As an accomplished composer and music entrepreneur, MARO has a knack for storytelling.
He has long been championed for the dark, heady sound design found in his potent electronic music productions. Look no further than his riveting songs on the official Cyberpunk 2077 soundtrack, which remain some of the record’s most popular—a statement that speaks volumes considering it also features tracks by Grimes, Run The Jewels and Nina Kraviz, among others.
Now, MARO is on the verge of releasing a new album, Rejects, which he affectionally calls an “audio musical” with its own visual universe. He tells us the album has not only a metaphysical backstory, but a formidable list of collaborators, like Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah and Raekwon. Ergo, he’s positioning to release his most impactful project to date.
We caught up with MARO to discuss what he has cooking in 2022 and the road to Rejects.
EDM.com: Please give us a general overview of your new album, Rejects. What’s special about it?
MARO: Rejects is an audio musical. It’s an hourlong journey through an unfriendly universe I’ve created especially for this project. Every guest artist appears in its own role, taking a part in the musical. I play the role of your guide, taking you through the story, meeting people who tell their tales. On the way, you will meet arms dealers, revolutionists, monks, drug users, drug dealers, and all kinds of people living in the low city and doing what they do best to survive.
As the listener, you dive in to an experience of music, dialogue, song effects and world-class graphics. I wanted to give the listener a chance to escape from the everyday routine and reset his or her mind.
EDM.com: You have some insane contributors on this album. It’s not many dance music producers who can claim to have Wu-Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, Cappadonna, Deadly Hunta, Awich, Lex Lu and P-Money on their original studio albums. How did you get these legendary artists onto your album? What’s your history and relationship with each of them?
MARO: Throughout the years, I’ve worked with a very wide range of artists from all around the globe. When you meet someone and have something in common, you keep the contact. You never know when it can boomerang back to you. At first, my Rejects story was based on mostly electronic music, but I needed to find a way to tell a story, to get more narration. Naturally, rap is 100% this kind of craft, so I decided to invite people I knew would deliver a great story, fit the role, or both.
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EDM.com: Sounds like you were long cultivating relationships along the way.
MARO: Many of them, I’d already met on my way. For example, I’d met Raekwon about 15 years ago when we were playing at a festival in Warsaw that I was also producing. With Deadly Hunta, I made a track for the Cyberpunk 2077 soundtrack. With Lex Lu, I worked on the production of a few Polish artists and I then invited her to work with me on the Cyberpunk 2077 game.
EDM.com: For those not immediately familiar with your background, can you explain your specialty as a Platinum Award-winning mix/mastering engineer and the founder/creator of Bettermaker?
MARO: Basically, I can say that I’m addicted to music. All my life oscillates around it! Since I was 14, I knew my way and that I wanted to spend my life in one of the most difficult businesses there are: the music business. Since then, I learned, and I collected music and the gear to become a DJ and a music producer. I have two degrees: one in sound engineering and another in acoustics. Right now, I own the Addicted To Music Studios where I work with my team. I’m a DJ, a music producer, and a sound engineer.
On top of that, I have the Bettermaker® company which produces studio gear and software used by the best professional mix and mastering engineers from all around the world. Bettermaker® also makes software for music producers, a plugin called the EQ232D. Throughout the years, I’ve performed as a DJ allover the world and worked with people from Jamaica to China. I have quite a few Platinum and Gold records on my walls for production and sound engineering, and I still have fun as hell doing all of this.
EDM.com: You describe your album, Rejects, as a multimedia release, complete with visuals as well as audio. Is it interactive?
MARO: The album will be heavily illustrated. We’re planning on making an interactive gallery with the works of so many talented artists who worked on Rejects. I think they did such an amazing job, the music would not be complete if the listener would not know the musical’s graphic design. Every artist has his or her alter-ego, every skit has its own comic scene, every song has its own cover. This album will be a feast for your ears, as well as for your eyes. We’re leaking some of it already on rejects.tech, so go check it out! I’m sure you will not be disappointed.
EDM.com: How do you want listeners to interact with Rejects, when they experience the album?
MARO: My ideal interaction would be to play my LP, sit comfortably and watch the full-sized album while you listen to the chapters. Let the music and the visuals take you away on a journey with me, to my world. But I also understand that many people will stream it somewhere on their way and within time, cherry-pick the tracks that they like the most. That’s okay with me, too.