Maro Kariya

Author Fiona
Wed 4 Sep 13
/ 5

It's been a while since we've had a producer that we felt was making a break-through for the New Noise section. Maro Kariya is such a one. With an innovative approach to music and music-making, utilizing technology and his guitar playing skills, Maro is quietly working away making electronica and techno on his own and with his brother Tenkai. Here's our catch up with him!

CGNY: Please tell us a little about yourself and your life related to music. How do you relate to music? Did you grow up in a musical family?

Maro: I have been lucky enough to have been exposed to music from an early age. My mother comes from Detroit and her side of the family is filled with talented musicians. My father is an artist (, and he has gathered an array of unusual instruments, which I have had access to. As an adolescent, I regularly visited Juilliard to see free classical performances and very much envied the talented musicians. I also was exposed to plenty of video game and animation music, much of which is very similar to today’s electronic music.

CGNY: I see you are a great guitar player.  When did you start to learn? When did you start listening EDM?

Maro: I first started fiddling around with the guitar when I was in middle school. I had no goal in mind, but I enjoyed playing. When I entered college I brought my guitar along with me. I played a song I had just learned for my girlfriend at the time and she promptly told me I sucked. Sure enough I broke up with her and vowed to become a great guitar player.

Soon, I met a great guitar player, Gaku Nagashima, who generously volunteered to teach me some licks from a popular Japanese hard rock band, B'z. I started playing guitar practically every day after meeting Gaku and improved significantly over the 5 years since then, although I migrated away from hard rock towards funk and surf guitar. Eventually a good friend of mine, Mike Fiore, introduced me to the electronic music scene by bringing me to Electric Zoo. I was captivated. Since then I've been going to EDM parties and trying to understand what I enjoy the most.

CGNY: What inspires you to produce music?

Maro: What inspires me to produce music originates from the same feeling which encourages me to listen to music. I’m always looking for unique sounds that give me a feeling I like. When I get goosebumps listening to a track of my own, I am very satisfied. However, I also find that my music can capture and convey emotions which I’m already feeling yet rather not put into words.

I love the creative process involved in making music. There is no single designated pathway towards creating a track or a song. There’s no set guideline to start with lyrics, with a melody, or even with a set idea for the song, you can just play and figure out all that stuff later. Listening to other artists catalyzes this creative process and helps me find new ideas to integrate in my music. Not only is making music a creative process for me, but it’s a reflective process as well, sometimes I don’t even know what my tracks are about until I’ve finished making them. I really have to dig deep and find meaning at times; sometimes I don’t even find any!

What really inspired me to produce techno was this past Detroit Electronic Music Festival (DEMF). Since then, I haven’t been able to get enough techno. I really liked the dark, industrial, sometimes psychedelic side of techno that I was exposed to in that underground stage as well as the many after-party venues, and I wanted to produce some of my own.

CGNY: How do you describe your music?  What is your style?

Maro: I don’t think I can quantize my music to a single style quite yet, but it’s on the boundaries of dark, industrial techno with hints of fleeting bright melodies.

CGNY: For your live set, how was the music making? What did you want to achieve? What did you want to convey to your audience?

Maro: My live set at MASHT NYC’s party was awesome! The crowd really felt the music that I produced, and I thoroughly enjoyed the energy they gave back to me. I wanted to bring the audience on a journey and have them feel the same emotions that were evoked in me when I was playing the set. There are upbeat portions of the set as well as solemn sad parts. Yet what is sad and dark to me may seem different to others, so I wanted the audience to come up with their own interpretations of the set and leave the venue feeling refreshed with new perspectives on music.


CGNY: Is there anything that you want to improve for next time?

Maro: The greatest critic of any artist is him/herself. There were many things that needed improving in my eyes. Specifically with controlling volume levels and making sure the guitar sound is distinct from the rest of the noise. It’s hard to anticipate what your set will sound like in a packed room when you’re doing sound check in an empty one. I’m glad that I was able to quickly troubleshoot problems during my set that I didn’t foresee.

CGNY: What did you use for your live set?  Can you explain little details?

Maro: For my live set I prepared an hour long stream of beats on Ableton Live and overlaid the beats with Werkbench sounds and guitar.

Werkbench is a sequence/sampler application for iOS. It’s very powerful and has many, many uses. If you want to learn more about the application, please check out Bolasol’s website ( I also have a live view of me using Werkbench while producing the set. In order to get a better picture of how it works, check out the set! (

I plug my guitar into an audio interface which goes into my computer. I have a few effects in Ableton that I like to use, including reverb, as well as a looper function. Both my computer and my iPad go through a mixer, which controls the levels.

CGNY: What are your strengths? What do you want to learn more of?

Maro: I can control my equipment well and I can usually produce the sound I’m looking for through my instruments. I have a good ear for transitions in sets and I know how to make sounds unique.

I am working on mastering and learning how to produce a track faster. I would definitely like to learn more about analog instrumentation and how to produce my own synthesizers or effects modules, such as a VCO or VCF.

CGNY: What do you wish the EDM industry to be?

Maro: I don’t really mind where the EDM industry is going right now, but it’s not ideal. There are many great, talented artists out there who are getting attention from plenty of people. Although there’s a fair share of popular rubbish out there, it doesn’t distract the people looking for a great party.

In my EDM utopia, every person’s priority when going to a venue would be to listen to the music. Not to meet cute girls or guys, get f’d up, or rouse up mayhem...just listen to the music. If everyone obeyed my utopia’s guidelines, both the artists and party goers would be super happy.

CGNY: What is your motto?

Maro: I never really thought about this until I saw this question. I’ll copy my father’s: “The now is the now is the now is the now is the now...”

CGNY: What's your goal for near future and next year on your music?

Maro: Buying more equipment, making more tracks, listening to more music, meeting more people!

I want to make my live set more sustainable so I’ve been messing around with lots of analog gear (drum machines, mod synths, arpeggiators, etc.) and different iPad apps which are super powerful.

My brother (Tenkai Kariya:, and I will be releasing an EP in the future, made with many unique sounds from different origins. We plan to release the EP under our own label, which we are getting started.

We are looking forward to playing in more venues (both separately and together) and showing the world our music and my brother’s amazing, sound-responsive visual program (check out for a sample of this amazing program).

For a sample of music my brother and I have produced check out

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