Native of Paris and spotted by Laurent Garnier, Martial Thebault aka Marst – pronounced ‘Mars-Tea’- has been on the rise since he first made his appearance in the French electronic scene in 2012. His DJ-sets depict a positive and harmonious vision of techno and house music. In just a few years, Marst has released EPs and remixes on renowned record labels such as Diynamic or Bedrock receiving support from big names in the industry like Dixon, Âme, Solomun, Agoria and more. A few weeks ago Marst released ‘Insane’, probably one of the biggest tracks of 2018 so far. Torture the Artist had the chance to speak to the well organized Parisian who now lives in Rouen.
Torture the Artist: Hello Marst, well done on your recent release on Bedrock! How are you today? Where are you located at the moment and what are your plans after we get off our call?
Marst: Thank you! I’m fine, recovering from an intense weekend with some close friends. I’m in my studio near Rouen, France, thinking about all my forthcoming works and gigs.
I love to be super well organized.
Torture the Artist: Do you usually plan out your day, or tend to go with the flow, keeping yourself busy with whatever comes your way?
Marst: It depends. I love to be super well organized, but sometimes I simply go with the flow. I like being independent!
Torture the Artist: At this very precise moment, is there any other place and state of mind you wish you were in? Where would you go, what would you do, who would you spend it with?
Marst: At this very precise moment, I would like to be at any place but with the people I love, and most especially with someone who will recognize herself.
Torture the Artist: Let’s get to some basic personal questions. Firstly, what name do you prefer to go by? Is Marst your nickname or just an artistic moniker?
Marst: Marst is just my artistic moniker since I was 15 years old. That’s the compression of my full name Martial Thebault, so you need to pronounce it as ‘Mars-Tea.’
Torture the Artist: Cool! Marst pronounced as ‘Mars-Tea’ it is. Marst, you are currently living in Paris, did you grow up in the French capital? Describe the way you feel about your hometown through one track.
Marst: I’m currently living in Rouen, Normandy, France, but was born and raised in Paris, so I know Paris very, very well. I’m planning to move back to Paris very soon. I think the track which would describe it best is ‘Rose Rouge’ by St Germain!
Torture the Artist: When did you first come across your passion for music? Tell us how you realized that this is what you want to focus on and make a career out of?
Marst: Since my early childhood in Paris! I started music at the age of 4, learning drums (thanks to my mum), and since this moment, I knew that music will be my life. Then I started to learn piano, guitar, bass guitar, and electronic music with my grand cousin.
I decided to go to Rex Club in Paris for my first time to see Laurent Garnier play, and it was like a massive light in my head.
Torture the Artist: Do you feel as though the electronic music community and trends in Paris were conducive to your emergence as a DJ/Producer? What do you love most about the scene? What would you say is lacking?
Marst: I did some basic music productions since the age of 7, when I saw my cousin producing on an old Atari ST with a black and white Cubase. Some years later, around the age of 15, I decided to go to Rex Club in Paris for my first time to see Laurent Garnier play, and it was like a massive light in my head: I wanted to share my music with friends and people so I decided to become a DJ. Paris is, and it has an important music scene that goes back years and years. It’s always super interesting to spend time in the Paris nightlife to discover a lot of things and meet many music producers. The main lack, in my opinion, would be the lack of ‘freedom’ that you could find in a city like Berlin for example.
Torture the Artist: Name some of your favorite hangout spots in Paris.
Marst: My favorite club in Paris is called Badaboum. I have my own party called ‘Kontrol’ there every three months. For me, this is the perfect club: 400 people, a pretty good sound system, and always a super crowd.
About other places, I love to go and party at Café Chéri(e) and have a dinner at Shingané, my favorite Korean restaurant.
Torture the Artist: Where do you usually go for a drink and what is your beverage of choice after a long session at the studio?
Marst: I love to drink French white wine (Petit Chablis for example) with friends, whatever the place! You always have a lot of nice bars in Rouen or Paris.
Torture the Artist: Who are your greatest influences and inspirations – both personally and as an artist? Have you met or worked with someone in the music industry who you idolized in the past.
Marst: Serge Gainsbourg, René Magritte, Placebo, Kraftwerk, Chopin, Hans Zimmer and Laurent Garnier, to name a few. Fortunately, I had the chance to meet and to share some moments of my life with Laurent 6 years ago!
Always sending music to the maximum people, always travelling all around Europe and the world to meet as many interesting people as possible… that’s the secret to grow.
Torture the Artist: What are some pivotal decisions you have made or opportunities you have taken which really help set off your career? In which particular year did you feel the most growth as an artist?
