Dutch House Mafia?

Wax figures and whips—we’ve got Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano’s take on the matter

You’ve no doubt heard of Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano, the Dutch duo gigging left and right in Las Vegas. But have you heard Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano? The pair impressed during a recent appearance at Marquee Nightclub, where the guys hold a residency. They blend just enough familiar songs to rope in the crowd, balanced with bold, lesser-known house tracks to educate them—all while maintaining the dance-floor fun with their infectious energy. Vegas Seven caught up with the jet-setting twosome en route to their show, but you can catch them yourself on Aug. 18 at Marquee Dayclub and Aug. 21 at Lavo.

What’s on the Sunnery James & Ryan Marciano radar right now?

James: There are a lot of things coming out. There are some tracks on Size, on Spinning and Musical Freedom for Tiësto. And we’re really excited for a track that’s coming out in October on Spinning. It’s our first vocal track. Instrumentals are coming first and vocals are coming three months later. We’re doing a lot of remixes for Subliminal. We did one for [Hybrid Heights and Sted-E featuring] Mr. V last month [called “See U Move”] hitting the Billboards now, so it’s going quite well.

Axwell has said you guys are like the Dutch version of Swedish House Mafia. What do you think?

James: Steve Angello came to a party in Amsterdam and saw us playing and picked us up and let us play in Ibiza for Swedish House Mafia. That’s when it all started around the world. When a big act like that is comparing themselves to us, it’s a big honor. The guys did so much for the whole scene. They changed a lot about the dance scene. We’re glad that they like us and they’re supporting us.

Marciano: Yea, and it started off with, “Wow, these guys are so big, and we look up to them.” And now they’re really good friends, and we hang out.

Recently, Dirty South Tweeted, “I miss house music.” What do you think about the direction the sound has taken?

James: I almost re-Tweeted it, but it’s hard, you know? House music is still there and it depends on what you do by yourself. I mean, the whole EDM thing people are talking about now, it’s like a big movement. You have trance music, house music; but even pop music is sort of electronic-dance-music right now. It’s a mainstream name, but house music is still there. So, you can miss it, or you can just try to keep it alive. The whole idea, the whole Tweet from Dirty South on house music—the rooms where you can play house music—it’s almost gone, you know? But it’s coming back. It’s still there. I mean, at Marquee Las Vegas, there’s a room where you can do a really good house party. And we always try to keep it groovy and sexy. So, yeah, I think house music is still there.

You went from retail jobs to touring the globe. Did you ever imagine you’d someday be headliners at the biggest clubs in the world?

James: No, we never thought we’d be traveling around the world being DJs, because we started this just to have fun for ourselves, making mixtapes and giving them to friends and stuff.

Marciano: And then people started to book us. A friend of [James] asked us to play at a party. They said, “You guys play all night—let’s see what you can do.” So we traveled to this party carrying all our vinyl. And it went very well. From that point, people started to book us in Holland and Amsterdam.

James: Before we started touring around Holland, that small country, we were like, “Whoa! We’re touring around Holland!”

Marciano: Yea, we were feeling really good. We were like, “What’s happening?”

James: And now, we’re touring around the world. But I think that every DJ, every artist—they all started like this, to have fun. And of course, you’ve got to be the best, and try to get everything out of it. But it’s always a dream to do this as your job.

Speaking of Holland, Sunnery’s wife, model Doutzen Kroes, has a wax figure at Madame Tussauds in Amsterdam; Tiësto has one, too. Do you hope your country will someday immortalize you this way?

James: I hope so. It’s always an honor to do something for your country. I don’t want to push things, but if we can achieve that, it would be great!

Not gonna lie, there are a couple of your tracks that are difficult to pronounce. What do they mean?

James: “Markuzza”—that’s like a fruit in Suriname, our country. We’re from Suriname, our parents are from Suriname. So it’s a really nice fruit in there, so that’s why we do the name “Markuzza.” “Zweepstok” is really—[to Marciano] you have to explain that.

Marciano: “Zweep” is like, “Wh-pssh!”

Like the sound a whip makes?

Marciano: Yea, it’s kind of like a stalk, a stick. The track is really minimal. It’s kind of groovy [more whip sounds].

What about your Amazone Project? Will you bring that to Las Vegas?

James: We started that when we began to blow up in Holland, created our own concept and bring in new talent. And the main thing about that concept is that you can play every [kind of] music—tech house, big room, groovy, maybe a bit of disco—everything that fits with us we play in a night, like five hours. And we’re really excited to bring it to the States and try, maybe first in New York at Pacha, maybe one at Liv in Miami and probably one at Marquee. We’ll see what happens.