Marlon Hoffstadt: The Ransom Note Mix
Berlin is awash with young creatives, it can be a mighty challenge to make yourself heard above the noise. Only those who can bring value, edge and relevance are rewarded.
Marlon Hoffstadt is a producer and disc jockey based in the German city. He is also a founder of Retrograde Records alongside Natureboy Gold. His productions are emotive, deep and intrinsic whilst the music he plays out in clubs is wide reaching. The label has been responsible for releasing music from some of the most interesting up and comers: Terron, Matteo Luis, Lo and Paris Brightledge have all featured prominently. The latter has recently become a frequent collaborator with Marlon Hoffstadt and the pair have just released a new EP on Hot Haus Records.
Most recently Marlon Hoffstadt has launched a new series of parties in Berlin in which he will invite some of his favourite selectors from across the world to play alongside him at Chalet.
We caught up with him as he delivers the Ransom Note mix….
Who are you, where are you and what are you?
Hello Everyone, i'm Marlon hoffstadt, a human being, currently growing up in Berlin City.
What does your music sound like? Can you draw what you think it sounds like for us (an image from the old internet is acceptable)?
You have recently launched a series of parties in Berlin, whats the inspiration behind this?
I already promoted several events at ://about blank club over the last couple of years and besides the super stressful part of it (like paying fees, promoting the events, writing many mails and signing even more contracts) its a lot fun! I met so many nice and talented musicians through these events and i'm still in contact with some of them. Also I guess the more sets I hear from other dj's and live acts, the more I learn from them.
So I decided to curate this little “invite series” thats going to take place at Chalet Club, Berlin from March 9th on. I'm going to invite 20 artists for 10 nights to play with me and i'm already super excited.
You have also been working on a few collaborations, how have these come about?
It sometimes feels like i'm not collaborating too much, but as you say it right now, I just noticed that I actually do.
I guess the fun part about collaborating is the competition behind it: You're trying to put two different visions and styles into one track and to make your partner and also yourself happy. While you're working on this track it kind of feels like you're having a relation ship with the other person. It's full of ups and downs and at some point there's always this little “break through” moment where you both start dancing in the studio and can't stop smiling. That's what you normally don't have when you produce music just on your own. You have these moments, but you can't share it with someone.
But I honestly can't really tell how these collaborations came together. I think most of the time its coincidences, and sometimes I just contact someone through Facebook or Soundcloud. If you look at my recent collaboration with Paris Brightledge for example, the funny thing might be that we actually never met and that we're just sending wav's back and forth.
How would you describe the journey of Retrograde so far?
Retrograde goes the same journey every young label has to go. We have many visions, ideas and a s***t load of music and we're so enthusiastic about everything, but at some point we always need to face reality: money!
Starting your own label is a difficult thing as there is so much competition these days, that it takes a bit longer to make yourself a name, and to establish. But I think we're on a good way, even though we're keeping it a bit lower at the moment.
How has your own sound changed?
It's hard to tell. I think the main point is, that i'm now doing what I want to do and not what other people expect me to do. The last years have been very tough for me. I've had a bit of success at a very early stage of my “career” and then had to faith all these expectations, that I could not fulfill. Maybe it was just my own expectations anyway, but during this time I was very unhappy with what I played and produced and also with my life in general. With Retrograde and over the last two years I really found a way to develop and grow music wise and also personally. These days I go to local record shops twice a month or sometimes a week, I dig through discogs, youtube and old sets from other DJ's. I'm searching for music that inspires me and with every great record I find, my sound also changes a bit. Not that i'm starting to copy these tracks but they kind of show me whats possible and also what I love to play. So I guess if I would have to say it in one sentence: I'm producing music for my sets and for the momentum. Thats something completely new for me but it is actually so much fun.
Where was the mix recorded?
I recorded the mix at Chalet Club, in late January at a Retrograde showcase.
What would be the ideal setting to listen to the mix?
Probably when you're about to go to the club or having some pre-drinks with your friends.
What should we be wearing?
Your party outfit, but please not black clothes, maybe something colourful!
What would be your dream setting to record a mix: Location/system/format?
A nice rotary mixer, two pairs of technics, two pair of cdjs. A nice location, together with all my friends, close to the sea or a lake, on a hot summer day.
Which track in the mix is your current favourite?
Opal Sun – Ether (Forthcoming Planet Sundae Release)
What’s your favourite recorded mix of all time?
It's an old Nicolas Jaar mix: he released this mix series some years ago for his label “clowns and sunsets” I guess. It was my favourite mix for a full summer vacation, back in the days when I was still at school, so every time I run through this mix it reminds me of this summer. And It was truly a beautiful summer!
If you could go back to back with any DJ from throughout history, who would it be and why?
I would probably ask Midland. I really admire him as a DJ and also as a producer. He puts out whatever he wants to put out, plays a wide range of music in his sets, and also has had a incredible journey as a producer. Everything he puts his hands on is really high quality and he seems to be a super nice guy.
What was your first DJ set up at home and what is it now?
It was a cheap Behringer Mixer and two CDJ 850's. I bought them two days before my first gig, I needed to sell a lot of my stuff for these. Right now I don't have a home set up anymore. I sold my mixer and technics last summer. But I just built a beautiful looking record shelf together with my girlfriend so I really need to buy new decks to spin some records at home.
What’s more important, the track you start on or the track you end on?
The track I start on is the most important one. If you're not 100% in the mode or on the same level as the crowd, then it can be really hard to get into the set, so the first record and also the two or three following ones are really important to build up your self-confidence.
What were the first and last records you bought?
First record was Backstreet Boys and I bought it in Spain when I was on summer holiday with my parents. I bought it because it had a nice looking cover. The last one was the latest Levon Vincent release on Novel Sound, such a banger!
If this mix was an edible thing, what would it taste like?
Berti botts beans from Harry Potter, you never lnow what's in there.
If it was an animal what would it be?
Upcoming in the world of…
The HOTSHIT031 that I curated together with Paris Brightledge just got released this week. In a few month i'm going to release another record on Midnight Themes, a new imprint of mine. And there will be a track on a Axe On Wax VA.
Thanks for having me 🙂