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DJ Nu-Mark discusses his background, the influence of his mother, and the healing power of music. He shares his experiences growing up in Iran and the United States, as well as his love for Brazilian music. DJ Nu-Mark also talks about his early DJing days and the vibrant house parties he organized. The chapters cover themes of togetherness, cultural identity, and the impact of music on personal growth and healing. This part of the conversation covers DJ Nu-Mark's early DJing days, the importance of constant learning in music, the influence of community and togetherness, the significance of being in a crew, the role of confidence and comparison in performance, the formation of Jurassic 5, the decision to pursue independent releases, the contrast between confidence in abilities and confidence in the group, the success of 'Concrete Schoolyard', recognition in Europe before the US, and the importance of retaining publishing rights. In this conversation, DJ Nu-Mark discusses his surprising streaming success, his experiences digging for records in Europe, his influences from the East Coast, and the challenges of recording on an eight-track. He also talks about the importance of building a solo career and the decision to cut off outside production. He shares the journey of writing his book and the multi-purpose nature of the book. Finally, he reflects on his influence on DJing and production and the creation of Lesson Six.

Chapters

00:00 Introduction and Technical Difficulties

01:23 The Theme of Togetherness

03:16 The Scenic Route and Taking the Wrong Path

04:20 Persia and Iran

05:50 DJ Nu-Mark's Mother and Iranian Culture

08:06 DJ Nu-Mark's Mother's Independence

09:04 DJ Nu-Mark's Organized Record Collection

12:47 Dealing with Traumatic Experiences

15:06 The Healing Power of Music

17:45 DJ Nu-Mark's Drumming Background

18:18 House Parties and DJing

22:03 Charging at House Parties

24:18 Policing House Parties and Bunrush Productions

25:56 Early DJing Days

26:27 Constant Learning in Music

27:21 Influence of Community and Togetherness

28:13 The Importance of Being in a Crew

29:01 Confidence and Comparison

30:02 Collaborating with Other DJs

32:11 The Importance of Confidence in Performance

34:56 The Impact of Confidence on Stage Presence

36:09 The Formation of Jurassic 5

37:24 The Name Jurassic 5

38:48 The Decision to Pursue Independent Releases

40:10 Contrasting Confidence in Abilities and Confidence in the Group

44:22 The Success of 'Concrete Schoolyard'

47:02 Recognition in Europe before the US

48:35 Retaining Publishing Rights

49:33 Surprising Streaming Success

50:33 Digging in Europe

51:34 Influences from the East Coast

52:35 West Coast Influences

53:53 Recording on an Eight Track

54:41 Challenges in the Music Business

56:00 Working with Scott Storch

58:56 Finding Direction After J5

01:00:34 Building a Solo Career

01:03:12 Cutting Off Outside Production

01:04:49 The Journey to Writing a Book

01:07:53 The Multi-Purpose Book

01:11:41 Influence on DJing and Production

01:12:40 The Creation of Lesson Six

Transcript

Right, welcome back to once a DJ and the, welcome back to once a DJ. The guest we've got on today doesn't really need much introduction. He's one of the best DJs I've seen live. One half of the production duo of Jurassic Five. DJ Newmark, how you doing today?

DJ Nu-Mark (01:23.083)

Thank you for having me, Adam. How are you today?

Adam (01:25.623)

Yeah, really good, thank you. So we've got you on today to have a chat about your new book. Is it pronounced Amunnu? Brilliant, and it's quite an interesting one because it's a Persian cookbook, also memoir, travel guide, but it's really a celebration of a few different things. And something that I think is an overarching thing that I got from it is

DJ Nu-Mark (01:33.451)

Yeah, you got it.

Adam (01:55.527)

a theme of togetherness. So it seems kind of like music's something that brings together your family values are in there a lot. And then I think it made me think about your musical creation and that's all kind of a collective sort of thing, isn't it?

DJ Nu-Mark (02:16.846)

Yeah, I mean, there's a lot of things I took for granted growing up, you know, and it's funny, I was thinking about this yesterday. Yesterday was our Persian New Year, no ruz, and my mom came over, I cooked for her, you know, I used one of my recipes from the book, Koresh Badam-Jun, and she loved it, and she left, and I was just sitting there thinking, I'm like,

DJ Nu-Mark (02:46.286)

24 years prior, it would have been a very interesting path. Because she was like the first one to market that was like, hey, you need to do Middle Eastern beats and mixes, you know, like Jay-Z's big pimping. I told one of my boys this and he was laughing so hard. He's like, damn, your mom is that keyed in, bro? Like, I was like, yeah, my mom's pretty hip, you know. She's 80, but she looks like she's 60. So she's a character.

DJ Nu-Mark (03:16.226)

But yeah, like once she left yesterday, I just kind of sat and thought about it for a long time. I'm like, damn, did I take the wrong route? We all do that. Once you get to a certain age, you start doing that shit. But there's a lot of truth to what she said, because it's funny. I noticed like,

Adam (03:28.212)

I don't know

DJ Nu-Mark (03:43.454)

anybody who does something consistently or stays in a genre, you know, whether if I was like doing zodiac tracks and just consistently did something or consistently streamed, that kind of thing usually really resonates with people. And it resonates with you first, which is the most important part, you know, because you really start diving deep into a topic. But yeah, I just thought of that once you brought that up because.

Yeah, it is a memoir. It is some family value things going on. It is all connected through music, but it's funny how we just don't really listen to our parents because we're all just young and trying to explore the world, but she's such a funny little cookie because she's always right. Well, moms are always right is what they say. I guess that's the saying, but this one in particular, my mom is pretty funny. So yeah, anyway, I took the scenic route to your intro there, but it just...

Adam (04:20.635)

Hmm

Adam (04:37.913)

Yeah

DJ Nu-Mark (04:39.315)

I had this like thing last night I was tripping out on.

Adam (04:44.111)

So, speaking of your mum then, and speaking of Persia, also now known as Iran, my world political history, religious history is, knowledge is beyond bad. I'm too busy going, oh, they've sampled Ike Turner. That's the sort of things that piqued my interest. But...

I was having a little read about Persia when it became Iran so it was 1979 wasn't it that there was, was it kind of-

DJ Nu-Mark (05:17.914)

Yeah, and that I know is in that zone. Me too. I'm with you on poor history. And I can explain why from my Iranian side. I can explain why too, but sorry. Go ahead, finish what you were saying.

