Hot off the presses we have an exclusive Music You Need mix done by Mark Starr. We recently featured his track “Sunshine” and after getting to talking he decided to bestow upon us his master mixing skills to come up with the following mix. We couldn’t be happier with the result as this is some sexy ghetto-tech house, deep house, breaks, and old school Miami funk that will have you saying “More please!”
The mix features some recently released tracks and some yet to be released from the likes of : Kill Frenzy, Mak & Pasteman, A1 Bassline, Zombie Disco Squad, and Catz N Dogz. This mix will make late night love to your ears if you let it so sit back, relax, and enjoy these low and slow booty bumping beats.
1. LFO – LFO (Mak & Pasteman Remix)
2. Kill Frenzy & Sacha Robotti – Go To The Mo (Original Mix)
3. S.K.A.M. – I Got What You Need (Shadow Child Freakmix)
4. Mak & Pasteman – Strings Of Love (Original Mix)
5. Mark Starr – Hey Ey Ey (Lempo & Japwow Remix)
6. Zombie Disco Squad – Twerk Feat. DJ Funk (Sacha Robotti Remix)
7. Mark Starr – Sunshine (Original Mix)
8. NiCe7 – Bassline Soldiers (Original Mix)
9. We Love – End Of The Night (Audiojack Remix)
10. Girl Unit – Plaza (Original Mix)
11. A1 Bassline – Slingback (Original Mix)
12. Tom Flynn – Be Yourself (Original Mix)
13. Jay Shepheard – Add Arp (Catz N Dogz Remix)
How did you get into DJ’ing/Producing?
I got into DJing about 9 years ago with a friend of mine Dan Cella (artist name Dan Carraway). He had lent me a pair of really crapy Gemini belt driven turntables after I decided I was interested in making a life out of dance music. Needless to say those were some pretty rough tables to learn mixing on (belt drives, ouch!). After about a year or so I made the switch to a pair of CDJ1000s, which I saved up for working at a video store in South Florida. I could have maybe gotten a used car for how much those things were at the time, but it still remains one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. I used to play at a lot of places down south when I was younger, around 16 when I wasn’t even supposed to be allowed in clubs. I’d go play, and get back to this arts school I went to the next morning on no sleep. Great times though.
Producing music has been a totally different beast for me. I had messed around making some silly beats when I was younger with Reason 1.5 after a friend of mine tipped me off about the program. It was only years later, and really only more recently in the past couple years that I have been devoting most of my time towards production. This past year especially I have been spending nearly all my time working on music, learning new techniques, and developing my own personal sound. A continual process that I see going on for many years to come.
Man. It’s really hard to identify just one person that has influenced me. Mixing style, one of my all time favorite DJ’s has always been Sander Kleinenberg. He was one of the first DJs to really “wow” me live with his DVJ sets when I was younger, that were not only technically flawless, but musically adventurous. The boys (and lady J.Phlip) from Dirtybird Records always impress me too. In a seemingly new era where a lot of mainstream djs put emphasis on popular tracks, its good to know there are djs out there who still try and surprise the crowd. I have always gone to shows wondering, man what unreleased tracks am I going to hear tonight? THOSE are the tracks that get me going wild…the ones where you look over to your friend and have your “OH MY GOD WHAT?!” face on. THAT’s what makes a good show for me. I want to loose my mind over a song I have never heard but instantly love. That’s what a DJ should do in my opinion.
Most recently, I think the most impressive producers out there right now are the likes of Kill Frenzy (The new Go to the Mo EP on Dirtybird is amazing! Pick it up!), Sascha Robotti, Dave Spoon’s new alias Shadow Child, Mak & Pasteman, Audiojack, Munnibrotherz, Shlomi Aber, Lempo & Japwow, A1 Bassline, Clouds, Justin Martin, Rodriguez Jr., Dark Sky, the list goes on and on really. There is so much fresh amazing talent out there.
Speaking of influences what steered you to the sound that defines you now?
I think everyone’s tastes develop over time, and mine have been no exception. I have always been into several styles of music. I used to actually spin Drum n Bass at one point, trance at another point when I was about 15, and have always had a strong love for Electro House, breaks, and tech house. My sounds have moved more full time into tech house and “ghetto tech” styles though. I think I am finally getting closer to finding my true style at heart. My close friend and production guru Grow (http://soundcloud.com/grow), once made fun of me for really digging house about 7 years ago. He looked at me and said, man, one day you’re going to be making breakbeats just watch. Sure enough, years down the line I am producing tracks with more breakbeat and Miami electro breaks influences. I think it was a lot of the music he gave me exposure to, like Dynamix II (whom I had the pleasure of playing with a few years ago!), Jackal & Hyde, OLD Anthony Rother, and Hybrid, that really got me into more of the old school “electro” (not to be confused with electro house, those guys would bite my head off!) sound and breaks in general. Combine that with my natural love for 808’s and bass heavy labels like Anabatic, Dirtybird Records, Sounds of Sumo, Hot N Heavy , Moda/Moda Black, Made To Play, etc, I think my style has kind of pushed itself into the direction its in now. Music aside, I think also my Mom has always inspired me to…throughout my life she’s drilled into my head the old Einstein quote: “Imagination is more important than knowledge”. I have kept that tid-bit with me throughout my life so far and I think it really stays true across many aspects of life. You can have all the studio gear in the world, but if you don’t have the imagination to write something unique and fun, who cares? Hardware, especially with DJing, has become so quantized (ie: sync features), that it is still nice to know outside of hiring a ghost producer you really have to put in your own work and imaginative process.
