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Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano
WRITTEN BY DAN CARTERDan Carter is a British journalist and professional writer to the Dance music industry.
If an earlier anecdote about Holland’s nocturnal House elite holds any weight then 2011 has certainly been a restless year for Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano. Whether it is taking on the globes biggest festivals, signing hits to Steve Angello or remaking the masterpieces of THE original Dutch superstar DJ, aspiring artists across the globe are praying for someone to bottle whatever this fresh force in House have been drinking for the past few years. Amid their triumphant return to Amsterdam for a larger-than-life appearance at Passenger Terminal, Dan Carter caught up with the dynamic duo at the Fun X Radio studios to trace their incredible journey and the next chapter of the Netherland’s latest success story.
5-years ago, James and Marciano could be found scaling the Amsterdam Dance Event in a bid to get anyone with the time of day to give their demo a spin. Returning to Amsterdam’s Passenger Terminal for this years ADE, the venue that hosted the DJ Mag Awards and Armin Van Buuren prior to them, the duo remains humbled to have made it this far, let alone to the end of their most chaotic year to date. Now completing an incredible romp of Northern America’s finest clubs on the cards following directly after, their homecoming, though somewhat delayed, had never tasted sweeter.
Marciano added: ‘This year we travelled the world and now people are back here in our small hometown looking at us in our element. That is a very special feeling.’
Now at the top of their game on Dutch soil, the duos extended friendship has placed yet another spectacle amongst the country’s ever-expanding Electronic music scene. The formula, somewhat simple compared to their own development, remains a combination of their own rigorous efforts and a never-say-die attitude that since bestowed upon Holland by its earlier icons, has become more of a lifestyle choice.
‘I think the Dutch DJs and producers work harder than a lot of other countries,’ explained James. ‘There is such a huge scene for it now, so you have to work twice as hard to get your name out there. As a result, everyone is practicing and keeping busy in the studio and you can really hear that commitment in the music.’
Though only peeking out of their freshman years of industrious triumph, the pride surrounding the scene they have exploded from has not been lost amongst the globes finest clubs and festivals. ‘If there was going to be a Dutch school for producers, I think that Holland would be the Harvard of Europe, as we are definitely killing it as a country right now.’ added Ryan.
Despite their earlier Tech-induced roots, James and Marciano have triumphed within the realms of their melodic yet fierce array of club floor bangers. Through years of experience, both in Holland’s finest clubs and eventually behind the decks, in the same vein as Bob Marley the duo firmly believe that if you know your history then you know where your coming from.
‘We know where everything came from as far as House music is concerned and we still adore that stuff today, because we owe them our initial inspiration.’ explained James. ‘The difference is we have always aimed to take that stuff and give it a Progressive and Tribal flare and that seems to have kept us interesting to the crowds.’
In circular motion their earlier groove-tinted sounds have seen an intensive spurt of popularity across the globe for 2011, an indicator that the duo were both ahead of their time and still building upon the promising vibes that have seen a dominant hold on the Ibizan club scene this summer. Marciano explained: ‘It got to the stage where you were hitting the stage at 2am and it was evident that people at our shows didn’t want that. The funniest bit is that now, so much longer down the lines, the industry is going mad for that sound. That is music; you cannot predict the crowds.’
At this point Marciano laughs to himself, adding: ‘ What we were doing back in 1998 will probably big again next year, this industry just works in circles. It is dizzying to try and keep up sometimes!’
As far as defining moments are concerned, an initial signing to Size Records with the ‘Snitch EP’ in 2010 was a sheer indicator that the duo could definitely afford to drop their earlier groovier outings.
Courtesy of an unexpected visit to a hometown show from non-other than Laidback Luke and his lesser-known friend turned House Mafiosa man Steve Angello, James and Marciano were met with the instant approval of Angello for their intense live experience that would soon be sent global courtesy of his invaluable support. ‘Luke didn’t even tell me he was bringing Steve, but he was so supportive and enthusiastic about our work and on the back of that show he booked us to play at Pacha alongside SHM,’ explained James. ‘I sent him ‘Snitch’ on the off chance that he would be into it and next thing I knew he was insisting on signing it to Size.’
Reflecting on the ensuing hysteria that surrounded their Size debut, Marciano recalls the aftermath of the track’s impressive explosion. ‘I remember seeing Axwell drop it on the main stage at Mysteryland and just thought to myself “Wow, this is really happening for us”! You have to be lucky in this game, there is a lot of talent out there but people have to see you. We were two of the lucky ones.’
But if ‘Snitch’ was enough to thrill the globes clubbing elite then their next studio venture promises to break the surface with even greater force. Armed with the approval of the original Dutch superstar DJ himself, Tiesto, James and Marciano accidently stumbled upon an exciting remode of an instant Trance classic from the rich reassure vaults of Dutch Dance music. In short, the duos remode of ‘Lethal Industry’ may prove to be their biggest and best mistake to date.
James explained: ‘We had made a track for the big festivals and out of the blue I decided to stick one of the bits to ‘Lethal Industry’ over the top and surprisingly, it really worked. Once we had the bootleg I sent it to Tiesto and he said: “why don’t you cover it?”’
Landed with this undeniable honour, James and Marciano cannot help but smile as they recall this exceptional invitation to do such an unthinkable task with the consent of Amsterdam’s original Electronic warrior that so many before them have failed to do. ‘Apparently a lot of guys have tried to remake it, even one of the Swedes, but he didn’t feel it, so this track is a real honour to us,’ explained James.
Marciano added: ‘Tiesto is the guy who made it for the Dutch industry, so this is out tribute to him and everything he has achieved.’
One listen to James and Marciano’s studio work is enough to assure that their eyes have not been set on the repetition of the popular, if not somewhat oversubscribed, sounds of Dutch House music. This is not to say, however, that a deep respect does not remain for the vibes that have encapsulated the energy of their vibrant scene and the artists that have sent them to the masses internationally.
‘I really respect the Dutch sound and the effect it has had, but to us that sound is just too uncomplicated for us to play,’ explained James. ‘That being said, we must give credit where it is due, because it has definitely taken the Dutch profile global’
Marciano added: ‘Afrojack is a great example of this. He was no one three-years-ago and now he is an international spectacle. You cant help but be proud of that.’
For now, the duos expanding global tour schedule suggests that their days as ‘stay-at-home heroes’ are well and truly over in the wake of an explosion that screams infinite promise for this rising force in Dutch House music. Marciano explained: ‘We hope we can help keep the Dutch scene vibrant and create our own platform in the future so we can keep the new talent coming.’
‘Holland is a place where you know what you will get, so taking on the world has been daunting, but we now know what we have to do and there is no going back,’ added James. ‘Our days of being a stay-at-home act are done, though we will never turn our backs on this scene; it made us what we are!’
As far as lethal industries go, Electronic music is a game of life or death, unexpected blessings and even more positive creativity. Having won successive rounds of ‘Dutch Roullete’ on their journey to international acclaim, Holland’s latest House luminaries have emerged stronger than anyone could have anticipated and far too volatile to be contained within their humble hometown. In three words, never better deserved; watch this space.