Adam (05:32.619)

Yeah, so it was just to say, so I think it was 1979, wasn't it, when there was kind of, was it like a military coup or an uprising? And that's when it became Iran, it changed leadership and by the sounds of things, it was quite a volatile time in the country. And in the book, you mentioned that you'd been, I think it's like six years earlier, so did you experience any of that at the time? Were you over there in 79 or anything?

DJ Nu-Mark (05:50.125)

Yes.

DJ Nu-Mark (06:00.542)

No, so I was born here in the States. My mother was born in Tehran. The only real backlash I got is when Iran had the American hostages. Have you ever seen the movie Argo?

Adam (06:20.067)

No, I've always meant to though. Yeah.

DJ Nu-Mark (06:21.834)

It's a damn good movie. A lot of embellishment, of course, you know how they do with movies, but, and exaggerations in the movie. But during that time, I remember I had a history teacher that was like, everybody comes in and they're gonna make a mobile, like a kind of like a cue card on, you know, attached to some sort of like art piece, you know, explaining your heritage. And I took the F.

because during that time in the States, it was like picket signs out, like kill Iran, you know, F Iran, there was like all that going on in the States and you gotta understand, I forgot what year that was exactly, but this is when Jimmy Carter was in office. And so I didn't tell any of my friends I was Iranian or my mother's side was Iranian. So I'm half Iranian, half Czech, and half Iranian, quarter Czech, quarter Polish. So...

I didn't tell the teacher that I was Iranian. I didn't tell anybody. And this was kind of at the advice from my family. So one of my cousins was being chased down the hallways in his high school from kids that were in their senior year that wanted to kill him because he looks way more Persian than I do. So yeah, it was a very volatile time.

Adam (07:28.826)

Yeah.

Adam (07:49.595)

Yeah, and your mum, in the book you kind of mentioned that your mum rejected sort of Persian culture. Was that to do with kind of it being oppressive towards women or something, or was it something totally different?

DJ Nu-Mark (08:06.622)

Um, it's not so much that she rejected the culture. She had enough. So growing up there, having very strict, um, teachers in school, um, Muslim parents. Um, and, um, to know my mom, you would just immediately go, oh yeah, she's, she's not about any of this sheet. My mom just wants her freedom. She doesn't want any man telling her what to do. Uh,

Adam (08:34.316)

Mm.

DJ Nu-Mark (08:35.218)

She supported both my sister and myself for many years working at the head of Kaiser Hospital here in Los Angeles, the biggest branch on Sunset Boulevard. And she became the head of the MRI department, x-ray department, after her divorce. So she's really like incredibly independent, but in the most nurturing way. I don't know how to explain that, but she gave me the kind of freedom I needed.

Adam (08:50.84)

Yeah.

DJ Nu-Mark (09:04.426)

as an artist. It worked really well for me. Because I, you know, she was the type of mom that was like, all right, you know, go out and play with your friends. And like, I wouldn't hear from her for till like eight o'clock, 9pm at night. That's the kind of mom I had. Her parents were polar opposite, you know. They would call her shellac day, which is like sloppy. She would just leave things like anywhere. She doesn't cook. She doesn't clean.

Adam (09:19.587)

Yeah.

DJ Nu-Mark (09:34.35)

She doesn't do all the things that my grandmother, Shamsi, did when she was alive, God rest her soul. And so I think, you know, you see this a lot with families, right? Like where the parent is strict and the kid is loose or vice versa, right? In this, you know, it keeps getting passed down and down and I'm more like uptight than my mom. Like I'm like, everything has to be in its right place, labeled.

Adam (09:51.524)

Yeah.

Adam (09:57.199)

Thanks for watching!

DJ Nu-Mark (10:02.662)

organize, you know, my record collection has to be alphabetized. Everything's like neat and tidy. My mom, nah, she's like, let the chips fall where they may. So that's kind of to give you an overall background of how my mother, uh, raised me and how she is.

Adam (10:07.259)

Hehehe

Adam (10:18.579)

Yeah, just while you mention your record collection then, how big are we talking of an alphabetised record collection?

DJ Nu-Mark (10:26.698)

Um, 35,000 at the moment in that zone in that zone. Yeah. Well, a lot of them are clunkers because I always tell the story. I mean, I bought 20,000 records when I was 15 or 16 with my best friend, Omani, that there was a guy we used to go, um, uh, yeah, like a flea market, you know, this old jazz dude, he had all these records and we were finding like incredible bongo band and funky drummer and like all the like, you know,

Adam (10:30.234)

Wow.

Adam (10:54.584)

Yeah.

DJ Nu-Mark (10:55.282)

ABC breaks, the beginnings, the concrete. And I jokingly said to the guy, he had to be like in his mid to late seventies. He was an older gentleman and he had a good jazz collection too. I was, I jokingly said, hey, how much for the whole lot, man, you know? And he knew we were kids and he said $500 and me and Amani were already like doing house parties. And like, you know, I had a job at Carvel Ice Cream and we were doing like,

Adam (11:20.893)

Mmm.

DJ Nu-Mark (11:24.95)

basically two parties every weekend. So we were earning some money or, you know, we're bringing home some money, you know, and we had cars because the mobile DJ business was actually doing well for us. We were doing a lot of house parties. And I looked at Amani, I was like, $500 for 20,000 records. I'm like, let's go. A lot of shitty records in that collection. Don't get it twisted. But that first J5 production was all off of that collection. For the most part, like,

85 to 90 percent of that collection so It paid off. There's some dope breaks in there some good samples good loops good play out songs funk boogie Yeah

Adam (12:04.519)

Yeah, so we'll get onto it a bit later, just how good you kind of return on the investment must have been. So just sticking on your early years then, because I've got a load of notes in more or less chronological order. You share a lot of pretty intense stuff in this book, and the way that you write about it sounds like you're at peace with a lot of it. And the things that I would probably class as

DJ Nu-Mark (12:09.444)

BAAA

Adam (12:33.947)

traumatic for most people. Is that something where you've just kind of naturally made peace with things or have you had to kind of work through anything?

