Biography of DJ Colette
|Real name / ||Colette Marino|
|Moniker(s) / ||Colette|
DJ, producer, vocalist – Colette has grown from an integral part of the Chicago underground into a breakout musical triple-threat releasing her most accomplished and fully realized artistic statement to date. Combining the tunefulness of classic pop songs with the thump of classic house of her hometown, the album ventures into new sonic territory for Colette, from intimate bedroom beats to stadium-shaking dance anthems. When the Music’s Loud is the sound of an artist at the peak of her powers.
“I grew up listening to pop in the ‘80s, and as I got older, I was really deep into the ‘90s house scene,” says COLETTE when talking about the shockingly panoramic sounds found on her third studio full-length, When the Music’s Loud (Candy Talk Records). “For me, these two elements are always sort of married. This album is my way of bringing those sounds together as one.”
“We started crafting this record, and it wasn’t until we wrote ‘Electricity’ that we figured out what we really wanted to do,” Colette explains of the new album’s origins. “Even though it’s so far away from what I normally do, the tone of it was where we clicked,” referencing her longtime songwriting partner Tim K. “It was different, but it still sounded familiar, and it was exciting to us.”
The album is awash with the robotic sounds of the vocoder, famously used to legendary effect by such pioneers as Giorgio Moroder and Electric Light Orchestra, but here is applied by Colette in her own inimitable fashion.
“We put them in as slight undertones in some songs, so you might not even notice that they’re there,” she explains. “The first time I ever saw someone use a vocoder was when I was 8. My friend’s parents were in a band, and they had one of those keyboards with the hose attachment that you would sing into for the vocoder effect. From that moment on, I always thought they were cool. That was a theme as well for us on this album: We wanted to take these old elements and use them in a modern way.”
"We were influenced by Kraftwerk, Africa Bambaataa, Adonis and Romanthony,” Colette reveals. “‘80’s futurism was the inspiration and launch pad for this album.”
Lyrically, When the Music’s Loud finds Colette looking back at her 20 years of making music and clearly seeing what was really important on the journey from then to now.
“We were thinking about the countless stories from the ongoing travels of life. There are some love stories in there, but it’s more about friendship and the people around you as you grow. I’ve had the same group of friends for 20 years, and we were all in this environment together. We’re family.”
Those enduring Chicago connections are most apparent with the song “Hotwire,” which rides over the instrumental beat of acid house legend Adonis’ 1986 underground club classic, “No Way Back.”
“I’ve loved acid bass lines since I was a child. They always add a lot of flavor,” Colette says. “To be able to have that sound and Adonis’ music on a record is really special. It feels like home.”
While Colette has evolved into a seasoned songwriter and producer, she’s never far from the DJ decks, perpetually on tour traveling the globe spinning crowd-pleasing and party rocking sets from Los Angeles to Tokyo.
“We’re at an interesting place in 2013,” she surmises. “Dance music is so popular in America right now, but it’s for the commercial aspect of the sound. For an underground DJ like me, I find myself spinning for crowds that are made up of people who’ve been with me for the last 15 years right next to these new, fresh faces still getting into the music. It’s definitely a jugging act making it work for everyone, including myself, but it’s a challenge I still love and look forward to every night I’m in the club. It’s fun, but there’s a lot of thought that goes into what I’m playing.”
The music, the memories, the people, the places — it’s a journey that Colette has shared with the world around her for as long as she’s been able, cultivating a large and loyal fan base that’s always eager to support the sounds she brings to light.
“Getting to play music is everything to me,” she says. “2013 and 2014 will be all about sharing this record. I will always play versions of my other songs, but When the Music’s Loud is something I’m really excited about. I’m hopeful that people will like it and want to continue on this journey with me.”