The music industry is arguably more saturated than it has ever been, which makes it increasingly difficult for artists get a break that propels them into the mainstream. The key is to get noticed and build off that success, and Marshmello is doing all that while hiding in plain sight.
The mystery DJ has become known for performing with a marshmallow mask that conceals his identity.
Marshmello was brought into the scene less than a year ago when he released his first original mix on Soundcloud which now has 169k followers.
Ever since Marshmello interrupted Skrillex’s interview with Katie Couric, the world has been buzzing about the infamous name drop. During the interview back in June, Skrillex gets a call and Katie Couric calls out the ‘Caller Id’ as Chris. At this point Skrillex goes on to talk about Marshmello and how he is the next big thing.
It turns out Marshmello is under the same management as Juaz, Dotcom, and Sikdope and of those three artists ‘Dotcom’s’ real name is Chris Comstock. The true identity has yet to be determined but it is more fun if it is left a mystery anyway.
Since the name drop Marshmello has been touring the festival circuit and selling out shows across the United States.
He started off 2016 with a gift to the early adopters with the release of Joytime that dropped on January, 8th. This isn’t a true album release, rather a 10-track compilation of his original tracks which have been released over the past 10 months.
It is definitely nice to have everything in one place though and it’s a good way to introduce friends to the next big thing.
Joytime starts start strong with a screeching synth, mallet melodies, and a smooth bass as he taunts listeners with the vocal hook “Everybody Knows Me…. Marshmello”. The infamous DJ already has a place in the music industry but he has invented a new alias to match his new style.
The most interesting thing about this song was the timed released just after the interview with Katie Couric that name dropped Marshmello. The track art even features Katie herself. Right now we know the man for the mask, but it is only a matter of time before we know what’s under it too.
The rest of Joytime does not vary much from the opening track as each song sticks to the strong formula that includes a smooth bass line, sharp synths, simple risers and percussion buildups, trap hats and strong kicks. Summer is perhaps the biggest change of pace with a nice downtempo beat, but at times the sub bass can almost be overwhelming for the slower tempo and context.
Each song offers a little something different but Bounce stands out from the rest immediately with its use of piano, future synth sounds, and catchy bass synths. The track best captures what the album does well, which are the dramatic ups and downs. Marshmello consistently builds tension in a track, lays down a smooth bass line, and drops it all back out again to take the listener on a roller coaster ride of buildups and dance hooks.
Keep it Mello featuring Omar Linx was the only song with a vocal track and it is the perfect anthem for Marshmello. The hook chants “Keep it Mello” and makes a nod to the “mellow” style that Marshmello produces. Marshmello and Omar Linx make a perfect pair and I can only hope they collaborate more in the future.
Overall Joytime is not very technical as it is made of simple risers, basic clap build ups, simple bass melodies, and trap style hi-hats. That said Joytime is still a solid collection of originals that creates a clear image and sound for a rising artist. There is a lot of good variation between bass and synths and the constant up and down creates a dramatic journey that would be perfect to experience in a festival setting. Marshmello may be an experienced DJ under the mask but creating a solid image takes time and this time all eyes are on him from the start.