When asked who the next big superstar circuit DJ is going to be, people in the know respond: DJ DeMarko. Chosen as the headlining DJ for the Centaur Music Global Groove Fifth Anniversary tour, DeMarko is spreading his music all over the United States. Busy in the studio with Deep Influence and Mike da Wizard, his remixes of Anastacia, Taylor Dayne, Inaya Day, and Kevin Aviance have led to three consecutive top tens on the club chart. DeMarko's recent compilation "The Tour" serves as a good introduction though a DeMarko DJ set is even better when experienced live.
DJ Ron Slomowicz: You are originally from Montreal, is there a big club scene there?
DeMarko: Well, when I lived in Montreal, it was all about Tuesdays and Saturday nights. Tuesday night was gay night at the hottest club called BUSINESS. The club only held about 300. It would be below zero outside in the snow and the line would be around the corner. You only got let in as the people would come out. Fortunately the door guy was a guy I knew from my modeling agency, so I never had a problem getting in.
RS: What is the main difference between the Montreal club scene and that of the typical American club scene? Is there a definable Quebecois influence on club culture in Montreal?
DeMarko: I haven't lived there in years, but when I was back to spin a few times I noticed the crowd to be more mixed as opposed to just gay or straight, and people are not too wild or out of control but definitely enjoying themselves.
RS: How did you get started as a DJ?
DeMarko: When I was in high school, my best friend got a mixer and turntables for Christmas, so I was at his house using his gear. There was no way my parents were letting me have noise-making equipment in their house!
RS: What is your signature style and which DJs have influence you?
DeMarko: TRIBAL with vocals. I love a good driving sexy tribal track! Well just before I started playing for crowds I used to hang with Manny Lehman when I moved to LA. He was a definite crowd pleaser. Never saw a night he didn't have the house packed.
RS: Is there a big difference between playing East Coast (NY) and West
Coast (CA) parties?
DeMarko: When I briefly lived on the West Coast (7 years), all I heard was happy music. There were the occasional "good songs," and I'll admit, I bought a few of them, but nothing to write home about. It was what they listened to there. Life on the West is very laid back and relaxed and so was the music.
RS: Was it harder to break into the California scene or the New York scene?
DeMarko: Well, I did what I wanted to do and not what everyone else wanted. I was ahead of my time for LA. They're now a little more into the tribal remixes. But I was cutting edge at the time and I didn't know it. I just knew that if I were dancing I wanted to hear hard driving beats.
RS: Do you find being African-American helps or hinders you as a DJ - both with achieving success and winning crowds?
DeMarko: Honestly, it didn't help in LA. I moved to NY and it was as if everything changed overnight! Don't get me wrong, I had my venues in LA where they didn't know what was happening, but they knew they liked it - but that took years. Within 6 months of moving to NY, I was already playing at Limelight.
RS: What inspired you to go after circuit parties?
DeMarko: It's not that I wanted to do circuit parties. I just wanted to play for large groups of people. I was very shy growing up. I still am a little. DJing is a way of hanging with everyone without actually having to go and introduce yourself and engage in conversation. People get to know a DJ through though the style of music.