Originally from Toronto, Canada, Mary Velo has been involved in music from an early age but it wasn’t until the 80’s where she discovered Depeche Mode and became attracted to deep & moody sounds. In 2007, she moved to Berlin to focus on her music career where she was strongly influenced by the Deep House & Techno scene. With a creditable discography which includes releases on labels such as Frozen Border, Semantica, Gynoid Audio & Coincidence, Mary has proven that hard work does indeed pay off.
We recently sat down with Mary to discuss a range of topics including; the state of Canada’s techno scene, creative processes when writing music, the vinyl vs digital debate, playing at Berghain and much more. Enjoy!
Where are you and what are you doing right now? (Apart from answering these questions)
I am at work, listening to the new Jeff Derringer EP preview on Electric Deluxe.
When did you first start DJ’ing and/or producing?
I started making music at a very early age but I started producing electronic music around 2005.
A Canadian by birth can you tell us a bit more about the techno scene there, is it as healthy as it is in Europe?
I can definitely say that there was no techno scene when I was living in Toronto (up until 2007). The indie rock scene was very much alive before I moved to Berlin.
When you’re in the studio what sort of gear are you working with?
I am doing everything with Ableton. I use a lot of different vsts, plug ins, effects, filters, delays.
If money and resources weren’t an issue what piece of hardware would you love to have and why?
If money, resources and my neighbors weren’t an issue, I would love to get a set of Function Ones in my studio.
Can you tell us a bit about your creative process when writing music?
I get my creativity from my mood. I will sit down and create some stuff and when I think I got something I will listen to over the next few days and make some tweaks to make it more dance floor friendly (for most of my tracks). I also try to envision the track being played in a club and see if I think it will work out or not. I guess I can say I need some visuals in my head as well when finishing up a track.
“Detune” was a massively successful track for you, did this come as a surprise or were you pretty happy with the final result?
I was pretty happy with Detune when I finished it but didn’t think it was going to get so successful! So yes I was very surprised! One article I was reading also called it a “techno anthem” which made me very happy. I also love the reaction I get from the crowd when I play it out!
One of our favorite tracks of yours is “Signification” (link here) because although it has quite a deep bass-line the melody is quite relaxing (for us at least!). What was the inspiration for this track?
Glad you like that one 🙂 I did the track a few years ago so I can’t remember if I was inspired by anything specifically but I am pretty sure it was the mood I was feeling at the time.
You recently played at the infamous Berghain in-between greats Eric Cloutier and Rødhåd from 9:00pm – 12 midnight on Sunday night, can you tell us a little bit about that experience?
It was awesome! I must admit I was pretty nervous before my set. I guess because it was Berghain. I mean who wouldn’t get nervous at their first Berghain gig? But just right when I started the set and looked out into the crowd, it is definetly a different feeling than any other gig. I just felt in control and just wanted to give everyone there an amazing time on the dance floor. Sunday night at Berghain is the best time really, so I was very excited to have that time slot. I was also excited to play right before Rødhåd and after Eric! It was such an amazing feeling to be playing in my favorite club, something I have dreamed of but never thought would have happened.
You have played in many countries across Europe but where have you not been that you would like to visit one day?
There’s a few places in Europe I still have not played yet such as London & Spain, and of course would love to play in Australia as well as Japan!
Do you have anything that you’re currently working on that you can talk about? (releases, gigs, etc)
I just finished a podcast for Electric Deluxe that should be up very soon. It’s different from my usual podcasts as they specifically asked me to do something different. I have an upcoming release that I can’t talk about (but more info will be announced). I wasn’t able to be in the studio for about a month with moving flats and vacationing in Brazil, but I got back into the studio and just felt refreshed and finished a bunch of tracks which I am happy with. So I am in the process of getting those released, and continuing with DJ & Live sets across Europe.
What do you think of the vinyl VS digital debate?
Of course vinyl is better, most of my vinyl releases are the ones that get played and charted the most. Also nothing beats the feeling of holding your own record.
If you had to choose, what would be in your Top 5 records?
Oh this is a difficult one…Currently I would say:
1. Answer Code Request – Breathe EP (Ostgut Ton)
2. Vril – Vortekz EP (Dlelsin)
3. Terence Fixmer – Empire EP (Planete Rouge)
4. Joe Cocherell – Commerce Above All Else EP (Frozen Border)
5. Aiken – Eternal Dreamer EP (Chronicle)