The artist sat down with Brilio English before his set at Djakarta Warehouse Project.

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  19 December 2016 14:03

Brilio.net - Brilio.net - Djakarta Warehouse Project just became the biggest festival in Asia ever, after 90,000 people attended the event in Kemayoran, North Jakarta, on December 9-10.

Brilio English sat down with Marlo Hoogstraten, better known as MaRLo, a regular at DWP and an icon in the EDM world.

The artist talks about life and music, tells us stories and offers advice for young Indonesian artists in the digital age.

How’s Jakarta?

Great! It’s good to be back.

What’s the difference between playing here and other parts of Asia or in Europe?

I don’t see it that different, really,  I mean people here come together and have a good time and we are here to share our music so I think in that aspect every festival no matter where you are in the world is the same, the people are the same in that they want to feel like they are part of something and want to enjoy the music.

Have you spent any time around Jakarta, outside of this DWP?

Yeah, sure. I’ve been here a few times, but I haven’t seen too much other than shopping malls and busy streets, and lots of traffic!

What do you think is the direction EDM is going in Asia specifically? Do you think artists are starting to cater more to the markets here?

Oh man, I don’t think about that stuff at all, what scenes are doing or what’s trending. I couldn’t’ care less to be honest, I just focus on what I like to do in my studio and hopefully there’s people that enjoy listening to it.

You’re part of a husband and wife duo with Jano!

I have been with my wife for 12 years, we have been together for a long time. She’s seen it all grow and build up from there. She (Jano) sang on few of my tracks in the past. She’s stopped doing that now recently.

Is it more like a lifestyle for you two?

No, it’s my whole life. I’ve been doing this since 1999, producing music and trying to make a career out of making music.

Can you take me through your musical journey for a bit?

My musical journey... So, when I was in high school I used to draw a lot and be really into computers. I started making music on my computer, which gave me another avenue to express myself which was what I liked drawing about. I think basically motivation is nourished by encouragement, so when somebody recognizes your music  and thinks that you’re doing interesting stuff then you want to do it even more. You know, if one needs a little bit of encouragement and some motivation. And, when I got that I got really hungry to just decide that I didn’t want to do anything else with my life except for music.

There’s a lot of young, creative people in Indonesia especially in cities like Jakarta and they are a big part of our audience. What would you say if someone is trying to figure out how to make music?

It’s so easy these days now that you’ve got Youtube, and you’ve got so many other artists that you can communicate with directly through social media. When I started with none of that stuff so you can just kind of have to teach yourself how to make music. Whereas now you can literally type in “How to make a synth sound” and you’ll have hundreds of videos on Youtube telling you how exactly to do it. So, the only thing that you need is motivation, and a lot of hard work and you need to love it. Like, if you want to make music, there is no excuse. With laptop and stuff, the laptops are strong enough to do it, the computers that are strong enough to do it. You don’t need expensive outboard equipment and synthesizers like you used to in the past, so it’s become much, much easier for everyone to be able to make music. But it does take a lot of time. It takes years of practice and it being your number one priority.  

Once you start getting into making music, do you have to force yourself to find your own style or you just let it happen?

Everyone is different. For me, I don’t force anything. I sit down in the studio and play around with stuff and the song comes at the end of it, or not, sometimes it doesn’t either and I just move on to the next one.

You have a mixed nationality. What’s your biographical background? What’s your life story?

My mom is German, my dad is Dutch, and my step-dad is Australian I have lived in Australia since 1993, since I was a little boy. So I call myself a Dutch Australian. I definitely consider myself first and foremost Australian although I was born in Holland.  

When was the first time you came to Indonesia?

When I was about 14 years old I went to Bali.

When you prepare for a show, do you go through process consciously or subconsciously?

I don’t prepare for shows. I just work out with my music and then read the crowd.

How does it look from your perspective when you’re looking out over a crowd?

It’s really overwhelming especially when you sort of get those moments where you realize that people know your songs, the songs that you’ve worked so hard on like 70 hours making that they know them. That they recognize them. That they sing along to them. That’s really mind-blowing. You look out to the crowd you’re like, ‘Wow, I’ve affected these people in some way,’ and that’s really powerful.

If I’ve never made music but I suddenly realize that I am really into it, what is the first thing to do?

You just need to find a music software that you feel comfortable with. Some examples are Ableton, FruityLoops, Cubase and Logic. They are the main ones. Get one of those programs, and spend every minute of every day working on those programs for many years in a row, and eventually you’ll get good at it. There is no magic formula, there is no magic potion or some magic sentence that someone can say. It’s like anything, if you want to get good at it, it’s hard work and you have to commit everything to it. You know, you don’t become one of the world’s best chefs by reading a book, you have to do it. You have to actually do it every day.

How has music affected the rest of your life? Not just in terms of the way you follow it but in terms of how you find yourself?

Besides music, I don’t have much of a life really! My whole life revolves around music and performing music and making music. Every weekend I tour overseas and then during the week I’m in the studio.

How do you discipline yourself to make sure that you can make it through a whole tour schedule?

That can be tough. You sort of have to get used to having little sleep and instead of panicking about ‘Oh I am not gonna sleep tonight’ just sort of accept it and try to get some sleep on the flight, on the plane. Trying to eat healthy and trying to exercise. Otherwise your body will not let you keep going, eventually it’ll crash.

Do you think some artists see it as a party every night and they pay the price?

Sure.  It depends what you’re in it for.  Some people get into musical DJ-ing because they like the lifestyle or because they want to be in the spotlight. And that’s hard to sustain.

Indonesia is massive for social media. Do you think that has changed the way you can get popular as a young artist?

Yeah. Actually we can reach a big audience much quicker. But, the same basic rules apply though if it’s bad. The quality will stand out. It’s easier if you have quality work in the first place to have people hear it. But if you don’t have quality work yet, you’re exposing something that’s not very good to a wide audience, which is also dangerous because that can ruin your career very quickly. First impression lasts, so if you put out a track which is not up to standard to the world and a lot of people will hear it and they think ‘Oh, that’s terrible,’ the story can be ruined before it started.

For someone with talent who goes viral for a bad song. They could’ve, maybe, had a great career coming up. Maybe they will one day, but that was her first, you know, thing that she sent out to the world it was a bit of a laughing stock, a bit of a joke or whatever answer, that can be terrible. In the past, that would have just been a bad song that you did at the start, which is totally normal. When you start as a musician you have some bad songs. But that can haunt you now for the rest of your career. So it’s not all positive that you have a wide audience that that can just share, share, share, share and comment, comment, comment.

It can go the wrong way?

It can go the wrong way as well. But, if you have good quality stuff that people want to hear, you can blow up, so to speak, and expand to very wide audience very quickly.

When you’re making music, what inspires you?

Life. Everyday experiences and how I am feeling, most of all. So, when I sit down, if I’m in a happy mood I’ll usually make a happy song. If I’m in a bad mood I’ll make an angry song. I think a lot of people see a certain persona, or an idea, of what a DJ, a performer is, and they put themselves onto that. Whereas for a lot of artists I know and for myself, for sure, I make music because I need it as an expression. Just like you would write a letter, just like you would make a drawing, I need to do it, whether people are listening or not. It helps me. It’s like doing yoga or going for a run or anything else, it’s how I express my emotions. The good thing of music is, you have the choice once you finish your song to send it to a label and then it gets released and then other people can share that emotion or experience with you. But it’s not like I make a song to inspire other people or to become famous or to have a hit record. That’s not why I make music. I make music because I have to, because I enjoy it. Because without it I feel stressed and uptight.

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