It’s true that there are more than a few couples within the creative sphere of drum and bass. When two people collide on an artistic level as well as an affectionate one, there is absolutely no denying that real magic can happen in the studio.
Marble Elephant are one such duo. With one half hailing from the Stuttgart area of Germany, and the other from Dole in the eastern region of France (and now both residing in the beautiful English countryside of Devon), this highly creative couple, comprising of Tina and Baptiste, have been creating music together since 2018. This journey began after moving to Devon from their previous residence in Brighton, East Sussex.
Their latest release on Influenza Media is a stunning example of the atmospheric liquid they have spent the last four years perfecting. We asked this hotly anticipated young couple about their journey so far, and where they stand right now in relation to the mysteries of life.
Welcome to UKF! Firstly, please tell us about how you met!
Hey! Thank you so much for having us guys, it’s a pleasure. We met at the Level Skatepark in Brighton in summer 2017. We ended up chatting and connected over rave music and free parties in France amongst other things. A couple of weeks later we saw each other again at the same place and it was the beginning of our beautiful relationship.
You both lived in Brighton for a while. That place is one heck of a hotbed for drum and bass, and youth culture and music generally! How was your time there?
Brighton is an incredible place, full of forward-thinking people, great for partying and for feeling free. Our favourite place to have a boogie was the Volks Nightclub, where we saw artists such as DJ Producer, Maztek, Mandidextrous and many more. Our time there was just unreal and will never be forgotten, as for us it was the beginning of something big in our lives.
You reside in Exeter now. That must be quite different?
Indeed, it is much calmer and relaxing, which is what we needed after some challenging mental health experiences in Brighton for both of us. We bought a house in a lovely quiet neighbourhood back in 2019 and managed to move into it in the February just before lockdown, which we are super grateful for.
There are some incredible areas of outstanding natural beauty in that part of the UK, and a lot of ancient heritage sites too. I noticed from your social media that you are both very fond of the outdoors, and in particular ancient sites and standing stones. What’s the big appeal?
Devon is full of beautiful landscapes and spots in nature to explore and take nice walks in. We adore ancient monuments and ruins and are very interested to know about our ancestors and how they lived. We both think that to progress forward, we should first understand where we came from. One of our favourite types of ancient sites to visit are stone circles, as they are fascinating and make you ask yourself a lot of questions.
Tina, you are a fan of meditation and yoga. How do you feel that these ancient practices can affect the soul?
I started meditating two years ago and it has been the most incredible practice to incorporate into daily life. Everything changed drastically in a very positive way for me since then and I feel more and more connected to the universe, feeling more compassion and generally can handle difficult situations much better. It has helped me align myself to my most satisfying path in life. Yoga is incredible for connecting the mind, body and soul and really ‘oils’ the body. It allows you to feel physically more relaxed and also alongside meditation also helps you stay present and enjoy the moment, which is what it’s all about!
Do you think that this kind of mindfulness practice can influence the creative process and the way you create music?
Oh yes! For sure. There are so many things I could say about this, it’s such a great question. Mindfulness practices are key for so many things, ranging from not needing other substances to feeling satisfied in your life, to helping you stay in the flow and be more creative. It can also help you be more aware of your role in this life and why you are creating music. To me, music is the heartbeat of the universe, and we are channeling this during the creative process, so others can feel the emotional connection to the music.
You both seem like pretty old souls in young people’s bodies!
Well, in fact we’re both 65 year old’s trapped in younger people’s bodies! Seriously though, we do have a big motivation to achieve great things and knowing that we are following our path is really helpful to keep us going.
Onto music then; what drew you both to drum and bass, and liquid in particular?
Funnily enough when we met, Baptiste really disliked this genre of music, coming from France it was all about the hardcore, hardtek and gabber. As drum and bass is heavily part of our culture in the UK and couldn’t be avoided, he started to understand the music and started falling in love with it. For me, I got introduced to D&B and Jungle a couple of years after moving to the UK and it spoke to my soul straight away. I love the interesting rhythms these genres provide, especially compared to techno which is what is popular in Germany. It’s also much more fun to dance to too!
You’ve been through a fairly diverse range of EDM in the past four years though?
When we first started out, we didn’t have a concrete plan of what kind of music we wanted to make. We experimented a lot and for a long time thought we’d just be multi-genre artists. However, drum and bass found us, as we came across D&B Academy. Unsure as to whether to enroll or not, we had a chat with one of the founders Humanature, and decided to take the leap. It’s been one of the best decisions we made on our musical journey. This has stepped up our production skills hugely and we’re super thankful for all the knowledge we gained.
The latest release on Influenza is simply sublime. You must be pretty happy with that one. If you look at the musical progression from your earliest compositions to this one, the difference is quite amazing. You have obviously both spent a lot of time in front of the computer, listening and learning?
After work, Baptiste was going into the studio straight away for hours and hours until bedtime, learning, practicing and playing with sounds, and also watching hours and hours of tutorials. After finding drum and bass as our genre, I focused purely on creating this type of music and now this last release of ours is such a milestone for us, as it is the most established and closest to the vibe that we truly enjoy and want to create.
