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Annelies Rom

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Who The Hell Is Marge

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Who The Hell Is Marge

In July 2023 we finally saw the release of Marge’s debut EP Transcendence. The collaboration with label Abyssal Music had been a long time coming, as the two already worked together for ‘I Should Be’, a track featuring UK DJ XONDER. With this EP, the Belgian vocalist wants to tell her story. “All the tracks on the EP contribute to a bigger story. It starts off with the sadder part of the identity, and ends with me becoming the person that I truly want to be.”

With performances at Dour, Rampage, and NOX already under her belt, and now the release of her debut EP, we saw this as the perfect opportunity to talk about her inspirations, and about what’s more to come for Marge. “What I would absolutely love to do is perform with live instruments, with a band. I think it’s amazing how you can bring another dimension to the drum and bass scene.”

Congratulations on your latest EP! How did it all come together?

Marge: I’ve known Blanko, label boss of Abyssal Music, for a while now, and we have worked together a few times now. Because of this going so well, we decided it’d be a nice idea to work on an EP together, and to look for producers who would be down for that. And that’s how it all began. 

And then for the artists that are featured on the EP. I’ve been wanting to work with Cedex & Higher Underground for a while now, so I’m really stoked we could make this happen for this EP. Another artist that’s featured is Kidsonic. He contacted me asking to work together, and he turned out to be a real gem to work with, because we really understood each other. He’s someone I can talk to about anything, which made it really nice to work with each other. And then there’s also Kevala, Cynical Gene, and Grintax. This last one is featured on a bonus track of the EP, a bootleg of an Emalkay classic which will be a Free Download. Emalkay himself liked it, luckily, and he even plays it out when mixing drum and bass. It definitely was an awesome moment when he told us that. 

The EP consists of four unique tracks ranging from more liquid to harder drum and bass, plus one bonus track, each contributing to a bigger story I’m telling. This starts with the sadder part of my identity, with then coming into my own and becoming the person I am today. That’s why the artwork is a cocoon. We’ll see how it turns out, and if it becomes a beautiful butterfly. 

And Blanko, how did the process go for you?

Blanko: Like Marge said already, we had worked together before, which was for the track ‘I Should Be’, featuring XONDER. This went smoothly, so I was all for working on a bigger project. ‘Inside’ featuring Cynical Gene, was the first one we decided to use for this EP. He wrote the track while going through something, and it had sort of an emotional feeling behind it. I liked that, but I also felt something was still missing, something to tie it all together, which turned out to be vocals. We got Marge to write out some vocals for this track and after some editing and some feedback it all came together. 

It was really from this point on that the tracks and the producers wanting to work on this EP started coming in, while always keeping the Abyssal sound in mind. Marge sent me a lot of different tunes, but the ones we went for in the end completely fit the Abyssal sound. I felt like we communicated very well, which made it easy to work together. 

So Marge, you told us that the EP consists of four tracks each painting a different part of a bigger picture. Can you tell me more about this bigger picture? 

Marge: ‘Inside’ is the first track, with Cynical Gene. He’s originally from the UK, but he’s been living in Brussels for a while now. We know each other from parties, we’ve got a pretty small scene in Belgium so it’s very easy to meet new artists and producers at these kinds of places. When Bram asked me to write a vocal, I immediately had some type of feeling when listening to the track. It was a rather sad feeling, as I was going through an emotional period at that time. It turned out that Cynical Gene as well was going through some stuff at that time, so it was only fitting to write more emotional lyrics for this track. What I like most about ‘Inside’ though, is that it opens up in the drop, almost like the sadness is being carried by the bassline. 

Second track is ‘Somebody’, and I have to say this is my baby. In this track I’m telling you about how I’ve not always felt secure, that I’ve been looking for a person to be somebody for, to care for. But actually, I should be this person for myself, that’s the meaning of this track, that I want to be somebody for myself. For this track I worked with Kidsonic, and as I said before, this is someone who I can have conversations about anything with, also about the more difficult stuff. It was really nice to work with him, and to have someone who really understands you. 

