Interview: DJ Jesse Marco
Wed, 29 Jun 2011 08:34:45
Jesse Marco stirs up a little bit of house, rock, and rap into an intoxicating electronic music cocktail.
The 23-year-old DJ is redefining fresh at each and every gig. He'll take cuts from Kings of Leon, Peter Bjorn and John, and Weezer and fashion them into elegantly entrancing electro remixes. Marco also has a penchant for splitting your favorite hip-hop tracks with atomic precision into sweaty, swaggering live sets that never fail to get crowds moving. Whether he's spinning at a private gig for an A-lister like Denzel Washington or rocking a crowd for a tastemaker brands party, Jesse constantly flips the script. That's why he's one of the most innovative, infectious, and important new DJs on the scene.
DJ Jesse Marco spoke to ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino about his style and so much more in this exclusive interview…
Does anything go with your sound?
Definitely! I bring a lot of different sounds in from whatever my influences are whether they be pop, electro, or house. Everything really affects how a track turns out. As far as DJ-ing goes, anything is possible.
How do you typically construct a set?
If I'm building a set, it can stem from setting up different moods. If I want to make something really exciting, it's like setting the dominos up to knock them down and dazzle everyone or bring the energy to a different place. Usually, I'll set them up by general energy or having those moments. I can either mix songs that sound similar or songs that maybe wouldn't go together but they have some word association. Sometimes, I mix songs in key so it sounds very together sonically. Most importantly, it's always about timing and vibing off the crowd and incorporating that spontaneously into the DJ set. It's a combination of preparing and not preparing [Laughs].
Is the amount of BPMs important or can you deviate from that?
It's in your hands as the DJ to make all of the transitions smooth. Just because you might be playing a fast song but the crowd isn't into it, it doesn't mean that it's going to take you ten minutes to get to a slower tempo because you have to slowly decrease the tempo. You have to make the right decision at the right time. You want to make that decision in the most fluid and smooth way where the crowd really feels the transition and takes it with you. I think that's probably the most important thing. There are no boundaries in terms of what tempo I'm playing or anything. That's part of the surprise factor. You'll throw a part in there and people will say, "Oh my God, I haven't heard that! I love this song!" You've got to be fearless.
Have you always been drawn to hip hop?
I definitely have about 5,000 hip hop records on vinyl. It's the music I started out listening to as a DJ and going out and buying. It's also the style that most influenced me to become a more technical DJ in the realm of being a turntablist. It's ultimately really helped because I can apply those techniques to different kinds of stuff. It's not every day you hear someone playing a dubstep record and scratching over it or playing a house record and dropping an a capella when there's another track going. I think that's what sets me apart.
What's the story behind your Kings of Leon remix of "Radioactive" come about? Is it fun to take a song built on electric guitars and rebuild it electronically?
I'm really proud of that one [Laughs]. There's this general trend nowadays of making a hit club record out of a remix. My aim for doing remixes isn't just to make a track you can play in the club. I really want it to be a landscape for the song to fit in. If other people like it, it's incredible. In terms of that, I really tried to do a lot. I love remixing songs that aren't exactly club-friendly because it allows me to put it in context.
How do private, intimate parties and club gigs differ?
They both have their charming factors and pros and cons. It's always fun playing a very lively big room because you experience the performance factor and the immediate response is a lot of fun. It's also really great to play Fleetwood Mac and have Prince come up and say something to you because that just doesn't happen [Laughs]. I do like doing both! They go hand-in-hand ultimately.
Is it important for the music to come across visually on stage?
Yeah, these days, it's a very visual thing. I definitely sympathize with people who are old school when it comes to live performance DJing. However, I've got to give it up to Deadmau5 and Swedish House Mafia because they put a ton into their live performance, whether it be how they rock the crowd with the microphone or the visual aspect in terms of LED screens. It's all part of the show. As far as what I do, I'm going to try to keep a healthy balance between things that are visually appealing and me being a good performer by rocking the mic, doing turntable tricks, and hyping the crowd up.
Check out Jesse Marco on Facebook here and on Twitter here!
Also, you can catch him on his internet radio show on EastVillageRadio.com every Friday from 8pm-10pm!