Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano at Sutra
Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano at Sutra
Shannon Nehls / OC Weekly

Why Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano Are the Dutch Version of Swedish House Mafia

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Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano @ Sutra

Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano have carried on the Dutch legacy as house music's elite producers and DJs, with gigs all over the world, after practically being discovered by Swedish House Mafia's Steve Angello in 2011. The duo stormed through Orange County this weekend for a highly anticipated return to Sutra in Newport Beach. Thanks to the guys at the Social, Creative Source and Till Dawn Group, Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano managed to transform Sutra's usual Top 40 Friday night spot into an EDM heaven (let's cross our fingers this is a trend we will see more of). We spoke to the fast rising stars who emerged on the EDM scene in 2009 after their Feb. 8 show to find out what it's like to party with the Swedes, why Chuckie is one of their biggest influence, and more about their track being released this week.

After gaining critical acclaim and popularity in their hometown, James and Marciano ditched their retail jobs to take up deejaying full-time. They developed their own twist on house music and were soon throwing a summer beach party in Amsterdam, where they casually ran into Steve Angello at their hotel. Having met a couple of years prior in Miami, they invited him to the show. Angello showed up with Laidback Luke and listened to their set for two hours. Thoroughly impressed, he invited the duo to join him in Ibiza one month before the season started. "We were like, 'Ya, right, what are you talking about?'" recalls James. "Then after emailing with our agents and managers, we ended up doing four or five great gigs with him."

Once in Ibiza, DJ battles soon turned into drinking games, and James learned how Swedish House Mafia parties the hard way. "Lesson one: Don't drink with the Swedes. Sebastian Ingrosso and I finished a bottle just like this," he says, holding up a magnum of Grey Goose, "in 20 minutes. Then we took shots of Jäger, and next thing I know, I woke up next to the toilet." It was a good welcoming to the party island, being taken under the wing of one of the biggest names in dance music. Their infections energy and smiles even made it on a SHM video, which has Axwell saying, "If there were a Dutch version of Swedish House Mafia, this is it." The gigs also took James and Marciano's sound out of Amsterdam and into the global forefront of EDM today.

They then began to produce dance anthems such as "Tribeca" and their remake of Tiësto's "Lethal Industry." Now on the critically acclaimed Spinnin Records, they are set to release a new single with Jaz Von D this Friday (Feb. 15) titled "Firefaces." The track features vocals by Jack Miz and is set to be Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano's first radio-friendly single. Known for their progressive house and raw beats, Marciano says, "We always thought it would be hard to transition to the radio, but nowadays, you have to do radio-friendly stuff, as well." Finding a mix between melodies and beats the guys had fun with, this track soemthing to be proud of. It has done quite well in Holland already and reached the No. 4 spot on the Buzz Chart last week.

But don't expect James and Marciano to loose their edge. "All of the DJs work hard to bring dance music to the U.S,m and we have to be proud that it's finally getting commercial," says Sunnery. "We are always going to play dark beats and dirty tracks in our sets, but we can combine it with big room and more commercial stuff as long as it's danceable." This is what makes seeing the duo live such a treat. They have mastered staying true to their influences in tech and deep house while incorporating more progressive house sounds. Even the remix of "Don't You Worry Child" they played at Sutra was the Tom Staar & Kryder version, which sticks to their booty-shaking brand of pumping house music.

This is why the duo prefers to play two- to four-hour sets. It gives them the chance to warm up the crowd and really take their audience on a journey through dance music. "We need longer time slots so we can play everything we want," says Marciano. "Next time, we're not going to do a warmup DJ and play from the beginning to end." The promoter comes out and tells them it's not easy to pack as much energy and personal edits, set a real vibe and make the entire room seethe energy as they did. Hopefully, they take the Dutch's advice and allow Chuckie (one of James and Marciano's biggest influences) to play an extended set at the show this Valentine's Day in true dirty Dutch fashion.

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