This Interview is linked from the Okeechobee Official Portal Guide.
Interview with identical twins, Alex and Michael Marante.
SIGT: Where did the name MASF come from and how is it pronounced?
MASF: It’s pronounced MASSIVE. It’s everybody’s first initial in our immediate family—M for Michael, A for Alex, and then our parents, S for Silvia and F for Felix.
SIGT: Marante, is that Spanish?
MASF: Yeah, we’re actually from Miami, but our parents are Cuban. Most of our family are in Cuba and we have a lot of family in Miami as well.
SIGT: Awesome. You guys grew up in Miami?
MASF: Yeah, specifically Hialeah, Florida. It’s a lively area; rich with culture.
SIGT: What brought you guys up to Orlando?
MASF: To go to school at UCF, be on our own, and to be individuals.
SIGT: What did you study?
MASF: (Michael) I did Visual Arts and Emerging Media Management and Alex did Integrated Business with an emphasis in Marketing.
SIGT: Damn. A deadly combo. That’s probably why you guys are doing so well. You guys have had quite an exciting ramp-up period.
MASF: It’s been a crazy ride ever since we kind of grew a life here in Orlando. It was kind of like that in Miami as well because we’re also in the club circuit over there growing up. We started DJing at 14 and our first gig ever, believe it or not, at 16 years old, was Club Space. It was one of those situations where you’re doing house parties to warehouses, to dance halls, to going into all-ages clubs. At the time, there were promoters who would rent out entire club venues and throw all-ages parties there. We were part of that. The first event we were supposed to do with the promoter was Pawn Shop and then the room closed down while we were about to start. So they told us, “we got here for Space,” and I was like, “no problem.” So our first club gig officially was on record is Club Space.
SIGT: That is so dope. So you guys started performing as DJs officially at 16, but you started learning at 14. But really, I read that you guys were getting into music at nine years old?
MASF: Yeah. So one of our older brothers was really into dance music, and he got both of us into it. He showed us this radio station at the time [in Miami] called Party 93.1. So we started to learn the landscape a little bit. Our brothers were really into freestyle growing up in the ’80s. So that’s where our influence came in. And that’s how we kind of found our way to the music that we make now. We like trance a lot, techno, freestyle, breaks, house, everything. Being in Miami, you’re going to be around the Latin scene, too. And hip-hop was also really a huge influence. We try to translate that into our music. And we’re also Cuban so … salsa!
SIGT: My mother was born and raised in Peru, so I’m a first generation American, as I’m sure you two are?
MASF: Yeah, we are, actually. We were born way later in my parents’ life—in their 40s! They came to America in their early 20s from Cuba, and did not expect twins at 40. Here’s the scenario: You’re in Cancun on your second honeymoon with your wife. You’re at the resort, having a good time, and Hey! Guess what? There’s a Hurricane coming! Oh, snap. Everybody needs to stay in the room. Add a bottle of Tequila… and that’s the formula for twins, apparently!
SIGT: You guys have both been to Okeechobee, and you performed once?
MASF: Yeah, we did! The last one, in 2020. If you were there, you already knew what the vibes were. You were free. You felt like you left planet Earth and you’re in a whole different world. And that’s how Sunshine Grove makes you feel. It’s such a large piece of land, and it’s a magical place, literally. The more I think about it, the more excited I am to go back into the portal. It feels like homecoming.
SIGT: Why do you think it is so important to have a space like Okeechobee to connect with each other?
MASF: Because you’re being put in a situation where you’re removing yourself from the world you normally are in. With camping festivals, there’s always this vibe that people just are freeing themselves of their everyday life. But with Okeechobee, it feels like a whole different scenario; a different atmosphere. I love that the grounds are so open. It gives you a freeing feeling. And you don’t feel like you’re in Florida. People from all over the state, all over the country, sometimes all over the world, come to this festival and it’s connecting people from all over the place. It’s a really cool vibe and everybody feels like we’re all doing this together. No one else is experiencing this except unless you’re here. That’s a community.
SIGT: Which artists on this lineup this year are you super stoked to see?
MASF: Oh, man. Where do I start? STRFKR. Jungle. Elderbrook. Soul Clap. Washed Out. Jai Wolf, Troyboi, GRiZ. Flying Lotus. MYD. You want to know something that I found out today? McLovin [from the movie Superbad] is coming to Okee with his band Colorvision!
SIGT: Do you have any advice for young artists starting out?
MASF: Two words: Study music. What I mean by that is study sets, study the intricacies of mixing and making a vibe. Don’t worry about what everybody else is doing. Be patient with yourself and make sure that when you do this, you’re doing it because you love it. Make sure you’re always helpful and you’re always offering. Give more than you take.
“Give more than you take.”
Interview by Mitch Foster.
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