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Toronto’s Darren Marshall Shares Ten of His Favourite Authentic House Cuts


Following an impressive showing on Scott Diaz’s ‘Rock Like’ EP, Toronto’s Darren Marshall returns to Groovphoria Records for his solo debut with an invigorating four-tracker loaded with authentic house flavours from start to finish.

Out now and spanning four impressive tracks, his ‘Lit The Wick’ EP is a culmination of clean-cut US-style house infused with jazz, funk, disco and more. 

To celebrate the release of his latest record, Darren shares a selection of some of his absolute favourite house cuts, including a few selected works from his own catalogue:

Demuir – To Be A Star (feat. Phil Weeks) (Mat Lunnen & Darren Marshall Remix)

This actually got released through a remix competition. Our remix was selected as a winner by Demuir, and he put it out on his label, Purveyor Underground. The vocal is sliced up in a different order than the original, and it contributes to the vibe of the track in a big way. The song’s really groovy and perhaps even a bit hypnotic. Mat and I were really proud of this one. The chance to release this with Demuir’s blessing was a big deal to us as well.  

Jonasclean – My Dear

I really, really like Jonasclean. His music shows a tremendous amount of polish. I recently told someone, “Jonasclean’s work sounds 3D” (that’s a thing, right???) There’s always a lot of depth and dynamics; the whole frequency spectrum shines. His music is funky as hell, to boot! This track “My Dear” is all of the above and also happens to be on the uplifting side of things, so it’s guaranteed to provoke smiles on the dancefloor.   

Jeff Dougler & Balu – Coming Down (Jason Hodges Remix)

It’s sort of silly to try and pick your favorite Jason Hodges song. The dude has so many that just plain crush. I’m not professing I have a favorite per-say, but this remix he did for Jeff Dougler and Balu a couple of years ago comes to mind. It’s the mood on this one that makes me mention it. It’s able to kick your front door in and tell you it’s the boss, all while still staying a bit slick and almost laid back. It’s a beast. Lights off at the warehouse kind of stuff. 

Jazzmik & Darren Marshall – Mind Games

This was the first time Jazzmik, and I hooked up on a tune. We’re working with one another again because of this release. The groove of this tune gets me every time. The way the drums work with the main samples – toe tapping and head bobbing is a must. The vocal sample is pretty dope as well and almost demands your attention. I’m really happy to have this out on Montreal’s Frosted Recordings. I’m Canadian (Toronto), so keeping this one close to home was awesome.  

Demuir – Lemme Hear It

I have too many Demuir favorites, to be fair. I’ll go back a few years on this pick and choose ‘Lemme Hear It”. I have told Demuir how ridiculous this tune is on more than one occasion. It really has everything. A cracking snare that swings super hard. A thick, driving and textured bassline. A slick and interesting vocal and groove for days! I love the mix of the song too. Something about where that lead snare sits in the mix makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck! It’s crazy! 

Lex Luca – Favorite Game (DJ Sneak, Tripmastaz present Rare Two Inc. Remix)

Chunky bassline, subtle but impactful drums, and amazing samples. Around halfway through the track, it breaks down and resets the mood. That disco sample fades in, and when the kick drops back in, and the bassline is completely different than it was previous to the break, the vibe dial turns up to 11. ‘The Feels’ are easily provoked as this happens. 

James Juke & Darren Marshall – Crazy House

My favorite song off of a 3 track EP we put out earlier this year on Jack City Records. Each track on this release came together a bit differently. On Crazy House, James painted out the vibe by way of some really amazing sampling. He laid out the blueprint of the track very well. I then tied it together with the drum programming and by playing around with the arrangement. It’s a vibey tune and once again has a certain syncopation that makes me want to sway with it. 

Barney Osborn – Broken Keys

Broken Keys, So Barny Osborn, So good. This song lights on fire once that main key hook drops and starts looping. It’s a burner yet a feel-good tune at the same time. Barney’s drum work is great, too, and his tracks bump in such a way you can go: “Oh, this is Barney!” This was a big tune last year, and I’m sure it will stand the test of time. 

Bug Jazz – Steve Robinson

Now I’ve really loved this track since day 1. But that love leveled up one night as I happened to stumble on the sample source Steve used for Bug Jazz. Once I understood what he did to rework that sample and create the tremendous vibe of this song, my admiration for the track doubled. I really like Steve’s work overall, and you can tell he works hard at his craft. I’ve mentioned to him that I’d love to work on something with him in the future. Hopefully, we will get the chance!

MD X-Spress – God Made Me Phunky

Ending on a classic! While I’ll date myself here, I’ll admit that I easily remember when this came out as clear as day. I remember hearing this drop for the first time, and it blew my mind. It was for all of the obvious reasons. That key loop, the bassline, Mike Dunn’s signature vocals. Just buckets and buckets of swag and groove. This song is timeless and still kills if unleashed at the right time.

Darren Marshall’s ‘Lit The Wick’ EP is out now on Groovphoria Records. You can grab your copy HERE.