Marcus Santoro has had one hell of a year. The 23 year old has accomplished so much, from making his international debut at UNITE with Tomorrowland, to earning consistent support from legends like Armin Van Buuren, Above & Beyond and signing his music to Axtone, Armind, Enhanced, and many more.
He shows no signs of slowing down, as he just released his new single, “Hijack”, one that is ready to light up any dance floor. The arrangement is mesmerizing, euphoric, and electrifying, all in one and may just be his best yet.
I had the opportunity to talk to Marcus about the year he has had, along with how “Hijack” came to be, and we even touch on his Christmas list. I really liked this one and I think you will too. Enjoy!
Marcus, you’ve had an insane year and accomplished so much. What has been a few of your biggest accomplishments this year?
This year has without a doubt been the most amazing regarding my career and I’m incredibly thankful for that. I’ve supported some of my favourite artists such as Armin van Buuren and Above & Beyond as well as releasing on iconic labels Axtone and now Armind has been a dream come true. Heading to perform overseas for the first time at UNITE with Tomorrowland in Abu Dhabi was definitely something I won’t forget and sharing the stage alongside Dimitri Vegas & Like Mike, Afrojack and Martin Garrix at BAO Festival in Dubai, safe to say I’m on a high right now!
You’ve traveled to Dubai a few times this year and I have to ask, have you visited the top of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai? If so, how insane is it?
I have been lucky enough to visit the UAE twice now and I’m loving it every time. There’s such a uniqueness about it that I haven’t quite yet figured out, but hopefully coming back more and more in the near future might allow me to discover it!
Everyone is really relaxed and going about their business, it’s refreshing to see. Regarding Burj Khalifa, I have yet to scale to the top but I’ve visited it twice now and it truly is an amazing spectacle.
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Talk to us about your international debut in Abu Dhabi via Tomorrowland Presents Unite. Did you notice a difference in preparing for a show of that caliber?
For sure, preparing for UNITE Tomorrowland in Abu Dhabi definitely had me on edge a few times leading up to the preparation. I guess the feeling of performing my very first international show for such a prestigious brand and a city that is still relatively “new” to the EDM world, I wasn’t sure what to expect so it definitely had me feel butterflies quite a few times…but in a good way of course.
The preparation for that show ended up leading me to write my new single ‘Hijack’ which was the opener for the show and that helped figure out where I needed to take it.
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Tell us about how “Hijack” came to be. Is this a direction you’re going to continue to explore in the following year?
So the story behind ‘Hijack’ was pretty straight forward, but also very unpredictable. It was leading up to UNITE Tomorrowland, and my set was missing an intro – I wanted something original to open with to really make a statement. The song itself was heavily inspired by Armin van Buuren’s energetic rolling Trance sounds with Axwell /\ Ingrosso’s rave elements and I wanted to combine it into something of my own. Overall, it was just a fun song to write and definitely something I could see myself following up with. I had a vision of Armin signing it and when he did I was super over the moon.
When writing “Hijack” how long did the project take from start to finish? Do you also write numerous versions and then compare certain elements of each version for the perfect sound?
There was a few versions of ‘Hijack’ before the final. I had written a sort of ‘rough demo’ to premiere at Tomorrowland UNITE and then after that show when I was back in the studio, I kept on developing it so I could test it out on the road with MaRLo during his Reaching Altitude label nights. The final result was a different key change, and a completely different second drop but it works a treat and I love playing this one out.
What songs are on heavy rotation in your life right now?
I’ve been listening to many records lately, if anyone wants to stay connected with what I’m listening to, they should definitely check out my Spotify playlist ‘Louder Together’. Here’s some of my favourites:
DubVision & Raiden – ‘Yesterday’ (STMPD RCRDS)
Third Party – ‘Come With Me’ (Release Records)
Andrew Bayer – ‘Open End Resource’ [In My Last Life Mix] (Anjunabeats)
Axwell – ‘Nobody Else’ (Axtone Records)
Above & Beyond & Spencer Brown feat. RBBT – ‘Long Way From Home’ (Anjunabeats)
Armin van Buuren feat. Sam Martin – ‘Wild Wild Son’ (Armada)
CLMD – ‘Trouble’ (Sony)
What are some of your goals for 2019? Also, if you could work with any artist you look up to, who would it be, and why?
There’s a lot of work to be done in 2019, and I’m definitely ready for it! I think the main goal for me right now is to target more overseas shows, more specifically throughout Europe’s Summer season and eventually heading to North America, also would love to tackle Asia too as it’s been on my list for quite some time.
I guess if I could work with any artist, it’s such a tough question because I want to work with many of my idols but right now, I’d say it’d be Axwell or Armin van Buuren. Both artists have supported me throughout 2018 and being in contact with both acts has been super spellbinding – they’re both artists who I inspire to be like work wise and personally and musically, I think it works.
What do you want for Christmas this year?
It’s hard to believe Christmas is actually here…where has the time gone?! Look, there’s many things I wouldn’t mind for Christmas but over the years I’ve learned to appreciate the more important things in life than just material gifts. For me outside of music this year, had a few rollercoaster moments so for me the thing I want most this year for Christmas is spending proper family time with my loved ones and keeping the light alive…but a new pair of headphones might come in handy…
Listen to Marcus Santoro’s brand new single, “Hijack” below!