Great to have you Mar io. Here are the questions. Feel free also to tell more aside from these about the EP, tracks, sound and connected subjects you’d like to talk about.
Hi, thank you for the opportunity to say a few words about the EP. I’m always very happy when listening to music makes you want to know more about its creation and the artist.
When did you start your career? Tell us about yourself, important influences over the years, milestones and turning points.
I started producing music in the first half of the nineties, initially on the Commodore Amiga for scene demos, intros etc. At that time, the productions of Ralf Hildenbeutel, Jens Lissat, Ramon Zenker and others had a significant influence on me. Later I discovered the slower sides of electronic music and the UK breakbeat of the nineties, which opened up new worlds to explore.
Since the technical possibilities of the Amiga were limited, the first hardware synths were soon purchased and the equipment gradually expanded, but the productions did not automatically become better or more professional. This was a long and instructive path until today. A milestone in the early 2000s was a remix release on Terminal M, from the Passengers album by Monika Kruse and Voodooamt (aka Patrick Lindsey), then called “Outforce Remix.”
After a few years of a musical break due to the private rebuilding of my life, I got back into music production in 2017, now with more focus on the essentials and lots of fresh ideas. At that time, Cie (Thilo Geertzen from Cologne), an old companion from the Amiga days and an outstanding producer, was also waiting in the wings with his (vinyl) label “Form & Terra Records,” which resulted in many synergy effects. I also very soon started my promotion channel “Akoasma Europe” on Soundcloud. From that moment on, the way was the goal.
Your new 7-track-EP „Twilight Of Ages” on Broque sounds like /is a real concept EP which is not typical for EP releases. What’s behind this? What was your inspiration? Was there an unusual kick-off idea or incident?
In the end, it took almost 20 years to realise my idea of a trippy chill album or EP. Not necessarily because there was a lack of ideas, but simply because something else always came up. However, I always kept sketches or sounds and continued them over the years so that at least small parts of the release are 10-15 years old. Now seven titles are not the last word in terms of playing time. My plan is, someday, to have more to follow. Maybe we will produce a remix package of all tracks together. It would be thrilling to see what remixers try to do with that. The “kick off” to tackle the topic in a very targeted way was ultimately the year 2020 plus the circumstances we are all known globally – almost iconic. Music for “at home” is a good thing right now, and finally, we are all standing on the threshold in the twilight of the ages.
That the EP as such follows a concept or rather a red thread in the production and the emotional attitude is for me personally a matter of course when it comes to more than two tracks. Otherwise, it would just be an arbitrarily interchangeable collection of tracks. It is always about storytelling. In my opinion, the sequence of tracks on an EP or album is one of the best ways to convey a mood or attitude, basically independent of the tracks’ order. Unfortunately, you hear again and again that albums or releases with more than three tracks are no longer worthwhile – yes, I would agree that if one considers the financial return that remains with the artist in the end as the reward. However, in a certain way, one should detach oneself from this as far as one’s situation allows it.
I want to say a special thank you to the Broque team. It’s a label you can entrust your music to with a clear conscience, who share a vision and can develop it further. That cannot be taken for granted. That’s why it was clear to me that I would offer this special EP to Broque as my first choice, and it was a perfect fit. Often I already have an idea during production which label – in my opinion – could be a good fit for the finished track, but it is not always possible to realise this in the end.
While others recall and celebrate the nineties rave hysteria with remixes or retro releases, you composed this EP for the “other room’ – The chillout. Are you referring to unique places? Are there particular memories?
No, in the end, I don’t mean a specific room so much as the space that is needed physically as well as psychologically to be able to relax. If this space is in a club, on the lawn, on the couch or in the city is irrelevant – the important thing is that it is there and inviting. If this space is missing, the energy will seek other channels. Life and every good party also consist of a sequence of times of tension and relaxation. For many clubs, space to relax is simply too cost-intensive. Little is consumed but the space requirement is high, rent is expensive. I’m not telling you anything new here, but since I personally have always been a “trancer” or “chiller”, this topic is close to my heart.
The track Space@Night has an extraordinary background and is dedicated to Pascal FEOS, who left earth in 2020. Please tell us about your connection to him.
I never met Pascal personally, and yet his music in all forms has accompanied me almost all my life. Both the releases as Resistance D and as Aural Float, among others, were always groundbreaking for me. Projects like Space Night were unique and meaningful for me at the time. Elektrolux was a label I would have loved to release on. The track “The Space at Night” is also one of those with a long production history, and as this track has accompanied me in parts for a long time, it was only logical to dedicate it to Pascal and the Space Night. Last but not least, I think it fits quite well stylistically.
Is it correct to say that this EP (among other influences) is referring to the sound of Pascal’s 90ies ambient project Aural Float with Gabriel Le Mar and Alex Azary and at the same time taking it further into the present?
You could also take it a bit further: for me, the EP spans an arc from that time to the present day, without wanting or being able to be complete it. But just to say that it leans on Aural Float Sound would be too short. In principle, I have no problem with individual tracks “sounding like xyz”, but on the whole, it is important for me to establish and maintain my own style. With my releases, you never know what’s coming next. Whether it’s tech house, electro or downbeat, variety is the key for me. But usually, you can recognise a “Mar io” production when you hear it. I’m not a fan of “reinventing the wheel” with every production, but new releases should always have their finger on the pulse of time. Nothing is more exciting than something new – sounds, sequences that the ear doesn’t know yet. In that sense, that’s also what I’m looking for when I produce, something new. But sometimes it just has to be the soup from the day before. To be honest, it often tastes better than the day before.
