Interview: Marc-Alan Gray

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Berlin, if you’re a fan of the Korean roller disco at Prince Charles, this might get you going. Marc-Alan Gray, the New York native DJ and producer who calls Berlin home, fuses craft food, custom drinks and tunes for his latest project, EssCalate. This Monday, March 30, he’ll bring a spring food pop-up party with four custom courses and tasters in Mitte (location TBA). The project is co-presented with the Taste of Germany chef Nina Marisa, who fuses her skills with Gray’s knowledge as a graduate of Harvard’s Food Science program. But it’s all rock and roll.
Gray (who goes by “MAG!“), has been making indie dance and house in his Berlin studio. He’s worked with members of Scissor Sisters, Hercules and Love Affair and The Smiths. He’s also remixed for Peaches, M.I.A. and Fischerspooner. His most recent DJ mix “Live from Budapest” fuses a recipe of beats together in a pot of soup. We briefly spoke about school, his crew and the future of food parties.

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LSD: You recently graduated from Harvard. Tell us the story.
Well that is oversimplifying it, maybe you should reword it a bit for clarity, I recently did complete a certified course in Food Science from Harvard University yes, the focus was Molecular Gastronomy, with a very difficult science side to things – but since it was cooking with the masters (Ferran Adrià, Rene Redzepi, Jose Andres, and weekly surprise chefs) and learning the science behind some of their treasured secrets, I put up with it and passed with flying colors, or translucent gel spheres you could say. The other chefs, cooks and foodies were dropping out like flies, so I tried to hang in there, and I feel it really paid off, insert food nerd emoticon here.

LSD: On the note of food, you post luscious food photographs. What kind of food parties are you working on at the mo?
I have a new food party pop-up with my EssCalate crew, it’s Spring Escalation, Monday March 30 in Mitte on TorStrasse, I am teaming up again with Nina from The Taste of Germany, we’ll be doing some really good food, we are still finalizing the menu at the moment in order to get the freshest ingredients for the dinner itself, we’ll do paired drinks too, in keeping with my other Pop Up JA!OK., which was mostly about craft beer and craft food, more of those are to come soon, too.

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LSD: What’s your take on the future of food parties?
The future of food parties and pop ups is bright, especially here in Berlin, the more folks know, the more they want options, the better quality they demand and will pay for, all in all, a good thing.

LSD: What else are you working on in the studio right now?
I am currently producing a new project called BadGirlsFromGoodSchools here in Berlin, I just finished a few remixes for Gorgon City and some other UK bassheads, and of course, looking to finish up vocals on my own productions, good, deep, moody house – know any singers? Send them my way, I have much love for the broken-hearted, over-thinkers and mood swingers.

LSD: Who have you been collaborating with this year?
My own projects, the BGFGS crew and maybe a new Spencer Gray release is in the works, if we can bridge that Brazil to Germany thing.

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LSD: What other shows do you have upcoming next?
After Spring Escation, a Food Party Pop Up on Monday, March 30, I am off to The Netherlands for more gigs and a mini tour next week.

RSVP to the EssCalate debut of the Spring Escalation Food Party Pop Up on March 30.

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