Marina Trench has just three releases under her belt so far but she's already causing a stir in house circles
Marina Trench is a rising French DJ/producer whose next release, the Waterside EP, will drop next month on WOLF Music, previously home to underground house from producers like Medlar, Frits Wentink, Bicep, PBR Streetgang, Ron Basejam and Red Rack ’Em. Featuring four tracks of subtle, slinky house music, with clean, speedy beats, classy arrangements and plenty of rich piano chords, the Waterside EP is Trench’s third release.
She produces an intriguing house hybrid which takes in US house influences – warm piano lines and an unmistakeable underlying jack to her rhythms – mixed with a colder, more pristine European flavour – clean, crisp, efficient production, occasional ethereal vocals and a sense of cool detachment. It all adds up to a production style that immediately caught the ears of DJ Deep, who released Marina’s two previous EPs on his Deeply Rooted label, featuring remixes from Kerri Chandler, Hugo LX and DJ Deep himself.
We took some time to chat with Marina about her journey into house music.
To begin with, tell us a bit about your new EP for WOLF Music…
"First of all, I’m very glad about this release! It’s a four-track opus called Waterside EP and it is very diverse vibes-wise, the BPMs are all different and a couple of distinct instruments are in there too. I spent a few months working on it, taking the time to test some new ideas. For example, I sing on some tracks, which is a premiere. I’m not a singer but I liked the idea to go DIY for vocals on that particular project. I had lots of fun doing that.
"It will be released at the end of February and I literally can't wait! A pure home-made EP. I had a real pleasure working with WOLF, they’re super-friendly and helpful. Artwork-wise it is also top! Hope you're going to enjoy it as much as I do."
Tell us your story – how did you get into DJing and producing in the first place?
"I discovered house music as a teenager. I was listening to DJ sets on the radio and I was very interested in the mix, the selection. House music was immediately for me a good way to combine dance and energy. That’s approximately where I started going to dance classes too. Later, during my studies In Fine Art school in Bordeaux, I started collecting records. I was also working on sounds, samples and music during that period from time to time through my various art school projects. I made my first steps as a DJ in Bordeaux, by playing warm-ups which helped a lot to understand the crowd in front of me."
So DJing came before production for you?
"DJing definitely came first. I was focused on house music from the 90s, worked on my DJ skills and also the right energy. Producing came a bit after, really naturally I would say. When I went back to Paris after my studies, my record collection was much bigger, I was DJing, had a little radio show too. The idea to have a little home studio to produce music was a kind of a new challenge to express myself better. Producing music always takes a lot of time, I really wanted to make something I was happy with."
Do you see yourself now as a DJ who produces, or a producer who DJs?
"Hard to choose, one can inspire the other and vice versa. The approaches for each are so different but also complimentary. When I'm mixing I directly share music, this is more intuitive, with a different vibe every time – that’s why it is so interesting. When I produce music I give it 100% of my time. I lock myself in during long days in my home studio, working and working again. Overall, I feel more like an artist who loves to explore different ways to express herself through music."
How do you describe the music in your sets?
"It’s about making people dance, always, to any kind of style. My DJing is really focused on energy and danceable beats. That’s perfect with house music and its musical roots in disco, funk, and soul because it inevitably calls for movements.
"I often mix old school labels from the '90s like Sub-Urban or Subwoofer with contemporary house music like Best Modus, Toy Tonics or Lionoil Industries. But I can also be more in the selector role sometimes, it depends on what time it is and how the party is, sometimes you play early opening sets. Everything depends on the moment."
What’s your favourite place to DJ and why?
"Recently I have got to tour a lot more. I discovered really nice places to DJ and I also connected to many people, which is a part of the job I really appreciate. It is difficult to choose a favourite, as every experience is unique. Got to remember the lovely peeps of Autentica in Florence, I got to play a couple of times in Brussels at La Cabane last year which is always super-cool with an excellent vinyl set-up; Rotterdam with the Donna'crew etc. And not to mention the parties in Berlin which are always intense. And of course Paris where I feel always super welcomed in my hometown."
What about production, how did that start for you?
"First I bought an MPC 3000 and worked both on machine and computer to make the arrangements. Ableton LIVE offers so many possibilities, I’m still learning about. Then I added a Korg M1 synth and a Roland TR-09. Producing needs so much investment. Getting your own sound, working and working. You also need to have enough financial possibilities to buy your own equipment etc. Proposing ideas is not easy neither, you need to get enough confidence.
"As an artist and a creator, you always have those inevitable doubts about what you are doing, which is why my first two EPs that have been released on Deeply Rooted in 2019 were actually created about two years ago."
Who has been most important to you on your journey into dance music?
"Musically, my feelings about house music encouraged me to understand the history of that specific genre better and to dig very deeply. As a house music lover Kerri Chandler, MAW and Theo Parrish have always been big inspirations. With all the digging, you always discover so much about music. And house music is still flourishing with a new scene of producers. Exploring and connecting with passionate people is the most important thing."
And how do you feel about your own releases so far?
"They are not so much but at the moment, I'm very happy with them. They really reflect what I am so I think this is the most thing important at the moment. This is the exact direction I wanted to take. The process to create is not always easy, but getting the physical record, seeing the artwork etc makes me feel so happy that everything is worth it – even the long process and the inevitable doubts."
Finally, tell us about your plans for this year?
"2020 is already looking so good! I’m still sitting in the studio long hours working on a new EP, so excited again about this one. Gigs-wise, many magical things are arriving soon. First time in London next month playing B2B with Hugo LX, some Paris, UK, German gigs etc. I am also playing some boutique festivals this summer/spring."
Words: Harold Heath
Marina Trench's Waterside EP is out on WOLF Music Recordings on 28 February