Marina Trench rocked Ban Ban Ton Ton`s boat last year with her Over There E.P. on Heist Recordings. The title track in particular was a high quality hit of deep, hypnotic house. Hooking the listener / dancer with subtle strings – expertly building in energy, rather than banging from the get-go. With whispered vocals and snatches of near subliminal jazz detail, acoustic strum and vibes. Bits of beefed-up, deconstructed, bossa nova. Now she’s back, as one of the artists on the Dutch imprint`s, The Round Up 8 – where the label’s roster take part in a game of remix tag. Marina gets reimagined by Makez, while she in turn transforms Felipe Gordon’s High Corrosive Acid into fancy, filtered, flickering, increasingly frenetic dance-floor gear. Ahead of the E.P.`s release this Friday, The Insider caught up with the Fine Arts graduate now DJ and promising producer.
Interview conducted by The Insider.
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us Marina.
It’s my pleasure. Thanks for having me.
You’re based in Paris right now? Is that where you are from originally? Where exactly do you live in the city ?
Yes, at the moment I live in Paris in the 19ème arrondissement. But I grew up in a suburb of Paris, a city called Creteil. I did my studies in Bordeaux in the South, and after getting my masters degree, in Fine Arts, I went back to live in Paris.
What are you up to today?
Today the weather is pretty beautiful, so I’m about to go for a long walk in the city and the park. I’ve discovered a real passion for walking since the beginning of the COVID pandemic. Walking for hours is such a huge pleasure. I didn’t walk before because I just didn’t have as much time..
How’s the mood in the city of Paris, are clubs and parties happening?
Since December 2021, clubs are again closed. It’s so sad. There aren’t really any parties. I miss clubs and people so much. But the good news is the re-opening is planned for February 16th in France. This is the day of my birthday. Pretty fun ha!
It’s been a tough to keep motivated through the last couple of years. Would you say you’ve managed okay, or has it been challenging at times?
Overall, I think I’ve managed to keep motivated, even though there have been a lot of difficulties. Being a DJ and making music in this context is not easy, but I feel so much passion in what I do that I cannot imagine stopping. I made a lot more music and took some time for other things in life, like cooking, hiking, reading, or spending time with a very good friend. That’s what kept me on track.
I know you left Paris to study Fine Art in Bordeaux. Did you finish your studies, and did you ever work in this field?
I ended my studies in 2014, a while ago now. After that I assisted a shoe designer, helped to curate an exhibition, and also collaborated on several contemporary art projects. All experiences in this field were very interesting, but to me, making art or creating something personal, is different to working in the art industry. So I didn’t continue in this field.
Do you feel that you use your knowledge of art in the music that you make?
Oh yes for sure. I use it in my approach to music. For example, my process to create music and art is very similar. First, the idea of the track comes from a vibe or a beat or a chord, like drawing a sketch. Then, I add details, variations and structure. Plus, thanks to my studies, I was able to develop a real attraction for culture and various art forms, which is a rich source of inspiration for me today.
There’s quite a happening music scene in Bordeaux. Did you get involved during your time there?
When I’ve arrived in Bordeaux I knew nobody on the local scene, and I was really young. But very quickly, it was like a happy coincidence, I found myself running into people who had the same taste in house music as I did. It was 2010 and the revival of the local house scene was happening. We were all super excited and my friends were big house lovers just like me. We would all dig for new music, and go to clubs and listen to some great DJs! Several clubs and promoters were into our sound and I took my first steps in places like Heretic, Bootleg, Azuli, and Deck. I’m not sure those places still exist but I have nothing but good memories about my time in Bordeaux.
Yours has to be one of the most well thought out names in music. At what point in your career did you present as Marina Trench?
Haha thank you! Marina is my real first name and I added Trench a few years later when DJing become more frequent and more serious. It’s a name that I had a good feeling about straight away, and that refers to a several different references. I remember one day a long time ago, I was with a friend, and we were listening to vinyl records at home; some classic Deep House music like Mike Huckaby, Rick Wade, Larry Heard, etc… and on every deep chord we said “ooh it’s as deep as the Mariana Trench”, and the idea of the name happened like that.
I know you have a very respectable vinyl collection. What shops have you frequented while building up your collection over the years?
So many places where I’ve bought records, and there are still so many more to discover! Digging vinyl is one of my favorite things especially in cities I don’t know. To me, It’s like a part of the trip to visit record stores. In each new city or country, I try to take time for that. Synchrophone, Dizonor, Heartbeat, Ultrasound, Phonica, Oyé, Killacutz, Carpet & Snare, Betinos, HHV.
Can you remember a few of your earliest purchases?
I remember one of my first purchases was in Marseille at Galette Records a long time ago. I remember getting back home and I had picked up Adeva, Pépé Bradock and a few disco 45s.
What’s the most recent thing you’ve bought? Who are into at the moment?
Last thing I bought was an exclusive selling in December at Panorama Records; a cool little shop in Les Puces de St-Ouen. The guy had come by a huge collection of house from the nineties and I bought a several records that I already knew but didn’t have. It’s such a huge pleasure to get my hands on some classic tracks that I have always loved, even though I love to discover new artists and labels too. Currently I follow closely artists like Dylan Dylan, Retromigration, Makèz, Tatyana Jane, and labels like APRH Recordings, Dream Theory, and Magma196.
Your studio technique is all self-taught. How did you start?
I simply learned by doing! It took me a while to discover things on my own, but I feel today that I’ve been able to develop my own creative musical strategies to compose tracks that I like. I started music production when I was already a DJ, so it allowed me to feel more confident about my music. My set-up at home was very simple, and it still is today. I use Ableton live as software, I have two synthesizers – a Korg M1 + Prologue – one drum machine – a Tr-09 – and my top favourite is my mic – a SMB7 Shure – with which I record. I always record some snippets of vocals or noises on my tracks.
