I put all of my love into this album and it’s not anything commercial or pop; it’s just me and how I feel about making music
Brazilian import and general drum & bass legend DJ Marky has just released his first full solo album – DJ Marky – My Heroes. Unsurprisingly, it’s an absolute masterpiece from start to finish.
Since coming to the fore in the late 90s, the Innerground Records boss been responsible for producing some of the genre’s most loved releases, and this album will do nothing but enhance his reputation as one of the finest producers – as well as one of the finest DJs – in the scene right now.
Considering his vast experience, you’d be forgiven for thinking that he’d be immune to feeling nervous about any release. But that was far from the case…
“I was so nervous the night before the album came out!” he admits. “In fact, I was more nervous with this record than when I was just before LK came out. I put all of my love into this album and it’s not anything commercial or pop; it’s just me and how I feel about making music.”
We’re sure that those pre-release nerves will have settled now that the album’s a few days old and is picking up huge praise from listeners and producers alike.
But what’s the inspiration for DJ Marky – My Heroes? The more observant among you will have spotted the two figures on the album’s front cover, hidden in the lettering. Those two people are Marky’s parents. This album is a homage to the people who got the ball rolling in his prosperous career.
“The biggest inspirations in my career so far have definitely been my mum and dad, because they made sure that I grew up around records from a young age” he recalls. “The album is like a tribute for them to show my gratitude for all of the things they taught me throughout my life, so it only felt right that they should be on the front.”
“Aside from my parents, my other inspirations are Fabio & Grooverider, Dave Angel, DJ Hype and Underground Resistance, all of whom have really helped me on my journey.”
While it may not be surprising that those family members and fellow legendary producers are the people who inspired Marky the most, there was another inspiration behind the album that might be slightly more surprising…
“Every time I make a track I need new inspiration and I get that from anything and everything. I saw the video for Mama Say Knock You Out by LL Cool J and listened to how they made the track and used the samples. That was a tune that really got me inspired before starting the album.”
“If I don’t have that inspiration I cannot do anything. Sometimes it takes me 3-5 months to make a track and other times I can make three tracks in a row. That is what happened with the album; I started with Silly and after that I just kept going.”
And as someone who listens to a range of genres and artists from DJ Hype to LL Cool J and everything in between, it doesn’t come as that much of a surprise that he produces music in an equally diverse manner, too.
Mixed in with the generous helpings of soulful drum & bass on the album are tracks pitched at both house and techno tempos, making it an intriguing, varied listen.
“The album has lots of dub rollers but it also has different styles – there’s something for everyone,” he says. “I like disco music, for instance, and my music has got a lot of soul and funk which I think you can hear influences of on the album. It’s always nice to do something different in the studio, so that’s why there are different genres on the album.”
One of those aforementioned non drum & bass tracks is a collaboration with Makoto, a producer who matches Marky in terms of legendary status and a producer who has gone toe-to-toe with the Brazilian for a large proportion of his musical journey.
“Working with Makoto is absolutely fantastic because he knows exactly what I want and I know what he wants so the combination is perfect – he is just a fantastic artist,” Marky tells us. “But it was great to work with all of the collaborators, not just Makoto, because all of them brought their own piece of unique atmosphere to the album. I feel very blessed to have worked with them all.”
Of course, there are hurdles to overcome for every producer when it comes to writing an album, no matter what their status or studio nous. And for someone who has a DJ schedule as hectic as Marky, finding the time to slog it out in the studio was a particularly big hurdle. Not only this, but it also affected the style of his writing.
“I like simple things that have a real impact on the dancefloor,” he admits. “When I play a new track out in a club, I always watch the crowd carefully to gauge their reaction. If I don’t think the reaction is that great, I will tweak that part of the tune to make sure it gets a better reaction next time. So yeah, being a busy DJ definitely impacted my album massively.”
If you’ve ever been lucky enough to see Marky do his thing behind the decks, you’ll have no doubt seen this attention he pays to the crowd in action. Alongside being one of the most charismatic and entertaining live DJs, he is also one of the most intuitive and perceptive, which is why he’s widely regarded as one of the finest selectors in the business.
DJ Marky – we salute you!