What’s the story of the “Space Night sound” also reflected in the cover artwork?
I have always been fascinated by space, the earth, the universe and space travel, to put it in Star Trek slang. Even as a child, I could spend hours dreaming of distant worlds and I was always a big fan of sci-fi films; when I discovered electronic music, both worlds complemented each other perfectly.
The cover was created by Thomas Gumprecht from Broque. I had thematically arranged some photos shot by “eLSe” (my wife), as inspiration and to set the mood for the EP. On the one hand, it is kept in the style of many Broque covers and reflects a certain coolness and roughness, supported by the morning star Venus, which is also reflected in the middle of the EP in the track title “Son of the morning”. So the music influences the artwork and vice versa. The images for this interview are also shot by eLSe and reflect the mood of the EP. The little spaceman is made by felting wool.
How did you produce the EP? Which equipment did you use?
Essentially, the EP was produced with Cubase as the DAW. Since I have been working with Cubase for a long time and hardly ever change versions, it was easy to integrate older sketches or ideas. I use many freeware softsynths and effects, I don’t follow many hype apps and DAWs, and I’m slow to get to grips with new software. For a long time, I made the mistake of having too much of everything on my HD, but not using or operating any of it to any degree. You don’t need much to make good electronic music, just like a real band: drums, bass, lead, vocals… in other words, a few good drum samples, a few crisp synths, ideas and muse. Focusing on the essentials is the real challenge today. Otherwise, the possibilities are simply overwhelming. I always add some sounds from hardware devices, both older and newer. As far as drum machines are concerned, I guess you could call me a collector.
Besides making music, is there anything else you do /use to express yourself?
Besides producing, which by the way saved me a trip to the psychologist, I’ve been managing a Soundcloud promotion channel, Akoasma Europe, since 2018. There are several mixcast series with artists like Harada (Modart Music), Cie (Form&Terra), Wollion (BluFin), Zweig (Traum) and many others. Besides that, we do premieres for various labels.
Apart from that, I regularly build and practice carpentry on our old house as a balance to everything else and as a hobby, whatever possible is done by myself. The garden and nature, in general, is also a great thing, not only in Lockdown.
How are you dealing with the current global situation? Has it had any positive impact on your career or personal life? Have you adapted your creative or productive process during the pandemic?
Since I live in the countryside and am financially secure through a regular job, the pandemic and the lockdown feel relatively relaxed from my point of view as an artist. On the contrary, I very much appreciate the deceleration. However, in this country, this only applies to a small part of the population; globally, one can only imagine the problems and tragedies that are happening to families and society as a whole.
As the operator of a promotion channel that does digital advertising in the broadest sense, the past year was a good one. Many new requests, many new listeners. The cooperation with Evosonic Radio, who also run a label, has also helped the channel and myself as an artist. It seems that more people are listening to the radio again. I think Evosonic, as a real institution in the scene, will have noticed that. But Mike and I can philosophise about that when the time comes, and you can listen at www.evosonic.de. 😉
Which upcoming releases and projects can we expect from you this year?
For now, “W/Lemon” has been released on Noreira Records (12.2.21) and “Twilight of Ages” on Broque (15.2.21). A suitable remix release for “T.O.A.” is possibly being considered, but then with free interpretations of all the tracks on the EP, it will undoubtedly take months. For sure, there will be some remixes, e.g. on Form&Terra, Evosonic Records and BluFin, as well as another EP called “Choplifter” sometime in the year. Personally, I’m also really looking forward to the following release on Broque from Marie W. Anders, an artist friend from Berlin. Called “Travels,” it’s a true journey through sound and real head cinema. I heard directly afterward it complements the EP in a way that couldn’t have been thought up better.
Thank you Mar io!
Our Saturday selection:
Mar io – Twilight Of Ages (Broque, brq135)
At a time when our memories of sweaty club nights seem to stem from a parallel universe, it seems just fair that Mar io`s new broque EP dedicates it heart and soul entirely to atmospheric downbeat electronica.
„Twilight of Ages“ is full of reminiscences of the 90s, but rather than telling tales of dancefloor hysteria, it takes the turn right into the adjacent chillout rooms. Many may recall that the chillout of the 90s has been the time and place where soothing ambient spheres combined with an unhindered drive towards experimental electronica have made a long-lasting impact on contemporary music by constantly bending and blending genres ad sounds.
After his club-oriented EPs for labels such as Form & Terra, and last but not least his album on Broque, Mar io shows here that he has the potential to stand up to the likes of Plaid, Biosphere, The Orb and the whole Space Night posse.
With „Space @ Night“ he dedicates a track to Pascal F.E.O.S., who died surprisingly in 2020. F.E.O.S, apart from being well-known for his rave adventure, had been one of the driving forces behind the Space Night sound, together with Alex Azary and Gabriel Le Mar under the Aural Float moniker.
While „Space @ Night“ is representative for the high ambitions of the EP, gliding through time and space both dreamily and playfully, the EP as a whole resurrects the heyday of dubby athmospheric ambient sounds and playfully broken downbeats across seven diverse and enchanting tracks.
As such, the charms of “Twilight of Ages” will delight and embrace everyone, by no means limited to those who have experienced the escapism of the 90s in chillout rooms rather than the dancefloor.“
Tracklist: Mar io – Twilight Of Ages (Broque, brq135)
02. Come, Take Some
03. Twilight of Ages
04. Son Of The Morning
05. A Part Of Past And Future
06. The Space @ Night
07. Tune Out
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