Also on your facebook under influences it says “The every day experiences, and the not so every day experiences.” Can you explain what that means?
I think that no matter what kind of art you are involved in, we subconsciously take our every day experiences and translate them into meaningful work…even if we don’t realize it. I can’t say I have a clear cut defined writing process right now outside the technical aspect, but I can tell you that emotions and experiences from great happiness to great depression have influenced my music at some point. Also the idea that every experience I have acquired has led me to where I am now; where I am supposed to be. I am inspired by the way I feel, the way others feel, and the way I want people to feel on the dance floor. I don’t always know what triggers ideas for music either. Sometimes I sit down for weeks and can’t come up with anything worth a piss. Other days I have sat down and completed a full track sequence in an 8 hour non-stop session. Similar to ”stream of consciousness” type writing, it kind of works the same way for me in Ableton Live. Especially with the way Ableton is laid out, you can really freestyle some ideas easily till you get that “spark” to dive in to a full track.
If you had to describe your music in three words, what would those be?
Imaginative Bass Music (ha, IBM!)
Have you ever collaborated with other DJ’s? Who are you just dying to work with?
I have! I have been fortunate enough to work with the very talented UK Duo Lempo & Japwow. Claire (Japwow) has given me a lot of great advice over the years and has been pretty influential on me. They are some of the most versatile producers I know, which a large resume under their belt of some monster tracks. Absolutely a duo to watch! I have also had the pleasure of working with the Munnibrotherz from South Africa. I just put out the Sunshine EP that you guys actually covered. They did a great remix on that EP for all the techy heads out there.
Although I haven’t worked with them directly, my label mates and label bosses (DBR Recordings/PBR Recordings) MC Flipside, and Chris Vench, as well as A-Divizion and Phabulous Phunk have all given me great advice and encouragement along the way. With the style of music I have been focusing on writing, not all labels are willing to go out of there way to risk signing a more unique and new sound. They are an absolutely legendary crew of people to work with, and have been nothing but kind to me.
The list of who I’d like to work with on production is infinite really. With the recent support of some Dirtybird artists, I’d of course love to do some original collaboration work with the Munnibrotherz (which is in talks actually!), Kill Frenzy, Sascha Robotti, Ardalan, J.Phlip, Claude Vonstroke as well as 808 warriors Mak & Pasteman, Worthy and Sepehr. Hell, would love to write some deep house and tech too with the likes of SIS, NicE7, or Audiojack. I am really open to the idea of working with a ton of the right people who are like-minded. Anyone who is dedicated, true to their sound, and as excited as I am about writing dance music!
What is your favorite track that you’ve produced? Favorite track that someone else has produced (electronic or otherwise or both)?
Every track I write is like my own little baby in a way, so its hard for me to really pick one. I would have to say out of my slew of recent works that are more “ghetto tech” (Sunshine, Rood Boy, Bass Chant, Mortem, Hey Ey Ey), Rood Boy is my favorite. I wrote that track a day after coming home from the Dirtybird BBQ in Miami during Winter Music Conference back in March. I had been a fan of the label for several years, and even seen Claude Vonstroke before live, but enjoying a whole day and night of that sound really just changed me. After the 9 hour trip back to Tallahassee from Miami, I ran inside my apartment and hit Ableton HARD. 48 hours later I had most of that track written. It was my first real adventure into the more “ghetto tech” type sound and I thought to myself…damn…why haven’t I been writing like this forever? I fell in love with how much fun it was to write that kind of music. It’s not cluttered, it all has just the right amount of sounds, isn’t overly intrusive on your ears, and gets your feet moving. With how popular “bass” music is this day with the advent of mainstream dubstep and electro house, and our nation being controlled by a predominately hiphop market, ghetto tech has “cross-genre” features that translate well into almost any dance crowd. I’ve had fans of old school breakbeats, big room house, and even the most strict hiphop DJs ask me for a copy of that track. Something about those 808’s I guess!
What is the track of the moment that you like to play to get the dancefloor moving? Any other tracks worth mentioning that you just love seeing people get down to?
