Maro Music, (real name, Marek Walaszek) is a prolific Polish DJ, producer and sound engineer. For more than 15 years, he has DJ’d at major nightlife venues throughout Europe and Asia.
As a music producer and sound engineer, Maro Music has worked with some of the biggest names in hip-hop, reggae and electronic music, including Agallah, Dominique Young Unique, Wu-Tang Clan, Sizzla, Redman, Bang La Decks, DJ Kazzanova and others. Sought after by the biggest international brands – Coca-Cola, Absolute Vodka and BMW among them – to create music for their advertising campaigns, Maro Music has proven his skill in the recording studio time and time again. His studio and record label, Addicted To Music, maintains a heavy schedule crafting original productions and doing mixing and mastering work for internationally recognized artists. The studio regularly produces Polish artists for Warner Brothers as well as for the bigger Polish record labels.
What goes into the post-production work you do for “The Voice” Poland when you work on their shows?
Maro Music (real name, Marek Walaszek): I did several edits for them on multiple episodes. My studio, Addicted to Music Studio, is based in the most high-tech TV and film production complex in Poland. My studio happens to be situated directly above the main hall of where “The Voice” was taping, and their greenroom and wardrobe rooms surround me from every angle. On top of that, their video post is above my studio. So, there were quite a few occasions for them to drop-by and work on sound with me. My studio and I also starred in some videos made as promotional spots for the show.
What would be the most surprising thing the average person wouldn’t know is involved with big-time TV shows like this?
Maro Music: The scenography. In Poland we say it’s “The magic of television.” Everything on TV appears big and shiny and it’s like, you are drunk at a party and the lights go suddenly on. Everything is not what it seems. I was always amazed by that walking around all the different shows that are shot where I work.
You also give lectures across universities about music production and sound engineering what advice would you give to anyone wanting a career in music?
Maro Music: Be stubborn as hell! [laughs] I knew what I wanted to do all my life and there were many occasions and people that could have broken me. You need to stay focused and stay hungry. You can have a hit single this year and nothing for the next five. The same goes for time. If you are good at your craft, there will be thousands of friends wanting to drain you and warm a bit in your light. After so many years in this business I found out that there are just a bunch of people that can go along with me, and if you find them, pay them well, not only with cash. I tell aspiring producers this one piece of advice, “Fuck-up a thousand mixes and get the one-thousand-and-first one right”
How did you begin your career in music?
Maro Music: I think there was no beginning. I knew what I wanted to do since I was 14. I was collecting cheap audio equipment, learning a little about electronics and reading magazines. I always wanted to be a DJ because I was sure that the DJ was responsible for the beats of the rap groups at the time. Then I found out that actually, I wanted to be a producer. I never had a day job. All my life, I was about the sound and music.
For those who may not be familiar with MARO MUSIC, how would you describe your sound?
Maro Music: I really jump around many genres all the time, but I’m sure I have some kind of sound that’s “mine.” Several time, people have told me that they’d recognize my style no matter the genre. I love hard drums, heavy bass, that monumental hyped-up feeling. All my tracks need to serve a purpose, not just be.
You own your own hardware company Bettermaker. How did you set up the company in the beginning?
Maro Music: I was mixing a lot of foreign artists in my studio in Warsaw. So I had a lot of recalls a day and I needed to take photos of my analog gear to make a recall after. By then I also stopped recording people as I was not interested in it anymore. My studio tech guy was a self-taught genius and he could figure-out many different gadgets. He was constantly modifying his old car, for example, installing a CD-rom as a CD player or making the car start by honking the horn, etc. I was using some synths that at that time had a MIDI recall and I thought, “If I can recall a synth, why should I not be able to recall an EQ?” So we turned my studio into a little workshop and we have spent one and-a-half years to make a prototype of an EQ that would recall itself. As my fellow engineers started to ask about it, I decided to take it to Musikmesse in Frankfurt and see if there was some interest in it. I returned with five dealers across Europe and more orders than I could handle. Today, Bettermaker is distributed in over 31 countries. My gear is used by Platinum-selling artists and GRAMMY-winning engineers from all over the world.
How did your collaboration with Wu Tang Clan come about? What was it like working together?
Maro Music: I did several projects where Wu Tang Clan members were involved. I was always a huge fan of the group and I’d tried to hook-up with them on every occasion possible. At one of their concerts in Warsaw, I met their tour manager for Europe at that time. We emailed for a while and he decided to mix his album with me. The album had some Wu Tang Clan members on it, including Methodman, Raekown, The Rza, Ghostface Killah and a lot of affiliates. Eventually, DJ Mathematics and I did an album for him. This led to another couple of projects after that.
Who else have you enjoyed working with? Why did you like working with them so much?
Maro Music: I mostly enjoy working with people who know exactly what they want to do. People with vision who are concentrated and decisive. Even if they are laidback on the outside, they know their craft and go straight to the target. Once I was recoding Redman in my studio in Warsaw and although we hotboxed the whole place, he came out the fog in front of the mic and just slayed the track in 4-5 takes.
What would be your dream film soundtrack to work your musical magic on?
Maro Music: I would love to work on some kind of a horror or sci-fi thriller or any of the Marvel movies. I would also love to do sound design and a soundtrack to a video game.
What is a typical studio day like for you?
Maro Music: I keep my work routine very tight as per musician standards, so to speak. I go into the studio around 9:30am and out around 7:30pm. I try not to do night sessions. This surprises some people as they are used to hanging around the studio for days. I do not hang around. I work here. I have enough work that I need to be concentrated and take care of my health. I do not have time for recovery and mental hangovers after a long session. This way I’m efficient every single day. Normally, I fire up all the equipment, listen to Soundcloud or Spotify or Beatport for new releases, check my emails. After that, I listen to the last day’s work and tackle the first project. I work kind of eclectic. I cannot concentrate in one subject a day, which is my curse and a blessing at the same time as I’m not bored. I run 3-5 projects a day, doing each bit by bit. And that’s it for being a typical day. The actual work changes from day to day. I can mix a Polish rap song in the morning, do sound design before lunch, prepare a DJ set in the afternoon and work on some EDM just before I leave.
You have a new single and music video out and it features very, um, enthusiastic footage of women twerking. Do you think that video is sexist?
(Please edit me if I will go apart off your idea of selling it)
Maro Music: I feel that some people will find it sexist, but it all depends on your point-of-view. The track “Shaking Di Bom” is based on dancehall culture and that’s a valid sub-culture based on a specific type of dance move. How else could I show it? The dancers in the video are some of the best dancers in the world of this style. Some of these dancers have earned many awards and others run their own dance schools. They train many hours a day, every day, to have such control of their bodies. I think their skills are awesome and the track is a tribute to their craft. I hope that “Shake Di Bom” will be played in twerk academies around the world and be included in competitions. I hope this video will inspire more people to start twerking and to go to twerk parties.
Why did you choose twerking as the tribute to pay homage in “Shake Di Bom”?
Maro Music: As a DJ that sits in the middle of hip-hop and EDM, I always loved to play twerk and trap music. I wanted to have my own track that I could play in my sets and this is the first such track I did under my own name. The video was made by my friends, who are professional dancers that I knew from twerk events and dance-offs.
What else do you have coming-up that music lovers would be interested in knowing?
Maro Music: Right now I’m working on my solo album that should go out in spring 2018. I have collected a lot of different styles and artists from different parts of the world to the feeling of how wide my music interests go. The album will take you on a journey of what inspires me and where my head is at right now.