Gretchen Rhodes and Pio Marascho became a couple two and a half years ago after they met on a plane ride from Germany to London. They instantly connected, but had to part ways before meeting again years later on Maui. Watch them enter a room side by side, and you’ll see the passion they hold for each other.
“For us to be able to create music together is a huge bonding thing,” Rhodes said.
Rhodes’ effortlessly polished, hippie-chic look contrasts with but still compliments his rugged, surfer style. They said their music—a combination of soulful gospel and blues-flavored vocals over high-energy house music—comes from a place of love and a passion for sharing their energy and peaceful spirit.
“Our music is an outlet for our souls,” she said.
A spare bedroom in their Haiku home has been transformed into a practice studio, a place where they play, work and blend their creative talents and musical experience into powerfully soulful, addictive electronic tracks.
Marascho’s expertise is mixing and producing deep house music, steady beats heavily influenced by the funk and soul-infused dance music of late 1970’s disco. His passion for travel has exposed him to an international range of musical influences. He’s lived on Maui for most of the last 19 years, but his early DJ days found him in his hometown of Napoli, Italy and took him raving across London, Ibiza and Germany as well as partying on the underground techno scene in New York City.
Rhodes’ vocal prowess comes from a lifetime of musical experience, beginning with classically trained music instructor parents, who raised her to appreciate music ranging from Mozart to Aretha Franklin. Her amazingly clear, soulful voice (and undoubtedly her good looks) landed her a recording contract in Los Angeles five years ago. But after recording an original rock album, Rhodes Colored Glasses, she tired of the pressure to conform her sound and styles to fit the L.A. singer-song writer profile.
So she moved to Maui. In addition to her high-energy performances with Marascho, she’s a vocalist for Mick Fleetwood’s Island Fever band, a group of extraordinary local musicians that includes Willie K and Eric Gilliom of the Barefoot Natives, Raitea Helm and, naturally, music legend Mr. Fleetwood himself.
“I feel like I’ve found a niche for the rest of my life, a subculture where it doesn’t matter how you look, what you weigh or if your ass is big or small,” Rhodes said.
Most of the time when Marascho and Rhodes perform they share the stage with two other DJs, Daniel Fry from Chile and Laloo Goya from Argentina, a group called Nitelife that aspires to bring a wide variety of electronic music styles and a bit of underground, international flavor to Maui.
The duo recognizes that their unusual performances seem more popular with the traditionally international crowd that frequents Upcountry venues than on Maui’s Westside, but want to get exposure all over the island.
“[In] every country, religion, culture, age, soulful music brings people together,” Marascho said. “If we’re having fun and dancing, so is the crowd.” MTW