Over the course of the last two plus decades, the German born DJ, musician and composer Marc Romboy has become synonymous with a soulful electronic music sound that has taken him all over the world. As well as releasing on only the most influential labels, from Innervisions to Ovum and Kompakt to 20:20 Vision, he is also the sole mastermind behind the influential Systematic Recordings label and has been since 2004. Nowadays an album specialist, 2006 saw him release his debut album, the captivating „Gemini” whilst in 2017 Marc released his first listening long player called „Voyage de la planète“, a pure electronica album with classical music influence and later, in summer 2017 the live recording of his collaboration with the Dortmund Philharmonic Orchestra called „Reconstructing Debussy“, in cooperation with Boiler Room hit the stores. Despite being a key player for so long, Marc is still as relevant as ever and remains right at the sharp end of electronic music. Proof of that comes in the form of his DJ schedule, which takes him from Fabric to Womb and Berghain to Watergate, as well as to not one but three separate Boiler Room shows. All three proved Marc to be a dexterous performer who never relies on obviousness or gimmicks, instead telling truly musical stories that place dancers right at the heart of the action.
So, where are you currently based?
Oh, I’m usually between Dusseldorf and Mönchengladbach, my birth city, but mostly at Mönchengladbach which is where I actually live. But when in Germany, I usually go to Berlin a lot, play Watergate and stuff…
But you prefer to keep a certain distance from the hustle and bustle of the capital?
Yes. It really helps me focus on my creative projects… You know, being away from all the distractions.
Do you follow a certain routine before playing a show? E.g. preparing your music at a certain time or ritual you do before you play?
I always try to sleep two, three hours before the show, because this gives me plenty of additional energy. Preparation wise, well, I pretty much know what I play. I have a pool of 150 titles and decide spontaneously during the show what I play and when. It‘s a gut feeling thing.
What’s the thing most people think they understand about being an artist but don’t?
Good question. The creative process can psychologically be a painful one, especially during days when no ideas want to pop up. But the moment when you play a moving bassline or melody is on the other hand priceless. Also the traveling aspect is not really fun sometimes, but hey, the amount of positive aspects is far higher.
Running a label, producing music and DJing– how do you give yourself a break from music?
Puh, never really. My family comes first but you can‘t really compare both. Music is my life and to live and die for electronic music is my motto.
What’s a hidden talent you have that is not music related?
Rather a question for my family and friends but basically I‘m good in joining forces of different people.
Imagine you’ve made four clones of yourself. What tasks do you assign to each?
Oh my god, that’s a horror scenario, which will hopefully never happen. But if it did, it could be helpful to enhance my self reflection.
At what age did you realize that you and music are in it for the long haul? And how did your surrounding react to your decision of making a living with music? Did you have to deal with any prejudices?
I began to collect 7-inch-records at the age of five. Around the same time I explored Kraftwerk‘s ‘Autobahn‘ and ‘The Robots‘ on the radio. I was flashed without having thought about my later life or that music could reign my job. I mean I was five. When I studied medicine I started to produce my own music, that was the point of time where I realized, hey, this could be more than a hobby.
Which ideas and visions regarding Systematic have you been able to put into practice and are there any notable ones that have failed over the years?
Systematic Recordings is simply a platform for good music I play, from good friends. Not more and not less. Nothing has failed. No, je regrette rien.
The name ‘Systematic’ implies a certain take on music and how to proceed. To what extend does ‘systematic’ apply to you as a DJ/producer and person?
Everything is mathematics, everything. And maybe there is a systematic behind everything, who knows?
That goes straight into our next question… What are up to? What’s next?
Actually I’ve been spending a lot of time in the studio preparing my live show which I intend to release in early 2019, possibly in Paris. That’s why I’ve been trying to slow down the touring in recent times… All of my efforts are dedicated to that right now and I think it’s going to be great!