The Queen of House returns with an album full of firsts.
“Catch My Breath,” produced by Chris Santiago, recalls the lushness in recent work by Marino’s former labelmate and fellow Chicago house head, Kaskade. Tracks like “Electricity,” produced by Tim Bushido, and the Teenwolf-produced “We Feel So Hot” play with the contrast between dry, sometimes cold production against the warmth of Marino’s voice. The Tim K-produced “Physically” rebels against a formal song structure altogether.
While the influence of ‘90s house runs throughout the album, 909s and 808s pepper many of the songs, adding an element of surprise to the typical instrument-based house sound. If there were a singular influence on “When The Music’s Loud,” you’d be hard-pressed to pinpoint it.
“We were really inspired by a lot of early ‘90s house music,” Marino explains. “We were looking at Romanthony songs and Afrika Bambaataa; just feeling inspired by when I first got into dance music.”
Perhaps because she still feels a connection to the music of her early years on the scene, Marino is particularly heartened by the changes she sees in her audience.
“I have a really diverse group of people coming to shows,” she says. “I have people who have been there the whole time and then there’s all the kids who just turned 21. It’s interesting to watch this collection of people sort of merge.”
Hailing the success of Disclosure as an example, Marino affirms the legacy of community within house music: “They’re such a blessing. They’re really solid musicians and producers and I’m so excited that they popped up out of nowhere.”
Still, for a DJ who cut her teeth on vinyl, a few of those who occupy DJ booths are the source of some minor frustration.
“I’m still so confused as to how people who don’t know how to DJ are calling themselves DJs,” she says. “I think there’s an artform to DJing. Where I come from people would cheer for the blend sometimes more than the actual record.”
And although she doesn’t have too much affection for the “bigger productions” in the EDM world, she’s not calling anyone out. “I don’t like every underground house song either. Dance music is a wide genre. Just like rock.”
The video for “Best of Days,” which drops in a few weeks, features DJ Colette with her friends from her days in all-female DJ group Superjane, including DJs Heather, Lady D and Dayhota.
“It’s more like a documentary,” Marino explains. “It’s us. It’s us playing. It’s Chicago. It’s us having fun. It’s a nice snapshot of how I started. The main line in that ‘best of days aren’t over yet,’ because they’re not. ”