Self-Portrait: Marina Trench

© Quentin Crestinu

Paris-based DJ and producer Marina Trench has been quickly rising up the ranks over the last year with her fresh, soulful take on classic house. This is no overnight success story though. Marina has been quietly refining and finessing her sound for years before sharing anything with the world — it was two years before she even told her friends she’d been producing.

But her hard work and dedication paid off, and in 2019 she released her first EP ‘Signature’ for DJ Deep’s Deeply Rooted imprint. Not only receiving props from Deep, the two-part release also got the remix treatment from none other than Kerri Chandler. This caught the attention of London-based label WOLF Music who became the home for Marina’s sophomore release last year.

Some of these productions feature in her mix for us, alongside unreleased material and forthcoming music, which is accompanied by an interview about her production processes.

Let’s start with an ice breaker, what’s your earliest musical memory?

As far as I can remember, I was 7 years old. It is quite a funny story as my mother was doing some sport at home and listening to a compilation with a track called ‘Promised Land’ by Joe Smooth and I got totally
mad. This was a real revolution and I couldn’t stop dancing.

Did you have a particularly musical upbringing?

My mother’s legacy is quite an important part of my musical culture. She has worked for a long time in classical music. She has got some very interesting tastes and it was obviously the golden age of house music when I was living with her so she got to teach me a lot about it. It was a big mix between Claude Debussy and Todd Terry.

What led you into music production?

I have always been surrounded by art in general, first with my studies at a Fine Arts School and then little by little by becoming a DJ and a producer. I had the wish for a long time to start creating, producing, making something with my own method and personality. It was a need for me to add production into my daily routine. Everything came quite naturally.

© Quentin Crestinu

Are there any particular rituals you go through before you head into the studio?

My studio is at my place so I am very free to go and work on my productions when I want. I try to fix a kind of weekly schedule, especially at the moment when it is quite easy to lose track of time.

My simple ritual is to have a green tea as I am very big fan of it – feeling cosy first and then able to start.

Do you come in with a destination in mind before starting a jam?

Not really – more a kind of mood(s) – and this will influence the rest.

Are you the type of producer to work on a track until it’s perfect, or are you more of an impulsive creator, happy with first takes and sketches?

It really depends on the project. I think I went through both states. I can be totally impulsive and work with the flow, or I can spend many many hours on just a part of a track if something is not as I want. I can be a perfectionist sometimes but yeah I want to be happy with what I deliver 🙂

Can you talk us through how you might construct a track?

Most of the time, I start with the chords or a melody I am imagining and then singing. I use my Clavinova Yamaha piano for that or my Prologue Korg Synthe to create the pad or the lead.

Then I am mixing all the ideas to see if they fit together. I also do jam sessions from time to time in my studio with singers or musicians, this process is extra for me and always gives me more ideas and inspiration. Sometimes I also ask sometimes musicians to play the parts I’ve imagined and then focus on the beats and the drums. Details are quite important here, many things to check out. I come next to the structure and the mix which are quite difficult parts but also very interesting.

How much of your material is sample based and how much is original?

It is more original than sample based. I use some samples but not that much. I always create most of my tracks – largely more than 80% for sure.

© Quentin Crestinu

What’s the most important bits of kit that make a Marina Trench track?

Definitely the vocal loop made with my own voice. I add layers of voices and put them in some specific EQ. It is a very personal way to build my own material that I can develop step by step. Next I use one analog element, it could be a bass line, trumpet, violin, piano or synth played live. I am also focusing on solid drums. I love to play with congas, claps and hi hats to have this very particular “call for a dance” track.

This mix is comprised of 100% original Marina Trench material. Could you tell us a bit about it? Any tracks that are particularly special to you?

I included some tracks I released on Deeply Rooted and Wolf Music Recordings. There are also a few remixes and brand new ones that are coming out soon 🙂

The very last track before the Outro is called “Meet Up” – I produced it in 2017 and it is quite different from what I usually do. I would choose this one with a smoother mood, not really a proper club track but something I also like very much.

Anything on the horizon for you? Any releases we should know about?

Some exciting projects are in the pipeline yes! I am about to finish a self-release that is coming out soon on Bandcamp and digital platforms. It is an EP from me with remixes from people I really love such as Cinthie, Anna Wall and Laura BCR. I really can’t wait to have this out.

Then, a new EP on a top label in April. I did a remix for Berlin-based Paloma Records and also have a couple of tracks coming out on compilations in 2021. I am having a lil break now, I was working a lot on productions lately and need to have a bit of air in between each one.

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