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  • Writer's pictureVingt Sept

Eva Gutowski aka MARISOL is living her best life yet


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Moving in and out of eras seamlessly and perfecting the art of living her best life, is what YouTuber turned DJ Eva Gutowski (also known by her stage alter ego MARISOL) does best. She is a multi-hyphenated perfectionist, who’s career stretches back to 2012 when she started her YouTube channel which has since amassed over 11 million subscribers. After many years of fine tuning her craft of filming and editing videos and nurturing the dedicated and loving community she still has to this day, Eva continues to spread her wings, consistently finding passions in numerous avenues of life. Amongst an impressive roster of achievements, Eva finds herself an accomplished interior designer, music producer and DJ, vegan activist, author and business owner.

Growing up as a dancer, Eva’s feet are currently planted in the world of electronic music. Finding herself producing songs and curating sets for people to dance to, Eva’s stage presence MARISOL marks her hottest era yet, playing to crowds both vast and intimate at festivals, fashion events and after parties across the world. Mentored by EDM legend Skrillex, Eva has learnt from the best refining her ever-evolving style with the most unmatched tutor at her fingertips.

Currently in her NYC it girl moment, Eva reminisces over the past eras of her life which span her many creative disciplines as well as going in and out of life’s fast lane. Vingt Sept caught up with Eva recently, getting the intel on her approach to music production, how she navigates being an A1 multi-tasker and what the current era of Eva is all about.

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How would you describe this current era of your life and career?

Last year I was basically hibernating. I lived in Palm Springs, working on my interior design project ‘Frames House’. It took up way more time and energy than I expected, so I wasn't posting a lot or focusing much on myself. It made me go through a long period of depression. I saw all my friends going to events and traveling and dressing up and I just wasn't in that mindset. I was going to bed with paint on my hair and nails! For an entire year, I let a house be the main character in my life. But as soon as Frames House was done and I was able to step back and be proud of my work, I realised my ‘offline’ time was seriously needed. Most days I was alone in my thoughts just painting walls or building furniture. I saw the internal things I needed to work on in a really raw way. I got a psychiatrist, went through tough growing periods, and ultimately came out stronger than ever. Now I’m recharged, and this year’s been all about me focusing on myself. I’m more self-aware this year and I love it. I’m confident, I’m making and playing music, experimenting with style, and just really excited to be 100% me and show the world what I’m about. I think we all need hibernation periods and ‘slow’ time to reflect on ourselves. It really sucked at the moment, but not every year is meant to be a main character, ‘we outside’ type of year. Some years need to be quiet, tough, and meant for big lessons.

When you’re able to watch someone evolve over many years on Youtube you’re able to look back and notice the different eras that have defined their career and identity. Have you looked back over the eras that have defined you and is there an era of your life and career that has an extra special place in your heart?

I think my travel video, cinematographer era will always be the most special to me. It was a time when I realised I had full creative freedom, and an entire audience watching me. It was a time when I could combine my love of music, editing, storytelling, and color and blend It all into a few minutes that was totally, 100% Eva. I still look back on those videos and am proud of what I created. At the time, travel videos were SUCH a male-dominated space. I remember always being on trips with a big group of guys, just all trying to ‘out cool’ each other with how they edited something. The energy was very masculine and competitive, and maybe I’m crazy but I felt SO good sitting in those rooms and showing my work, making something even better than them. As a girl in male-dominated spaces, you're expected to fade into the background or not deserve a respected spot at the table. I was passionate about what I was making, so I wanted to have the most respect at the table. I worked really hard to learn as much as I could about sound design and gear and lighting and editing, and I think that reflected in my work at that time.

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Is there a future era that you’re excited for?

This new era of MARISOL feels SO right, and I honestly can't remember being more excited or motivated about something since 2013 with my YouTube Channel. That's how I know something special is coming. I really feel like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be right now and that's a really powerful feeling. Before my first live show, I had to calm myself down from shaking. I was SO nervous. But as soon as I played my first track everything fell into place and before I knew it, It was over and I didn't want to stop. It sounds cheesy but, to me, DJing is like the feeling of surfing a really good, long wave. It gives me so many endorphins! And the best part is, I know I'm doing it because I really love it. It doesn't matter if it’s a crowd of 2 people or 10,000. I feel at home when I’m mixing, it feels healing, and I just want to do it as much as possible.

Can you tell us a bit about your mentorship from Skrillex, how did that come about?

Sonny is an extremely talented artist and at the core, a great friend. I grew up a big fan of Skrillex because he's able to tap into so many genres of music and put his own signature style on it. When I saw him play at Coachella 2014 it literally changed my life. He busted out a guitar and started SINGING. I was like… a DJ? In the middle of the set just going full rockstar mode. He was having so much fun and so was I, and I was inspired in that moment to start DJing and making music in hopes I could create a vibe like that for other people someday. He’s always been an artist I have serious respect for, so when we started hanging out and I got to see how he worked it was very inspiring.

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Musically, what has been the most important lesson you’ve learnt from him?

Skrillex humanised music production for me. Seeing someone so successful start a song from a small, raw idea, just like me, made me realise all songs start from a little seed and to not put so much pressure on myself at the start of something. Just chip at it and play around. Most songs you listen to have just been projects on a computer for YEARS. Records change 20+ times before they're ready for the world to hear. You hear a song on the radio and think the people creating them must be superhuman for getting such a cool sound. But all those songs start from just an easy melody, or a synth or a kick drum. Now I try to make music every day. It doesn't have to be perfect, especially in its first few sessions. If you just keep trying, you'll create tons of songs worthy of sharing.

