Marina Trench – arts & culture are the food of the soul

Paris-based producer and DJ, Marina Trench has been steadily making her mark on the contemporary house scene over the past few years. Racking up releases on esteemed imprints such as DJ Deep’s Deeply Rooted (where she debuted alongside a remix from the legendary Kerri Chandler) and WOLF Music amongst others.

Although having only released a few projects so far in her career, Trench has a long career and love affair with music, collecting records, and DJing since her years as a fine art student in Bordeaux before relocating to Paris where she fully cemented herself as a member of the cities acclaimed electronic music scene.

Marina’s sound is contemporary yet deeply rooted in classic deep house. She showcases a mature sound that’s rarely seen with emerging producers. Selecting smart samples, adding beautiful original vocals and smooth pads, Marina layers her tracks effortlessly into warm compositions that work just as well in your living room as in any sweaty club. Her debut EP Over There on Heist Recordings is proof that Marina Trench is here to stay.

Marina spoke to The DJ Cookbook about France’s handling of COVID-19, playing livestreams, and missing nightlife. During the pandemic, Marina revisited her family’s classic French meals and told us what to eat when in Bordeaux. Marina shared her favorite French female DJs and producers and the 5 tracks she heard the most during the first wave of the pandemic.

Q: How has your 2021 been so far? Have you been vaccinated yet?

A: It is starting quite slowly as we are facing a 6 pm curfew in Paris. So far, I have spent a lot of hours in my home studio. Not yet vaccinated – hopefully soon.

Q: 2020 was the year of live streams, from empty theaters, warehouses, to mountain tops, and living rooms, dance music played on. You have participated in several live streams, do you think this will lead to a new way, as to how dance music will be performed and consumed until it is safe to return to the clubs?

A: I have done a couple of live streams to keep on playing a bit. They are a temporary way to keep in contact with your audience. Not sure that will change anything but at least it fills the gap of empty dance floors and enjoying some DJ sets can always give you a smile.

Q: Do you enjoy playing from the intimacy of your own home vs playing in a studio/location?

A: Of course, I always prefer playing in front of an audience. But I also enjoy spinning records at home or for a radio show. Two different vibes. Both are enjoyable, it depends on what you want to do. Home listening is always very relaxing.

Q: Do you think the lessons learned from this historical moment will allow us to appreciate how important the arts are to society?

A: Yes! I hope people will consider what they have been missing.

Q: In your opinion, has the French government done enough to help the arts and entertainment industry during the pandemic?

A: Definitely not. It has been very disappointing how we have been treated so far. There is a big lack of consideration about jobs in the arts in general, especially those linked to clubs and nightlife. A society without the arts makes no sense. We need to feed our eyes, ears, and brains to keep sane!

Q: Did you work on new music during the lockdown?

A: I have been pretty productive. Music has been a refuge, a kind of sanctuary to overcome this hard period.

Q: What is the inspiration behind your new releases? Was there a theme or a feeling that you wanted to portray?

A: Several projects are coming. They are pretty different from each other. I tried to express some authenticity in my productions. I’ve had a lot of pleasure working on my music and I am totally focused on it. Hope this is something that people listening to my music can feel.

Q: How has the pandemic impacted you and the way you make music?

A: I’m not quite sure I have had enough distance from it at the moment. I always need to express my thoughts through music so I’ve definitely felt more creative. This worldwide situation has given me a lot to say in my music.

Q: Can you recommend 5 tracks that made you super happy in 2020 (old or new)?

A: 1. Sylvester – I Need You, 2. Ame Strong – Tout Est Bleu, 3. Tanya St. Val – Carole, 4. Theo Parrish – What You Gonna Ask For (Theo Mix), and 5. Saucy Lady – Soul Amplified.

Q: How many hours a day do you dedicate to listening, buying, mixing, and producing music?

A: A lot! Days and nights. I can say I am fully dedicated to the process and I am very much grateful for that.

Q: Do you enjoy cooking? If yes, what aspect of cooking do you enjoy the most?

A: I love cooking! It is very creative and I love creating recipes with what I have in my kitchen.

Q: What do you like the least?

A: Definitely cleaning the dishes, haha!

Q: Which meal do you look forward to the most, breakfast, lunch, or dinner, and why?

A: Dinner for sure. This is a good moment to relax, share food with your friends (when we can), or prepare a nice meal. Cooking can be very calming during the day or very animated when you’re with people. I enjoy both.

Q: Did you try out new food recipes during the lockdown? If yes, what were they?

A: I re-visited my dad’s classic recipes: Tomates Farcies (stuffed tomatoes), Blanquette de veau (French veal ragout), Filet mignon, etc… I am very into French cuisine haha!

Q: Is there a special food smell or flavor that reminds you of your childhood?

A: The smell of lavender reminds me of some very sweet childhood memories.

