MT/MZ burst onto the Las Vegas music scene in 2016, and they haven’t looked back. The group’s moniker is derived from the names of the artists. MT is Micheal Toast, a renowned DJ, producer, and sound engineer. MZ is Marlo Zemartis, a violinist, cellist, and entertainer. Both perform regularly around the United States and abroad together and separately.
I had the opportunity to sit down the dynamic duo over drinks at a local Vegas haunt called “Pizza Rock”, but the details of my recollection of events may be hazy as I was on the tail end of a bender. To their credit, both were gracious in understanding that I was moving at a slower speed than usual. Therefore, what is written here may or may not be a full accounting of the facts.
As a pair, the two could not be more dissimilar in appearance. Michael Toast is a ruggedly handsome large and imposing man, with a mohawk which makes his stature even more gargantuan. He is rough and tumble streetwise individual from New York, although if you ask me he wouldn’t hurt a fly even if it pissed in his cornflakes and he’d likely ask the insect to please go away several times before being forced to splatter it with a mighty blow.
Marlo Zemartis is much smaller in stature and elegant in the presentation of herself. A classically trained musician and composer who grew up in Las Vegas, the city of sin has been her home for the majority of her formative years. Her petite figure is not to be taken for granted as the quiet one in the group, as she clearly gives and good as she gets. She did, however, suffer a scorpion sting days before our chat and the likelihood of her being poisoned may well have impacted this behavior.
There are thin lines of separation between the pair and myself, as we run in similar social circles but had yet to formally meet one another until that fateful evening. To help kick down the walls of agony in my mind, they poured whiskey down my throat and the ole gears began to grind along. I do not believe in granting space in this magazine for the sake of doing so. I was familiar with their work long before I knew the pair — and I was a fan — which is why I requested an interview. Their contributions to entertainment scene in Las Vegas are drippingly unique and daring.
In their own self-description they say MT/MZ, “Combines the sensuality of strings with the explosive digital destruction of electronic music which creates a soundscape of pure sonic seduction.”
Michael Toast said of his partner that she is the musical genius behind the group’s success, “Marlo can look at notes and create something out of thin air, in minutes, which would take other composers weeks, months, or years. She is a natural talent.” Marlo Zemartis said of Toast that she would not accept all of the credit, or even half, “Michael has a unique gift of producing our music from form to function, but he is too humble to admit it.” As a pair they’ve played in some of the most prestigious venues in all of Las Vegas. While their group is newly formed the doors they have opening for them are the same doors artists spend their entire lifetimes hoping to traverse.
The music with which they’ve created makes its statement that leaves no room for argument or critique. Their first release, “Fight or Flight”, combines the hard thumping of bass alone with elegantly placed strings for an immaculate sound.
MT/MZ’s second release “#SorryNotSorry” offers a far different sound, proving the group’s dynamic abilities to create unique and marketable music for a variety of genres. One can almost taste the heartbreak as the sounds mesh together in an unforgettable track.
The group’s third release, “Summer’s Gone (Winter is Coming)” combines sharp electronic beats, seemingly Celtic lyrics juxtaposed with hip hop rhymes to provide a haunting sound.
If one is so lucky, they should take any opportunity which crosses their path that leads them to MT/MZ. Perhaps those individuals will flock to Las Vegas for a local showing of MT/MZ’s talents, or perhaps they will have to wait with baited breath to see if the group’s next tour will put them within striking distance. Nothing in life is forever, nor is anything certain. With these facts in mind I would urge individuals to act much sooner rather than later.
Be sure to follow MT/MZ’s Facebook page to keep up with all of their comings and goings.