Which part of the music process is your favourite, is it the recording, performing, producing with others, or alone, or something else?

The best part of making music is when you get into the flow state of an idea, and suddenly you're working super fast, building the song. I think people can understand when someone plays an instrument and starts riffing, just playing around, dancing on piano keys, or strumming freely on a guitar. Producing music is the same, even if you’re on a computer. All of a sudden something clicks in your brain and you're like “Omg what if I did this? And then this… and this!” and you're working so seamlessly and quickly, it feels like you're playing on a piano. Then you step back and listen to what you just did, and it literally feels like something else took over your body and channeled the sound through you.

On your music alter ego, what is the power in channelling your music through a specific identity and how does it impact your practice as a musician?

MARISOL is like the cooler, older version of 14-year-old me. In my coming-of-age years, I was listening to super moody electro, indie, and punk music. I guess I was part of the ‘indie sleaze’ movement but I was just a kid, so I didn't get to fully live in it. I used to romanticize everything and lay in bed for hours, creating music videos in my head to all my favorite songs. Every song I make with MARISOL is a song I could lay in bed and imagine a story to. I'm honoring that kid in me by making music that would have made younger Eva inspired.

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You make music for people to dance to, what’s your favourite music to dance to?

I grew up dancing so I find a way to dance to anything. But if I’m DJing, I love faster music. I play best when I'm mixing techno or electro. I find a lot of great music on Soundcloud or through friends. Some of my favourite smaller artists right now are Stef De Haan, Locked Club, and Alex Wilcox. Anyma is an artist with a different style I’ve been loving that's perfect for Europe summer club vibes. And also HOL! is super fun to play live.

You’re engaged in lots of different disciplines and your accomplishments span music, content creation, activism, interior design, and more. Why is it important to you to keep up with all your different passions and to such a high standard?

Simple answer – ADHD. Haha no, but it has always been a big personality trait of mine to try new things and follow my heart when I become passionate about something. I grew up putting so many limited beliefs on myself because of my upbringing. I would talk down to myself and say “I can't afford to be good at something”, or “I’m not born privileged so I'll never be successful”. It took me completely changing my mindset and realizing I have to stop the excuses that got me to where I am today. Now, anything I want to try, whether it’s a bucket list dream like surfing in Australia or learning music production, etc., I don't allow myself to have excuses. If I want it, I work for it. I find a way no matter what. Recently I was diagnosed with ADHD and there are so many memes about how people with ADHD get a new weekly hobby, which made me be like “Wait…… is this not my personality and just my disorder?”. I’m sure that's part of it, but I also think not being afraid to chase new passions is a special trait I’d never trade for the world.

Typically as people get older and life gets busier they hone in on one thing or lose touch with their hobbies, how have you been able to keep up with so many things that you love?

Keeping in touch with my best friends from all different walks of life really helps. For example, I used to live in Hawaii and was big on surfing, skating, and being barefoot 24/7. Now I’m in this glamorous NYC era of my life, where suddenly I’m wearing sparkly heels and attending all these events. That doesn't mean I'm killing off the island girl in me. She’s just hibernating right now. All my island friends are on their own journeys. They're moving off the island and growing up. But we always stay in touch and get together whenever we’re in the same city. I think when we’re all older, we’ll all move to the same little town and raise kids and surf all day. As I get older I realise it’s less about forcing yourself to ‘do, do, do’ all your ‘hobbies’ constantly to feel young or like you haven't ‘lost yourself’. It’s more about staying true to the core of why you love something and having people around you that love the same things too. Surfing and skating is in me forever. My future kids will have a skateboard as soon as they can stand. But that's not because I'm forcing myself to ‘keep up with it’. It's because at my core, forever, no matter what, it’s part of me.

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Are there other things that people might not know about that you’re excited to add to your roster of accomplishments in the coming years or even further into the future?

Eventually, I want to write more books. I grew up writing and always dreamt of writing a fiction novel series. But that's been on the back burner because I know I can do that when I'm older, and probably even better than now since I'll have more life experiences to draw from. I'll definitely write a fiction novel eventually, but it may be a few more years until I start that era.

You are of an era that started a culture-defining movement of being open and honest online about really important topics like mental health and sexuality, and this kind of openness is something that continues to punctuate your career. What has it been like to share so much of yourself with so many people?

I think my gift is being okay with sharing vulnerable things. I’ve never been afraid to get into it and dive into tough subjects. Growing up, I was so confused why everyone around me was hurting so much and hiding so much. What's the point of hiding what you're struggling with? It just bottles up and spills over into life and other relationships. If I can be a person online that’s not afraid to show the really good, the bad, and the ugly, maybe I can inspire others in their personal relationships to be more candid as well.

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You’ve been living in NYC for almost 6 months now, what has been the best highlight so far?

Everything??! Hahah. My flow is just so much better here. If I want to, I can see a friend every day. I can have a great margarita within 10 minutes of craving it. I can go from my apartment to walking my dog in a park and seeing squirrels in 5 minutes. In LA, I could get done maybe 3 things a day. In NY It feels like I have three days in one. As I'm typing this, I just made friends with the girl that works at my breakfast spot and am teaching her about film photography. That’s the energy here and it’s awesome.

And what has been the biggest surprise or culture shock?

The biggest culture shock is minding your own damn business. I’m already really good at that, but in NY, I’m constantly walking around where a full dramatic breakup could be happening in the street and I'm just like “What’s that? Birds chirping?” while someone’s fully yelling cheating allegations at their man. That kind of stuff happens constantly and as crazy as it can be, it makes me way more aware of the beauty in the chaos of life.

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