It now seems a long time since DJ/producer Marco Sterk AKA Young Marco was one of the Amsterdam underground’s best-kept secrets. Although he spent the best part of a decade honing his craft, Marco has been headline news since the turn of the decade and his upward trajectory shows no signs of stopping.
This year he’s spent more time in the air than he has on the ground, criss- crossing the globe to perform genre-defying DJ sets, working the dancefloor with both unexpected twists and “unclassics”. One night, you might hear tropical rhythms, Afro-percussion cuts and Middle Eastern disco obscurities; on another, techno, synth-funk or industrial strength jack-tracks.
This off-kilter obsession with the obscure and unusual has become a hallmark of his music productions, too. Once a key part of the Rush Hour family, in 2011 Marco made his debut on Lovefingers’ ESP Institute label. His first two EPs for the label set out his now-trademark style, while his 2014 debut album Biology was well received by critics and listeners.
Summer 2019 saw the release of second album Bahasa, a contribution to Island of the Gods’ Island Explorer series that was produced following an extensive trip to his late grandfather’s home country of Indonesia. The ambient set included extensive contributions from local musicians.
Thanks to the success of these works Marco has become an in-demand remixer and re-editor. Over the years, he’s delivered reworks for the likes of Prins Thomas, Joakim, Francis Bebey and Vangelis Katsoulis. In 2015, the best of these revisions were gathered together on the Sorry For The Late Reply compilation.
Marco is no stranger to musical collaboration, either, joining forces with Jonny Nash and Italian ambient pioneer Gigi Masin to form the ambient super-group Gaussian Curve and deliver two albums for Music From Memory. There’s also the small matter of his occasional studio hook-ups with Jan Schulte (AKA Wolf Muller) as Young Wolf. Over the years, both Gaussian Curve and Young Wolf have performed live, while summer 2018 saw Marco’s first solo live show at Holland’s Dekmantel Festival.
With such a tightly packed studio and DJ schedule, it’s impressive that the Dutchman still finds time to run Safe Trip, a record label he launched in 2015. Renowned for its’ synthesizer-heavy sounds, the imprint was founded with two aims: to showcase work from like-minded Dutch producers, and to serve up crate-digging reissues and compilations of lesser-known music. So far, Marco has co-curated three volumes of the acclaimed Italian “dream house” series Welcome To Paradise on Safe Trip, as well as a personal volume of the acclaimed Selectors series on fellow Amsterdam imprint Dekmantel.
Armed with an ever-changing bag of unusual musical delights, a head-full of ideas and a studio full of vintage kit, Young Marco is set to push on in the years ahead. It looks like that upward trajectory will continue for some time to come.