Your sound has its roots in classic deep house but also adds a very contemporary twist. Who would you say are the artists that have had an impact on you and the sounds that you produce?
I`ve always been very inspired by disco vocals, the slap bass of funk, the chords of soul, and the energy of dance music in general. Of course as a house music lover, some classic house artists like Kerri Chandler, Romanthony, Norma Jean Bell, Larry Heard, The Burell Brothers, MAW… are all very important to me. I`m inspired by the fresh vibes from DJs and producers like Dam Swindle, Floating Points, K15, Eris Drew, Anna Wall, Hugo Lx, Kaidi Tatham, Sweely, Black Loops, Josey Rebelle, Gerd Janson, India Jordan… This is only a few of them as the list goes on and on!
You caught the ears of DJ Deep with your first release coming out on his Deeply Rooted. Were you mates with Cyril Etienne then?
Every step in a career is important in this field and several factors helped me to find my way. My very first two E.P.s were on Deeply Rooted. Here I had the opportunity to be remixed by amazing producers such as Kerri Chandler and DJ Deep. I didn’t know Cyril personally, but I already was a big fan of his label and his music. I listened for a long time in loop to the tracks Back To The Raw from Kerri, and Signature from Deep. Cyril is someone important in our house music legacy in France, so I felt like sending him my demos. I got really nice feedback from him, and I was so thrilled to have the opportunity to meet him and to sign the first two E.P.s plus get them remixed.
The remix by Kerri chandler was to me a huge moment. It was Deep who had the idea to collaborate with Kerri. He was able to come up with remixes that fitted the spirit of my music.
Your next step was with Wolf Music, another solid label.
Releasing on UK label, Wolf Music, was also something very special. This opening allowed me to introduce my music to this beautiful community and it really made me want to produce and share music even more. As a fan of the label, I was more than happy to connect with the guys from Wolf Music, Matt & Stu, who were very cool. The Waterside E.P. came out in 2020, and I love this E.P. because I tested new stuff, like using my own voice. I made it all very DIY at home. It was a very freeform piece of work and I had lot of fun doing it.
You’ve been welcomed onto the Heist roster with open arms.
I received a very warm welcome into the Heist family. I discovered Heist and Dam Swindle around 2014. I quickly liked their style because their music always brings a very fresh vibe. I had a few records by them and at that time I would never have imagined that one day I would meet Lars and Maarten and that we would share music together. Later, we played two or three times together in Paris, between 2019 and 2020, and I found out what super nice guys that they are. The Over There E.P. is the project that made this good relationship happen. I’m so glad to have had this release because I made it with a lot of special energy and all of the tracks really have something unique.
You’re now featured on Heists’ forthcoming various artists E.P., The Round Up 8. What’s the concept behind the project?
It was a really great to take part in the Round Up 8! It was a lot of fun to work on existing music and take it somewhere else. The Round Up is a compilation of remixes from Heist Family artists. They wrote down all the artist names on tiny pieces of paper, threw them together in a bowl, and then pulled the names out, connecting one with another. That’s a pretty fun concept! So I did a remix of Felipe Gordon’s Highly Corrosive Acid, Felipe did a remix of Jkriv & Peter Matson, and for me, it’s the duo Makèz who remixed my track, etc. I really love their remix, they created a fusion between two of my cuts, Carry On and Wake Up, and I can hear their Makèz touch. It’s beautifully done!
You played London’s Fabric recently. That must have been a big buzz you.
Oh yes it was fantastic! I really enjoyed the energy of this legendary London club so much, and playing in the big room with a very nice set-up. I had so much fun! Was super nice to meet other artists who played too that night like Leo Pol, Black Loops, Adryano, Harrison BDP, Myd. It was really lovely.
Do you find it challenging being a female in this male-heavy thing they call dance music?
In my opinion, mentalities are changing. A bit slow, but thanks to voices of certain minority communities, the culture seems to be improving. Sadly, we still face some terrible stereotypes about women in music which don’t have a place in 2022. For example, in France statistics of the collective “Tu mixes bien pour une fille” (You mix well for a girl), are alarming. They show in the lack of parity in the programming of festivals and clubs in France, and how women are still underrepresented in the male-dominated electro scene. Some people still think we are not equal when it comes to creativity and production. I’ve heard it too often. It’s so important to continue to create a climate that makes women feel welcome and comfortable on the scene. And of course, festivals and clubs need to get more women into line-ups.
What tips would you give to young female producers today?
To keep going even if you have to spend a lot of time learning. And practice! Don’t worry if you don’t have enough equipment, tools or knowledge, sometimes it helps you to be even more creative. And remember to always have fun.
What’s happening for you on the gig front at the moment?
The last two years have been difficult with the constant opening and closing of clubs. Due to COVID, there are many new rules and a lot of uncertainty from one day to the next. But I’m staying optimistic for the next few months. Clubs are re-opening here on 16th February. I’ve many beautiful gigs planned in 2022; mostly in France with some amazing festivals, plus a few gigs in UK and other parts of Europe too. I really can’t wait to be back behind the decks.
What should we look out for with Marina Trench in 2022?
You can expect so much new music to come soon. Ha! I am just launching my own label Sweet State, so I’ll have a few releases to share with you this year. You can also keep an eye on my radio show on Worldwide FM with some great guests for this new season.
What is your mantra for this year Marina?
Marina Trench is one of the artists featured on The Round Up 8, released this Friday on Heist Recordings.