DJ Marky is a Brazilian-Bahamian Drum & Bass DJ and producer. With a highly credible career spanning 20 years+, DJ Marky has been a pioneer in the Drum & Bass scene. We caught up with the the main man to talk about Innerground Records’ 100th release, his career highlights, advice for aspiring DJs/producers and who’s hot on the scene right now!…

DJ Marky interview by Student Pocket Guide

Hey DJ Marky, how’s things? What part of the world are you in right now?

I’m touring a lot but I’m in England… for now!

Ah cool, our home turf! I’ve just been listening to Innerground 100. A huge congratulations not only for this being a brilliant album but Innerground Records’ 100th release! This is huge news.
How does it feel to have finished it?

Mostly relief, because it took ages! Of course, there were other artists I would’ve liked to have on board too but there were some schedule clashes as there usually is with albums with this many artists involved. It feels great, I can’t wait to see it out there and play it for everyone. I’m looking forward to holding the vinyl in my hands, not the MP3s!

Amazing – can you describe the album in 3 words?

Hard work. Proud.

The album starts with an immediate injection of energy with track one: DJ Marky Ft. Lorna King – Changing Moods setting you up for a great hour and 12 minutes listen. As a Drum & Bass DJ and producer, what kind of journey do you like to take people on?

The album’s got some rollers, some liquid, some deeper tracks, as well as some funk – what I’m really trying to do is bring people on a journey of the full spectrum of Drum & Bass.

DJ Marky

DJ Marky photo credit: Garry Jones Photography

Your career now spans 20 years+. Another massive achievement in itself. Looking back, can you think of any career highlights which jump to mind?

I’ve got a lot of highlights really, it’s hard to pick. I think the first time I played at Mass Brixton, some residencies at Bar Rumba, and at The End Club in Holborn which was one of my favourite clubs. I played for 10 years at Lov.e Club in Brazil, I remember playing there the first night they opened and the last night before they closed. Glastonbury was also a big highlight, as well as Skolbeats Festival in Brazil.

Covid has clearly impacted so many lives and had a huge impact on the events industry. How have you been coping during the pandemic?

The pandemic has been very tough. I was in hospital and went through one of the hardest times of my life. But I’m glad to be here and to be back in the UK doing what I love most. I’m very fortunate that my friends and family are safe and well and having them around is great.

How does the Drum & Bass scene differ around the world? You are from Brazil for example, do you find certain styles of Drum & Bass more receptive in certain parts of the world?

It varies a lot to be honest. In some places they understand the vibe; I think other places not as much. In Brazil they really get it, it went from being underground to mainstream, and now back to more underground which I love. It makes it more about the music. The UK & Europe scene has been fantastic, as well as New Zealand. I see Drum & Bass as more of a global community, and when I play I want to give people a sense of what’s happening in this amazing community.

When you were younger, did you always dream of becoming a successful DJ yourself, how did things pan out for you?

I think I wanted to be a fireman at first, but luckily I didn’t follow that path! When I first started DJ’ing, what I really strived for was the respect of my Heroes – the DJs who influenced me. When I arrived in the UK, a lot of labels and record shops saw this new crazy Brazilian kid behind the decks, and started sending me vinyl for free. This allowed me to follow my dreams and have enough money to support my family in the early days. I never really cared about fame, I did it because I loved it.

What inspiration or advice could you offer students reading this who dream of becoming a successful DJ/artist of some kind?

My advice is follow your dreams, you can do it. Try to be yourself. Don’t play the same stuff as everyone else, what will make you really stand out is having your own style. I can appreciate DJ’s from so many genres, Funk, Soul, House, Techno, because I see their uniqueness and really respect that. Try listening to other genres, and you may learn something. I think as a DJ, the music you play and how you play is the most important part of a show and sometimes this can be lost over show design and lighting nowadays.

What upcoming DJs do you have your eye on at the moment?

Kirollus is someone to keep an eye on at the moment, he plays disco vinyl and I love what he does. Natasha Diggs is absolutely smashing it at the moment too. In the D&B scene Pola & Bryson have always stayed authentic which again I see as so important.

You already have such an amazing long list of achievements, but are there any
specific goals you still wish to achieve?

The biggest goal is staying true to myself, and keeping the respect of the friends, heroes and mentors. Friendship is very important to me. Sometimes because of life, you can be apart from friends while travelling but when you see each other again; it’s great when nothing has changed. Treasure your friends, other things in life come and go!

What’s your number one D&B track of all time?

Picking one is very hard! It would be more like a list. DJ Zinc – ‘Casino Royale’ is up there. ‘How You Make Me Feel’ and ‘Temperance’ from Marcus Intalex spring to mind, along with Influx Datam – ‘Back For More’.

What’s the cheesiest track you like?

Bee Gees – How Can You Mend a Broken Heart. Hands down!

Outside of work and music, how do you enjoy spending your time?

Spending time in record shops is like therapy for me. I just love it. It makes me so happy digging, and chatting with the shop owners, whether in Brazil or here in London. Eldica Records in Dalston is a favourite of mine where I always have a great chat with shop owner Andy. Only downside is it’s an expensive hobby!

Can you tell us a secret about DJ Marky, that your fans won’t already know?

Something my fans probably don’t know is that no matter what’s going on in my life, when I’m behind the decks I will always smile. I’m here to put on a show, and my fans mean the world to me.

DJ Marky

DJ Marky photo credit: Garry Jones Photography