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“The reason why I’m still doing it is because no one on the planet Earth will ever have every single record manufactured. It’s an endless maze, and I think something about that is very appealing to me, like I know I’ll never be able to conquer the craft,” he explained.
“…There’s so many other types of art that you could technically master… but DJing and collecting records is endless.”
He first started playing the drums at the age of seven, and branched out into DJing in the ’80s after watching a friend’s uncle at the turntables.
“I just thought it was something new and exciting, you know, and this idea of touching the records — you’re always told never to touch the records, never to touch the needle, and just everything you’re not supposed to do, and it was very much against the grain, just as hip hop was at the time,” he said.
Nu-Mark soon began playing house parties on a cheap pair of turntables, which became his “infinite instrument,” enabling him to grab a kick drum, horn stab or flute section from any album to create endless musical combinations.
He also began to amass an impressive record collection, which currently numbers around 35,000, but admits that he had a pretty good head start early on in his career, when he and a friend purchased a library of 20,000 albums at a local swap meet.
“We would go there every Saturday and just pick through records and finally we were like, ‘man, would you ever sell this whole library?’”
They made him an offer, and walked away with the whole collection for $500.
“That’s really what generated a lot of the sounds and textures that I used on the first few J5 records,” he said. “…There were a lot of terrible records in there, too, don’t get me wrong, but there were some really classic breaks up in there.”
He never really counted on making a career out of DJing — at the insistence of family and friends, he was actually studying to become an X-ray technician. But soon after he teamed up with Jurassic 5 his medical career was history.
“About two months or so before I was supposed to graduate, I just dropped out because we were doing so well, and the record went gold overseas, and Europe was really keen to the record — they really understood what we were trying to do, while the States was still sleeping on us.”