Taking place at Spin, the event will see the veteran French producer and DJ join Maceo Plex’s techno alter-ego, Maetrik, for what we believe is the ideal way to close out the first day of this year’s CRSSD Spring edition.
Over the course of the last twenty-plus years, German born DJ, musician and composer Marc Romboy has become synonymous with a soulful electronic music sound that has taken him all over the world. As well as releasing on only the most influential labels, from Innervisions to Ovum and Kompakt to 20:20 Vision, he is also the sole mastermind behind the influential Systematic Recordings label and has been since 2004.
Nowadays an album specialist, 2006 saw him release his debut album, the captivating „Gemini” whilst in 2017 Marc released his first listening long player called „Voyage de la planète“, a pure electronica album with classical music influence and later, in summer 2017 the live recording of his collaboration with the Dortmund Philharmonic Orchestra called „Reconstructing Debussy“, in cooperation with Boiler Room hit the stores.
Despite being a key player for so long, Marc is still as relevant as ever and remains right at the sharp end of electronic music. Proof of that comes in the form of his DJ schedule, which takes him from Fabric to Womb and Berghain to Watergate, as well as to not one but three separate Boiler Room shows. All three proved Marc to be a dexterous performer who never relies on obviousness or gimmicks, instead telling truly musical stories that place dancers right at the heart of the action.
San Diego and CRSSD attendees are in for a treat on Saturday night, and we saw this as the perfect opportunity to catch up with Marc.
Hi Marc, great getting to chat with you today. Important questions first: how many times in your life have you seen your name spelled or pronounced as Mark, Marco or Marcos?
Nice to meet you, too. Well, no one has asked me asked this to date but you are right, this “faux pas“ is happening from time to time and the classical case is Mark with a “k“. But hey, I can easily deal with that.
Sorry I had to… since it has happened to me so many times. Anyways, let’s talk serious-but-not-so-serious stuff: you’re coming to Southern California to play CRSSD’s After Dark event alongside Maetrik. Is this your first time in San Diego?
Yes, this is indeed my very first time there and after I have visited so many spots around the globe. I have one friend who used to live there but he has just moved to Vancouver. Nevertheless, I‘m very curious to get to know San Diego, I have only heard good things. Besides this, I‘m looking forward to meet Eric aka Maetrik.
Will you be checking out CRSSD before the gig?
This could become difficult as I‘m coming from Miami and arrive late. So it‘s more a “rush in rush out“ thing. But let‘s see what happens. I‘m ready!
So… is it really an in-and-out trip or are you going to be spending some time in the city after?
I really wish I could but a bunch of projects I have to finalize are waiting for me at home. Now that I‘m also working on classical music projects I don’t have much spare time.
I saw you’re playing Miami the night before also, a city you’ve played several times before. What else are you looking forward to doing/seeing there?
Miami is a worldwide unique place and I love it’s vibe a lot. I even brought my entire family to Miami Beach once. Every gig was outstanding, this place and its people seem to dig my sound.
our resume contains many top-tier labels on which you’ve released music on. What are the qualities you look for in a label that may become the home of one or more of your tracks?
Yes, I‘m very glad I had the opportunity to release music on such outstanding imprints like Kompakt, Bedrock, Innervisions and Cocoon. All these brands stand for constant top-level music, like Systematic and I was simply curious how other labels act. I must say, although all are different, all are amazing in their own way.
By the way congrats on securing the fantastic recent remixes of Moonface! Quite the stellar contributions there! Why did you choose those artists to re-work your music?
Mathame has been on my radar for a long period of time and I‘m glad to see that their star is currently about to rise. Jonathan Kaspar is from Cologne, near my home town and I‘m impressed how he found his own very individual rough and percussive orientated sound which really stands out. And Third Son convinced me with his mix which is a journey back into 1990. Yeah, and John Digweed and Nick Muir, I mean this is a very special story. I had tears in my eyes when Laurent Garnier agreed on a remix swap with me and now also John, this is simply overwhelming. Let‘s see who is next (laughs).
Yourself and John (Digweed) seem to have a great working relationship. Does this extend to the outside of music also?
My answer is a loud “Yes“. I like the way he is. He is not that “Hello guys, here I am now“ kinda guy and I really like this as I am similar. I love to impress with music and not loud or big words. It‘s not my thing and this, I would guess, connects us. He is a true gentleman and I think we don‘t have to talk about what he has achieved for electronic music.
We had a chance to interview John in Detroit during Movement last year, perhaps one of the most insightful interviews we have ever had at 6AM, with a lot of inspiration about what it means to be in this industry and the importance of having the right intent. What are your intention with regards to being involved with techno and electronic music in general?
Electronic music is a lifestyle. A philosophy. A way of living. This kind of music brings different people together, this music has something meditative, something peaceful but still, it‘s very energetic. I can reflect on this music. It‘s a piece of my mind.
By the way, I saw you’re involved with some production master classes. How did that come about?
I simply love to share my knowledge and this makes me very content. I have just finished my third master class in Zurich, Switzerland, two days of intense talks and making music together. I‘m happy to meet and see people like myself, people who are curious and just wanna make great music. Sharing is caring, isn‘t it
Why would you advise producers and aspiring producers to take this master class with you, or other classes in general?
Because it‘s always exciting to hear other opinions and points of view. This is life and learning is the real way to become a rich person. So far I have collaborated with fantastic people like Rodriguez Jr., Stephan Bodzin, Gui Boratto and Blake Baxter. I learned from all of them and I‘m grateful for this. When you visit my masterclass you can be sure that I won‘t hold back any information. From production skills to business tips, I can tell you a bit of everything (laughs).
Your career has been a long and illustrious one. What’s been your secret to keeping focused and avoiding burning out?
Very very good question. I think I can simply answer that by saying, I simply love what I do. This makes things much easier. Electronic music is my life. Full stop.
In this long career, you’ve been involved in some amazing and diverse projects, including orchestra concerts, which is amazing! Any other projects like that you hope to get to work on in the future?
Yes, I‘m currently busy with a project together with a chamber orchestra. We are Bout to lift works of Johann Sebastian Bach on a more modern level. I mean he simply wasn‘t able to compose his music with synthesizers. And exactly here comes my notion. We work on his stuff with the imagination of how he could have used the modern machines. We just had our first concert in Hamburg, at Elbphilharmonie, the impressive new concert hall there; it was mindblowing!
That sounds amazing! Alright, I will let you go but first can you tell us what we can expect from your night in San Diego? See you there!
A: 100% passion, 100% emotion, 100% Romboy!