Interview with DJ and producer Marc Simz. Marc Simz, was born in 1976 in Nijmegen (Holland), and his first contact with the world of vinyl, was at the tender age of 18. In his early years he mixed hardcore, now known as oldschool. While he was doing his thing, the love for music kept on growing. After his residency at the Emporium Festival, Reloaded Festival, Summer Festival Nijmegen, Matrixx at the Park, Marc Simz is a new rising star. He plays every month at one of the biggest clubs in the world, the Matrixx. Support for Marc Simz productions comes from Tiesto, Armin van Buuren, Markus Schulz, Marco V, Mark Sherry, Mr. Sam and many more. Marc Simz has a wide collection of records to choose from, like progressive, trance, hard trance and techno. During his performance, he can surprise you with many different styles. For Marc Simz, trance is the right music to bring people together, and let them forget all the sorrow from the past years. With vocals and many different beats, he tries to put the audience in the right mood.
His latest release ‘Forbidden City’ stayed at the Beatport trance chart top 10 for many weeks now. So we had to meet for an interview with him, if only in a virtual way, and learn the backstage information about who really is Marc Simz? because his name will explode big time the coming months.
Dimitri: Let’s start with the latest developments. Once again, Armin van Buuren, a fellow Dutchman and trance DJ, is again at the top of the very influential DJ Mag Top 100 Dj’s list. What is your opinion about that, and do you believe that this development is good overall for the Dutch trance scene, to get more exposure globally?
Marc: First I would like to say that it's great that four times in a row; Armin is once again the number 1 DJ in the world. It's a great development for the Dutch DJ scene, but above all, it shows that trance music is still very alive around the world, which of course is fantastic!
Dimitri: It will be great to let us know the Dj’s or the composers that have influenced more your decision to get involved with dance music, and particularly trance music.
Marc: My first encounter with Trance music was in 1999, when I heard Tiësto playing at Innercity. His sound really affected me, and made me switch styles from Hardcore to Trance. It didn't take very long when I also discovered the great sound of other great artists, like Ferry Corsten & Armin van Buuren.
Dimitri: Can you choose for us your all time Top 5 favourite electronic dance music tracks? It can be any style that you like, and have been a favourite of yours.
Marc: My 5 Favourite tracks are: 1 Tiësto - Suburban train 2 Yahel - Voyage 3 Delirium - Silence (Tiësto's in search of sunrise mix) 4 Push - Strange World 5 William Orbit - Barber's Adagio for strings (Ferry Corsten remix)
Dimitri: You started, like many other Dj’s in Holland, with hardcore. What is your opinion about this style, and the way that evolved through the years? Are you going to produce any hardcore, or hard dance tracks?
Marc: Hardcore is pretty much the only harder dance style I can actually appreciate, also because it's the music style where it all began for me. Hardcore used to be filled with recognizable "themes". There were lots & lots of exceptionally great tracks with great melodies, etc. Nowadays one track just sounds like the other one. But I stay with trance, no hardcore or hard dance for me these days!
Dimitri: Do you have any professional training as a dance music producer, or are you totally self taught? Do you believe formal training is essential, or does it kill, in a way, creativity and artistic freedom?
Marc: I think professional training has some level of importance, especially for people who are filled with inspiration, but are unable to convert it into actual music. Nevertheless I also think it kills musical freedom. As for myself, I learned every skill by myself, through experience.
Dimitri: Can you please give us a virtual tour of your current studio set up, and tell us if you have a favourite piece of software that you think is the best to make music with?
Marc: We've got a fairly small studio with some hardware modules(Roland Juno2, Access Virus C, Roland JP8080, Roland 303 Groovebox), a Computer of course, and lot's of software plugins. We use Cubase as a sequence platform. Our current favourite Software plugin is Lennar Digital Sylenth1, a great software synthesizer, which - with the proper tweaking - delivers a very cool sound!
Dimitri: From where do you get your inspiration from for your tracks, and at which part of the track you start first? For example, many producers invest a lot in making the break, and then building the rest of the track.
Marc: Like many other producers, I often start off with a theme, or break, and progress from there, but not always. My inspiration derives from many things, like, what my state of mind is, what the season is like, what happened during the day. Sometimes I'm somewhere downtown, or whatever, hearing a sound, and I think "hey, that might be a cool sound for a theme or effect or rhythm!"
Dimitri: You have released quality material on great independent record labels, like Neuroscience, or Smuth and then you moved on a series of fantastic tunes on ‘In Trance We Trust’. Can you give us your small comment about each label that you have worked with’ and your favourite track or remix till now’ and why for except Forbidden City, which is a separate question.
Marc: Yes, I have worked with multiple labels through the years. Every label has worked hard to get my tracks released. Black Hole recordings has always been a special label to me, because Tiësto once started it, and released lots of fantastic tracks through it. My own favourite release yet is "Maybe" on Neuroscience records, because it's got a punching drive and a classic, mind shifting theme! And also because it was produced within two days in some sort of natural flow!
