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  MARQUES WYATT - INTERVIEW
 

photo by Marc Goldstein




LINKS
- marqueswyatt.com
- Om Records
- Deep-LA.com

 




 

 

 

 

 

 

  

photo by Marc Goldstein

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

photo by Carl Noone, Jr.


  

"THE MUSIC WILL SEE US THROUGH" -
ON A HIGHER PLAIN WITH DJ MARQUES WYATT
Words by Carl Noone Jr.

Marques Wyatt has unwittingly become the holy messenger of today's House music scene, and with his suave and demure demeanor, has become an iconoclastic figure in the history of American nightlife. Currently on tour in support of his latest mix effort, Horizons, Marques is poised to take over the helm as House music's new spiritual ambassador.

A LITTLE HISTORY

Beginning in the mid 80's, Marques Wyatt introduced L.A. to the bustling beats of New York City with the help of Frankie Knuckles, Larry Levan, David Morales, and others who regularly played at his warehouse parties. From 'Mac's Garage' to 'Brass' (where he introduced L.A. to live acts such as The Brand New Heavies, Digable Planets, and Jamiroquai); from 'Does Your Momma Know?' to the current hot night in L.A., 'DEEP: Where House Lives', Marques Wyatt has been there all along.

In 2000, Marques released his third single as an artist, "For Those That Like To Get Down", on San Francisco's OM Records label, which quickly became a worldwide dance floor anthem and introduced his working philosophy to the global dance community. 2002 saw the release of the full-length CD, For Those That Like To Get Down and a mix CD entitled Sound Design Volume 1(both on OM Records), which showcased his talent as a writer, producer and DJ and helped to cement him as an international talent.

Om Records recently released his latest mix effort, entitled Horizons. A soulful mix chock full of ethnic flavors and spiritual aromas, it is the latest presentation of Wyatt's sound and exposes the general public to the warming sensation of House.


THE CONVERSATION

Finally on the other end of my phone, and the tape machine rolling, I proceed with my onslaught of questions and comments for Mr. Wyatt, who openly accepts the unexpected phone call.

"Both of them happen quite naturally, so the music that I choose is really the music that my spirit chooses', Marques tells me, when I ask about his own personal connection between his music and his spirituality. " It's not something I'm very conscious of. I either like a song or I don't. I don't think why. And the same thing for my spirituality; I gravitated towards certain beliefs that appeal to my life and my spirit. I don't get into certain denominations and whatnot. I just know that we are ALL spiritual beings; I just believe in a higher deity that definitely exists in all of us", he adds, infusing a touch of his own personal philosophy.

The topic soon turns to Miami and the annual Winter Music Conference, which over the years, has become a pilgrimage for DJs and fans alike. "What makes Miami in March so special to you?" I ask, trying to get inside his head.

"It's a gathering of enthusiasts from around the world, all in one place. It's a rare opportunity, for us, being traveling DJs, to have a place to meet, and for all of our friends to meet. You know what I mean? I have friends coming in from Vancouver who are looking forward to meeting other friends of mine. This would never happen if it weren't for Miami and the Conference. We will all be able to sit down and have dinner together, regardless of the music. It's a lot about community as well."

When the subject comes up about the long-rumored move to Las Vegas by the organizers of WMC, Marques interjects; "There's a tropical feel to Miami that's synonymous with the music we've come to enjoy. Where in Vegas are we going to get that?; have outdoor parties like that? On the strip? It would change the whole demographic of it and I would definitely have to bow out at that point."

I ask about the annual OM Records party, which has become legendary during WMC. (This past year's was held at Opium Gardens, a major step-up from previous year's parties held at the cramped Washington Street Mecca known as Goddess) A bit of excitement enters his tone; "It is definitely one of my favorite venues in Miami. I love the whole open-air thing. I'm just proud to be part. It was getting too crazy, a little out of hand, so we are definitely proud to get Opium Gardens this year."

