Marco Weibel is one of the brightest DJs to have emerged from the south-east Asian music scene. Born and raised in Singapore, he was introduced to music through his mother, who’d play soulful, funky, and jazzy music around the house, and as he entered adulthood he started hanging out at Zouk, a local club where he attended Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Festival. Through this, he discovered the music of acts like Dorian Concept, Floating Points, Mala, and Dâm-Funk, and as his palette developed he knew he wanted to commit his life to collecting and playing records.
Fast-forward to today, and Weibel can be found spinning a wide range of sounds, from beats, jazz, and hip-hop to house, techno, and dub across platforms like Worldwide FM, NTS, and Red Light Radio. In New York, his home since 2014, he’s flies the flag for Darker Than Wax, a Singapore/New York collective that nods to jazz, soul, and blues while embracing electronic sounds. His weekly radio show, Darker Than Wax FM, is hundreds of episodes deep and has earned a cult following with guests such as Byron The Aquarius, Suzi Analogue, and Yaeji.
What makes Weibel’s shows memorable is not just his ability to connect the dots between the old and the new, but also to dish out cuts for different vibes, whether that’s to ignite the dancefloor with infectious groove or to listen to the morning after. As part of Darker Than Wax, he also compiles the Various Channels compilation, the first of which featured artists like Jitwam and James Tillman. The next one will be landing soon.
Recorded last week, Weibel’s XLR8R podcast is full of the sort of upcoming or exclusive hidden gems you’d expect from him, including new material from Dj Snoekfish and fleet.dreams. As with Various Channels, it serves to support the fresh crop of DJ-producers that are elevating the music of New York, but this is a mix that’ll suck you in wherever you are, as it moves from hazy deep house and soul into electro, bass, and acid.
01. What have you been up to recently? I’ve been enjoying the change in seasons, and being out more after a long winter, and back on my bike. On the radio front, I’ve been co-hosting the six-year strong Darker Than Wax FM show on The Lot Radio every Saturday where we focus on presenting fresh and upcoming music. It’s a mix of exclusive, forthcoming material I get sent alongside overlooked gems found through digging, both online and in the crates. There’s often a guest mix feature on the radio show, trying to highlight upcoming DJs and seasoned talents. Some of the recent guest highlights include Mesmé, 4AM NYC, Arushi Jain, and Joshua Lang. All very talented artists in their own right!
02. What have you been listening to? I’ve really been back in the record stores, digging through the $5 12″ sections—mostly looking for ’90s and ’00s house, R&B, and broken beat. Growing up in Singapore, I was definitely more exposed to a UK sound and now that I’ve been in the United States for a good couple of years, it’s amazing to have easier access to the music that was coming out of New York, Chicago, and Detroit, and I’ve really grown akin to that sound. Kenny Bobien, Quentin Harris, Peter Daou, K-Hand, Blaze, Ron Allen, and Hayden Brown come to mind. That’s what I’ve been excited about! I’m really lucky to have been surrounded by a couple of great shops here that have a constant flow of inventory and employees that really hustle to make their bins interesting. Big shouts to Human Head, A1, and Ergot Records.
I’ve also been really into Jordan GZC’s latest album, My Brain’s Brain, which is everything from hazy ambient, downtempo, and futuristic soundscapes to melodic techno, otherworldly jazz, and deep house. It’s amazing and has been on repeat at home; that and a lot of reggae and dub is always on rotation!
03. What is it that appeals to you about music? I think the music that appeals to me most is raw, unpolished, and not over-produced. It’s about capturing emotions and moments, good or bad. I tend to play and gravitate towards music that speaks to me in that way. It’s definitely a spiritual thing; how music can transcend cultures, language, and eras. It’s irrelevant what genre it is. If it comes from a true and honest place, I’m into it!
04. When and where did you record this mix? I recorded this mix on a Thursday night in my living room. It’s a one-take-straight-from-the-recorder sort of situation, which is how I like to do my mixes. I prefer the spontaneity rather than over-planning. I don’t like to touch up my DJ mixes because I want them to be a true reflection of my DJing live.
05. How did you go about choosing the tracks that you’ve included? I put aside some recent records I’ve picked up lately, like the Larry Heard on Guidance, Jay Salino, and Scott Grooves, loaded up a USB with some new and exclusive music I’ve gotten sent for radio play and just went to work on the controls for a little over an hour. I wanted to also show love to some of my New York contemporaries who have been out here and doing the damn thing. So here’s a shout out to musclecars, MoMA Ready, DJ Monchan (who runs Dailysessions), Eto Ano, fleet.dreams, and K Wata, who are all feature on this mix!
06. What can the listener expect? Something to get you moving, straight into the dancefloor sort of situation with this mix. The mix starts off with house and goes into deeper sounds with hints of electro, bass, acid, UK garage, and deconstructed club stuff.
07. How does it compare to what we might hear you play in a club? I think this is a pretty accurate representation of what you’d here me play in the club nowadays. It’s hard to say though because, as I mentioned earlier, I really don’t like to plan my sets too much. I like to read and feed off of the energy of a room; if the room warrants more disco and uplifting sounds then my set would be a reflection of that. This set is definitely more on a heads-down, deep in the dance sort of vibe. I’d see this go down in a smoked out basement with low visibility, with a couple of strobes and a banging sound system.
08. What’s up next? Keeping things moving, working on a second volume to my compilation series, Various Channels. There’s also a couple of mixes in the works.