This past Labor Day weekend, while in NYC for Electric Zoo, Brian from MMITBY caught up with Swedish producer and DJ Marcus Schossow. Marcus is well known for his productions and releases on Axwell’s Axtone label and Hardwell’s Revealed Recordings. We grabbed some Chinese food and chatted about those other Swedish guys, “selling out” and more.
At this point, I’d say you’re pretty much a household name in dance music. What would you say has been the biggest growth point for your brand?
First of all, being Swedish of course helps. When I started to work with Axwell and Steve [Angello] it kind of helped me. Having a release on Axtone really, really helped. Then, changing to Hardwell’s label also really helped me because then I got two fanbases.
So how did you get involved with the Swedish [House Mafia] guys?
I actually found Axwell’s email on some forum seven years ago and I somehow saved it. And I was doing this song, I sent it to some friends and they said, “Hey, you should give this to Axwell” and I was like “How?” So I searched through my email [contacts] and there it was. So the next day my girlfriend woke me up. She said “you have email” and I was like, “yeah, whatever.” And she goes “no you have a nice email.” “No, you have a really, really, really nice email.” And it was Axwell saying he thought it was a really nice song and wanted to sign it.
And you just ended up meeting Seb[astian Ingrosso] and Steve [Angello] through Axwell?
Back in 2008, I was actually lucky because I was playing and the Swedish House Mafia was playing in Manchester. So we shared a flight by coincidence. Ha, this is even more funny. My sister used to be in a Swedish chat room, this is back about 10 years. She just loves dance music. There were all of these really bad kids making really bad music. She was talking to this guy named Antoine, later turns out it was Steve Angello’s little brother. His last name is completely different though, like the most Swedish name there ever were.
We started to talk for two years and he was like, “oh my brother is playing there” and I was like “who’s your brother?” Of course it was Steve Angello. So I made this track called “Tequilia in Space” and Steve signed it but then I kind of skipped house because I was tired of it. I got into trance but two years ago, I got back into house and it made a huge difference.
So compared to the big room sound of, say, Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, do you ever feel the pull to make your sound closer to mainstream to expand your fanbase?
I don’t feel that way. I would rather make my stuff more simple. Sometimes I make it too complicated, too many layers and pads. In my world, nobody cares. It’s loud, they’re drunk.
Let’s use the word sellout because that’s what we’re talking about here. I could never sell out because people wouldn’t buy it, you know? If I would try to sell out, I would try to go more simple. The thing is, I feel like I already reached that group of people without selling out. So there’s no one really to sell out to unless I make a huge radio song. You just don’t know what’s gonna be a hit.
Speaking of which, what do you think of The Chainsmokers, who went from being an indie-progressive duo like your sound to being what many would consider to be sellouts, since we’re using that word?
It’s like being a sports star. I don’t really blame them at all. If I was given the chance to do it, I’d say “let’s fucking do it.” But then, after a while, let’s try to create something great from that.
If you look at Steve Angello, who had huge radio hits, he just doesn’t care about doing hits. He just cares about doing really good stuff. I think that’s where most artists here in the USA fail. In Europe, there’s more about this way to create like a nice cover, a nice brand, a nice look. In USA, they just do tons of shows and that’s it.
[The] Chainsmokers know this. For us watching them now, maybe its easy to say those guys are selling out. But we don’t know what they have planned for the next half year. The music industry moves half a year behind. What’s being made right now is half a year back. So I guess we wait and see what happens.
It seems like a new genre is exploding on the scene every year.
It’s all about what’s hot right now. Ten years ago, it was all deep house and disco on the radio. Things are coming back around again. In that circle, its really important to create something that lasts longer than 10 years – a brand, a sound.
So, what are you doing with Tone Diary these days?
We will rebrand it. I feel Tone Diary is something that’s been going on too long. There’s a need for a fresh showing. I’ve been doing it 327 times now, which means about 600 hours spent on this show, at least. That’s time I could be making music.
Marcus’ latest is an official remix of One Republic’s single “Love Runs Out” which he’s offered up for free download. Check it out below and keep an eye on what’s in store for Marcus in the coming months!