Get to know: Marco Bailey

Ahead of his Materia Showcase on 25th May with Vril (Live) and Jonas Kopp, we caught up with the Belgian techno veteran...

Belgian techno legend, Marco Bailey has been touring for three decades, wowing the crowds all around the world. The seasoned veteran heads up our Middle Floor on 25th May. Taking his Materia showcase on the road with stints in Mexico, Miami, his native Belgium and more in recent months, this date marks Marco’s first ever Materia showcase at the club. We caught up with Marco ahead of the night to find out about his entry into the world of raving back in the 90s, the evolution of his Materia brand and more… 

Hi Marco, thanks for chatting with us ahead of your return to Egg LDN on 25th May. How has the year been so far for you? 

It has been very, very nice! It started with a brilliant NYE event in France, then straight to South America for a few gigs. Then back again to Europe for a while, and then I came back to North America to play in Mexico and USA, the latter for our MATERIA 4th anniversary event in Los Angeles, and then I flew to Asia to play gigs in Jakarta & Bali. It’s been another tour with gigs around the world and in a just a couple weeks. 

This show is part of your MATERIA brand, what’s the vision behind MATERIA? 

The vision is a gathering for people who’s passionate about techno, and be the bridge that delivers high-end music to them. And I am not talking about only tracks that top the charts, but also honest music that is made from the heart. This combined with great visuals. Also, our line-ups always include legends of the game, but in each and every event we make sure to include fresh new talents that we think need and deserve the push and the recognition. 

We are not a brand looking to book artists just to sell out a club. We don’t book people with ticket sales in mind. We look to book musicians that want to join our family, our vibe… the feeling that took MATERIA from a dream to reality. 

Recently, we saw the passing of Keith Flint who was a strong influence on rave culture and introduced the world to a more grittier side of dance music. Can you remember your first rave and how you were first introduced to dance music and later on, techno? 

Yes, I was shocked when I heard the news I was on the plane from Asia back home. He was such an outstanding performer, just unique! Devastating news. I remember playing the first Prodigy vinyl in 1990. It was this unique sound, so strong and full of energy. Punk rock in a rave landscape. I cannot exactly remember when my first rave was, cause I’ve been in so many in my life, but my first time was of course as a raver, and a while later it was as a DJ. 

I remember travelling to London for clubs like The End and Ultimate Base and to The Omen in Frankfurt to go to events when I was very young, and later, by 1990, I started to DJ. First I played in small bars and clubs, mixing from Rock to Hip Hop and Funk and Dance music. Tunes by The Police, The Gramps, Bryan Adams, The Stooges and Iggy Pop, James Brown, John Guitar Watson, Public Enemy, EPMD, LL Cool J, De La Soul, Womack & Womack etc. Then in 1994, I started to produce my first records and soon after I started as an international DJ. It was around 1997-1998 that I connected myself more to techno. I started a journey through the sub-genres that are still running today, with my 2 labels MATERIA Music & MB Elektronics. 

How do you think dance music culture has changed since you experienced your first rave? 

Well, to me the big change was the internet. It changed the way we listen to music, how we work with music, and how people get recognised and discovered. Way different than back in the day. I don’t wanna be negative, but I remember attending raves in the ’90s to listen to the DJ and their music, asking what record he or she was playing, going back to the parking and check mixtapes in the car to find it. These days many people are busy on their smartphones, and they don’t really spend time checking music. It’s almost like sheep following their shepherd without actually knowing what they are doing. It is very sad in a way. It has pros and cons. 

You recently returned from Bali, what’s the electronic music scene like out there? 

Bali is a very touristic place so you can see people from all over the world mixed on the dance floor. This makes it very interesting! But it can also happen that you meet a very diverse crowd. Some wanna hear this and the others wanna hear that. And you can’t please everyone at the same time, but it’s definitely a beautiful place, and I can’t wait to hit it back! 

What’s next on the horizon for you? 

Playing in Lisbon tonight. I like Portugal because of their powerful party mood. Soon I will be back to Colombia, then Ultra Music Festival in Miami, back to Europe for MATERIA event in Belgium, and soon Egg in London for a party. I can’t wait. I’ve always had the feeling that the people from Egg, and hopefully the crowd too, are ready for some serious techno. I will also soon release a new EP on MATERIA, and then a collaboration with Detroit techno legend Blake Baxter. 

Leave us with a released track that you feel embodies the ethos of MATERIA and is likely to be played on 25th May? 

I guess many tracks that have been released on MATERIA label from me and also from other great artists!