An Interview With Marco Strous

A name rising massively across dancefloors, as well as his tracks rising up the top 100 charts. Last week we caught up Marco Strous, one of the grooviest guys currently making movements in the underground scene.

With his recent track ‘Tip Toe‘ hitting number 1 on Traxsource, as well as being played by some of the biggest DJs in the scene, it was about time we caught up with him to see what else he has been up to.

What can we expect to hear from yourself in the next coming months? 

I have a couple of beats coming out on some awesome labels. Some originals, others remixes. I can’t reveal too much on labels at the very moment but I am very ecstatic on some of these labels I have been pestering them for the past 2 years with demos ahahah – but finally got picked up!

What’s your typical procedure when starting a new track?

Before tackling any music making, I dedicate days solely to source samples. I gather a bunch of tracks that I like (be it house, tech house, hip hop, soul, funk, samba, etc) and drop these into my DAW and just cut out sounds from them. The audio clips would be put in folders that I create, only containing sounds that I would use such as drums, vocals, basses, etc. – This enhances workflow a lot more when I actually sit down to make music.

My approach to music making is very much like in hip hop, I work mostly (if not always) with audio samples. I love love love Ableton for this because I can easily manipulate samples nicked from other records and turn them into my “own thing”.

When working in the studio, what’s the best way you keep yourself motivated?

Lots of people would say to keep a healthy routine like exercise, eat healthy etc… Well, that is 100% great advice, however being the lazy unhealthy fuck that I am I haven’t done any of that (so far). So probably don’t do exactly what I do and smoke cigs all day and eat takeaways.

I can, however, recommend listening to different styles of music other than the niche you’re in. Bring different vibes to the table and implement them in your own work. Have fun with it! When you lose the buzz, don’t force it! Have breaks.

What artist would you say is your biggest inspiration?

Naming just one artist is very very hard! My sound is very influenced by a blend of artists – If I were to pick a handful of artists it would be: David Penn, Weiss (UK), Reelow and Claude VonStroke. Very distinct styles that I like to squeeze into my own projects.

DJ wise I’d pick Mr G, Billy Kenny and Wade – All for their wizardry on the decks and the energy they radiate when they perform!

What does your music production setup consist of?

A MacBook Pro with Ableton, two Yamaha HS5 monitors, a screen, Focusrite Scarlett interface, an Argos desk, a pack of Red Bull cans and ciggies.

What was the first track you produced and what label did this come out on?

My first ever track I produced that was released on a label was a remix I had done for a remix contest in 2013 and I got first place. I’m not going to name the label but I think they’ve gone bankrupt or something months later, I don’t know – oh hey ho!

However, the very very first track I produced was a shitty dirty dutch house beat I had done in Fruity Loops with those squeaky synth lines – back in 2011 or something.

Would you say your style has changed since your debut track?

Massively! I think it’s safe to say that over time I have developed my own “sound” which still now is continuing to evolve and mature and it’s great to hear from others that they can identify a “Marco Strous track” when it’s being played out in clubs.

Probably the highlight in what makes my tracks recognizable to people is the way I treat and play around with vocals. Vocals are catchy and I treat a vocal sample like it’s an instrument and manipulate the frikkin daylight out of it.

When working on your bass sounds, how do you get them to sound so fat? What’s your process?

There’s nothing crazy going on in the making of basses. I tend to cut bass shots out from other tracks, filter out anything mid and hi frequencies and program a pattern according to the groove of the drums to create a nice call and response between every other sound. Some of these bass shots I would pitch them up or down to create a bit of movement.

The choice of sounds tend to be mostly subs or low kicks and can have different tonalities – some are clean, some are a bit more rumbly.

Slap a bit of sidechain and compression and call it a day!

How do you feel when watching videos back from DJs playing your tracks and seeing the tracks get such a great response?

It feels so rewarding to see DJ’s appreciate my work and have it played out! And it warms my heart to see people having a good time and dance to the music I make. I’m very passionate about what I do, honestly. My whole being is centred around having fun and dancing – and as a DJ, you want to bring people together and treat them for a good event!

Crowd going crazy at Summer Sessions Brazil, with Michael Bibi dropping this absolute tune ??: Talles Coimbra

Posted by Mr. Afterparty on Wednesday, December 19, 2018

On average, how long does it take you to write a track?

I could start and finish tracks in one to two days’ worth. Sometimes a bit longer… I don’t know it fluctuates depending on my moods ahahah. Making dance music when you’re sometimes depressed or anxious will obviously have an impact.

What’s your favourite plugin to use in your productions?

Honestly, 99% of what I use is Ableton’s stock stuff. But my favourite plugin outside of it would be Limiter 6 by Vladg Sound. It’s perfect for buss mixes and mastering – and it’s free! I love free shit.

If you could work with any artist, who would it be and why?

Reelow because he’s funny as fuck and likes to get groovy.

Quickfire questions

Sex or music?

Favourite food?
Food that makes Marco go yum yum.

Favourite genre other than house/techno?

The last thing you drank was?

Bristol’s finest tap water.

Prefer to relax or keep busy?

I keep busy by relaxing.

Favourite colour?

Rainbow colour.

Rather eat healthily or eat shit food?

I contemplate eating healthy whilst shovelling a dirty kebab down my throat.

This time last year you were doing what?

Pretending to be a half decent DJ / Producer.

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January 24, 2019