Marco Maranza is a man of few words, and that's not going to change anytime soon. He opts against promoting himself on social media, so it's primarily by word of mouth, his name shared by those in the know, that he's become one of those rising young DJs that the dedicated connoisseurs of wonky minimal—think Nicolas Lutz, Vera, Binh, Andrew James Gustav—whisper between them. That community, centered around Berlin's Club der Visionaere, is remarkably small and connected, and Quest has been a name on people's lips for some time.
Maranza, born in 1992, grew up in Italy (he was inspired by Francesco Del Garda) but moved to London where he took a roll at Vinyl Pimp, a small record store located out east. The high cost of living in the city required that he work several jobs, and this suffocated him, and so Berlin, with it's cheap(er) rents and large music community became ever-more appealing. It's no coincidence that his relocation has coincided with a sharp increase in his bookings, across the German capital and through Europe. We first caught him at Melliflow, Vera and Alexandra's party, where he performed alongside Evan Baggs, DJ Masda, Dasha Redkina, and more.
Although influenced by a hip-hop upbringing, Quest sets encompass sounds from across the electronic spectrum, from outré techno to UKG whippers. As with those in his orbit, he's a dedicated digger, pulling otherwise forgotten records from years gone by, and presenting them in a whole new context, breathing new life into ancient tracks that are as memorable as they are unidentifiable.
His XLR8R podcast is no different: compiled in his Berlin apartment, it's delightfully wonky but impossible to define, made of non-conformist cuts that you won't recognize and will likely never even hear again. Naturally, there's no tracklisting provided.
What have you been up to recently?
I've been playing records.
How did you find your way into DJing?
I’ll try to make it short. I've been close to music since I was very young (not that I’m old now!), but never had the proper thought of DJing until one of my good friends, knowing my love for hip-hop, invited me to a night he was hosting back in my hometown where Francesco [del Garda] was playing and, well, after I heard him I kind of knew what I wanted to do.
You’ve relocated from Hackney, in East London to Berlin. How have you found the transition?
It was like entering heaven at the time, I have to be honest, as I was doing three jobs at once and moving to Berlin with some pounds in my pocket helped me to focus just on music and to focus on what I really wanted to do.
What do you look for in the records that you select?
There are many aspects that make me want to select one record instead of another, but I guess the most important one is that primordial I like it or I don’t like it.
How and where do you do your record digging?
In any possible way I can, from Discogs on the net and that good old Soulseek, to record shops and private collections.
What are your wider goals with music?
Honestly, I'm just trying to stick to the present and go with the flow, so let’s see what happens.
Where was this particular mix recorded?
At my place in Berlin.
How did you choose the tracks that you included?
Just going through my collection and trying to tell a “story” that expresses my feelings in that moment, or before it, and to give the listener a good little trip.
Where do you envisage it being listened to?
As it’s summer, I would definitely say an evening on a terrace with a few friends, or in a car driving to the beach.
How does the podcast compare to one of your club sets?
I don’t know. It depends on the situation, but I would say it's calmer.
What’s next on the horizon, looking forward?
Looking forward to the next gigs/adventures, and to release my first record with my flatmate.
Due to issues regarding the GDPR, EU readers can download the podcast here.