DJ Nu-Mark (12:47.286)

It's been a gradual process. I didn't have to do, I didn't feel like I needed therapy for it. I think that the village raised me. I had some really strong, wonderful friends, a lot most that I name in the book. And I have very thick skin, again pointing back to my mother, just because I've seen how hard she worked.

Adam (12:54.821)

Mm.

Adam (13:05.006)

Yeah.

DJ Nu-Mark (13:15.618)

to come to this country at the age of 15, no complaints, never bitch or griped about anything. And this is after an abusive relationship that I mentioned in the book that I am a part of as well. I think her shiny example just kind of made me toughen up and go, what the hell do you have to complain about? You're in the States, bro. Like you have...

Adam (13:25.483)

Yeah.

DJ Nu-Mark (13:44.738)

music that's saving you. You have great friends, you're able to play football on the weekends with your homies, you know, you can do a lot, you know, and you have way more opportunities than the family before you, you know. So I think constantly seeing my mom working overtime while I was like taking care of my little sister after school, it was just a natural example. I don't know. I don't know how else to explain it.

I did, you know, there was times where I felt sorry for myself when I was younger, when there was a lot of abuse going on, but I snapped out of that. Once I turned about 12 or 13, um, and I saw how hard my mom was working just to put food on the table, then, then it all kind of made sense.

Adam (14:19.204)

Hmm.

Adam (14:32.731)

I think it takes a lot of strength of character that, because I know anytime, sort of if I'm not feeling great about a certain thing, I know rationally there's a lot of people have it worse and that type of thing, but it doesn't mean I can transfer that into an emotional balance. So it's kind of like a superpower, I think, that you've been able to deal with things in that way.

DJ Nu-Mark (14:59.926)

It's music, man. It's really music. There's so many times I...

There's so many times I was feeling down or happy or whatever the feeling, but I couldn't express it verbally or explain it to friends. But once I put a needle on a record, I can just zone out. It's almost a type of religion in a way, man. It's a very spiritual...

Adam (15:28.123)

Hmm

DJ Nu-Mark (15:33.186)

beautiful gift that we have. Music really heals everybody. It's the one medium that brings multicultural people together under one roof. It's just, that was the biggest gift ever. I mean, aside from my mother, I mean, that really kind of put things in perspective. I mean, when my father passed two years ago, I kept telling my girl, I can't cry. I don't know why I can't get this out. And I'm feeling heavy. My heart is heavy, but I can't get it out.

and I went to his house to pick up like maybe he had like maybe 40 jazz records. He was a big jazz buff. Didn't carry a lot of records. He had a lot of CDs and stuff but he had a good handful of records and I remember when he bought those records too. I remember when he was like oh I'm going out let's go record shopping and it wasn't until I put those records on that I remembered him playing them that I was able to release it and cry like you know so the music

Adam (16:11.088)

Mm.

Adam (16:28.521)

Yeah.

DJ Nu-Mark (16:32.618)

my spirit, my emotions, you know. I think that worked the other way around for me to lift my spirit, you know, like Brazilian music always lifts my spirit. It doesn't matter what mood I'm in. If I'm sad, if I'm happy, it always keeps lifting me up even more. So there's certain genres that do that.

Adam (16:36.535)

Amazing.

Adam (16:49.995)

Yeah, have you got any specific areas of Brazilian? Cause like the Brazilian boogie stuff, I just can't get enough of. And then probably like the 70s pop as well. So good.

DJ Nu-Mark (17:00.554)

Yeah, I mean, all of it, man. I mean, anything with a samba beat, anything with that boom, cut, anything with that rhythm, the double kick on the oney-anda coming into the one, you know, boom, dun, boom, that rhythm for whatever reason speaks to the drummer in me. And then anything from, you know, Stan Guest, it doesn't matter, like anything with that rhythm, I'm there, I'm like, let's go.

Adam (17:07.837)

Hmm

Adam (17:27.287)

Yeah, it's kind of hard not to move to that sort of beat.

DJ Nu-Mark (17:31.871)

It's a tough rhythm to play too as a drummer. It's not easy. Like your brain is going in four different directions. It's very different from Western funk, pop, and rock, you know? So.

Adam (17:35.106)

Hmm.

Adam (17:42.423)

Yeah, because you drummed when you were a teenager, didn't you?

DJ Nu-Mark (17:45.634)

Yeah, yeah. That's again, to kind of go to your earlier question, that's also how I got a lot of my aggression out.

Adam (17:53.432)

Right.

DJ Nu-Mark (17:54.622)

You know, I was, I say, I said music, I guess maybe that's too vague. Playing drums, you will get some aggression out. After about 20, 30 minutes of intensity or you know, paradiddles or heavy rudiments, you're winded. And if your mind isn't winded, your forearms are, or you know, your dexterity gets kind of, you're sweating, you know. It's hard to sweat like that as like a kid. When you get older, you sweat like crazy because you.

Adam (17:58.339)

Hmm

Yeah.

Adam (18:14.101)

I'm out.

Adam (18:18.148)

Yeah.

DJ Nu-Mark (18:22.942)

retain fat and all this stuff. But as like a 10 year old, to sweat like that, that means you're really exerting a lot of energy, you know? And I had it.

Adam (18:30.016)

Yeah.

So going on to the house parties then, when you'd start DJing, are the house parties as good as on sort of American TV? Cause maybe it's just that I'm not a very exciting person, but like I've never been to any house parties that look half as kind of popping as the ones on American TV.

DJ Nu-Mark (18:51.83)

For me, they were better. Yeah, for me, they were, they were, I guess you're referring to the movie House Party, I guess. I guess, would that be the biggest?

Adam (19:00.995)

That's probably the biggest, but there's loads of examples in American media.

DJ Nu-Mark (19:05.27)

They were so good, dude. They were so good. They were so fucking good. Like, well, on the East Coast, they had the block parties, right? So I'm jealous of that. I didn't get to experience the block parties, you know? I'd go to Jersey every year and would see a maybe like once in a blue moon because I have cousins that live in Jersey and I'd go there from like the age of like, let's see, what was that? Like nine to like 17, 18 years old. I'd go every summer to Jersey.

Adam (19:13.487)

Hmm.

DJ Nu-Mark (19:32.734)

and we make our way into the city. But that, I mean, that wasn't enough. But back to your question, the house parties were the shit. They were incredible. Everybody was dancing. There was always like a big tub of what they called jungle juice, which is like basically, I guess, like a sangria, I guess, you know, a lot of fruit in a lot of fruit juice. Nothing good for you, of course. And a lot of alcohol, the main ingredient. And then the end of the night was the best, man.

