Trevino Interview: Golf greens and city scenes

Martin Guttridge-Hewitt caught up with Trevino to talk about life in Berlin, the UK's potential exit from the EU and his love of golf.

Becca Frankland

Date published: 9th Mar 2016

Regardless of which political team you’re on, at some point we’ve all wondered what it would be like to move abroad. From exotic locales in far flung regions to destinations closer to home, a short hop on a plane from Blighty, the lure of experiencing life in non-UK climes is hard to ignore. 

For those working in music, and perhaps especially the house and techno scene, the draw is even stronger, with Berlin amongst the biggest magnets outside our borders.

As was widely documented in 2014, when Germany celebrated a quarter century of reunification following the fall of the Wall that so deeply and fundamentally divided its capital. This metropole has been at the forefront of solid four fours since 1989, and remains the home of 70-hour weekend parties, and some of the most legendary clubs in the world. 

It’s just a shame there’s a distinct lack of golf courses. Or at least that’s what Marcus Intalex, AKA Trevino, has learned since relocating there in October. The former Manchester resident, drum ‘n’ bass stalwart and techno head has a penchant for greens that goes beyond a passing interest.

The name Trevino was inspired by Lee Trevino, an acclaimed clubsman who cemented his reputation as one of history’s greats back in the 1980s.

His label, Birdie, is quite clearly a golfing reference, and before forthcoming releases hit on Scuba’s Hotflush and Will Saul’s Aus later this year, he will drop a double-EP comprising a ‘Front Nine’ and ‘Back Nine’; 18 holes. Keen to hear how he’s coping without links on his doorstep, we gave him a call. 

So how has Berlin been treating you then, Marcus? 

The thing is, I’d been coming here pretty regularly before relocating - maybe two or three times a year since about 2000. I’ve always fancied it, but never committed to it. I’m definitely late to the game in coming out here, but I’ve been enjoying it and haven’t regretted the move at all.

It’s an easier life, it really is. I’ve not got a TV here, so I’m not really following the news or anything- obviously it’s all in German, and I’ve yet to learn how to say anything of any use. So it feels a bit more detached from the bullshit at home.

The city is pretty cheap in terms of eating, drinking, having fun. It’s probably two-thirds if not half the cost of the UK overall, so thumbs up realistically. The language is the only thing, but I’ve not been back to school in 20 years so the idea of learning a language fills me with dread.

Is it easy to keep up appearances and get work done given its such a music-focused city, but smaller and more contained than somewhere like London? 

It hasn’t really changed anything about that side of things if I’m honest. I tend to find I work better alone, I’ve not really taken advantage of Berlin in terms of going out clubbing and networking. If there is someone I really want to see playing here, and I’m not working, then I’ll go and check it out. But I’m not one for going out everywhere every week, so yeah pretty similar situation really.

Obviously the UK’s potential EU exit is big news over here, are you worried about what happens to expats if we decide to go? 

I’m keeping a close eye on it, definitely. Even if it’s just for work, the job that I do could be enormously effected by the decision. Regardless as to what my politics would be on the matter, my circumstance means I could only vote one way. If I voted ‘out’ then I’m really just voting myself out of work.

Do you really think it would be so significant? 

What I do know is that if we stay in then there won’t be an issue. By leaving it could mean regular visa applications, lots more paperwork, tax issues, there could be loads of things that crop up. 

And even if I wasn’t living in Germany, a good percentage of my work is in Europe, so if I’m travelling in and out of the UK, whichever way I’m going, it’s going to be an issue, and I’m quite happy with the way things are in terms of my career right now.

I also don’t really understand the timing of the whole thing either - why are we having a vote now? But I guess it’s out of my hands really, and so I just need to vote to stay in.

In terms of your career, then, there are two distinct halves. Did you start on Trevino because you felt people wouldn’t accept Marcus Intalex as a house and techno producer? 

I don’t have a problem with people knowing I’m doing both, in fact that’s the whole point. The only thing I didn’t want was to be booked for a techno gig and then have people asking me to play drum ‘n’ bass, or vice versa.

My favourite DJs have always been those who stay true to their sound, and those two sounds definitely don’t mix in terms of a set. So there had to be a clear difference just for that reason - if people see me as a versatile producer that’s surely a good thing. I just hate the question: ‘When are you going to play drum ‘n’ bass, Marcus?’ That would just do my fucking head in.

So do you miss Manchester then? 

I’d been in love with Manchester since the late-eighties, really. But no, I don’t really miss it. I’d almost isolated myself from the scene there by the end, I was living out in Urmston. Moving back into a city, here, it’s been quite good - more bars, more people, more restaurants, fucking thousands of coffee shops. 

Just general stuff to do, all the time, where I used to have to get in a car and drive to see friends, now people can just call round. I’ve always been a city guy, but had been falling out of love with it. I love playing golf, so I’d come to the conclusion that I could live anywhere as long as it was close to an airport.

Before Urmston I was in Chorlton in Manchester, but wanted to buy somewhere and it’s really expensive around there. So I basically put myself in a position where it was a ten pound taxi to go and have a beer with a mate. Like I said, isolating myself - which was good for work but not in some other ways. I mean, who the fuck is going to go to Urmston for a pint?

Finally, then, golf or music?

That is a question... to be honest I’ve kind of made that decision. Moving to Berlin has cost me my golf. There aren’t many courses, certainly nothing I could walk to - I’d need a car but have also got rid of my car. 

So I’ve made my choice with music. I’m going to come back and play golf in the UK, and there are a couple of people here that I know who play too. But back in the UK I was playing four or five times a week. I’ll be lucky to play four or five times a month here. So it seems you have your answer, although I might change my mind in a year.

Catch Trevino at Bonobo's Outlier event at Tobacco Dock warehouse this Saturday. Tickets available from the box below.

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