Marco Sterk's Young Marco alias feels rather misleading. Almost a decade has passed since the Dutch producer's debut solo outing on Hand Of God Records, released while just beginning to make a name for himself with various bookings in and around his adopted home town of Amsterdam. It was a reputation based on inventiveness and originality: "I was a little bit overwhelmed because I had never seen a DJ mixing like that," recalls artist friend Woody. "It was a very hip-hop-ish kind of mixing, with a disco track, then another track, then a techno track" — a direct style that blends oddball tracks and disregards genre boundaries, rooted in Sterk's hip-hop roots, childhood appreciation for skateboard videos, and friendship with Tako Reyenga, a co-founder of Redlight Records with whom he spent days rooting through old records. A number of local residencies ensued as Sterk refined his craft, presenting rare and unusual musical delights. "I think his success comes down to persistence, and also taking it seriously," says friend and artist Parra. "Let's not forget that he played records that people did not like for a long time. He didn't change one bit."
It's a strategy for which Sterk has since reaped plentiful rewards. A 2013 Breaking Through feature with Resident Advisor raised awareness of his non-conformist talents, a stepping stone that led to his busiest year of touring and to becoming one of electronic music's most in demand and original DJs. Young Marco sets are always thrilling and exciting affairs: he'll work the dancefloor with both unexpected twists and “unclassics” from a dizzying array of similarly-minded styles. One night, you might hear tropical rhythms, Afro gems, and Middle Eastern disco obscurities; on another, it may be thrusting techno, skewed synth-funk, or industrial strength jack-tracks. While his oddball taste "used to be a bit of a hindrance when getting gigs," he once said, it's now one of his greatest assets.
Sterk's XLR8R podcast shows yet another side to his already staggeringly wide-reaching tastes. Filled with just over an hour of alluring digi-dub, it's a smooth and meditative selection perfect for "listening at home or in the car," as Sterk says.
What have you been up to recently, in terms of gigs and otherwise?
I've been trying to focus on my label Safe Trip for a bit, lots of cool new mostly local artists coming up, and we do some comps, like the Welcome To Paradise series, which was a 3 part saga and we'll do more in the same vein but different genres. And i've been producing for some other people in actual proper studio's which is very cool and I want to do more of. Other than that still touring every weekend and trying to stay out of trouble.
You're about the embark on a North American tour. How do you find gigs in the US compare to those in Europe?
It's pretty simular to europe in the sense that every city or state is very different, it kinda feels like going from country to country in europe. And people seem to be pretty clued up. Also, there is In-N-Out burger.
When and where was this particular mix recorded?
At my house in Amsterdam.
How did you select the records you included?
My manager wanted me to make a dance mix to promote my tour so I did the exact opposite and made a digi dubby mix you can listen to at home or in your car. Come to the club if you wanna hear club music!
What was the process behind it—was it recorded in one take?
It was more about selection than the mix and I lathered it in some nice digital Fxzz.
Was there a particular idea you were looking to convey?
We still chill.
Due to temporary issues regarding the GDPR, EU readers can download the podcast here.