Adam (19:49.228)

Yeah.

DJ Nu-Mark (20:02.39)

because we would always end with a slow jam or a series of slow jams. We would mix, what is that? Like 80 BPM, 70 BPM, 60 BPM. That's how you become a great DJ by the way, just on a side note, mixing really slow BPMs where there's no hits or there's no notes. Like if you can blend those, you can blend any tempo, so you're waiting, boom, cut.

Adam (20:24.107)

Right.

DJ Nu-Mark (20:29.454)

You do, if you can blend those, you can blend anything. So we got really good at that. And everybody would hook up on the dance floor. People would go home, meet a new woman or a new girl at that time, because we were like 15, 16. It was great. It was innocent. It was incredible. And there was a lot of love songs at the end of the night. You know, there's like Guy was making a lot. Keith Sweat was making a lot. So, but during the hype of the event, there was a lot. I mean, hip hop was just.

Adam (20:30.725)

Hmm.

Adam (20:52.364)

Yeah.

DJ Nu-Mark (20:58.342)

one joint after another. If it wasn't Cool G Rap, then there's Bell Biv DeVoe. There was a lot of like, there was a lot of like New Jack Swing and a lot of integration happening in my high school years of R&B and hip hop. And then of course we had the seventies before that, that you just can't miss. You know, you could, everybody knew the James Brown breaks. Everybody appreciated it. There was a lot of appreciation for a lot of genres during the time I went to high school.

you know, there was the influence of New Wave, there was the appreciation of rock and Led Zeppelin, of course, Funk and Soul, and the James Brown era, Sly Stone, all that. And then we had the birth of hip hop, you know, not the birth of hip hop, but the expansion of hip hop, coming into fruition. And so there was so many records we could pull from. It was like, we were like kids in a candy store. It was just...

Adam (21:46.736)

Yeah.

DJ Nu-Mark (21:54.73)

I won't say it's easy because we had like seven or eight crates with us at all times, but it was just so fruitful. That's really the word, you know?

Adam (22:03.031)

Yeah, I can't imagine having that sort of musical freedom DJing to say like a high school or college-aged crowd in Britain at that time. Or sorry, when I was that age, which would have been late 90s. So yeah, I guess it's.

DJ Nu-Mark (22:16.821)

Mm. Right.

DJ Nu-Mark (22:22.166)

Did you guys have house event house parties at that time? What did you guys have? Or was it only clubs? Did you guys have to wait till you're of age to go to clubs?

Adam (22:30.187)

No, you could get into clubs a bit early. I was just a pothead that just sat around in my mate's shed, too scared to go out into the world, so I missed everything good. Oh, big time, big time. Yeah. Oh, man. Just on a slight aside, going back to what you were saying about the, and this is a pretty nerdy question.

DJ Nu-Mark (22:36.995)

Oh.

You got in your head, huh? Ha ha ha, it's an easy place to go. Ha ha

Adam (22:58.787)

When you were saying about the slow jabs, it just made me think of, is it on the Variety Arts Center mix? Very specific question. There's a bit where you're doing the, do, oh yeah, yeah. Are you, because you're speeding them up, aren't you, and slowing them down?

DJ Nu-Mark (23:06.027)

Oh, yeah.

Hard to noise. Yeah.

Art of Noise.

DJ Nu-Mark (23:17.862)

Yeah, I haven't heard the mix in ages, but I do remember the Art of Noise mix because it's such a beautiful written song. My God, those guys are geniuses. Like, good God, I don't know how they came up with half that shit. But they utilized the shit out of that Sinclair viewer, I'll tell you that much. They killed that. Um, yeah.

Adam (23:25.935)

Yeah.

Adam (23:38.891)

Yeah, because yeah, just when you were describing it, it just made me think of that, because that's a moment in the mix that really kind of draws you in because of how slow everything gets.

DJ Nu-Mark (23:47.774)

Yeah.

Adam (23:50.083)

Shout out playing Knight Rider on that mix as well. I was listening back to it the other day and I was like, Jesus, the drums on this. Ridiculous.

DJ Nu-Mark (23:52.555)

Hehehehe

DJ Nu-Mark (23:57.814)

Yeah, Knight Rider. Yeah, yeah. You're bringing me back to that mix. I haven't heard that in such a long time.

Adam (24:03.359)

Yeah, yeah, it's good. I'd recommend it. So at the house parties, were you always charging on the door then?

DJ Nu-Mark (24:18.342)

Yeah, but it was a fun, it was a, there's like, I have a hung up poster here on my first house party, $2 at the door. And no fights, that was like the big thing that you would write on the flyer. And the flyers were like a size of a standard sheet of paper. Huh?

Adam (24:26.864)

Mmm.

Adam (24:34.787)

How easy was that to police then? Did you have people there that were really handy that if anything got out of action, they'd sort it out?

DJ Nu-Mark (24:42.17)

Well, at our parties, we had our boy Ray, which was this huge brother. He played football. He was a few years older than us, so he was he would take care of the door. And nobody was starting shit with Ray. I mean, you know, he was part of a crew called the 40 ounce posse. And, you know, so the name fit the description, the name fit the crew, you know. But no, people weren't people weren't fucking with Ray. People weren't fucking with our crew period. We rolled pretty deep.

Adam (24:57.643)

Nice.

DJ Nu-Mark (25:11.038)

We had a lot of, there was like five of us like that DJed and some that danced, but everybody could, you know take care of his, had to.

Adam (25:18.207)

Yeah, so this was Bunrush Productions then. And so how did it work in terms of gear then? Did you all bring a bit of the gear or did someone... Can I?

DJ Nu-Mark (25:22.102)

Yeah.

DJ Nu-Mark (25:28.842)

Boy, did we. I got suckered into it, man. Because my boy, Obama, who passed away, God rest his soul, man. He's the one that's, I had just met the guys in Bumrush in high school. My best friend, Chris, who I played drums with previously in junior high when we were younger, was like, oh, I got to introduce you to these guys. They DJ, you know, they already do house parties. I guess they did one or two house parties already. We were in our first year of high school.

Adam (25:56.323)

Hmm.

