Terminal V Podcast 057 || Alt8

ALT8 is Evan Marshall, a long time electronic music obsessive who has always veered towards the harder end of the spectrum. His thrilling sets take in industrial and rave, trance and schranz and his work in the studio often distils those same influences. So far he has released them on the likes of T-Minus Records and DYEN’S Reckless label, with ‘Mind Control’ on the latter becoming an underground hit played far and wide by plenty of tastemaking DJs, and his Hope in Darkness EP on Moments In Time hitting the top spot of Beatport’s hard techno chart.

Marshall has served up a super potent hard techno mix for us this week that is a fine snapshot of what to expect in the club. While you dig in, read on to find out about the pressure of getting back in the studio after a big hit, why he loves it so hard, what defines his approach to DJing and much more…


What’s good and bad in your world right now?

Honestly, everything in my world is great right now! Touring has taken off for me, I just moved to Barcelona in April which has been one of the best life decisions I’ve ever made. For me there’s nothing bad to complain about, I’m always positive and if there’s a problem I don’t like to complain about it. I try to fix it.

Why does the early 2000s hard techno scene appeal and influence you so much? What defined that period for you? Why do you like it hard?

Besides the fast pace and high energy which I can’t get enough of it has to be the groove inside. Whether it’s more shranz or downright hard groove I’m digging it. You can hear from almost all my productions the influence of my drums is from this period. I like to bring this into almost all of my productions, I guess it’s become a bit of a signature.

Your bio says you mix moments not styles, which is an idea we like. Can you explain what that means in practice?

I don’t like to play tracks for the sake of it. I think if you play a full set of nonstop hits/bangers then your moments get lost. Choose a couple of really big moment tracks for your sets. For example, if it’s a track with a massive breakdown/buildup I would usually play a few loopy tracks before it. This makes your big track seem even bigger as by the time you play it the crowd is itching for something to really catch them or go crazy!

When in the studio, are you making tunes to play in your own sets? Do you hear them in your head and try and make them or is the process more improvised than that?

Yes, definitely most of the time I’m making tracks for my own sets or if I have a label in mind. For me most of the time when I go into the studio with a plan to make a specific style or sound it doesn’t work out really or it ends up being completely different! My best and most successful tracks have all been improvised on the spot without a plan. Just getting lost in creativity.

You’ve had big chart-topping tunes like your ‘Mind Control’ on Dyen’s Reckless – how does that feel? Does the success add pressure, like trying to repeat the trick next time around?

I think if you release some music that becomes successful it definitely adds pressure and I think sometimes it makes you overthink in the studio. That can kill creativity, I often battle with it. You go through periods of writer’s block all the time, even the best do. You just have to ride that storm and keep going.

What do you have coming up?

Lots of gigs across Europe & rest of the world including a tour of China in September & Colombia in October. Some standout shows coming up in Europe this year are Verknipt ADE, Unreal Germany at Gotec, Fuse Brussels, Fabrik Madrid & more. Music-wise, I have some tracks coming out on Sara Landry’s label ‘Hekate’ plus some other interesting ones that I can’t share yet 😉

Tell us about your mix, the aim you had with it, and what you wanted it to say.

This mix is pretty close to the sets I’ve been playing on tour recently. A nice balance of shranz, groovy techno and trancey tracks. I don’t like to totally play the same style for a full set. I like to dip into many subgenres to create different moments.

What gear did you use, is that important to you in any way whether in the booth or studio?

While DJing it’s pretty basic for me, I use 3-4 CDJ 3000’S + Allen&Heath Xone:96 mixer. For the studio, I don’t use any hardware. Most important is a well-treated room with quality audio monitors, Ableton and a MIDI keyboard.


Interview by Kristan Caryl