Hi Marcello, huge thanks for taking out time for this interview. Tell us your philosophy behind ‘Constellations In You’ compilation. Why is it called that and what do you intend to present to the audience here?
Thanks for having me! ‘Constellations In You’ was really my attempt to put together an old-school journey, a coherent set from start to finish. It’s not meant to be a “trance mix”; I’ve done my best to feature very different styles that are built around emotional melodies that play with your feelings. Some songs are dark and mysterious, others are more melancholic, etc. The “Constellations” are the feelings within the listener, and I hope every song evokes different feelings and sensations within the audience, different constellations.
While other artists fill in their compilations with their own tracks, you have just one remix of yours in the compilation, any thoughts behind that?
I think I went to my DJ roots with this one haha… I had so much fun digging in the crates to craft a set I was happy with, I reached the end of the process and was like, “OH, I have one song on here, okay…” For the purposes of this mix, it was more fun for me to play a DJ set than it was to feature my own productions. I’ll continue to release those separately as singles, while keeping ‘Constellations In You’ as its own little separate entity.
Which tracks were instant fits in the compilation and what was your criteria for choosing music for the compilation?
Track 2, the Gai Barone remix of “Reborn” by Manu Riga & Nico Parisi, was one of the first songs that was an instant-fit. DNYO’s “Aquatika” too, it was done so progressively and cutting edge, but yet the melody and sensation it gave me brought me back to the old days. Also, when Mike Saint-Jules sent me his vocal track with Sandel “Broken Turn”, I was in awe and immediately approached him to sign it for the mix.
You wrote about ‘Constellations 2’ in May last year, it took a long time to see light of day, what was the toughest part of getting this compilation out?
I think it was a case of indecisiveness. I had a few tracklists in mind and was trying different songs before I settled onto the final tracklist. Things heated up in the studio as well and before you know it, a couple months had passed!! Guilty as charged, but Black Hole Recordings did their best to get it out as soon as they could once we finalized it.
DJing and career
You are easily one of the most educated producer & DJ in the dance music fraternity, you think being an architect helps you while producing music?
Absolutely! I did a lot of very difficult years of architecture school to get my degree. Design and the principles I learned in school help me think critically and see songs as living things, designed things. I can visualize my songs in my mind while I’m working on them and it helps me (I think) in achieving the exact feeling and sound I want as I produce them. Also, all the work I put into getting my 5-year degree in architecture, a lot of sleepless nights and weekends spent working on projects, it helps me put music and the music business in perspective, while maybe some artists get trapped by it and lose control.
Also being near NYC, the city of dreams you have seen EDM artists taking off with their electro-sounds, but ECO’s music is still so beautiful, dreamy and full of textures. How easy/difficult is it to stick to your sounds and not get carried away?
Very difficult. I don’t need to tell you that, in the States at least, the emotional more subtle trance sounds don’t sell as much as the big-room in-your-face festival music everyone is getting into now. That’s fine by me though, I just stick to my guns, stick to the sounds I love and continue to do what I do. Like I said, I maintain a certain perspective on the music business and I just try to do what I enjoy and not let myself be trapped by the flavour of the week I think the crowd wants in any given year. One day, maybe it’ll be my style of trance that shines and hopefully I’ll be shown some respect for having done it so long. However, if that doesn’t happen, I always have other avenues in life…
A personal opinion here, you have been the most consistent artist from the new breed of artists in Trance & Progressive genre, easily my favourite artist in the last 3 years. Which new artists work you love?
Thanks for the kind words! Some of my consistent favorites continue to include names like: Casey Keyworth (formerly known as Breakfast), a young Norwegian dude called Naden, Matt Lange, and Mat Zo. As a fellow producer, I listened to Mat Zo’s recent album and was blown away by the originality and variety of it.
You have been doing a few extended sets lately, how does one prepare for such sets? What if you have to go pee during sets? LOL
That’s a great question! I have no idea. The longest I did recently was 7 hours. I didn’t realize until after but I’d only drank 1 Red Bull and 2 water bottles the entire time. Only once I stopped the music, I felt my muscles aching and felt so thirsty. But during the set, I was riding on fumes of adrenaline; I was having so much fun.
We rarely see you do gigs in Europe or Asia even though we are sure you have a strong following around the world, any reasons for this?
Good question! I’d love to play over in Europe again, if the right offers come through. I think so many labels are putting all their effort into pushing artists here in my home country, that my presence in Europe has fallen victim to that. European artists, whose labels are based there and have their roots and networks there have a more even 50/50 split, but connecting with my European fanbase has always been a little bit harder for me. A lot of the American artists who have broken through into the scene over there are usually given a big festival slot or huge concert opportunity or part of a high profile tour and gain some exposure, but I haven’t gotten those kinds of offers, not yet at least.
You easily have the best track names in the genre today – “Songbird In The Slum”, “It’s Over When The Silence Comes”, “We Watched The Sunrise Till Our Eyes Burned Out”. How do you come up with those?
Good question, I usually name my songs very early in the process. Whatever images or feelings a melody or specific sound I’m working on in the early stages of a track, that ends up being what I name the file (and the song). Sometimes it’s very random, or a very complicated image I get into my head, so I sum it up with something abstract, like “We Watched the Sunrise…”, etc.
Tell us about a few challenges a musician like you may face in times when we have a strong space for a variety of dance music forms?
There’s a ton of challenges, especially in today’s music scene. A lot has changed. A lot of the challenges are mental and psychological. Just need to keep working hard, not let anything bother you, and remember “it’s just music”. We’re meant to have fun making this stuff, but it’s better to not take it TOO seriously… You see a lot of artists having daily meltdowns on Twitter, they’re pretty much suffering from what I’m talking about right now.
We know you absolutely love hockey. Make us a hockey team of trance artists and who will be the manager? :)
I’d probably go for grit and strength over speed in most cases. So I’m putting Leon Bolier and Talla 2XLC on defense. I’ll have Marcus Schossow and Orjan Nilsen as 1 & 2 goal tender, because Scandinavia. That leaves me with offense… I can do with less grit on offense in favour of some creativity and finesse in their play, not to mention some speed. I’m putting Paavo from Above & Beyond, Steve Helstrip (Thrillseekers), and Menno De Jong on offense!
Any message for the fans?
Thank you so much for all the support over the years, I hope you enjoy the compilation!
You can buy ECO’s ‘Constellations in You 2’ here.
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