DJ Nu-Mark (25:57.866)

And one of the guys was like, man, we need your speakers, man. We need your speakers. I had some popping speakers for a kid in his bedroom. Brought the speakers out. First show comes along. They kick a hole in my speakers. They fucked them up. I guess Ray missed that one. But Ray sorted me out at the end of the night. He said, oh, New has to fix his speakers. He gets a little extra. So he made a lot of money at the door. All the kids from high school came. It was good.

Adam (26:06.522)

Yeah.

DJ Nu-Mark (26:27.558)

learn learning entrepreneurship like early on like that we didn't we weren't thinking like that we were DJing on a fucking ironing table man we didn't know shit we even have crates we even have fucking crates we're stacking the records up like the worst way to stack them and then pulling them out from the side like it was just nonsense but it was the best party ever like the best party ever it was like so much fucking fun

Adam (26:35.851)

Yeah. But you do-

Adam (26:44.404)

Ugh.

Adam (26:51.439)

But you do learn so much from these sorts of gigs, don't you? And it's like cutting your teeth with everything. It's like you're learning almost like.

DJ Nu-Mark (26:56.031)

Oh, come on.

DJ Nu-Mark (26:59.906)

I just got back from Australia, I'm still learning. I saw shit this last tour I've never seen before and I was DJing. I was like, how am I still learning crazy, technical, weird shit at this age? But I mean, I've always said I'm in music because I'm constantly learning. So I mean, it's an endless maze that you're just kind of meandering through.

Adam (27:16.441)

Yeah.

Adam (27:21.807)

Beginner's mind, isn't it, they call it in Zen Buddhism.

DJ Nu-Mark (27:23.37)

Yeah.

Adam (27:28.992)

So then, something I was thinking about with the way that you had this sort of collective and you started doing everything collectively then, I know I've touched on this earlier, but do you think it was that the way that you write about the Persian community and about the relationship with your uncles and things, there's so much sort of intimacy and togetherness there and like with the, was it the dinners that you'd go out to have and stuff like that, it seemed really about that kind of community, that union.

DJ Nu-Mark (27:57.365)

Mm-hmm.

Adam (28:02.927)

Do you think that's what kind of helped you to want that in music and creativity?

DJ Nu-Mark (28:13.63)

as far as being like in a crew? Ah, man, I never thought about that, bro. It's a damn good question. It might've played a part. Okay, well for me, I knew I couldn't do it by myself. Like if it wasn't for Obama, the brother that was like, hey, we need your speakers, I'd be still probably in my bedroom, in my head, going, I'm not good enough, I need to practice my chirp.

Adam (28:15.448)

Yeah.

DJ Nu-Mark (28:41.602)

practice my doubles or flashing or whatever the hell. So I'm that kind of guy that's, you know, constantly boxing in the mirror and I, I've never put comparison first. I'm the horse blinder guy. I'm like this and like, I need to get better. I need, I know what.

Adam (28:41.975)

Hmm

Adam (29:01.361)

Mmm

DJ Nu-Mark (29:01.99)

I know what dope sounds like from listening to Cash Money and fucking Bambada's record collection and you know all the people before me, Jazzy Jeff, Mix Master Ice of course he was my biggest influence. He's really the one I was like I gotta do it. This guy's just too dope. So you know it could have been the family ties. My my.

Adam (29:19.748)

Yeah.

DJ Nu-Mark (29:29.934)

strong dark Persian uncles that were like, you know, you can be funny and strong at the same time, you know, which is, which is kind of how I was brought up. You know, hey, have a sense of humor, man. Don't, don't take yourself too seriously, but same time, like stand on your own square, you know, work at your craft. Don't let anybody, you know, knock you down. Don't let anybody, you know, push you around that kind of thing. So,

Adam (29:38.458)

Yeah.

Adam (29:56.587)

Yeah, that's...

DJ Nu-Mark (29:57.11)

You might be onto something about the crew thing though. I haven't really thought about that.

Adam (30:02.743)

Well, that's interesting what you're saying about the confidence. Cause I used to find when I used to DJ more, I like to have that person to be confident kind of for me. There was, there was one guy I used to DJ with quite a bit over a short space of time, I met him through work and he was just so confident that I always kind of felt maybe safe is even the word, DJing with him and

DJ Nu-Mark (30:15.411)

Mm-hmm.

DJ Nu-Mark (30:23.063)

Mm.

DJ Nu-Mark (30:28.984)

Mmm.

Adam (30:31.691)

I mean we lost him not that long after I started DJing with him unfortunately but yeah, it's life isn't it? But I've had other people over the years, I'll kind of hang a little bit of my confidence on people. Was Cook Chemist, or sorry, is, well, was Cook Chemist really confident than when you guys first met?

DJ Nu-Mark (30:36.435)

Oh wow, sorry to hear that.

DJ Nu-Mark (30:57.166)

Hmm. Well, two things. I'm still struggling with my confidence, by the way. It's still a thing like I'll see a video of some random Instagram posts from somebody who was in the audience. And I'm like, damn, I'm not even looking up at the audience. I'm not engaging enough or I'm not smiling or whatever. Like I see my brother who I love dearly, my brother Scratch Bastard, who's always smiling. And I'm always like,

Adam (31:03.055)

Hmm

Adam (31:26.368)

Yeah.

DJ Nu-Mark (31:27.062)

How do you smile this whole time while you're cutting up and like blending and like, how do you, I ask him this as a legitimate question. I'm very envious how he does it, you know, cause I'm in concentration or I don't know, thinking about something. I don't know what the hell goes on in my mind. So the confidence thing is still a very much a work in progress. I'd say Cut was more confident than I was when I first met him. Yeah.

Adam (31:51.371)

Yeah, it's yeah with the with the kind of looking down and things. I'm always interested with people on here around kind of are they an introvert or an extrovert? Are they the performance or is the music the performance? It's a really tricky thing because as DJs, it is such a solitary thing that you're doing, but it's also not.

DJ Nu-Mark (32:05.566)

Yeah.

DJ Nu-Mark (32:11.75)

It's, it goes a long, it goes a long way though when you, um...

when you're that confident guy. It goes, I tell you what, a real quick side note, I was judging the Red Bull three-style in Poland with Jazzy Jeff, Craze, Scratch Bassett. And at the end of the contest, there was like a boat party. It was snowing out, but we were going down a river and it was snowing out.

