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On the Bill
The Lionel Young Band performs at the 29th Street LIVE! Summer Concert Series from 6-9 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 1, at the 29th Street Mall, 29th Street and Canyon Boulevard, Boulder, 303-449-3137.
Turning the tables
DJ Nu-Mark plans to get Boulder on the dance floor
by Christian Arcand
On Friday, July 31, Boulder will be visited by one of turntablism’s great renaissance men. Formerly a member of Jurassic 5 and currently one of the most sought-after DJ/producers in the world, DJ Nu-Mark will grace the Fox Theatre’s stage complete with his collection of records and toys.
Yes, toys. Nu-Mark may be best known for his performances in which he busts out a collection of small children’s toys and makes unmistakably dope beats with them live on stage. He also has an incredible trick involving a rubber band and the arm of his turntable that these pages simply could not do justice to; you really just have to see and hear it. We got a hold of Nu-Mark on a sunny Saturday in Los Angeles.
Boulder Weekly: In almost every interview that I’ve read, the interviewer always starts off by asking you where you got your name. Do you find it tiresome having to explain that you got the name “Nu-Mark” from Numark brand DJ equipment? It’s like the most recognizable DJ equipment there is!
Nu-Mark: It’s a whole new generation, man, you know? It’s a trip. A lot of people don’t know the “tech” side of things, but it’s OK. The real story is pretty corny though. I was cutting with some friends one night, I announced that I needed a name, and my friend said, “It’s probably right under your nose.” So I looked down and there was a Numark mixer staring right back up at me, and my name is Mark, so I just rolled with it.
BW: Did you ever get a cease-and-desist order from the actual Numark company?
Nu-Mark: Ha, no, but I’m actually working with them now. I signed on to help them with this new video game they’re putting out called Scratch: The Ultimate DJ. I’ve been helping them with beats for the game, which is basically a hip-hop version of Guitar Hero only with turntables instead of guitars. I just had a show actually for the launch of the game with Raekwon down here in LA, so the Numark company and I are just fine. They know what’s up. If they were gonna sue me, they probably would have already.
BW: One thing you are known for in concert is the “toy set,” where you bring out a bunch of kids’ audio toys and wire them through your mixer. That seems like an ultimate stoner idea. Were you stoned when you came up with it?
Nu-Mark: I was not very blazed when I came up with that, oddly enough. I was far more blazed when I came up with the rubber band idea — that one’s twisted, really twisted. I just started thinking about music differently, and I had already started incorporating kids’ toys into the Jurassic 5 performances. One thing led to another. I started collecting all these little kids’ toys and re-wiring them and making it a whole performance. I’m going to be playing records, too, though. I’ll be rocking the records and the toys at the Fox on Friday. I want everyone to dance and have a good time; I don’t want anyone showing up with the fungus face.
BW: What was it like working with the guys from the Lonely Island?
Nu-Mark: Oh, man, that was so much fun. Those guys are hilarious. It’s such a different pace than working with MCs and singers, because those guys are used to just working quicker. All of them work for Saturday Night Live, and maybe it’s because of their weekly deadlines, but they just had a real serious process of pumping out hits in a matter of seconds! I was watching them and was like, “You guys are better at this than most MCs. For real.” But they were really focused. It was a great change of pace from what I’ve been doing, and I was very proud to be a part of that album, which was like the number one selling album of 2008. I was just blown away.
BW: What other projects have you been working on lately?
Nu-Mark: I did one joint for Pharoahe Monch but it wasn’t actually for his album; it was for this Australian group called Hilltop Hoods. I got a beat on J-Live’s new album, two joints on Charli 2na’s new album that just came out (and you should all go get it, by the way). I also did a remix for The Pharcyde’s “4 Better Or 4 Worse” on the Delicious Vinyl re-issue. I’ve been keeping pretty busy doing beats and working with lots of different people.
BW: What’s your process like when you first involve yourself in a project? Do you choose the project, or does the project choose you?
Nu-Mark: I think all music chooses you at the end of the day. It’s like girls, ya know? You never really choose the girl; the girl chooses you. Music is elusive like a woman. I think that’s what I’m gonna call my album.
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On the Bill
performs with Sleep, Spoke In Wordz and DJ Chonz at 9 p.m. on Friday, July 31, at the Fox Theater, 1135 13th St., Boulder, 303-443-3399.
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