It now seems a long time since DJ and producer Marco Sterk AKA Young Marco was one of the Amsterdam underground’s best-kept secrets. Although he spent the best part of a decade honing his craft via a series of now infamous DJ residencies, Marco has been headline news since the turn of the decade and his upward trajectory shows no signs of stopping.
In 2018 alone he’s spent more time in the air than he has on the ground, criss- crossing the globe to perform lauded DJ sets of genre-defying eclecticism, working the dancefloor with both unexpected twists and “unclassics” from a dizzying array of similarly-minded styles. One night, you might hear tropical rhythms, Afro gems and Middle Eastern disco obscurities; on another, it may be thrusting techno, skewed synth-funk or industrial strength jack-tracks.
This off-kilter obsession with the inspired, obscure and unusual has become a hallmark of his music productions, too. Once a key part of the Rush Hour family, in 2011 Marco made his debut on Lovefingers’ ESP Institute label. His first two EPs for the label set out his now-trademark style, while his 2014 debut album, Biology, was widely acclaimed by critics as a picturesque, melodious and glassy-eyed treat.
Given these strong credentials, it makes sense that Marco has become an in- demand remixer and re-editor. Over the years, he’s delivered inspired reworks for the likes of Prins Thomas, Joakim, Francis Bebey and Vangelis Katsoulis. In 2015, the best of these revisions were gathered together on the Sorry For The Late Reply compilation.
Marco is no stranger to musical collaboration, either, joining forces with Italian ambient pioneer Gigi Masin and British musician Jonny Nash to form the ambient supergroup Gaussian Curve and deliver two albums of head-in-the- clouds bliss for Amsterdam’s Music From Memory label. There’s also the small matter of his occasional studio hook-ups with Jan Schulte (AKA Wolf Muller) as Young Wolf. Over the years, both Gaussian Curve and Young Wolf have performed live, while summer 2018 saw Marco’s first solo live show at Holland’s Dekmantel Festival.
With such a tightly packed studio and DJ schedule, the Dutchman still finds time to run Safe Trip, a record label he launched in 2015. Renowned for its’ colourful, synthesizer-heavy off-kilter sounds, the imprint was founded with two aims: to showcase work from like-minded producers on the Dutch electronic underground, and to serve up crate-digging reissues and compilations of lesser-known music from Marco’s vast collection. So far, he has co-curated three volumes of the acclaimed Italian “dream house” series Welcome To Paradise on Safe Trip, as well as a personal volume of the acclaimed Selectors series on fellow Amsterdam imprint Dekmantel.
Armed with an ever-changing bag of unusual musical delights, a head-full of ideas and a studio full of vintage kit, Young Marco is set to push on in the years ahead.