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Marco Bailey talks all things techno

The Belgian DJ brings his MATERIA residency to Privilege Ibiza this summer

Marco Bailey has been wowing techno fans around the world for almost 30 years. His legendary touring schedule and releases on labels such as Drumcode, Intec, Sleaze and his own incarnation MB Elektronics, have cemented his status as a true techno hero. This Sunday 19 July, Marco brings his MATERIA residency to Privilege for the first of 11 dates running until 28 August. MATERIA begins with a bang, with a host of talent including Philipp Lichtblau, ZØE, Shlomi Aber, Sam Paganini and rounded off by Bailey himself. Ahead of the opening, we caught up with MATERIA's main man to chat techno, more techno and motorbikes.


How did your love affair with techno come about?

"I started in 1988 in a small club in Belgium; I just went a few times and discovered very quickly that I wanted to be behind the decks rather than on the dance floor. So after a couple of months of going out I started DJing at the age of 18. I also started producing my own records in 1994. 'Acid Eiffel' and 'Wake Up' from Laurent Garnier came up and changed my world, as well as Jeff Mills and all of his stuff on Axis!"

So what do you think is the key to its longevity?

"Techno keeps evolving and never really disappears like other styles. Jeff Mills, for example, was big 20 years ago and still delivers a high level of techno to this day… this explains everything. Not many other people can stay on top forever, many go very high but for a short period - the art is to stay consistent and relevant for more than 10 or 15 years. I had techno parties back in '98/'99 with great guests like Carl Cox, Sven Väth, Adam Beyer, Chris Liebing, Ben Sims, Claude Young, Hyperactive, Surgeon et al."

Who would you say have been your biggest influences musically?

"I haven't really had influences from many other artists. I like a lot of people and their music, of course, but I've never really wanted to mimic anyone. Sometimes it's a certain label that inspires me - other times it's someone's album or just a single track. It depends, and it changes every two to three weeks."

What about outside of music, who are some of your heroes?

"I have only one hero and that's my father, because by working extremely hard he could reach anything in life. He taught me that without moving your ass it's difficult to achieve anything."

Your new residency at Privilege, MATERIA, starts this Sunday (19 June), how did that come about?

"MATERIA is the name of my concept - it's the Spanish word for 'matter', and it's about teaching people from Ibiza and all over the world about high quality techno music - as you can see, our line-up contains only techno DJs. 'Good' techno is timeless. If you check tracks from Richie Hawtin or Carl Craig from 1989 or now they are still timeless, and I think that speaks for itself.

Is there anything you can reveal about the night, aside from its techno foundations?

"I still cannot say much about it, as it's also my first time this year doing it with Privilege and the night still hasn't started. But I really love Domenico from Privilege very much and I have a good feeling about him - it was only because of him that I decided to give the MATERIA events a try on the island for the first time. As I mentioned before, I hope the island is ready for techno and lot of fresh talent."

How did you go about compiling the line-ups?

"Compiling a line up is one of the sweetest nightmares of all. It's like refusing people at an after-party - your heart says yes, but you have to say a lot of nos! I would like to invite lots of friends - not only because they are friends but also because I like their skills as a DJ and some of their productions too. But the main key is, of course, techno. To tread a fine line between the dark and deep Berlin sound like VRIL and Markus Suckut, and the more peak time acts like Sam Paganini and Julian Jeweil, or Paul Ritch and myself, is not always easy, but I think we've succeeded. The venue is an intimate one - it's not a huge room, so there are a lot of things to consider."

What excites you most about the coming summer in Ibiza?

"I'm looking forward to every MATERIA show, from start to finish! I hope people want discover lots of fresh and new great talent."

You've released on many labels and have your own label, MB Elektronics, who are some of the most exciting artists you've signed?

"Watch out for the MATERIA compilation! It's coming out on 17 June and highlights a lot of exciting artists, including a few that are performing at the MATERIA parties this summer. Mikael Jonasson, Shlomi Aber and Ray Kajioka all delivered awesome tracks."

Do you have any favourite remixes of your own tracks?

"I really like FLUG's remix of my track, 'Injection' (MBR LTD). He's a very talented guy from Argentina now living in Spain. Also, the remix from Arnaud le Texier was one of my great favourites. Speedy J did also a great remix for me, full raver time!"

You've been playing techno for almost 30 years now, how do you think the music has evolved during that time?

"Yeah, it's a very long time, huh! I've been playing for 26 years now. In the beginning there weren't four or five DJs in one night - it was one DJ playing the whole night, for 12 or 14 hours every Friday and Saturday - I did this for many years! When I started as a DJ it was mainly funk and hip hop, with rock and dance music of that time - from Eddy Grant to LL Cool J to Twin Hype to The Police, Bowie etc… Later in the '90s, I started making my first records and techno was born. Belgium has always been one of the leading countries in our music culture. Top labels like R&S records and Music Man are still going strong today and delivering high quality music. The music has of course always evolved, and I am happy that techno has always been strong and is now stronger than ever!"

What about the role of a DJ, how has that changed for you over the years?

"Yeah, good question! I remember we just had to make sure we made good records in the studio, and to make sure we went to different record shops to get the greatest and most special records. I think this is what the role of a good DJ should be anyway! There was no time to spend on Facebook or Instagram or social media like nowadays. Our minds were set where they should be, in the MUSIC! I remember spending two days driving around to different record shops trying to find the coolest records. It's sad that many promoters these days are relying on social media when booking events."

Taking that into account, who among your peers do you consider to be the best and why?

"I have a lot of respect for people who have done a lot for techno music, our vibe, and our dance floor! People like Jeff Mills, Carl Cox, Richie Hawtin, Sven Väth, Aphex Twin, Adam Beyer and Carl Craig - all of these people have done so many great things for our movement."

What are some of your most memorable moments here in Ibiza?

"My most memorable moments in Ibiza were playing at Carl Cox & The Revolution each and every time. The Cocoon afters - I still remember being at S'Estanyol in 2003/4 - those were truly memorable times! There are so many more over the course of the 19 years since I've been coming to the island - too many to list."

And finally, what are some of your other interests outside of music; I read that you're into riding motorbikes?

"Yes, it was always my biggest passion! And it still is one of my biggest passions in life. When I was only 13 I had already participated in a competition, it was in Holland because it was even forbidden in my country at that age! Until I was 17 I took part in competitions, then I broke my both arms in a fall and soon after I rolled into nightlife, as you can see! I still have my bike but have no time to drive it anymore; I hope I can make time again soon."


WORDS | David Fleming

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