In 2016, you were voted the #1 DJ in Australia by inthemix, what does that feel like to be a #1 DJ?
It's a real honour, I've been going to those awards nights for many years and to take out this year and hear my name called was really special. It means that all of the support in Australia has been amazing and the strong growth of trance in Australia right now.
Did you expect win #1 DJ?
No, not at all. Last year I came 3rd, which I thought was incredible as it was. No I didn't expect it but I don't really focus on it too much on things like that either, like polls or positions. I prefer to just focus on making music that hopefully people like.
Is it challenging (geographically) to be a DJ based in Australia?
It's very far from everywhere else in the world, so it's hard to become an international touring DJ in Australia. The Australia scene is so strong that it's such a massive country that there's enough cities to have a good career even just playing in Australia or maybe in Asia. For instance, I flew 40 hours to be here just for the weekend. I'm flying back home tomorrow. So that's pretty heaving and I think that a lot of people wouldn't go through that. Last year, I toured almost nonstop.
I've been following you on social media and I've seen that you are building a new studio. How is the studio coming along?
It's almost finished, I'm really excited about it! It's almost done but the only problem that's happened is that the ceiling started leaking just as it was about to be finished. While I'm away, I had the builders to replace the whole ceiling again. So, hopefully by the time I get back it will be done.
It looks like there's a big fish tank installed, have your always had an aquarium?
Yes, there's multiple (fish tanks). Since I was pretty young, I used to breed fish when I was a kid for pocket money. For me, a home doesn't feel like a home unless there's a nice aquarium in it.
You've played A State of Trance since ASOT500 and tonight you're playing the Main Stage. As trance artist, what does it feel like to play A State of Trance?
I think for most trance artists, this is the pinnacle event to play at. It's so huge, it's live streamed worldwide and it's such a recognizable name, A State of Trance. This is the one show that I get really nervous before playing. It's a big one. It's not just all the people standing in front of you, which is a lot. If you know in the back of your head there's so many people watching online.
Does the number of people watching online bother you more than the people in front of you?
It makes is scarier because the people in front of you are all sharing a moment in a party, it's loud and there's lasers. There's lots of atmosphere. If you're sitting at home with your headphones on starting a computer screen this far away (30 centimetres) and you're analyzing every moment. You have to be really tight and really sharp with your performance. Knowing that you are being analyzed like that is scarier than enjoying the party with all of the people in front of you.
What can we expect from your set tonight? New music? Surprises? Maybe a harder set?
It's going to be tougher than last year. Last year I played the Main Stage as well but I played before Armin (van Buuren). This year I am playing after Armin, so I feel that I've got a little more freedom to go harder, also because it's later in the night mainly. Plus I'm starting a label myself this year. It's called Altitude. I did my own concert shows in Australia called "Altitude" and all of the cities sold out. We sold 15,000 tickets nationwide and we want to bring that concept worldwide as touring concert style show. Where I play 4 hours and I have guest vocalists. Now the label is also called Altitude, which sort of ties in all of that. Altitude is a platform for a lot of new talent to come through, that I believe in and the sound aligns with what I am playing that I can support. So I will be playing a lot of tracks that will hopefully come out on my label.
What does it mean to be a label owner and control what sound comes out and what music gets exposed?
I think that my background is so diverse. I've played hard trance, hardstyle, uplifting and I'm into a lot of different music. To be able to do my own thing and not fit to someone else idea of trance, I suppose or music. To just have the freedom, to do what I want and what I think is is cool, is really nice.
Since your such a diverse artist with lots of MaRLo sounds, will Altitude have that same diversity?
I think so, yeah. I would like to have the opportunity to go from...like I do with my own releases. To go from a vocal track, to a really dark underground track. I'm even open to doing a hardstyle track or techno track. If I think that it's awesome, I'll sign it.
Why do you love trance?
I love trance because it's a feeling of community. The first thing that I fell in love with was standing in a room of strangers, from all different cultures, all different religions, all different backgrounds, all different ages and sharing in a moment so passionately. Where you close your eyes, you put your hands in the air and get overwhelmed with emotions. I haven't experienced that with any other genre, which is what really attracts me to trance.
Before I let you go, I want to wish you a congratulations to you and your wife, as your are expecting in March. Are you planning on holding back on touring?
I am going to tour differently. I'm taking March off international touring. I'll still do a few Australia shows. Instead of going the whole year, I'll sort of target an area and do 3 weeks there and go home. Go to another area and do 3 weeks there and play a lot of shows but not just Friday and Saturday. Play like Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and really cram in the shows that way. Last year, what I was doing was I would play like an 8 week tour straight and go from Europe to America to Canada back to Asia back to Europe. It would just zig-zag everywhere, from night to night. I want to do that a little more efficiently. So this is a USA & Canada tour, then I'm going home. Now I'm going to be doing a European tour, then home.
Have any other DJ's that are father reached out to you at all?
Yeah absolutely! Armin came over for a barbecue when he was in Australia for his Armin Only shows, about a month ago. He's got two kids and gave a lot of advice. We had a really nice talk about that. You know what, I'm not scared of it at all. I'm excited for a new chapter in my life.
MaRLo at A State of Trance Festival