(Again, I turn the page, and change the subject. This time around, let's talk business, shall we?)"Is your relationship with guys like Gunnar and Chris at OM Records strictly "company"?" I ask, delving into a little more personal area.

"No, not at all", he answers. "I've got to say that the OM situation has always been like a family. It really is. We are fortunate to have this camaraderie. There is a climate in the office where I feel I can talk to anyone about various aspects of my project, and they always make themselves available. I feel like things are worked on together and my opinions are greatly valued."

Then the obvious topic of "Technology" comes into the conversation. With the advent of file-sharing killing the music industry, especially the dance sector, it was only appropriate that we dive in head first to get to the bottom of Marques' stance on the issue. Being an ardent supporter of vinyl, and being a DJ for years, I wondered aloud if the domination of CDs and MP3s was a factor for him.

"I don't see myself doing the "Final Scratch thing" because there is a certain connection I feel with my records and CDs. I do bring a CD book everywhere I go, but I always have vinyl with me. I just like to look back when I'm playing and see it there. There is a certain comfort in it, and it's also what attracted me to the art. It reminds me of these long expeditions I would go on to look for vinyl, and I think some of these new DJs coming up will be cheated out of that certain kind of fun."

"I'd be a fool say that there's not a possibility that vinyl could become extinct, and even with myself, I bring less and less records. Even if they are my records that I transferred to CD, I am still using a lot of CDs. You also have to understand that for us guys that are traveling, the whole CD casing has been a blessing. And some of the clubs have shoddy decks that skip, and when they have 2 CD players, you really don't have to deal with that. It's always good to have that option. I will always bring a bag of records with me, but there are those rare occasions when I will use just CDs because some people don't take their set-up as serious as we do. So it's really good to have that back-up with a CD."

A DJ of his caliber must painstakingly choose, from a tidal wave of music, which tracks make it to the dance floor and which ones get left behind. Some are so good, they wind up on a mix CD somewhere, which begs the immortal question; "What do you look for in a song?"

"Honestly, it could be anything; the strings; the bass; but in the end, it's also musicianship that pulls me in. It's the substance, really, of the track that entices my spirit. There is something that I always say as far as records that I gravitate towards; those are the ones that when I'm listening to them, I can't help but dance to. I'm dancing without even realizing it. There is something that happens to me, and I'm sure it happens to others, that lets me to know it's for me. It's been the same blueprint for me even before I started DJ-ing. There are some people that try to gauge what the crowd might like. I ask, "Don't YOU feel it?" Don't forget about that part of it. As an artist, what we have to offer is our own personal taste which sets us apart. Sometimes you just have to let the chips fall where they may because sometimes the people might not connect with what you trying to say, you know what I mean? That's all part of being an artist. I consider myself and many of my peers "artists" because of the way they present their art and the way they live through their art. In a true organic sense, it's what appeals to them, as artists, which sets them apart. That is our challenge as artists to thread these songs together and create something. Maybe a record we like might not appeal to the crowd the way you hoped it would, so that might entail you putting something else with it to make it work. THAT is our challenge."

Marques Wyatt has met that challenge with flying colors.

Be sure to catch him on tour throughout the U.S.

May 29th - Horizons Tour Date - The Paramount, Santa Fe, NM (TBC)
May 30th - Mission Rock for PEACH, San Francisco, CA
June 4th - Detroit Bar for Bristol Sessions, Huntington Beach, CA
June 11th - Remedy @ DNA, San Francisco, CA
June 12th - Horizons Tour Date - Ohm, Portland, OR
June 15th - Knitting Factory for BPM, Los Angles, CA
June 17th - Horizons Tour Date - Zubar, Dallas TX
June 18th - Horizons Tour Date - Exit IN for Ritual, Nashville, TN
June 26th - Horizons Tour Date - Miami, FL (venue TBC)
July 1st - SoundBar, Chicago, IL
July 3rd - King King, Los Angeles, CA

 

 

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