And so all the DJs would bring like a small set of records. We're doing like a vinyl set. 45s, whatever you want to bring. And there was one guy who's also very much responsible for this book too, Ernesto. I don't know how to say his last name right. Char-hoo, Char-hoo-dory, Char-hoo, fuck. I'm fucking up his last name. He's gonna kill me when he sees this too, if he sees it. But that's my brother. I love him dearly. And he is a fucking character.

Adam (32:49.913)

Yeah.

DJ Nu-Mark (33:15.434)

He comes in with his fro and Ernesto doesn't blend, he doesn't scratch, doesn't cut. He plays the illest Ethiopian and Middle Eastern shit you've ever heard on 45. And so it was a very technical week. We were judging technical DJs. I mean, yeah, that party's about like how you can rock a party, but don't get it twisted. All these dudes could cut, scratch, do all this stuff. I mean, Craze is DJing with us, you know.

you know, as a judge, you know, and the, and the judges do sets as well. So at the end of the week, a bunch of DJs played their set on, you know, seven inches or whatever. And then Ernesto comes on and doesn't even use the fader and just plops the needle down on the record. Ba-boom! Like, you know, makes this huge sound through the woofers and plays the craziest fucking Ethiopian joint and then it starts to fade out.

Adam (34:02.615)

Mmm.

DJ Nu-Mark (34:11.678)

And all the DJs are like, who in the fuck is this guy? And he's like, okay, motherfuckers, you have your phones up, you didn't respond to it the first time, so we're gonna play it again. He lifts it up, no fucking fader, drops it down at the beginning of the record again and plays it again, and they loved him from that point on. So that kind of confidence, that kind of character, man, I put my money on that shit. There's some people who just have it. They walk in the room and your eyes are just.

Adam (34:17.424)

I'm a fucker!

DJ Nu-Mark (34:41.058)

fucking glued to them. Like if like flavor, flavor walks in the room, you glued to them. You're like, wow, he's shining. Like there's certain people that have that charisma, that, that character, that, that glow, that confidence, man.

Adam (34:44.258)

Yeah.

Adam (34:56.135)

Yeah, I mean, I saw Craze at a thing at the Amsterdam Electronic Music Festival. And we were just up in a hotel that's in a crane or something really weird like that. And Craze was on there. It's the first time I've seen him in person, but he's another one where just the confidence, but it's like a smiley confidence. Like it just...

DJ Nu-Mark (35:09.45)

Mm.

DJ Nu-Mark (35:17.542)

Oh yeah. Oh yeah, yeah. He has a look on his face like, I know something you don't. That's my brother. I get along with Craze so well. We always end up drinking with each other. It's weird. But yeah, that's my boy. That's my boy. He's incredibly skilled and deserves to be where he's at.

Adam (35:24.676)

Yeah.

Adam (35:30.86)

Yeah.

Adam (35:36.959)

I feel like he's possibly the person that people would be most terrified of if they said right I'm coming out of retirement and going to battle again.

DJ Nu-Mark (35:44.954)

Yeah, I mean, battling in general is stressful as shit. Like, no matter who you go up, I mean, how do you prep for a battle? I mean, I remember battling when I was 18, 17. I mean, it's a lot of work. I mean, you got to be prepared for something you don't know that's around the corner. That's why I like MMA and boxing so much. I'm like, oh, it's mano y mano. Like, it's do or die. Like, how do you prep for that? Like, how many weeks of training? What's your diet? Like,

Adam (35:48.909)

Mmm.

Adam (36:05.346)

Yeah.

Adam (36:09.103)

Hmm

DJ Nu-Mark (36:10.546)

i have a lot of respect for anybody who battles or anybody boxes that anyone i want sport on my pan next level shit

Adam (36:17.711)

But I would imagine as well for you with battling, being on the West Coast when you were battling, you were probably around, you know, the beat junkies, the scratch pickles, people like that.

DJ Nu-Mark (36:30.426)

I didn't meet them until the 90s. I didn't meet the Beach. And you know what's funny? The Beach Junkies used to be called the Bumrush Brothers and we were Bumrush Productions, but no clue. They were like south of us and we were in the San Fernando Valley. So like never heard of them, but yeah. It was just a different era though. But DJs were working hard to be dope DJs back then too. Like as far as cutting and scratching and doing tricks. And like.

Adam (36:33.749)

Oh.

DJ Nu-Mark (36:57.398)

the real technical shit, the grass roots stuff.

Adam (37:00.607)

Yeah. So on to J5 then. I now think I know why it's Jurassic 5 when there's six of you. So there was the two crews that formed, wasn't there? Apologies if I'm kind of giving too many book spoilers. But you weren't in the other crew, were you? You were just kind of around, is that right?

DJ Nu-Mark (37:09.902)

Hmm

DJ Nu-Mark (37:24.246)

I was in neither crew. It was two groups formed as one plus me. But the name came about from Charlie's girl at the time, Denise. She said, oh, you guys think you're the Fantastic Five. You're more like the Jurassic Five. So it was just a conversation and Charlie was like, whoa, that's kind of dope. And so we just ran with it. Yeah.

Adam (37:29.344)

Yeah.

Adam (37:51.858)

Ah.

DJ Nu-Mark (37:51.874)

The first release that we did, Unified Revolution was a yellow label and it had a song called Unified Revolution, New Marks Bonus Beats and then cuts Lesson 4. Shortly after that, on the East Coast, there's a label called Blunt Records that wanted to put the group out, but only to a single deal. And I was like, nah, fuck that. And everybody else was like, nah, we're doing it. We're gonna get a deal. And I was like,

fuck a single deal, we're worth more than that. And they all went and did the deal and I said, okay. And I went like that, but we were still a group, we were still performing, but I didn't sign that contract because I knew, I knew the gusto of the group. I just stood my ground and I was like, man, you guys are making a mistake, this is not it. Like we're not a novelty group, which is how they labeled us. We have more to us than that.

Adam (38:46.447)

Hmm.

