Even though, growing up, his teenage angst drove him to punk and nu metal, Marco Weibel always cherished the soulful, funky and jazzy music his parents and older sister listened to at home every day.
Born and raised in Singapore, Marco Weibel got involved with the city’s most established platform for electronic music, Darker Than Wax (DTW) in its early days. The 29-year-old met Dean Chew (Funk Bast*rd), who co-founded DTW in 2008 and soon after, Weibel helped with visuals during events, party planning and evolved to DJing at DTW’s club nights. Weibel now is based out of Brooklyn and runs DTW’s US operations. He initiates collaborations, facilitates events, produces records and merch for the Singapore imprint.
How did you get into music?
Besides the influence of my parents, I think I seriously got into music as a 16-year-old. I was lucky to experience a really healthy electronic music scene going out in Singapore. I would hang out at Home Club when I was 16 to 17 and they would have a ton of Drum & Bass DJs like Goldie and LTJ Bukem come through on the regular. Another spot I hung around was Zouk, where Gilles Peterson held his Worldwide Festival for a couple of years back in 2008. I was exposed to some rather forward-thinking stuff at the time, seeing acts like Theo Parrish, Dorian Concept, Dam-Funk, Ramadanman and Floating Points. It was around 2007 when I started DJing so these sounds shaped me, I also found the connection between things I was into and their roots in jazz, soul and R&B, which were very familiar to me thanks to my family.
Gigi – Tew Ante Sew
Leo James & J Appiah – Struggle
Taciana – Tudo Faz Sentido (Suba Extended Remix)
Afrodite Se Quizer – Fora de Mim
Kel-air & Band Band – Tuareg (Vocal)
Mari Kaneko – Get To Paradise
Omar Khorshid – Rakset El Fadaa
Isabel Roberts – Rhythm Of Your Love
Mr. Fingers – What About This Love
Sapna – Pyaar Do Pyaar Lo
N-Gynn – Turkish Delight
Urban Haven – Hypnotising
Shigeto – Alley Oop
Joshua – Let The Spirit
Ben Tankard – Eden Celebration
Hauomi Hosono and The Yellow Magic Band – Shambhala Signal
산울림 – 내 마음에 주단을 깔고
“Know and love the music you play!”
Did you ever perform as a musician or did you get at it right away as a DJ? Why?
I played guitar in a punk band in my early teen years, but I wouldn’t really count that as performing as a musician [laughs]. I like the versatility of DJing, being able to improvise selections on the fly based on reading a room, a certain situation and the people in it. I have the utmost respect for performing musicians, though.
Why did you move to New York?
Bright lights, big city! I moved to New York because I felt that it was hard to pursue a full-time career in music, arts or creative realms back in Singapore. I think that there are countless opportunities in New York, you just need to be actively seeking. People are empowered to do things here, there’s an attitude of working hard to make things happen and perseverance to see things through. I needed to get out of my comfort zone, things in Singapore were going fine, but I wanted to push myself in a new environment. There’s a certain bluntness to New York. I like that. Compared to Singapore, where it can feel like people are stepping over eggshells. It’s a different culture and I appreciate that.
Where do you find new music?
I’m always on the lookout for new music, having run the radio show weekly for the past three years has kept me digging. There’s a corner store right below the J/M/Z train on Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn that always plays amazing mixtapes, early ’80s NYC bits. I use Shazam shamelessly, checking out other DJs and parties on the regular. I also love going to record stores, think it’s a great way to stumble on music in a very non-algorithmic way, some of my favorites as of late are Human Head and A1 Records. I almost always make it a point to ask the clerk what they’ve been into, they usually know what’s good. Other than that, I listen to a few select radio shows, mixtapes, as well as I use Bandcamp quite a bit.
In your opinion: What makes a great DJ today?
Stay curious, keep learning, there is no right or wrong way of doing things. Know and love the music you play! I think a great DJ today has to take risks and be true to themselves and their tastes.
Marco Weibel stayed at the FvF Apartment recently and put together this mix as a small little “thank you”. When he’s not DJing or facilitating an event, he co-runs Darker Than Wax’s flagship radio show Darker Than Wax FM. They broadcast every Saturday via The Lot Radio in Brooklyn. Make sure to check that out, as well as the rest of our Mixtape Section, which includes an interview and playlist by Darker Than Wax co-founder Dean Chew AKA Funk Bast*rd.
Text: Fabian Ebeling
Photography: Filipe Zapelini