Marst: Always sending music to the maximum people, always travelling all around Europe and the world to meet as many interesting people as possible… that’s the secret to grow. But, it takes a long time, a very long time. I still have a lot of steps to climb to achieve my goal.
Torture the Artist: Can you share a few tips on how to stimulate your creativity when producing music?
Marst: Have a fulfilled life. Feel your heart beat very hard, that’s the main ‘tip’ in my opinion!
Torture the Artist: If you did not end up being a DJ/Producer, what do you imagine yourself doing instead? Do you have any other hidden talents or interests?
Marst: Nothing else more than to work for myself and to earn my living like this, and through music. Music is my life, and I can’t do any other thing, or live without it. But to answer your question, I’m also a web & graphic designer in my little French company called ‘Pixel Makers’.
Torture the Artist: Which city would you like to play in but have not had the chance to?
Torture the Artist: Looking back at all your tracks, which is your favorite production? Remix?
Marst: Mmm, interesting question. I think my favorite production could be ‘Control Room’ released some years ago. And about a remix, I’m super proud of a remix I’ve done for the band alt-J, but it’s still unreleased.
I love to DJ in front of a crazy packed crowd for hours and hours.
Torture the Artist: Do you sometimes find yourself struggling with balancing producing and DJing or have you found an equilibrium in which you are comfortable but still motivated in?
Marst: Oh, not really. I think it’s a proper mix. I love to spend hours and hours in my little studio producing new stuff, and I love to DJ in front of a crazy packed crowd for hours and hours too. Music is my life, my drug.
Torture the Artist: Your latest production, ‘Insane’ has taken dancefloors up a storm, played by some heavy names out there. How did you feel when you first heard it on a set/club, and who was playing it?
Marst: I was just super happy and proud. I made this track in hmm, 3 hours maximum I would say, and sent it immediately to Kristian (from Âme). By chance, he received it, listened to it, probably loved it and played it immediately! It was during the Peacock Society 2017 winter edition, I was in front of my computer screen watching the live streaming of this huge French party. And there it was, during the Âme DJ set, suddenly he played it! Thanks a lot Kristian, again and again, and again.
Torture the Artist: Can you tell us a little bit about the idea behind ‘Insane’?
Marst: This track is super close to my real life: Insane. Sometimes I have no rules, no borders. I love life, and I’m living mine at 100%, day by day, especially since the Paris attacks in November 2015, which I saw live. The vocal is taken from an old sample collection, and when I heard it with these words ‘I think I’m going insane… I love you,’ I felt a strong inspiration to produce a heavy track.
Regarding my role as an actor, let’s say that I had to do it for economic reasons.
Torture the Artist: You complement your successful release with a very fascinating and provocative music video, in which you also act in. Do you plan on pursuing mixed media projects in the future or acting, even. Or was the production simply done for fun?
Marst: No, it wasn’t done for fun. I had the idea to start mixing media projects for a while now. I’m a huge fan of music videos since my childhood, so it was impossible for me to wait more. I had the chance to meet Kevin Gay (the director) who works with Vitalic too and we have the same taste in colors, lights and the crazy nightlife. I want to thank him again, as well as Jean Biche, the creature, and Alexia Cicard, the beautiful girl you can see in the video. Regarding my role as an actor, let’s say that I had to do it for economic reasons! I had wanted to appear in the video, but very succinctly, not for that long. In any case it really made me want to continue mixing my music with images in the future. I find that very important.
Torture the Artist: Are you a film enthusiast? Can you name some of your favorite French films?
Marst: Absolutely. I am passionate about thrillers, crime movies, dramas and romantic movies. I could not give you movie names because I will not be able to be brief. I watch several movies a week.
Torture the Artist: Name a few emerging artists who have impressed you recently. Would you mind sharing the last five tracks you listened to?
Marst: I listen to music every day and for hours and hours a day, it’s a bit like cinema, giving you names and precise things would be impossible. But I really like Charlotte Gainsbourg’s latest album since I’m one of her father’s biggest fan too. I often listen to Blondino or Clara Luciani, two young French artists I love. I also listen to a lot of classical music and film music. As far as electronic music, I really like Denis Horvat and Trikk, who are clearly part of the names to remember at the moment!
Torture the Artist: Do you have any new projects on your dashboard? What can we expect from Marst for the remainder of 2018?
Marst: I have many things to come. The next EP will be released on the Zurich-based label, Definition. Music will include a huge remix by Darius Syrossian! For the rest, be patient.