Braziliant! As the World Cup kicks off, DJ Marky jets in to Dubai
What’s On teams up with Hype to interview DJ Marky, Brazilian music star export, as he jets in for GlobalFunk at Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City, Dubai.
DJ Marky has been a global ambassador not only of drum ‘n’ bass, but also of his native Brazilian scene for over 20 years now. Alongside his own fluid and funky productions, plus those he releases through his label Innerground Records, it is as a DJ that Marky is most celebrated – a three-deck technician who can do logic-defying things before your very eyes. With a mix compilation on the horizon for Ministry Of Sound and his passion for football evident, Marky hits Dubai on Thursday June 12 to celebrate GlobalFunk’s massive 11th birthday bash.
What was it like growing up in Brazil and how did you first get into music? I love my country and couldn’t think of a better place for me, or my son, to grow up in. It’s a very sociable place, with high emphasis on family and, of course, the weather helps with the general mood. I got into electronic music as a sort of progression from my own musical tastes and also from working in a record shop. My family were very much into traditional Brazilian music so I always retained that, but when I struck out on my own it was all about finding new and exciting genres and artists to follow.
How hard was it when you first got into it to then get hold of records, decks and the tools to make music? It was tough to get hold of the records, as you had to import them from America or Europe, so not only was it expensive, but it also took a while for the vinyl to get to us. Thankfully, I was working at a record shop so I had pretty good access to the right materials and was always at the front of the queue for the latest releases. Turntables were pretty expensive compared to the average wage, but like most things, you saved up and got them eventually. When making music became a lot more computer-based rather than having loads of outboard gear it made it much easier to have access to the tools to make the music too.
Are you a self-taught DJ? Was it just practice that made you get to where you are today? Absolutely. Practice is key. You can’t expect to just sit around and do nothing and then walk into a club and connect with people. I started off using reel-to-reel tapes to DJ, and moved on to turntables later. I research my music across all genres every day and try to practice every day.
Is the ‘real’ art of DJing being lost in the modern era? I think there are still some amazing DJs out there and it isn’t always about “skills”; it’s about crowd interaction and track selection too. Technology has definitely made it easier for anyone to DJ, which isn’t a bad thing, but some of it, like SYNC buttons, should stay in the bedroom.
As a global ambassador for the Brazilian scene, how do you feel about all the attention the country is getting now? I think it’s a bit overdue. But saying that, people in the know have been in touch with Brazil for a long time; it is just now with big global events and business partnerships that the wider community is starting to take notice. Obviously, not all of the attention we’re getting at the moment is positive; with riots last year, but the World Cup and Olympics could be really good for the country and its economy in terms of setting us up for the future.
How has the scene on the ground changed since you first emerged? The local scene has always been healthy, to be honest. We’ve always had a vibrant club and live music scene, but it was limited to Brazilian and some other South American artists. What we’re seeing now is it becoming much more of a destination for high-profile international DJs to visit and tour. And with the internet making the world that much smaller, it’s easier for local artists to be recognised outside of South America.
What do you think the catalyst was to all this? Some of the legacy artists like Jorge Ben started the work way back, but definitely people like myself who took their music and the Brazilian feel on tour worldwide pushed that early work onwards and upwards. There is now a vast array of Brazilian DJs, bands and producers doing their thing in Europe, Asia and Australasia, which is great for the country and for music as a whole.
What makes the Brazil scene unique? Brazil is a great place to go out and enjoy nightlife. The vibe is great and it’s a really social thing. You dress up nice, meet your friends and enjoy good music. That’s not to say it is any better or worse than any other country, just different.
Is there a main sound coming from Brazil, like techno in Detroit or dubstep in London? There isn’t really a distinct sound that is coming out of Brazil. We have always been really well known for our techno and drum ‘n’ bass scenes, but I wouldn’t like to say we’ve discovered any brand new genres as it stands. It may be there in the future as we are a nation of innovators so if there is something special to come then be sure it will come from a Brazilian.
We’ve heard that people are unhappy in Brazil about the amount of money spent on the World Cup. What’s your stance on that? It’s more the fact that it’s public money being spent on the event, and not the event itself. The people were sold something and then it was changed at the last minute, that’s why they are angry. It’s really difficult for Brazilians to even get a ticket for a game so that doesn’t help. But don’t get me wrong, we are all looking forward to Brazil winning the World Cup on home soil, and I think it will be similar to the Olympics in London, once it gets started then the country will come together and the party can really start.
And are you a football fan? Are you looking forward to the World Cup? I am a football fan – São Paolo Football Club! It should be a great spectacle and I’m really looking forward to watching the games with my son, who is also a massive football fan. Of course, Brazil will win it, but it will be tight with teams like Uruguay and Argentina looking solid. From Europe you’ve got Spain and Germany who are always strong at World Cups, and then lesser teams like Belgium who could cause some upsets. It should be really exciting.
Can you tell us anything about your new Ministry Of Sound compilation? This is a great project to be a part of. It has given me a lot of freedom in that I have one disc of pure upfront drum ‘n’ bass to play with, and there are some great tunes around at the moment, but also a second disc of classic Brazilian and disco tracks with which to express myself. It made it more difficult because when I was picking the tracks for the mixes I was looking at my record collection and thinking, “Where do I start?” But once you get into it you start to get a thread of a story for the mix and then the journey starts and it becomes something that you can have fun with.
Lastly, is it important for you to give anything back to the scene in Brazil? I would really like to, but it needs to be the right thing and not just a token effort. I’ve had a lot of support from an early age from family, promoters, businesses and fans as well, who have followed me over the last 20 years, and for that I am very grateful and humbled. If I can give something back to the community or the country then I certainly will, but like I said, it needs to be something positive and done correctly.
GlobalFunk’s 11th Birthday Bash, Level 41, Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City, Dubai. Dhs100. Thursday, 10pm to 3am. Taxi: Media One. Metro: Nakheel. facebook.com/globalfunkdxb