Melbourne-based EDM star Marcus Santoro is living the dream. Yes, he might still be in his teens, but he’s been sharing the stage with the likes of Avicii, Steve Angello and Steve Aoki, lending his remix talents to some of Australian pop’s finest and scoring club hits across the planet.
Now he’s teamed up with The Potbelleez for a brand new single which he hopes will help him cross over into the mainstream.
We popped a couple of questions to the 19 year old to find out how he got his start, the ‘pinch yourself’ moments in his career to date and, of course, the new single which he no doubt hopes will take him ‘All The Way’ to the top of the charts.
Q : What was it that originally drew you to the world of EDM?
A : I grew up with disco and pop music my entire childhood, so the ‘dance’ side of things was always fairly prominent in my life and that was what initially sparked my love for music. It was about ten years ago when first I discovered EDM. I was given a video of Tiesto in 2004 playing a sold out show in front of thousands. That is what made me fall in love with the whole scene right from the beginning. Although what really drew me to EDM was back in 2006 when I first heard a remix of Evermore’s ‘It’s Too Late’ by an Australian DJ / Producer called ‘Dirty South’. It was his music that really inspired me to take on the challenge to write & produce my own music.
Q : How did you get your start in the industry?
A. I started my career in the industry around 2008. I was around 13 when I first discovered musical software. I was primarily self-taught, I focused on just doing my own thing and learning new techniques and styles by myself. In 2010 I did a short-course in music production and learned new ways of the production process and I decided to take it a little more seriously. I then got a few gigs interstate; my first show ever being at the Sydney International Tennis Centre which led to playing at the Big Top Arena in Sydney and other various venues around Australia. At the time, majority of the shows were for free, as I was just given the opportunity for the experience but it definitely paid off in the long run. It wasn’t until 2013 where I started to send my music off to record labels and I landed a few releases with Neon Records, Ministry Of Sound and Central Station. I mainly focused on just the music itself at the time rather than the whole concept of the DJ/Producer status. I started gaining support from some of the worlds biggest DJs and that was when I knew I could potentially take things to the next level and have a solid future in the business. It’s a massive learning curve, you never stop learning and achieving new things. That is why I love it so much.
Q : You’ve quickly become a man in demand and though arguably your career is still in its infancy, there have been a succession of highlights. What are some of your favourites – and have you had any ‘pinch yourself’ moments?
A. I’ve got a long way to go until I can say “I’ve made it”. As I mentioned before you never stop learning and you’re always doing something new to help make your career and your music what it is today. In such a short time I have indeed had a few highlights which I’m most proud of. My favourite to date would have to be recently when I signed an artist deal with Sony Music Entertainment, as it was a goal of mine that I hoped to achieved a few years down the line. When I got offered a deal at 19 years old, it definitely was a “pinch yourself” moment and it helped me stay true to my passion and keep me motivated.
Q : You’ve been able to tour with some of the biggest names in the business, including Avicii, Steve Angello, Steve Aoki etc. What, if anything, did you learn from watching them play?
A. It’s easily an experience that I’ll never forget, especially when you see some of your favourite influences and artists perform. Learning how they work the crowd and put on a great show is what it’s all about and it is something that I take with me to my own shows.
Q : And, we suppose, further to that… did they give you any tips?
A. Well, that would’ve been amazing but unfortunately no, I had to take it all in myself as they were constantly on the move.
Q : What is it about you that you feel sets you apart from others plying their trade on the country’s decks?
A. I like to think I’m different from other producers & DJs in Australia because of the music that I am playing / producing. A lot of aspiring artists here are doing more ‘Melbourne Bounce’ rather than the whole commercial/mainstream sound that I have decided to take a new direction in and I feel it works for me and differentiates me from others.
Q : You’ve released mixes for the likes of pop divas Zoë Badwi and Bonnie Anderson in the past. Is this something we can expect more of from you in the future?
A. For sure, being able to remix for Zoë was amazing considering it was the official anthem of Mardi Gras in 2013 and to remix for Bonnie Anderson’s smash ‘Blackout’ was even more exciting. You can definitely expect some new and exciting remixes in 2015.
Q : So tell us about ‘All The Way’ and how the collaboration with The Potbelleez came about?
A. It was unexpected and unplanned to say the least. It happened around six months ago at a time I was working on several instrumental records. I received an email one morning that had a really rough draft of the vocal to ‘All The Way’ and was asked if I wanted to pursue this vocal and turn it into a new single. I loved it from the moment I heard it and I knew there was potential. I didn’t know at the time who the vocalist was. It wasn’t until I finished the rough draft of the single that I knew it was Ilan Kidron from The Potbelleez. I also discovered that the record was co-written by multi-platinum selling writers DNA (David Musumeci & Anthony Egizii), who recently wrote and produced ‘You Ruin Me’ by The Veronicas that went to #1 on iTunes. It was a privilege to have had the opportunity to work with such amazing talents and people on this record. It’s definitely an experience that I would like to re-live again and again, as it was a fresh take for me personally on producing and writing music. Having my name next to The Potbelleez on a single is also a dream come true because I grew up listening to their music back in 2007, so I’m very humbled to have an original single together with them.
Q : What’s next on the cards for you? And what can we expect throughout the next 12 months?
Lots and lots of new music, and I would love to be hopefully touring within the next six months. Life has been amazing so far and I feel that it’s only going to get better. It feels like I’m on a roller coaster that is only going up and I have no plans to slow down any time soon. You can expect to see some new music together with some really talented and amazing artists coming soon!
Marcus Santoro & The Potbellez’ single ‘All The Way’ is available digitally now.