Surprise, adventure, entertainment and education: Four key words often used for describing Dutch DJ Marcelle/Another Nice Mess. Using live (and in the studio) three turntables, Marcelle puts different styles of music in a different context. She changes the way we experience those individual styles. She is an original, skilled mixer, with a very distinctive style of her own, avoiding most dj-cliches and stale rules. As much inspired by avant garde art movements as fluxus and dada, the real life absurdism of Monty Python as by the wild experiments of dub, post-punk and the latest developments in electronic dance music – Marcelle has always been following musical developments very closely and has a keen ear for innovative and ‘new’ sounds. She strongly believes in the excitement and artfulness of creation and development. With her extensive record collection of some 15, 000 vinyl and counting, Marcelle has a strong historical knowledge of past and contemporary ‘underground’ music.
For over 25 years she’s been doing a weekly radio show, nowadays coming live from her Amsterdam house. Every Tuesday night her show is being broadcast on the internet by Dutch station DFM, but the shows gets repeated on various stations in Europe. On a John Peel discussion group on the internet she was described as the ‘best post-Peel DJ’.
Since 2008 Marcelle has released four double vinyl albums on the German Klangbad label, set up by Faust founding member Hans-Joachim Irmler.
1: The music world is quite a conservative one, even in the so-called ‘’progressive’’ circles. A lot of people like to stay in their comfort zone and don’t like surprises and like to know what they are getting.
2: I think often both audience and DJ hold each other captive in narrow-mindedness. Obviously there are some very good DJs out there who are very good in their one-style playing – I love a good dub or techno set. But for me, I still find it a bit boring after a while, because for me music is more than just a ritual where artist and public do whatever is expected from them. People move, and dance in the same way and the DJ fulfills the audience’s expectations. Music has become a ritual, almost a religion, with strict rules. You don’t have to think about your own role.
3: I like to transcend a sense of freedom and liberty.
What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
I don’t like questions with hierarchy in them, like in this one: ”the biggest”. Life is too complicated for such a simple question. Life in general is the inspiration; I am not about escapism, about forgetting, about getting drunk or stoned in order to hand le life. For me sadness, happiness, and every emotion in between are part of me and I like to reflect that in my music: sometimes you feel happy, sometimes annoyed, than you feel silly, or in love. It varies and changes all the time, with hopefully one result: you feel alive, and hopefully a bit liberated from conventions.
How and when did you get into making music?
Since the punk days (1976-1977) I have been heavily into cutting edge music, music that goes into uncharted terrotories, which is brave, challenging and daring. Female band s like The Slits and The Raincoats proved that it’s possible to make inspiring music without stale rockcliches (I like to think I play wihout stale dj-cliches). Since then I’ve always searched for new, groundbreaking music, and I found that in a lot of styles, like dub, drum n bass, rough techno, strange sounds, music from Africa, unclassifiable, challenging electronic music etcetera.
What are your 5 favourite albums of all time?
Again, a question which is too lazy. I’m not into lists. There are hundreds of albums and singles who are and were very inspiring, depending on age, moment in time, personal situation et cetera.
How does one compare an early punk record with some weird electronic record of today? However, I will mention seven some albums who made a big impact on me when they were released.
The Slits – Cut
The Fall – Grotesque (After The Gramme)
Moonshake – Eva Luna
Lee Perry – Roast Fish, Collie Weed & Corn Bread
Venetian Snares – Rossz Csillag Alatt Született
Untold – Black Light Spiral
Sensational – Loaded With Power
What do you associate with Berlin?
Freedom, ‘crazy’ initiatives, great record shops and flea markets, unconventional and open people, a city with some heavy history in every square centimeter, but also too many poor people (young and old), and a club policy which is quite conservative, mainly focussed on hedonistic, one-dimensional techno and not enough on music and dj’s who are more brave. In this last respect Berlin is a bit like New York; both cities claim to be ”hip”, but are in fact quite narrow-minded when it comes to the party scene. But as both cities are big enough, there’s still always something challenging going on. And I am very much a ‘citywoman’, so I love Berlin!
What’s your favorite place in your town?
Places where I swim in summer, like Schlachtensee or Weissersee. And I love some GDR architecture, like the Karl Marx Allee.
If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
Everything is music, street noise, talking, sounds of nature, animal sounds, breathing et cetera. So if there is no music, there would be no world.
What was the last record you bought?
I hardly ever buy one record at a time, mostly it’s more. Some of my last purchases:
Eugene Ward – Paint En Pointe
Seekers International – Her Imperial Majesty
The Leftovers – Usi e Costumi
Various: Peru Boom! Bass, Bleeps and Bumps from Peru’s Electronic Underground
and an old Muslimgauze record which I had been looking for for years: Izlamaphobia. Muslimgauze is the most underrated artist ever, in my view.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
I already collaborate with inspiring people like the Cologne based percussionist Holger Mertin (in our project ‘Fodderstompf’) and British singer-songwriter Lianne Hall (in our project ‘Murmuration’). These can be heard on my latest album for the Klangbad label. I am open for anyone with ‘open’ ideas.
What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
Again, a lazy hierarchy question. I have seen hundreds of great gigs (Ramones in Paradiso Amsterdam in the seventies, The Specials @ Jazz Bilzen in Belgium (when they were still unknown and their set blew me away), Venetian Snares in Paradiso Amsterdam, DJ/Rupture in Paradiso, Amsterdam, The Fall in London et cetera).
My best gigs are often when people see me for the first time, and are totally blown away by my attitude and mix style. Suddenly there is total euphoria in the club, and a feeling of being liberated from conventions. This happened for example years ago when I first played the Kilbi Festival in Switzerland , or very recently in Rome.
How important is technology to your creative process?
I am a vinyl-only dj, so obviously (all three) turntables, mixer, monitor have to be in perfect condition. When it comes to producing music myself I am quite unconventional in my approach; I am not one who is interested in technology that much. Music taste and creativity are far more important!
Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career?
I have an older brother and sister and they have no idea of what I am doing, they have a very mainstream musical taste.
My sister is very happy for me though that I can make a living out of music.