DJ Nu-Mark (38:48.362)

It's just that we've only made this song and cut has made lesson four and I made this bonus beat thing But we're just starting like give us I was like there's time for us to grow. We just need to Soil the crops we need to put in the work get our hands dirty, but it was um, I understood why they did it. I'm not saying it like they shouldn't have but uh So that happened press photos were taken. I wasn't in them for the blunt release And then at that time

Adam (39:02.749)

Yeah

DJ Nu-Mark (39:17.158)

I was working at Correct Records and I had signed Kanye West for his first production on vinyl. And I got this newsletter that said, from Blunt saying that Jurassic Five was a novelty group and I was like, hey man, we need to get in the studio and make some shit. And Cut was already about let's do some independent shit. So all the stars aligned at that point.

Adam (39:23.487)

Yeah, that was insane.

Adam (39:43.563)

Yeah, because that story, I assumed that you stepping away from it was why it was Jurassic Five, you see. Right, okay.

DJ Nu-Mark (39:51.19)

No, no, I was there on the front porch of Cut's house when Charlie was like, yo, we got to do this. We've got to call ourselves Jurassic five. No, it wasn't, it wasn't when I left that it became J five at all. But I did leave when they did this. So I didn't leave, but I didn't sign the solo deal, the, the single. Yeah.

Adam (40:04.719)

Got it.

Adam (40:10.207)

Yeah, so what's really interesting about that is...

in your own abilities you're quite unconfident, yet the amount of confidence you had in the group as a collective was that big that you kind of stepped away from the collective and were just like, I think we're better than this. That's like a really interesting contrast.

DJ Nu-Mark (40:36.03)

I had to plead my case too though, because when I was like, hey,

Adam (40:38.296)

Yeah.

DJ Nu-Mark (40:41.634)

basically, hey, I want to be a part of this. I had to tell them at Correct Records. I'm like, yo, I want to be a part of this. I want to do this, but let's do it. Do it like, you know, let's do an independent release of some sort. Let's, I want to be in this. I want to, this, I know this is it, but it ain't at Blunt Records. You know, that's, that was my stance at that time early on. And thank God, Cut and I thought so much the same about a trillion things, but we were also very

Adam (41:02.991)

Yeah.

DJ Nu-Mark (41:11.286)

like influence from the big independent explosion coming out of the East Coast at the time, like Fondlum Records, East Flatbush Project, all these little 12 inches were coming out and DJs were playing them and we were like, hey, they're playing them in every club, but they're not signed to any major label. So there's something there. We could stand to make a proper profit and have a healthy living at this, and put out the music that we like first and foremost. That was like really our point.

Adam (41:29.444)

Hmm.

So something else I was wondering about then around the inception of the group was how did it work to DJs coming together in one group?

Adam (42:03.767)

When I was more aspirational as a DJ, I was, and this kind of happens in different bits of my life, I guess, I was quite kind of insecure, and I would have really struggled working with another DJ. I've never been any good at collaborating with people on anything. Whether it's insecurity, whether it's introversion, I do not know. But was it an easy kind of fit together, or did it take a bit of work to get you processing your chemistry?

DJ Nu-Mark (42:20.302)

Mm.

DJ Nu-Mark (42:33.93)

Well, I think we both knew that there would be work put in. But cut and I always had a natural chemistry. There was I didn't have to think about it, which is always really nice when you work with somebody I didn't have to let go.

Oh shit, what is he going to think when I bring up this idea? No, with Cut it was the opposite. He came from the same school as me, is like, hey, let's throw a bunch of stupid ideas up against the wall and see what sticks. Or not stupid, let's just throw a bunch of ideas up, you know, and see what's the best idea for the project, song, mix, album, EP, whatever the fuck it is. So Cut is a purist in that way. We both kind of have that Rick Rubin philosophy, where we're like,

Art first. Fuck the people. The people will come if the shit is dope. That's it. A lot of people we've collaborated with or have bumped into do not have that philosophy. They have a commerce philosophy. How do I survive? How do I eat next week? Philosophy, which is completely understandable, but that's commerce mentality. And we wanted to put out dope shit. And we had a lot of dope shit to exhibit.

Adam (43:20.463)

Yeah.

Adam (43:23.971)

And they did, didn't they?

DJ Nu-Mark (43:48.354)

not just from our record collections, but from our minds. And, you know, Cut went to school for art. I didn't, I was doing a backup plan. Here I am talking about art. I was doing a backup plan to be an X-ray tech because my mom was like, you need a fallback plan, you know? But the moment I realized, hey, I need to drop out and put all my eggs in one basket, everything clicked, you know? And then I really started to understand the importance of the do or die in art.

Adam (43:54.701)

Right.

Adam (44:00.411)

Thanks for watching!

Adam (44:03.948)

Yeah.

DJ Nu-Mark (44:17.75)

You know, you gotta be on the tightrope. Otherwise, you ain't doing it.

Adam (44:22.599)

Yeah. On that first album was Concrete Schoolyard. I mean, my perception is that would have been the kind of song that certainly broke you out over here. Was it the same in America?

DJ Nu-Mark (44:35.686)

No, no, the US ignored J5 all the way up until the UK recognized us. It wasn't until the UK recognized us that the US gave us a chance.

Adam (44:48.643)

But you sold 150,000 didn't you of the first EP? Was that mainly Europe?

DJ Nu-Mark (44:52.53)

in that zone, in that zone. That was collectively worldwide. Yeah.

Adam (44:56.686)

Yeah.

Still pretty good though.

DJ Nu-Mark (45:01.106)

Yeah. Hey, I'm not complaining, man. That's pretty good, though. I'm not complaining. I'm just saying, you know, like, look, you got to understand. I was shopping a demo with a guy named Brother Soul before I met the group. Unified, excuse me, Rebels of Rhythm, which was soup, Shawnee Mack and Akil Shawnee Mack passed away. God rest his soul. They were shopping for deals.

Adam (45:08.009)

Yeah, yeah, I'd be happy with that.

DJ Nu-Mark (45:29.334)

Charlie Tuna and Mark Sevin were shopping for deals, and it wasn't until we all came together that it clicked. So there's a chemical composition there that made it come into fruition. So, you know, no qualms made on this side. You know, we caught lightning in a bottle, but sometimes your own, well, a lot of times your own backyard takes you for granted. They see you, oh, those guys are on a flyer again. Those are the local.

Adam (45:36.293)

Hmm.

