INTERVIEW | MARC HOULE
Marc Houle has been wowing techno-lovers for over a decade by creating seminal records that not only helped define the minimal sound of the mid-’00s but went on to transcend it with releases on labels like Minus and Items & Things. We sat down with him to catch up before his show at NGHT MVS XL on Saturday, June 23rd. Get tickets here.
1. Have you always been connected with all of the recent trends in DJ set ups/equipment? At the age of 14 you got your first synth. Following the evolution of these equipments throughout the years, do you believe that old equipment sounds better in a track than new ones? How has this new equipment impacted your production process and your ability to create?
A few things, I’ve never really been up with all the latest trends. I just kinda do what works best and makes me the happiest. There’s something about an analog synth that just seems to penetrate my soul and gives me goosebumps. Digital synths or VST’s haven’t really done it for me in the past but I see them catching up very quickly. I’ve never been an analog snob or anything when it comes to music – whatever sounds best for the mood and track is prefect. Also my mom bought me the synth.
2. Do you use a different set up for every show/live show? Can you break down the type of setup/equipment you use in your show? What are the most essential or unique instruments you use in your repertoire?
Well my Ableton setup is super messy but I know where everything is. Controlled chaos I guess. That kinda ensures that every show I play is different and fun for me too. I’ve been loving the TR-8 with me on stage. It has the best interface without any LED screens or shift keys or anything – I can play it without looking unlike most of the other stuff coming out these days. It’s also super light to bring around on the plane. I also bring a TC Helicon voice effects unit to make my voice sound more fun.
3. Technology and streaming has made everything so much easier in the production process. How have these changes impacted the ability for you to get your music to your fans?
In the past there was much more of a reliance on the label to get your music heard and distributed around. Now it’s up to the artist more to share unreleased tracks and promos and stuff. I liked it better before the great digital music flood where anything you heard was a little more special. On the other hand, I’m able to hear so much cool, unreleased stuff that I wouldn’t have been able to hear otherwise because now everything is so accessible.
4. How did you come to partner up with Sian?
It started with a few remixes we had done for each other. I really liked his style and what he was doing with my tracks. We tried a few unreleased tracks for fun and i liked how it turned out a lot. So now, loads of tracks later, we’re taking it out on the road.
5. Why the continuing preference for live sets over Djing? What do you feel a live set brings to the crowd that a DJ set does not?
6. Your debut was released in 2004. How have you grown as a musician since then?
When I go back to the old stuff I made I can’t believe how bad some of it sounds. I really didn’t know about compressors, EQs or how to make something sound better. I’ve been in the studio non-stop since then and I’ve learned so much. Song wise I don’t think I’ve grown much. I still make the same kinda songs and have the same fun doing the same old stuff.
7. We always ask DJ’s to give us their top 3 tracks to play at the moment. Can you please list yours?
The new Marsian EP.