Written by: Leila Koukab
For someone that started mixing when they were 12, is an international DJ and has over a staggering 30,000 records at home, it’s quite difficult to figure out where to begin with DJ Marky.
Yet, as an artist that has not only developed a reputation for their spectacular spinning skills, but for being one of the warmest personalities within the scene, the conversation flows naturally, radiating a lot of zeal and appreciation for the UK.
Hailing from São Paulo, DJ Marky has a pretty busy summer, with a string of UK shows including Hospitality Weekend in the Woods and Liquicity Festival. As we navigate through what to expect at Hospitality, instantly Marky tells me, “ah, that’s the thing. I have no idea, right?” Because I have no idea what I'm gonna play because I don't know who's coming. And I'm not a typical DJ that, you know, stays in the bedroom playing records and is just practising and practising.”
In a very interesting anecdote, Marky recalls his experience in the first nightclub he worked at, where practicing DJing too much led to being fired: “I was practicing the whole time at home, and when I played in the club, my boss said, ‘oh that’s cool’. So the second week, I played the same set, the third week the same set and I got fired.” Ultimately, this led to a significant life lesson when Marky asked why he was not asked to return, with his boss saying, “When you don’t feel the crowd, when you don’t take risks, you know, experiment with music, and create ‘hits’, it’s going to be difficult for you as a DJ. This was the greatest lesson I had in my life.”
Fundamentally, Marky just wings it and bounces off people, specifically recalling last year’s Hospitality Weekend in the Woods: “So what I do is like, I look at the crowd, I look at the computer, I look at the turntables, I look at MC GQ. And I’m like, okay, let's go. And I just play it. And I don't like to play very commercial music. I like to play different music all the time. “That’s what I can guarantee. And I guarantee that I’m gonna do my best and provide a great experience for everyone”, he adds. The same outlook will continue into this year’s edition, where Marky will be joining forces with MC GQ once again, along with Technimatic, Pola & Bryson, Kira, Jayveon and others taking over the Shogun Audio stage.
Another thing that’s important to Marky during his sets is ensuring that the crowd can recall some of the tracks that stood out to them. Stylistically, some drum and bass DJs choose to mix over 100 songs within an hour, which sometimes can make it especially hard to remember what was actually played. “I don't want people to go home and say, yeah, Marky smashed it. What did he play? Oh, I can't remember! He played like, I don't know, 100 tunes in one hour. No, I want people to remember the music that I played!”
This sentiment brought back a particular moment from Fabric Nightclub a few years ago that has been etched into my brain. Surely, for anyone that has witnessed DJ Marky scratching upside down knows this cannot be easily forgotten.
However, it wasn’t just this that made it such a memorable experience, it was the track being played, DJ Hazard’s ‘Time Tripping.’ As I fondly recall this moment, Marky says, “this track is so like, I don’t know how to describe it - kind of hypnotic.” He then goes on to say how he found out his son has one of those tracks too - Hazard’s ‘Bricks Don’t Roll’, discovered at a party Marky was hosting for his album launch, with his son being 11 at the time. “Everybody was in the middle of the street and there were so many people, and when I played ‘Bricks Don’t Roll’, my kid came into the DJ booth with me. And he was dancing and was like, ‘oh my god, dad!’. This was such a great experience. So the music he remembers and you remember when I played ‘Time Tripping’ - this creates moments and it's so special to me you know, it's so special”.
Marky’s career in the UK spans over 21 years and he reflects on when he first heard Ed Rush & Optical’s ‘Wormhole’, it just blew my mind and it still blows my mind. I have no idea how they created that sound - the samples, the jazz samples, because I’m a record collector and I have like, I don’t know, 30, maybe 35,000 records.” This sound is something that Marky wanted to recreate until he realised there is no point in doing so, “I don’t want to recreate this, it’s done. This is amazing. I need to find my own way and then I made ‘LK’, he reveals. Evidently, this frame of mind paid off and Marky adds some further advice: “follow your dreams and be yourself. Stay true to yourself and then everything's gonna be okay. I think we need this personality, you know, people like who have their own personality behind the decks or in the studio, so don't try to copy anyone just be yourself. I think that's the best thing.”
It’s always incredibly heartwarming to hear an artist that’s not from the UK appreciate the genre, the people and our festivals, especially when Marky expresses his love for Bristol and the talent within the city, “the UK has so much talent, especially Bristol. Oh my god. Like, ridiculous.” He also points out their seemingly never ending parties, “it’s like a free party! It’s like Friday - three drum and bass parties. Saturday. You got three drum and bass parties. Sunday. You got drum and bass parties.”
It is so interesting to consider how the genre has the ability to impact people on the other side of the world and Marky remembers how he booked Bryan Gee to play in Brazil over 20 years ago and says the V Recordings founder never imagined that he had one guy here playing the same music that was playing 5000 miles away from the UK, “I think at the time, everybody was thinking jungle and drum and bass is just a UK thing. So I think because of not just me, but other DJs around the world, the UK started looking.” Whilst perhaps no one may have never imagined drum and bass to be so impactful so far away from its origin at the time, the fusion of sounds of Latin America with drum and bass came to be, forming productions like V Recordings’ The Brazil EP and of course Marky and XRS’ ‘LK’, works that we’ve all come to know and love.
And, with Marky being such a huge influence on bringing new audiences around to the genre and his infectious passion for the UK’s music scene, it’s safe to say that he is a great ambassador for drum and bass. “You know I got so many friends in the UK, it’s very, very special, sometimes I get emotional. The UK is my second home, and you guys create the music that I love, you know, the music that puts the food on my table”.
DJ Marky heads to Outlook Origins, Hospitality Weekend in the Woods and more festivals this summer. Click here for the full list of his upcoming festivals.