Dimitri: You work with the producer Aerofoil. Who is that producer, and how did you met up? Are you going to carry on working together?
Marc: Aerofoil, also known as Nick van Mansum, has a long history as a producer. He's released great tunes by the name "Dynamic Sense", and "Project Massive". We met at a friend's birthday party, discussing music, and after some time, I asked him to work together on a versus project. We work on some versus projects, so new tracks coming up the future.
Dimitri: ‘Forbidden City’ managed quickly to grow and become one of the big trance anthems of the year. Please give us the background info behind the inspiration and production of the track. How long it take you to complete, and did you believe so much in it so to expect the blinding success that it has at the moment?
Marc: Forbidden City was one of those tracks - like "Maybe" - which were produced in a very short period of time in a natural flow. I really wanted to create a formula-1 type of thrusting sound, and Forbidden City's theme was born. I felt that forbidden City could be a big track, especially when I tested it at this year's "Matrixx at the park", when the crowd went totally nuts. I never really expected though that Forbidden City would become such a smash, being the favourite track of so many huge artists!
Dimitri: Is Forbidden City the typical Marc Simz sound? Can you describe to us, the kind of sound that you like to be identified with?
Marc: Forbidden City might be described as a typical Marc Simz sound. Driving beats, and a recognizable theme. A combination of techno and progressive drives, and uplifting trance melodies and atmospheres is the sound I like to be identified with.
Dimitri: Is it possible to reveal to us, the tracks or remixes that you are currently working on, and we can expect to see released soon?
Marc: I've just finished two new tracks, as well as two remixes for Smart Apes vs. Amex, and Fluctor's "Skidrow". I'm also working with Aerofoil and Maura Hope (Vocals) on two new co-op tracks, which should be finished soon.
Dimitri: Let us now move to your DJ career. Is it possible to tell us, when did you get your first DJ gig, and how was your first appearance in front of a large audience? Where, and when, did you have your best DJ performance so far? Do you believe that a good successful club night, is a result of good crowd, good promoter, DJ with good technical skills and taste, or all the previous mentioned together?
Marc: My first ever DJ gig was at The Matrixx in 2008. The place was jam-packed, so my first gig was also in front of a large crowd as well! Performing in front of a large crowd is on of the most exhilarating experiences I've ever had so far! If everything is correct, the night will be massive!!
Dimitri: Where and when did you have your worst DJ experience?
Marc: Ha ha my worst gig was also at The Matrixx, at a Hardstyle themed party "Exxlerator", when I replaced the Hardstyle resident DJ. I played as hard as I could, techno hard trance, but the crowd didn't take it that well, and neither did I for that matter..
Dimitri: Can you offer a piece of advice to aspiring Dj’s who want to get noticed, and start a career? Also, it will be cool to give some advice on the way that they should send out the demo, in order to get a release on a label.
Marc: My advice to aspiring DJ's: Use your talents to the max, try to get as much self experience as you can to develop your own mixing style! As to aspiring producers: try to be original, create your own sound. Don't be afraid to send your tracks to record labels. You'll get response anyway, especially when the label likes the track!
Dimitri: Do you have the time to actively use social networks like Facebook, MySpace, Hyves, Ping and similar ones? Do you believe its essential, in order to promote your career, or is it just a hype?
Marc: I'm well aware of the importance to be visible in the digital world. It has become more and more important for an artist to profile himself or herself on social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace in order to grow in popularity.
Dimitri: Do you have your own radio show at the moment? Do you feel that it is essential for a DJ to have a radio show to support him?
Marc: I used to host a radio show, Marc Simz Essentials, but I closed it down due to time shortage. But I'm working on hosting a new radio show called "TranceXXtra" on afterhoursFM.com, which will be on air soon. Nowadays hosting a radio show, or podcast is pretty essential for an artist to grow in popularity, almost as essential as producing your own tracks!
Dimitri: What other things do you enjoy doing, besides producing and performing as a DJ? Do you have a favourite sport, Hobby or food maybe?
Marc: I'm a football(soccer)fan. I play football myself as well. I also really like to listen to sent promos and new releases, but that's pretty obvious!
Dimitri: Please give us your message to our web site visitors, and can you guide them to find their own forbidden city? Marc: To your website visitors I say: For the love of music, keep enjoying and buying the tracks of your favourite artists! Let's have it!
Marc Simz – Forbidden City is out now via In Trance We Trust/Black Hole recordings
It’s also included in the latest In Trance We Trust Vol.16 compilation mixed by DJ Observer and Daniel Heatcliff
Many thanks to Jeroen and Mark at Black Hole recordings headquarters for taking time to organize this interview, and provide me with fantastic music for radio/review purposes Interview is conducted and written by Dimitri Kechagias “Flux BPM on The Move”