Push Up, by Kill Frenzy is an absolute dancefloor bomb right now. Additionally Go To The Mo by Kill Frenzy and Sascha Robotti. I have yet to get anything less than major bootyshaking from that track. Also anything Mak & Pasteman touch right now. Their Strings of Love EP on Anabatic is a staple for me right now. Those guys are on absolute fire. Really enjoying of course people getting down to my newer release Sunshine. No better feeling than seeing a crowd go nuts to your own tune. Having Kill Frenzy drop it at HARD SUMMER LA mashed up with his tune Booty Clap was a serious honor. I was watching the youtube video of it with my hands shaking. Pretty sure I ran around my apartment a bit like a crazed fan girl. I’ve certainly never played my track to THAT many people live, and it was rocking the crowd as hard as anything else. Good times, one of my prouder moments so far. Sunshine was also included in Sacha Robotti’s recent beatport chart promoting his remix of Twerk by Zombie Disco Squad. Getting a tip of the hat from your favorite producers and people you look up to is really the highest level of recognition for me, personally. More than having a track chart to number one or anything like that. It’s like Tiger Woods coming up to you and saying, hey kid, nice swing.
I really love the venue my partner Taylor Shockley (soundcloud.com/shock-5) and I have been playing at locally called Sidebar. We run a weekly event called Gonzo that celebrates the underground sounds of house music. We like it weird, funky, and fresh. The venue (formerly known as Engine Room) just re-opened under a new name and it’s a really nice intimate venue with a huge outside deck and crystal clear sound inside. We have a rotation of people jamming deeper tech house outside usually (big ups to The American, Dre, Seraphim, Caleb, Moskra and friends), while Taylor and I hold the inside down weekly. It is a home for underground sounds, and a place where people can play what they want to play and not have to shell out top 40 nonsense or electro house remixes of radio tunes. We are currently in the process of bringing some really fantastic artists that I think are going to catch people off guard for sure, but I can’t say any names just yet.
While I have played shows at a few places in Miami, Ultra one year, and a show in New York when I was younger, I am still not quite in the “touring” phase of my career (though, hopefully soon it seems). So my experiences have been a little limited. Traveling is something I am looking forward to greatly. With a degree in Anthropology under my belt, it is no surprise that I want to see the world through my music and experience as many different cultures as I can! Would really love to do some shows out in California, specifically the Bay Area. That place is where it’s at right now for bass heavy house music. I’d really love to play any of the HARD events out there. I am actually considering moving out there in about a year and a half to pursue another degree in Audio Engineering as well as work in an area more conducive to my style of production right now.
Lot of big plans soon. I have a new EP coming out on DBR Recordings called Hey Ey Ey, featuring the title track, another track called Ocean Drive Hustle, and a stellar remix from Lempo & Japwow on Hey Ey Ey. The vibe of the record could be described as bass heavy house music groovers. Infectious sub-bass mixed with classic house elements and some quirky production from the weirdest corners of my mind. I’ve been smashing it out for a while now, especially the Lempo & Japwow mix, which has had a great reaction constantly.
Also, I will be joining one of my favorite labels, Sounds of Sumo, for a totally new EP featuring some of my favorite “ghetto tech” tracks that I have written in the past 6 months. Just got the green light on the EP from them a couple days ago. No release date set yet, but I will keep you guys posted for sure on when it will be out. I have been a fan of Kry Wolf (operators of the label) for a good bit , and a lot of the great work they put out on there, especially all the Mak & Pasteman stuff. Can only cross my fingers for a Mak & Pasteman remix on that EP! I am also currently finishing up a remix for Sounds of Sumo of a track called “I Know” by the talented Tommy Kid, from France. Really cool future bass 135 BPM EP. I was given the choice to pick a song on the EP to remix and the vocal cuts on “I Know” really just grabbed me. Will be taking the tune down a bit to 128 for a vibe mixture of breaks, deep house, and future bass production. Super excited about that EP.
I am also starting my show Move, back up on Digitally Imported Radio (di.fm), on their Tech House station. Will be the 4th Tuesday of every month, and will be sure to feature some great guests, superb tracks, and a variety of music from every corner of the tech house genre.
What keeps you motivated? Why do you continue to do DJ/Produce?
If money were a motivating factor in music production, I would have quit a long time ago haha. It really is a labor of love that I am deciding to do full time. I feel like that is the only way to go if you really want to be successful. You get out what you put in, and I am putting in a damn good chunk of my time on this planet. I am very lucky to have such supportive people around me in my life. From producers and DJs who have supported either my music or me with their advice and guidance along the way, to my supportive girlfriend whom I share a really special unconditional love with (sorry ladies!). My parents have always supported the idea of my music too, which is something not all artists have in their life. I feel like seeing people react to my music on the dance floor is what really keeps me pushing on with production. There is no greater feeling for me, than going to see my favorite DJ play. I get to walk into the club, leave all my troubles at the door, smile, laugh, dance, and feel connected with people on a level we can all relate on regardless of race or creed. So for me, when I DJ, if I can see smiles out there and people vibing out, shaking the troubles from their dancing shoes, I feel fulfilled. The whole dance music experience is something that can really be therapeutic. I know it has been for me for many years. So I guess my answer is its people like you who take interest in what I do, and the people who I can make happy on the dance floor, that ultimately keep me going.
Finally is there anything you feel people should know about you?
Not too sure to be honest really, this seemed like a pretty detailed interview! Really enjoyed it. I guess people should know that I am just the same as anyone else, and always open to chat and even do some work. All you have to do is say hi! I really love meeting new people, so don’t be shy!
Connect with Mark Starr