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Marshmello: The Man Behind the Confection

If you had asked me what Marshmello was last week, I would have described it as a soft, chewy confection made with sugar and gelatin. But Marshmello is not a misspelled treat; he is this year’s featured electronic dance music (EDM) producer and is scheduled to perform at Boston College’s Plexapalooza on February 4. He has become known for wearing a large, marshmallow-shaped “helmet” during his concerts, concealing his identity beneath. In fact, his name and face remain unknown. (Although a few insider-fans suggest Marshmello is Dotcom—an American DJ with a suspiciously similar music style.)

Marshmello recently performed alongside household names such as Justin Bieber and Skrillex at Miami's Fontainebleau show on New Year’s Eve, where he also participated in an “interview” with two CNN reporters. I use the term “interview” loosely because his answers to the questions were nods,“OK” hand signs, and prayer hands. But his silent gestures meant the world to fans.

Since research on this intriguing artist is limited, and since I am not yet a fan of his music, my opinion offers limited insight into the world of Marshmello. In order to provide some background on the mysterious, increasingly popular artist, I interviewed Mark Laub, CSOM '19, about his experience as a devoted Marshmello fan and his thoughts on Plexapalooza.

“In 2015 when I found him, he was essentially a no-name in the popular music world," recalled Laub. "It is now the beginning of 2017 and he was already rated the number 28 DJ in the world according to DJ Mag—which is an extraordinarily huge honor.” Laub describes Marshmello’s work as a middle ground between the conventional hard EDM and the alternatively chill EDM presented by artists like Kygo.

If you are interested in listening to the music that propelled him to such fame, Laub recommends checking out “Alone,” “Ritual,” and “Keep it Mello,” as well as his remixes of music by Zedd, Avicii, and Jack Ü. To explain what BC students can expect from Marshmello's appearance at Plexapalooza, Laub humorously assures, “Marshmello fits the vibe we all want to see at Plexapalooza, and if somebody goes and hates the music at least you get to see a dope dude wearing a light up Marshmello helmet. It's a win-win.”

Tickets go on sale at 11 a.m. on Monday, January 29. The full interview with Mark Laub below and has been abbreviated for clarity.

When did you become a fan of Marshmello? How did you originally find out about him?

"I became a fan of Marshmello in the fall of 2015 when some of my hall-mates were playing his music on their speaker one night. I found out about him through my friends who were big EDM fans and I, at the time, was very new to the whole EDM scene. The biggest memory I have during the fall was in November or December when my friend played Marshmello's remix of "Hello" by Adele and I instantly loved it. That song, to this day, is still by far my favorite and it just makes me extremely happy and in a fun, dancing mood."

What do you think about Marshmello’s increasing fame?

"Marshmello is arguably my favorite DJ right now so the fact that his fame is increasing makes me very happy and much deserved. He is very good friends with big names like Skrillex and is rumored to be an older DJ by the name of Dotcom. If this is indeed true then his increasing fame would make sense as he would already be good friends with big name artists that can help spread his name and music. Overall I think it is extremely impressive how fast he has grown to be so big."

How do you feel about Marshmello coming to Boston College for Plexapalooza?

"I couldn't be happier that Marshmello is coming to BC for Plexapalooza. As I mentioned he is arguably my favorite DJ so to be able to see him live [again] would be phenomenal especially if I get to share the experience with my best friends. He plays songs and his remixes of songs that many people will recognize as well as love to dance to."

What would you tell someone who doesn’t know anything about him?

"I understand that not many people know who Marshmello is and are probably also very confused or intrigued by his name, but I want people to know that as long as you like to dance and have fun and listen to music with your friends, you will really enjoy Marshmello. In addition, if you have never heard his music I would recommend looking up his Soundcloud and looking for his remixes as he has remixed Adele, Zedd, Avicii, DJ Snake and many more."

For prospective fans, which are the songs they should check out before he comes to Plexapalooza?

"Some singles to check out would be Alone, Ritual, Keep it Mello. But even more significantly I think one should check out his remixes as I feel those are the songs that I think he absolutely nailed. A must is the "Hello - Adele (Marshmello Remix)." I also recommend his Waiting for Love - Avicii (Marshmello Remix), I Want U to Know - Zedd ft. Selena Gomez (Marshmello Remix), Beautiful Now - Zedd (Marshmello Remix), and Alarm - Anne Marie (Marshmello Remix)."

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