During the week, Marco Selph is a physical therapist. His ordinary day consists of treating patients, assessing and identifying a variety of physical ailments. On the weekends, however, he becomes Wrong Assessment, an intriguing DJ, producer and label owner from Milan.
For almost half of his existence, Selph has been split between these two alter egos. Now aged 31, his two greatest passions – health and music – still run his life, with the overachieving physiotherapist-slash-DJ reluctant to relinquish either role. So, he does both. Ahead of his Beijing debut at Lantern this Saturday (March 23), we chat to the multi-talented moonlighter about the therapeutic aspects of techno, plus other life philosophies.
You're one of the rare artists to keep your day job in spite of an increasingly intense musical career. How do you balance being a therapist and professional musician?
I still don't consider myself a professional musician. My career's still growing, so despite a busier schedule, I still have enough time to do both jobs properly. I have my own physical therapy studio in Milan, so I'm able to schedule appointments while still considering my commitments as an artist. When I’m travelling, I’ll ask colleagues to fill in for me during my absences. Balance is a key part of life – and since both of my professions are also my passions, it’s easy to find a balance between them.
When did you realise that you could make the leap from being a bedroom DJ to playing for a wider audience? How did this occur?
[My job as a DJ] is evolving and has changed a lot since I first started, but I still feel I’m that passionate, young dude interested in electronic music, willing to make some of his own. I guess it's all still occurring, even if I’m travelling all over the world bringing my sound to great clubs and venues.
What is techno to you? Do you see any connection to either of your vocations? Do you find it therapeutic?
Techno is a musical genre, but above all, it’s a way of living a particular kind of culture. The concept behind it has always been related to inclusion – it allows people from different social backgrounds, orientations and skin colour to find a common way to party together, forgetting society's prejudices and fighting back against the public’s opinion of false morality. I think techno, like every form of art, can be therapeutic, as it was and still is for me.
You also run an imprint, AWRY, which bears a similar meaning to your moniker. Do you think you’re doing something awry? Or is it a funny contrast to your day profession of fixing people?
AWRY means 'away from the usual or expected course; amiss'. It can be a synonym of 'wrong', yes, so once I discovered the word it was pretty easy to keep it as the project name. Also, the first two letters are mirrored in the initials of my artist name [WA]. More specifically, the concept behind the label name comes from the fact that club culture itself is considered 'wrong'. Parties are often a place where people can explore their perversions, vices and more intimate sides – all things considered wrong by society, in some ways.
My label’s focus lies in the production of artists whose works are based on a common ground of depth, hypnosis and minimalism; those who explore aspects of sound that are imperfect, or wrong. Simultaneously, the aesthetic aspect – extremely important when defining label – is curated by my best friend Louis De Belle, a talented photographer with whom I share a certain passion for uncanny imagery.
We heard that you're inspired by horror movies from the ‘70s and ‘80s.
Yes. That influence comes more from the grotesque, uncommon and awry imagery that those movies have.
How about the music you play? How different is your production to what you choose during a live DJ set?
I’d say that my DJ sets are quite close to what I produce. Obviously, I can achieve a wider range of sounds playing tracks from other artists, so you might hear something that probably can’t be found directly listening to my sets, but one way or another, it's all crucial for the actual building of my own production sound. That being said, you won't find something completely different from what you might get dancing to one of my club sets.
You perform mostly in Europe, but you’ve done some gigs worldwide as well. Now you've got your eyes set on Asia. How do you cope with new challenges, both musically and mentally?
I just live them deeply, without any pre-existing prejudices or need to prepare myself in a certain way. I keep my focus on my main motivation in life: curiosity. All these experiences are new, so I just let myself get carried away by the moment and see what opportunities naturally emerge. I’m looking forward to being surprised over what’s in store for me during the next few weeks touring Asia.
Most of the shows on this tour are in China. How are you preparing for your Chinese debut? Do you have any expectations?
I’m honoured to have the chance to bring my music vision to a completely new audience. I've heard great things about the Chinese crowd and I’m deeply excited to play for you all. I know you're very open-minded listeners and keen to discover new sounds. I can’t wait to meet new people in different places I’ll be performing in – it will definitely be an experience I won’t forget for the rest of my life.
By Uroš Veselinović