MARRØN is one of Amsterdam’s most exciting and upcoming DJs. As a cofounder and resident of Eerste Communie, he’s helped foster a community for fast, hard-hitting techno in the Dutch capital, and happens to be an Olympic basketball player to boot.
You have played Manchester once before (which I believe was one of the first outside NL), and your rise since then has been amazing to watch – can you talk us through your journey to this point? How did you first start DJing?
Yeah that’s true, which was at Stage & Radio. Cute little club in the basement of a restaurant/café i would say. My journey so far has been an absolute rollercoaster. I am absolutely grateful for this progress I have made so far because basically all the goals I’ve set as a DJ, I dreamed of doing in a few years later from now.
I started DJing as a hobby actually. I was just obsessed with finding my own sound and feel to this techno I love to hear. When I reached the point where I was happy and content with what I wanted to play I’ve started recording sets. At first I did this just for myself to enjoy the tracks I like and having them b2b in mix, but also to learn from each mix and to find the weaknesses which needed improvement or change. I got obsessed with this and simultaneously with my own event it grew pretty fast.
Aside from DJing, you have founded party-series Eerste Communie. What was the catalyst to starting this party, and what is it’s vision?
Eerste Communie is my event which i do with 4 of my friends. It started with because we felt that Amsterdam was missing a proper day party on a Sunday with a consistent sound of techno. When we started we’ve struggled a bit with ups and downs but as soon our illegal raves started we have created a community in the underground scene.
The name MARRØN comes from the Marron people of Surinam, and their influence and inspiration flows through in much of your craft. Why does this community inspire you so much, and why was it important to you to choose this name?
My roots are originally from Surinam and because of slavery even back to Gambia or Ghana most likely. The Marron people are living by the standards of our African culture until this day. They are well respected people in Surinam who are powerful and cultural. This is something that inspires me in many ways, so it only felt right to translate this mentality through my music and play it with soulful groove but still with power also. The Ø of MARRØN is just to not completely affiliate with the history of slavery and to create my own journey in this life of music.
It’s interesting that you chose this name, and the name Eerste also comes from a Catholic tradition – was this a coincidence or do you have a particular interest in communities and traditions, and people?
The name MARRØN and Eerste Communie are not connected in that sense, however in terms of depth of meaning with both names they are very similar. Eerste Communie originally comes from the Catholic First Communion indeed but with our own meanings. The first meeting of the community that we’re building on a holy day which is Sunday. Integrity to the specific sound of techno we like to push. Dancefloor minded events where the music always comes first.
Back to the music, who have you been listening to recently and can you give our readers any hot tips of artists you’ve been following?
Oh yes for sure. Honestly there have been so many talented young DJ/producers who popped out of nowhere and it is very nice to see this. A few names to look out for are obviously all the EC residents and guys like Amoral, Marcal, A. Morgan, Egotot, Phil Berg, Danny Wabbit, Lea Occhi, Future666, Ruben Ganev, I am sure a forgot a few here is a stack of names that definitely deserve to be looked at… all on the come up and super talented.
Your sets are famous for their energy, groove and percussion – but from your perspective, how do you approach each set?
I actually approach each set the same way where I use my key elements that are most important to me. Groove, fast pace and searching that edge of powerful where you think it’s hard and poundy but far from too hard. Whether I play as an opener, mid, or closing, my musical vision of how I want to hear my music basically stays the same. Before I started this journey I have promised myself one thing, that I would never change the musical vision I believe in. I think this will keep me close to who I am and what I try to tell with my music. It was my choice to not be diverse and to play this specific and consistent sound of techno.
What have been some of your favourite dancefloors to both play at and rave at, as an audience member?
Nothing beats Berghain, I am sure this was a very predictable answer haha but yes I think most of us would agree. For me this is a very important club. It’s dancefloor has taught me alot of things especially on the part how I wanted to curate my sets. It has showed me that energy flows in a set are key, and that if you’re able to keep the crowd with you, they’ll stay for hours.
De School, Trouw were very special places to me as well. These are clubs I haven’t played or haven’t played yet but attended alot as audience. K41 is definitely the most special club I have played until now. To me it has the potential of being a special club like Berghain.
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We can’t speak to you without asking about your Olympic career – being a DJ and a professional athlete wouldn’t appear to go hand and hand, but you’ve been extremely successful. How do you manage it? Does one ever influence the other?
Haha nice! I mean it has been super busy and that with these covid times but I have to be honest that I can not keep up with this this if clubs are secured and back open completely without restrictions. When that happens, I will have to let go of basketball which has been my passion and life for 21 years. I have been busy making this transition for a couple years now and it all has been going smooth until now. So I feel super blessed that I can go from one passion to another without feeling it is an actual job. This to me is richness, to be able to do what I love and to be able to take care of my family with it.
With regards to the Olympics, can you talk to us about your experiences of playing basketball at that level? What were some of your highlights of Tokyo? (Lucy from Meat Free is a big basketball fan!).
To be able to go to the Olympics as 1 of the 4 first Dutch basketball players ever is already a milestone accomplishment that nobody can ever take away from me. We unfortunately came short on the tournament of getting a medal which was by far the biggest disappointment of my career. Now months after I can only look back with pride and be proud to have given so many Dutch kids the realistic chance to dream about playing ball at the Olympics. This to me is worth a thousand times more than a medal in my closet.
From your journey so far, are there any words of wisdom you can impart, be it to budding DJs or ballers?
To DJs and producers I would like to say one thing. Do it because you love doing it. Everything you do should come from straight passion. This translates to your music and it will originally sound unique because there is only one of you. There is a difference between being inspired by and copying. The real ones will recognise. Work hard and be patient, there is no short way to success.
And finally, we ask everyone – what can we expect from you at Meat Free on Friday 1st October?
You can expect a enthusiastic MARRØN who is happy and honoured to play for this awesome party in Manchester. My goal is to give exactly what you expect from me musically wise but always be refreshing and exciting. So I see you then ❤️