What are your individual roles within the confines of Marble Elephant then? How does the teamwork play out in the studio?
In the beginning we sat down and made all the music together, however this dynamic shifted. Baptiste is more driven and loves producing, therefore he is more responsible for the composition. I love mixing and adding the necessary subtle details to finish off a track. We’re a really good team, because we complement each other in every way and allow each other to be the best version of ourselves. This really helps us keep going and staying motivated.
How important would you say your creative space is? In terms of the physical space that is?
We think it’s incredibly important. Having a clean and beautifully decorated space helps the flow when being creative. In our studio we have plenty of plants and nice lighting which immerses us into the process. There are some pics of the evolution of our music studio on our Instagram page if anyone is interested 🙂
In terms of releasing music officially on established labels, you’re quite new to the game. How are finding the music business?
We started self-releasing all our music to begin with and quickly discovered that it is hard work and requires a lot of marketing, which takes up a lot of time and money. We really wanted to be able to focus all of our time on music. Being rejected from labels was difficult to accept to begin with, but you just need to keep going and when the time is right and you do get signed, it is very satisfying. The hard work and perseverance are all worth it in the end. The D&B scene is like a big family and producers encourage each other a lot, which is awesome. So far everyone we have worked labelwise have been super friendly and forthcoming.
We have to talk about the Shadow Of My Life video collaboration. That was a pretty herculean effort! The whole thing was recorded in one day! Tell us a bit about the artists you teamed up with and what the project meant to you as artists yourselves.
We agree! It was an awesome project to work on with some incredibly talented people. Martin directed, filmed and edited the video on his own and even taught himself in a few weeks how to colour grade. And he smashed it too! Lou the dancer delivered a fabulous performance and managed to keep the energy and quality going from the morning until night. The concept of the video was a beautiful idea of Martin’s. He wanted to highlight the contrast between the fast paced city environment compared to the soothing nature of the great outdoors, which we believe is depicted beautifully.
Are there plans to add more videos to the catalogue?
For sure! When though is another question. We absolutely love cinema and bringing film and music together. Our goal is to have at least one video clip per year. So far this year we have had some ideas but have no concrete plans just yet.
So, you create all of your music at home in Devon, but what about mix-downs and mastering? Who takes care of that for you?
While Tina takes care of the final mix, with our self-releases a local mastering engineer takes care of our masters, unless it’s a free download, and then we do it ourselves. When releasing through a label we’ve had the pleasure of the label taking care of the masters.
Are you strictly liquid only then? Do you have any plans to branch out maybe into dancefloor or something a bit heavier? What do you like to dance to on a night out?
No, as much as we love liquid, we are very keen to branch out into other sub-genres of D&B. We absolutely love what 1985 music is putting out and are taking inspiration from Monty, Visages and Alix Perez. And also love bit of jungle. Time will tell, stay tuned!
If you don’t mind me saying, your socials (Instagram in particular) are pretty slick affairs. You obviously put a lot of effort into both the photography and the text. There is a lot of highly inspirational content on there. How important do you think social media presence is right now?
When we first started Marble Elephant, we always wanted to have good quality content and were aiming high in terms of marketing, trying to reach as many people as possible. We think it’s a great tool to communicate with people and tell our story. Recently we’ve been taking a step back from posting so regularly, as it can be very intense to try and keep up with the algorithms which becomes stressful and blocks creativity.
I spotted some Marble Elephant merchandise out there too. Is this something you self-funded, and has it paid off?
It was always a dream of ours to have our own merchandise from the start of creating our artist duo, we did indeed self-fund it and mostly thanks to our lovely friends and family we managed to break even. We still have a few items left, check out our Bandcamp for these. In terms of making more of a profit, we could have waited until we were more established in the scene but it’s been super fun and we love the products, so it worked out in the end.
I see you’ve also ventured on to Twitch. That platform is absolutely alive and kicking with drum and bass at the moment. How did you find it personally?
We do want to get more active on this platform as it a great tool for sharing knowledge. We want to show our process of making our music to help other aspiring artists, but for now, it’s not a priority, we will wait until we are closer to some of our other goals before investing more time and energy into it.
There are so many platforms to deal with now!
Soundcloud, Spotify and YouTube are our main and most active platforms as these are the most established and therefore we can reach more people. Instagram is our go to for connecting with our fans and other artists as Facebook is slowly but surely dying…
Finally then, what are your plans for the future? Will there be a Marble Elephant LP maybe? Or a tour of some kind over the coming months?
As we have only released two trackers as of yet, we are super excited to be working on a proper first four or more track EP. An LP is a dream we will be definitely fulfilling in the future, when the time is right. We would absolutely love a tour, however right now we’re really focusing on our production and getting the quality to the next level. We have a few events planned this year and if anyone wants to book us, we’d be thrilled to have more opportunities to DJ and get ourselves out there!
Once again, thank you so much for taking the time to interview us and the warm welcome to UKF! We really enjoyed answering your well thought out questions. We’re honoured to have this opportunity and appreciate it so much.