In our new ‘My Studio’ series, we talk to some of the world’s top music producers using ROLI instruments to reveal the inner workings of their studio set-up. For our first interview we caught up with Marcus “MarcLo” Lomax, a producer, songwriter, and member of the Grammy-award-winning production team The Monsters & Strangerz, which has collaborated with Kanye West, Jason DeRulo, Demi Lovato, Jennifer Lopez, Selena Gomez, and others. MarcLo and the other Monsters & Strangerz share a studio in the NoHo arts district in Los Angeles.
Tell us about about an exciting project you’re working on in your studio right now. What tools are you using for it?
I’m also working on my own “The MarcLo Project.” The first single – SWNGN – was released in December, then the video came out in January, so I’m really excited about that.
What was your first instrument or musical gear?
My voice — I’ve been singing since I can remember. But my first instrument that I actually had to play was a keyboard and piano, and I started playing that around five years old. I took lessons that my dad made me do. I didn’t want to do it, but I’m so glad that I did.
Any items in your studio that have a memorable story?
There is — the bass guitar that I have. I don’t play it as much as my new one, but I have a bass guitar this guy named Charles Carrington gave to me in church when I was around 13 years old. He saw me coming up after church just watching the band play. After so many weeks he saw how interested I was, so gave me his bass guitar. I have him to thank for me playing the bass. It was a 1974 Yamaha bass.
What were your reasons for getting a Seaboard?
I saw it and aesthetically it looked appealing, so that drew it to me first off. Then I saw the tutorials and the demonstrations on roli.com and on YouTube, and I was blown away by how you’re able to use your hands to glide and slide across this Seaboard that’s made of silicone and create such a crazy different wave of sound.
What’s your typical setup with your Seaboard?
Things I wouldn’t necessarily do with a regular MIDI controller – I can do with the Seaboard… I’m already using it on my project and the sounds are incredible.
Typically with the Seaboard I use my MacBook Pro, Ableton Live and Equator, the standalone and VST soft synth that comes the RISE. I may use different equalizers and or filters to go on top of the sound. I’ve also seen it used with Omnisphere and Kontakt, but I mainly use Equator because I really love that sounds that it comes with.
Is the Seaboard adding something to your work?
Definitely, it opens up a whole new realm of imagination when i’m creating. Things I wouldn’t necessarily do with a regular MIDI controller — or when I point, click and draw — I can do with the Seaboard. I would definitely not be able to do it if I didn’t have a Seaboard. I’m already using it on my project and the sounds are incredible.
Tell us about the daily routine in your studio.
I’m in the studio six days a week from 12pm to 12am. I share it with The Monsters & Strangerz — there are five of us. Basically we work on music for different artists. We’ve written songs in this studio from Jason Derulo, Maroon5, Chris Brown — written all in this one room.
Our routine is that we usually have a songwriter or producer that we collaborate with. They come in, we write a song, and after the song is perfect we go back and do production on top of that and we make sure it’s seamless so we have no wrinkles in the art. The studio is also used for when i’m working on my MarcLo Project, which is another reason why I’m here six days a week. I love it here. It’s home, I’m here more than I’m at my apartment.