Bringing the beats with... DJ Marky

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Ahead of Brazilian DJ Marky’s second drum ‘n’ bass (DnB) gig in Singapore with long-time accomplice Stamina MC, Benita Lee gets the lowdown on his musical inspirations, memorable fan experiences and favourite tracks to rock out to

First published on 8 Jan 2013. Updated on 8 Jan 2013.

Deep and soulful is how DJ Marky describes his sound. The DnB juggernaut has released countless tracks on his own label, Innerground Records, and he’s building up quite the momentum to spread the love for his heart-pounding beats with a tour around Asia this year. Influenced by samba jazz, '70s psychedelic rock, reggae, deep house and more, he’s got beat-blending down to an art. So wherever he goes, expect heaps of funky, fresh tunes and a dynamic performance.

How did you get your start as a DJ?
I’ve always been really interested in music, and I guess I get that from my parents – mostly my father. He loves music and was really into Motown, so that was all my sisters and I listened to growing up. I started playing music at the local roller disco in Sao Paulo, and back then turntables weren’t everywhere so I was playing on reel-to-reel tapes, which was really tough.
 
What inspires and shapes your music?
A lot of my influences come from the soul, disco and funk eras. I would love to use a Stevie Wonder sample or something like that, as long as I don’t get into trouble for using it!
 
What sets you apart from other DnB DJs?
I think when people come to a DJ Marky show, they know they are going to get a really good range of music – the whole DnB spectrum, if you like. I don’t play only ‘jump up’ or only ‘liquid’. I also try to put a lot of energy into my sets and do some scratching. Basically, I like to put on as much of a show as possible for the fans who have come out to see me.
 
You’ve been in the music scene for quite a while – do you ever get tired or burned out?
No, never. Music is my life, and I am lucky enough to make a career out of it, so every day I am thankful. Even when I take time off, I can’t stay away from music. I end up hunting around record shops for rare vinyl or mixing.
 
You’ve toured all over the world – any gigs that stand out in your memory?
Different cities mean totally different crowds, so you have favourite places for different types of music. Even though I go to every country with the same music, I never play the same set, and I always try to make sure I play for the crowd in front of me, and not just the newest tracks in my library. The UK, for example, likes it really upfront and heavy, whereas in places like Austria or France, they like some of the deeper tunes. I have a residency at Fabric in London, and I love that club and city. I also enjoy my time in Tokyo, Australia and of course Singapore!
 
Describe the experience of playing a gig.
It’s incredible. It’s like the perfect drug. Playing your favourite music and having a room full of people all ‘vibing’ off of what you are playing is incredible and intoxicating all at the same time.
 
Most memorable fan experience?
I once met a guy who had literally followed me around the UK. He came to every show on the tour, night after night, which came to about about 25 dates in total, and it was incredible. To be honest, I feel so lucky, because I have some of the best fans on the planet. Not only do they know their stuff, they are such good people too.
 
What’s on your playlist right now?
I’ve got some big tunes from Random Movement – ‘Domino Cruze’ and ‘Down Somehow’, some tracks by me and Makoto called ‘Bloody Mary’ and ‘Call Me’, loads of beats and some guaranteed future classics.
 
Favourite DnB tracks?
Too many to mention, really. My label is releasing an album later this year, and I think I have managed to get some of the best tracks around from some of my favourite producers like Random Movement, Calibre, Makoto and more. In terms of all-time best tracks, I would say ‘Deep Everytime’ by Calibre and ‘Casino Royale’ by ZINC.
 
Top 5 people you’d love to spend the day with?
James Dean, Teddy Pendergrass, Stevie Wonder, my parents and my son Gabriel. [On my days off] I spend time with my son when I am at home. He is the best person in the world.
 
If you weren’t a DJ, what would you be doing?
No idea; it’s not something I have ever really thought about. My father would have liked me to take on a job as a policeman or something like that, but I seriously don’t know. I did work in a record shop when I was younger, so hopefully it would still be something to do with the music industry.
 
Catch DJ Marky at Home Club on 12 Jan, 10pm-4am
By Benita Lee
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