pair of vocals. No matter what your opinion might be, MaRLo has brought his 'Ula' to the masses and has it released on the Stoneyboy imprint. There's one thing Dutch born but Australian raised producer/DJ Marlo Hoogstraten can't be blamed for. And that's producing the same stuff every day. As his tracks go from trippy electro to uplifting trance and his sounds have bounced upon the walls of Trance Energy, Godskitchen, Transmission, Cream and more, MaRLo is working his way up with a back-up of long-lasting passion for all diversity EDM has to offer. Marlo: 'EDM found me more than I found it and I was lucky that it found and embraced me.'

EDM MovementsThe different influences in Marlo's sound find their origin in an early fascination for the versatile styles that Electronic Dance Music had. It was The Prodigy that really got things going though. Marlo: 'I first fell in love with EDM in 1994, when I was 14. When The Prodigy came out with their album 'Music For The Jilted Generation' it changed my life forever. EDM found me more than I found it and I was lucky that it found and embraced me. Soon after, I started going to 'all ages' events and festivals. Once I was old enough I progressed onto the nightclub scene. I started producing around 1998 because I was playing around with computer animation and was making backing tracks and sound effects for my animations. I started producing music in my free time and doing volunteer work at a local radio station. I also submitted my track for a music production competition, which I was a finalist in so that gave me enough fuel for the musical fire to burn strong from then on. When I saw Mauro Picotto playing Mainstage at Trance Energy 2002 I knew that I wanted to be a DJ/Producer professionally.'
It's exactly at the age of 14, that Marlo's parents decided to change EDM hotspot The Netherlands for warm and sunny Australia. Both countries having their plusses, saw Marlo planning trips back and forth, while building up a solid DJ/producer career in both of them. In other words: he got the best of both worlds. Marlo: 'My family moved to Australia to escape the Dutch cold and enjoy the long warm summers and beaches of Australia. However, I never really left Holland, I have been travelling between Australia and Amsterdam for the past 10 years and feel equally at home in both places. I think the EDM scene in Australia is at a very exciting time, with many new festivals and club nights starting. Including ID&T's Trance Energy and Sensation. Dance music fans in Australia are very passionate and love their music. I am having a great time here in Australia and am really looking forward to my next trip back to Europe.'
Liquid M & Cirque Du SoleilIt's Trance Energy where Marlo found himself playing on the Future Stage only just last year, 2008. And what to think of Slinky, Utopia, Go Parc and events across all of Australia, Holland, Belgium and Asia? Makes us wonder, why didn't we hear much about MaRLo before? Marlo: 'I used to produce a lot of tracks under the Liquid M name with which I released a track called 'The Train' which did very well on vinyl. Liquid M actually started off being a duo, with Michael Simpson. We did a lot of LIVE shows together which lead to bookings such as for Godskitchen, Slinky, Transmission etc. In 2005, Michael chose to commit to his university degree full time, which allowed me to give more attention to developing my own unique sound as a solo artist. I still produce under the Liquid M name as well. I think the MaRLo sound is influenced by a variety of different genres and styles, whereas the Liquid M sound is more about 'Energy'.'Aha, so it's the Liquid M guise that gave his name a little push. His track 'The Train' was popping the charts worldwide, ending up in the techno, trance and hard dance top 10, showing it's too hard to label the track to a certain style and appeal to a bigger crowd than just one group of purists. But there's more, for Marlo bumped into a great opportunity to make name. Marlo: 'My career really accelerated when I was given two amazing opportunities. One was to produce and remix music for Cirque Du Soleil and the other to perform that music live at 'Uitmarkt' in Amsterdam. I received a lot of media exposure through these events, in key newspapers and magazines in Holland. This exposure eventually resulted in a phone call from ID&T and a booking at Trance Energy.' And that's the way the cookie crumbled. A delicious cookie, if we may say so. Marlo's work on the Cirque du Soleil was far beyond the average. A challenge to any producer, but a perfect project for this young, studious boy on the way to the top. Marlo: 'I produced a total of 30 minutes of both original and remixed music in front of over 10.000 people. I really tried to keep the essence of the worldly sounds from the Cirque music, but give it a MaRLo twist with more energy and a party vibe. It was a great experience to work with Cirque du Soleil on this project and it also led to being asked to perform at their European premier of Varekai in Belgium.'
Live soundsMarlo doesn't just spin tunes, he does more than that. The fact that he started off as a live-act still has a strong influence on his sets today. Marlo:'I started off my career as a live act, so it is still very close to my heart. It gives me an opportunity to showcase all my own music, even special unsigned tunes, remixes and tunes that people can only hear during my live sets. I really enjoy performing live as it creates a great energy, and people love watching music being created right there in front of them.' Creating music is one of the things Marlo knows how to handle. Music in the biggest sense of the word, as his productions fluctuate from dirty electro, deep progressive, melodic trance, house and techno. Marlo: 'I am influenced by a lot of different cultures, music styles and moods. The way I express myself is through my music and just like emotions, the way I express myself comes out in a variety of sounds. I try to incorporate all my influences into my music to try and create a MaRLo sound. When I sit down in the studio to produce a new track, I just try and let it flow and whatever comes out comes out. I don't sit and plan and say to myself 'Ok, today I'm making a trance track' or 'today I'm making an electro track'. I am very excited about the techy, chunky, trance influenced sounds that cross over genres and styles. I think it is important for me as an artist, not to limit myself musically.'
The happy accident called UlaNo doubt. If you hear a track with a dirty electro feel, a phat bass and strange vocals as if sung by a Scandinavian girl trying to sing backwards, on the edge of annoying and addictive but with an utterly dance floor destroying impact down the club, you're dealing with 'Ula'. The track was picked up and remixed by no one less than mister Stoneyboy himself, StoneBridge. Set to put MaRLo's name on the map, 'Ula' is already causing quite a stir around clubland. Marlo: 'Ula' was one of those happy accidents. I had come up with the original melody and played it to my girlfriend in the studio and asked her what she thought. As a joke she started singing those crazy lyrics that you hear on the final song. I thought it sounded cool, so asked her to record it. It took some convincing to get her in front of the mic, but once I finally had the recorded vocals, I added some effects and voila, 'Ula' was born.'More of these 'accidents' are very welcome. So what else is coming up for MaRLo? Marlo: ' for exciting new stuff, the MaRLo remix of 'Ohmna featuring Nurlaila - Key of Life' will be released soon. Also some MaRLo remixes for Pangea and KULT records. And I also have a whole bunch of new original tracks that should come out towards the middle of the year. Gigs wise, I'm very excited to be playing on the Judgement Sundays stage at Trance Energy(Melbourne) as well as hitting up the club circuits. And finally, I have a very exciting remix coming out later this year for a dj/producer who is ranked in the top 10 of the DJ Mag top 100. So stay tuned for that one too.' Until the next happy accident, Marlo. In the meanwhile, we can enjoy MaRLo's delicious, dancefloor maddening 'Ula', out now on StoneyBoy.
Exclusive Mix:MaRLo made a tasty, exclusive 1,5 hour set. Listen to it here!
1. Ula (Original Mix)2. Ula (StoneBridge SG Trippin' Mix)

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