Ignition Imaging

And this is when the harder tracks begin. ‘Divine’ is a track I made with Cedex & Higher Underground, this one has a heavier drop, because in this part of the story I’m not sad anymore. I’m realising I only deserve divine things, I don’t sign up for anything less. What I want to say is, I don’t want to waste my time on the negative stuff anymore, I want to focus on the positive. And this ties perfectly into my last track, ‘Your Time’ featuring Kevela, in which I sing about it being my time. I’m taking my moment, doing what I want to do, and not letting myself be guided by others, because I’m choosing myself this time. 

And what does that mean to you, choosing yourself?

Marge: I’m realising now that, while I have loved performing all over the country and even internationally, I love the creative process of simply making my own tunes even more than being on stage. It’s been a journey, but it’s also been one that went very fast at one point, as I had been dealing with some stage fright. I’ve played Rampage and Dour, went to The Netherlands for NOX, and I loved them all. Especially my performance at Rampage this year made it clear to me that I want to keep performing. I get a certain rush of dopamine and happiness as soon as I start singing in front of a crowd.

I’ve always wanted to become a singer, ask anyone who knows me. To give an example of where I want to go in the future, I’m naming Becky Hill and Venbee, because they are able to translate electronic music into a live act. They’re people I really look up to, they’ve created their own thing, performing with their own band, and I love that idea, because this would give me the opportunity to perform my own songs, for an hour or so, without having to stop and wait until the DJ plays another one of my songs. 

That’s a nice path you’re carving out for yourself. What’s next for Marge now?

Marge: As I said before, I love the more creative and less performative part of being a vocalist. That’s what I want to focus on in the near future. How I’m visualising it for myself right now, is the way V O E present themselves live. She’s the singer, he’s the DJ, that’s something I could see myself doing. Hara Kiri, one of my best friends, is a DJ as well, so that could be one of the paths I could take in the future. 

Another thing I would absolutely love to do is perform with live instruments, with a band. What Venbee is doing right now, or Polyphonic, those are the things I think are amazing, they bring another dimension to the drum and bass scene. 

For now, I’ve got releases on Viper Recordings and YANA Music coming up. I’m really looking forward to those, as they are two heavier tunes. The first one is one I’ve made with Smooth, under his new alias Metanoia. The second one is by Dim Bolt, who is not famous yet whatsoever. This one is going to be a 4×4 beat, and I don’t think this guy knows what a gem he’s made, I’m just so stoked to see everyone’s reaction once this one gets released. Before, I made a lot of liquid and dancefloor tracks, but now I’m getting the chance to experiment with different subgenres. I love that drum & bass is diverse enough to be able to do that. 

One last question: why did you choose Abyssal Music? 

Marge: Bram and I knew each other already, and I feel like we’ve got a mutual love for the deeper side of drum & bass. It’s a scene that hasn’t been formed completely yet in Belgium, and I’m grateful to build on it with this EP.

And Blanko, how does Marge fit into the Abyssal Music sound?

Blanko: I really like her voice, it just fits with the type of music I sign for the label. The way we got to know each other is quite a funny story actually. We met each other via some mutual friends, but some time later we met again at Fuse, a club in Brussels. She was telling me how she was a singer, and some days later she sent me some tracks. And again, from the first second I liked her voice, I saw the potential. 

Marge, do you have some final words?Marge: For ‘Somebody’, the second track of the EP, we made a video, and everyone who worked on this project is so passionate about D&B. We didn’t make any money with this video, not me, not the label, not the videographer. We’re just a group of friends, building on one goal, keeping the deep drum & bass scene in Belgium alive. I’m really grateful to be a part of this, and I’m really grateful to have been given this chance, because I couldn’t have done it on my own.

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