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Questions by Matej Devčić (Muzika.hr)

When did you first get involved with music and when did you discover hip hop?

I started out playing drums at around seven years old. Eventually when I got into Junior High School I played in a jazz band at school. My best friend Chris Cooke played bass in that class and he introduced me to Hip Hop through cassettes mainly. He would always pop something in that caught my ear.

What made you start DJ-ing?

That same friend Chris, had an uncle that would DJ for us and make us mix tapes to break to. One day I saw him mix doubles of Malcolm McClarren and I was hooked. I needed to learn how to DJ. I eventually bought myself some belt drive turntables in my last year of Junior High. By the time I got to High School I was ready to DJ for people. I linked up with 2 other DJ’s in High School and we formed Bum Rush Productions and started to DJ all the house parties every weekend.

When did you first start using toys in a DJ set and how much important is to experiment with music?

It was just that….an experiment. I started to use one toy in my dj routines with Jurassic 5. I was just kind of testing the waters as to see if the toys could travel well but more importantly perform well in front of large crowds. Once the group disbanded in 2006, I decided to see how filling the entire stage with musical toys would sound and look. Seems to work well for both me and the crowd I guess. So from time to time I pull them out depending on the size of the stage and the promoter’s vision. They take up a lot of room.

Hit continue reading to check out the full interview or check out the interview translated into Croatian on muzika.hr.

What got you the idea for creating music with children toys?

There was one toy that sounded like one of my favorite drum machines, the SP 1200. It was called Music Blocks. It’s basically a bunch of cubes with different shapes painted on each side. When you select your shape and press down on the cube, it plays a bar of music. Triangles are Horns, Circle are bass lines, Rectangles are vocals etc… I decided to hook two of these up and a mixer in the middle. Ended up having a blast with them. This is one toy that will make you feel like a kid again!

I can see that you are obsessed with vinyl records? How much do you enjoy a good dig?

When I have time and don’t have a lot of luggage on tour, it’s great….very relaxing and I just feel at home searching through records. I’m actually in the process of purging records I have no interest in at the moment.

What music inspires you for your sets?

Anything with open lines. Isolated piano, bass or vocal bits seem to give me ideas in almost all genres. I really enjoy Jazz, Funk, Soul, Brazilian etc.. I’m very open to new and old music as well.

What’s your most memorable experience you’ve had playing a show?

I remember DJ’n in a basement in the UK around 2008 and it was packed full of people. I remember it being so hot and humid that the mixer was completely wet. Was kind of dangerous. There’s was very little oxygen in the room….it was just damp and everyone was dancing. I was having the time of my life with each blend. I noticed that the needle was leaving a wet trail on each record I played and was surprised that no records were skipping. I could barely grip each vinyl. I was so exhausted towards the end of my set. I remember thinking…how could these people dance in here like this. Anyways, when I played my last song, I passed out and my tour manager barely caught me. hahaha….”Oh What A Night”. Had a blast. The UK is special like that.

What interests you musically these days?

Advancements in modern technology. I like to see how some of these modern plug ins are emulating natural instruments. I’m curious how close that technology will come to sounding and feeling like the real thing. Technology has struggled with this for quite some time. There’s been a lot of happy mistakes along the way….The 808 is one. They really wanted that drum machine to sound like real drums lol. Would be interesting to see if they can make these modern day plug ins sound like a James Brown rhythm section. They boast they can…but I haven’t head it yet. Very curious. I’m also very interested on how the last few songs of the new TRDMRK album will sound. So far it’s a winner! Very proud of it.

What’s your favorite tune you often drop in the set and why?

I switch up so much….I tend to move around a bit musically so I can stay engaged with the crowd. I really don’t have a direct answer for you on this. It might be a multi track record that I edited from the 70’s or it might be a new joint from 20syl. I’m kind of all over the place with that one.

J5 became one of the most important group in hip hop. What can you say about that and are you maybe working on a new album?

Never say never when it comes to creating with them….we’ll see? I’m happy that you feel like we were important. Our goal was to always overcome that musical gap between the super underground and the top 40 charting acts. Our live show helped us in that regard. Every member has a very important role to play in J5. I think that’s what makes the group tick.

How do you feel about hip hop music today? Is this musical genre still important like in the golden days when we were introduced to it?

It’s ever evolving. There’s room for all of us. I just miss the diversity of style and lyricism in this day and age. I know that it’s out there but mainstream radio and even the internet is stuck on one note. Not sure why that is but like I said there really is room for all of these styles to flourish. Hope people begin to research music again! Very important for the arts and Hip Hop culture. I’m hopeful.

You dropped Aquarius mix recently in Zodiac tracks series. What can you tell us about Zodiac tracks and the idea behind it?

I’m happy to hear that you saw it. The idea was born out of my New Years resolution to give back to the artist that inspire me. Every month starting with Gemini, I’ve been doing all vinyl dj sets on my DJ Nu-Mark FB. Each Zodiac month I’ll blend only artist that are in that specific Zodiac sign. So for Aquarius I mixed artist like Rick James, Dilla, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Quest Love, Jam Master Jay, Rakim, Dr. Dre etc… Sometimes these Hip Hop artist will sample an older artist within the same Zodiac sign. I kind of love when this happens….it just means that I get to wish more Happy Birthdays within that 5-10 minute mix. Anyways, for those who have no clue what I’m talking about come visit my page www.djnu-mark.com under my Video & Pics section. All the Zodiac Tracks mixes live there after I post them to my DJ Nu-Mark FB.

What can we expect at the Garden Brewery in Zagreb on Saturday?

Not sure, haven’t planned anything yet. I usually feel the climate of the world a day or two before the show and then get into it. Hey, thanks for having me!!

For more info about Nu-Mark’s set in Zagreb, head over to the official Facebook event.



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