Interview with D’Marc Cantu

Interview with D’Marc Cantu

Jan 26, 2012

D’marc Cantu has been a favourite of all of us here at ONE for some time now, he has carved a distinct sound for himself that incorporates unique dark analogue sounds with raw continuously changing drum patterns. He has released on Spectral Sound, Nation, Creme Organization and M>O>S recordings, his new LP Fallen has been receiving tremendous support and not without good reason.  I was lucky enough to spend some time talking to D’Marc Cantu about producing, his new LP and what the future holds for him.


Michael:  So how did you get into production?

D’Marc Cantu: I started getting into production around the age of 17 it was more of a learning period when I started. At that time I moved into a large house near the local University with 5 other guys who were all musicians and artists. It was an extremely beneficial environment from a musicians stand point. This is when I met JTC and we started what would later become 2am/fm. He, as one of my roommates at the time, was just finishing “mind your manners” and also took part in the houses near daily jam sessions.

I had been playing drums for about 4 years at this point and loved really repetitive drum lines with slow changes over time. JTC took notice and let me borrow his 4 track and suggested that I record some of my drum work. I spent the better part of a day by myself and didn’t come up with much. It wasn’t until I took an acoustic pickup and rubbed it against an amp while playing back my drum loops that I prerecorded and came up with a crude noise heavy hypnotic 8 min long “song”. JTC heard this and immediately took an interest in what I was doing. That was the point that that I got into production, he started teaching me the finer points of using gear, recording techniques, and dance music history. All of this took place between 2000 – 2004 in that time I created “Set Free”, “Tonight”, “No Control”, and “Oh My”. I got really lucky in that I had lots of access to local talent and knew a bunch of great musicians from the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area


Michael: OK, very cool. So how do you go about producing? What hardware/software do you use? 

D’Marc Cantu: As odd as it may seem I mostly use Reason in conjunction with drum machines and keyboards. These include the poly 800, dx-27, dx-21, and the MicroKorg. This combined with several drum machines like the 707, 505, RZ-1, ER-1 and HR-16. However the flexibility that comes with using a PC is playing a huge part in my production. It’s all about flexibility, I admit that I spend a lot of time sampling my but again it’s just easier from a production stand point.


Michael: And how did the new LP Fallen come about?

D’Marc Cantu: With Fallen I wanted each track to tell a story, a journey through hell and back. It’s a showcase of dark heavy tracks and yet still has these grand almost ethereal moments to it. “I want to Ride” is a great example of this, the whispering synths coming in and out with this really raw beat just driving the whole track. Then you have the title track which I created to have a really funky rhythm and this ominous demonic feel to the whole thing. I was really influenced by a lot of horror films especially Lucio Fulci’s films, “Zombi 2” and “The Beyond”. I’m really into old horror/Scifi movies, sadly there’s a shortage of decent films being created. This has majorly contributed to a lot of the themes of my music, this dark spaced out driving rhythmic sound.


Michael: Who are you listening to at the moment? 

D’Marc Cantu: As far as what been influencing me recently. I’ve been just devouring this new mix by carlos Souffront he’s amazing! One label I’ve been really into has been Uncanny Valley and they have an artist Credit 00 who is sick. A few tracks of his stand out “Things” “Wave Memory” and “Eiserne Lunge” really great stuff. I really like L.I.E.S. and what Legowelt did with “Sark Island Acid” on there. I’m obviously really into a lot of the guys on Nation, Mos, and Crème. Most notably, Morphosis, Mutant Beat Dance, anything JTC does, Aroy Dee (Check out Sequencias for “Shuffle” silly good…), and Chicago Shags just to name a few.
Michael: And what does 2012 hold for D’Marc Cantu?

D’Marc Cantu: 2012 should see me releasing an Album with MOS, and I will have a track on a Sequencias release. There will be a few dates in the spring/summer in Europe and here in the states, all of that information will be out in a few months. It’s going to be a big year for me and a lot of the labels that I work with I’m really excited to see how it all plays out!
Michael: Who do you feel will be ‘one to watch’ in 2012?

D’Marc Cantu: Skrillex, Anyone with a haircut that good is going places.


Michael: Thanks again Nicolas, and we hope to catch up with you again in the near future. Good Luck.

D’Marc Cantu: Thanks Michael.

One comment

  1. Graeme Morrison /

    Great read…loving Nicholas’ work at the minute.