Q: Do you have a special dish that you look forward to eating during family gatherings?

A: Every year, I look forward to celebrating “Orthodox Easter” with some very special Slavic dishes such as Bitok (ground meat patties mixed with onions, bread, and milk, served with a sour cream sauce), Piroshki (filled yeast dough buns that can be fried or baked) or Pashka (traditional Russian Easter dessert made from curd cheese, dried fruits, and almonds).

Q: Where did you grow up in Paris, which neighborhood or district? Are you 100% French?

A: I was born and raised in Paris, France. I grew up in a southern suburb of Paris. I have Ukrainian roots from one of my great-grandmothers. She fled Ukraine and went to Italy and then she came to France and settled in Paris.

Q: What is the dish that best describes Paris for you?

A: Steak Tartare with French fries is definitely the definition of Paris. It is something very tasty that you can eat in a brasserie.

Q: You studied Fine Arts in Bordeaux, what is the cuisine in Bordeaux like? Favorite dish and wine from the region that you can recommend?

A: I love a lot of dishes from the southwest of France. Magret de canard (duck breast fattened for foie gras), is quite heavy but extremely tasty. It is very famous there and you can pair it with a good glass of Pomerol red wine.

Q: Which art period are you influenced by the most?

A: I am influenced by a lot! I am interested in the context and how a specific piece of art has been created, what period, political context, its origin.

Q: When did you start playing the piano?

A: I started playing the piano a few years ago, mostly for jams. I recently started playing more regularly.

Q: What does House music taste like to you?

A: A sweet flavor, something pretty close to ice cream. Refreshing, tasty of course, fluid, something you are happy to get any time for a boost.

Q: What do you think are the essential ingredients to a perfect House track?

A: Authenticity, for sure. Solid drums, chords with a groove, and warm vocal loops. A call to action to the dance floor.

Q: Disco, R&B, and Soul music play an important part in House Music, can you tell us some of your favorite singers and musicians in these genres?

A: There’s a lot, too many to mention, (laughs!) These influences are very important to me! I am a big fan of Syreeta, Roy Ayers, Sylvia Striplin, Quincy Jones, Patrice Rushen, and many more…

Q: Is dancing a good indicator that the vibe and beat are going in the right direction when you are producing music?

A: Dancing is a big part of my daily routine actually. I am so looking forward to when the lockdown is over and I can go back to dance classes again. Dancing is such a good motivator! When producing, if you start moving your head that is always a good sign! Dancing is very spontaneous.

Q: The French House music scene is predominantly male, can you recommend to us your favorite female French House DJs and producers?

A: I agree and I am definitely up to doing mentorship to have more women involved in House music! This is something I really would like to be able to do in the near future. France has so much talent, not only in House Music but extraordinary producers such as Flore, Molly, Elise, Laura BCR, Andy 4000, Sabrina Bellaouel, Maud Geffray, Penelope Antena, Uele Lamore to name a few.

Q: What prompted you to get behind the mic and sing the vocals on Waterside?

A: When producing, I really like to use my voice as an instrument. It is always a lot of fun to create loops with voices in general. It gives a very DIY touch to your creations too.

Q: Will you be singing again on your new record?

A: Yes, I will 🙂

Q: Did you add more gear to your home studio? Which piece of equipment or plug-in are you excited about?

A: Unfortunately, it was not really the best year ever to get more equipment. I still have a lot to discover with my Prologue synthesizer and I am trying the VST Kontakt that is very exciting.

Q: You have produced 3EP’s in a short period and you’ll be releasing your fourth soon, what has been the most difficult and rewarding aspect of this process? Was there a learning curve or hurdle that you needed to overcome?

A: In terms of releasing every one of them, everything was quite alright. Each EP had enough time to breathe and grow and I had time to develop new creative moods in between them.

Q: Your Signature EP1 on Deeply Rooted features a Kerri Chandler remix of your track MTME, did you ever expect for one of your tracks to be remixed by one of House Music’s greatest champions?

A: I have never thought about it but I was very lucky to have him re-interpreting my track.

Q: Do you think you’ll create your own music label soon?

A: I have been working on new collaborations under Marina Trench’s series of EPs which are self-released, dedicated to my own music and friends. I will create my label project when the situation allows it.

Q: 2020 exposed some very ugly aspects of the electronic music industry, in your opinion, what needs to be done to have more equality in dance music?

A: It has been a very intense time for electronic music. We still have a huge mountain to climb to be able to see more equality. Many ugly aspects are shedding a dark light and we need to highlight what is good instead. People need to talk and the truth needs to come out to fight bad behaviors.

Q: What are you looking forward to the most once it is safe to pursue a regular DJ touring schedule?

A: I feel an urge to be able to dance and connect with people again. Sharing has been something I missed terribly this past year.

Q: Marina, thank you so much for talking to us!

A: Many thanks to you for the invitation 🙂

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