DJ Nu-Mark (45:56.874)

hip hop dudes, but that's a local DJ, those are local MCs. So it, you know, and it was, I'm so thankful that I grew up in LA because it's the hardest place to move a crowd. LA and New York are hard places to move a crowd, man. As a DJ, as a performer, woo, you gotta work overtime. And if you can move those crowds, you can pretty much perform anywhere, but.

Adam (46:20.447)

Yeah, House Shoes was saying, his episode's gonna come out soon. And House Shoes was saying the same when I asked him about when people started making moves in Detroit, he said it was the same thing there that they were just the hip hop guys. Mm.

DJ Nu-Mark (46:32.214)

Mm-hmm. Yeah, not an easy market. Detroit isn't an easy market either. I remember the first time we played in Detroit, it was kind of quiet. I mean, it wasn't like we blew it. I mean, we had just played everywhere, and then we got to Detroit, and I was like, oh, okay, they want that real, real. And I felt the group tighten up on stage. Like, I remember that moment in Detroit at St. Andrew's Hall, we had to go, okay, let's get the routines a little tighter, and then they loosened up. But no, they're about their music.

Adam (47:02.467)

Yeah. Did you, when the, when the EP started getting some heat then, did you come to Europe quite quickly and was it a lot of festival gigs?

DJ Nu-Mark (47:02.992)

That's a music city.

DJ Nu-Mark (47:15.927)

Yeah, yeah, we were smashing it at that point. Once the EP did its thing, it was like NME was covering us and all, I forget all the magazines out there. It's been a while, but I mean, the phone didn't stop ringing. It just, it was just one tour after another and another. And then we were touring like a rock band would tour like three months at a time.

Adam (47:24.346)

Yeah.

Adam (47:36.803)

Yeah, and I guess there was that people under the stairs Ugly-duckling, I'm guessing, were kind of the same thing. It was a lot of popularity and attention over here. Kind of a bit of a, almost like a bit of a movement, I guess. Did you guys all kind of know each other in the scene at the time?

DJ Nu-Mark (47:47.718)

Mm.

DJ Nu-Mark (47:56.054)

Uh, ugly duckling. We, yeah, we, we definitely know those guys. Yeah. Rodney and all those guys. Um, and of course, Fess and people on the stairs. Yeah. All good dudes.

Adam (48:04.707)

Yeah.

And then on the EP then, you retained the publishing as well, didn't you? So did that work out quite well? Like I think I can remember that concrete school yard over here for being...

DJ Nu-Mark (48:15.)

All good.

DJ Nu-Mark (48:27.032)

Yeah.

Adam (48:35.651)

being used on TV a bit, not as much as what's golden. But I mean, like keeping the publishing's the big thing that artists generally get advised, isn't it?

DJ Nu-Mark (48:38.894)

Mm-hmm.

DJ Nu-Mark (48:44.978)

Yeah. I mean, we retained our publishing on our entire catalog.

Adam (48:50.295)

Wow. Was that a hard thing to negotiate with?

DJ Nu-Mark (48:52.118)

But the thing is the samples get in the way. So you have to put that in perspective. But for, well, the way I'm seeing it, I get way more requests for What's Golden than any other song from J5. As far as syncs go, as far as television, motion picture, that kind of thing, it's What's Golden by a Long Shot.

Adam (48:55.788)

Yeah.

Adam (49:14.963)

Yeah, because I remember, I'm sure it used to be on things like MTV Cribs and stuff like that. So quite kind of mainstream programs at the time. And that was that was in the era when like Neptune's were just everywhere. But you were kind of you had your place with that audience. That's a pretty impressive, impressive feat, really.

DJ Nu-Mark (49:20.434)

Yeah.

DJ Nu-Mark (49:26.378)

Yeah, yeah.

DJ Nu-Mark (49:33.662)

And the weirdest one, and I mentioned it in the book, which I couldn't fucking believe, was the biggest stream song by us on Pandora was Canto de Asana. I went to the, which is our last album, you know, this is after Cut left the group, and I was just making a cover song, which I love covers, as you know. I was like, I was blown away. I guess it hit a lot of different...

Adam (49:45.093)

Hmm.

DJ Nu-Mark (50:01.298)

music types, you know, but that blew me away. I couldn't, I thought they were going to say like what's gold and concrete something, J.U. But yeah, that was weird.

Adam (50:10.135)

Yeah, when I was researching, I was looking at the KPM sample for What's Golden. I would not have guessed in a million years that was a KPM tune. Like, it's just so tough.

DJ Nu-Mark (50:19.958)

Mm-hmm. All from our tours in the UK. That was, that's a product of us touring off of the EP, me finding that record and going, I think I can do something with this.

Adam (50:25.197)

Yeah.

Adam (50:33.559)

So how was it like going around Europe, just digging with, you know, with your partner in crime?

DJ Nu-Mark (50:37.43)

The best. That was such fruitful days. And then one of the tours we had DJ Format as our fucking tour manager, forget it. We were smashing it, man. Like we were coming, we were finding so many fucking breaks and then there was a whole thing of like Format going, you guys don't know this? And we're like, no, this is, that's some UK shit, man. We don't know this record, we're from the States. And he just starts laughing. He's like, oh, here, here's a copy or.

Adam (50:47.339)

Yeah.

DJ Nu-Mark (51:07.422)

You know, vice versa. You don't know this record. No, I've heard about it, mate. But, you know, so international digging was the best in the nineties. I imagine the guys before us in the eighties and seventies, much, I had a fucking field day, my God, but, um, in the nineties, it was still fruitful. And it was like, people didn't recognize us yet and try to charge us more at the front desk at the cashier. It was great. It was so much fun.

Adam (51:12.108)

Yeah.

Adam (51:34.183)

Yeah, well, I think the creators, Julian, certainly from the creators, I had Si on here.

DJ Nu-Mark (51:38.742)

forget it julian smashed it and forget it that guy has deep crates

Adam (51:44.019)

Yeah, he... He's a big fan of you. Yeah, there's almost like a bit of mystery there. He was the person that brought a lot of the KPM stuff over to New York, I think, wasn't he? Speaking of New York then, listening back to the first couple of... Well, the first EP and the first album, if I'm kind of listening to that and I'm trying to identify the influences producer-wise, for me, it's a lot more East Coast.

DJ Nu-Mark (51:54.147)

Mm. Oh.

Adam (52:13.751)

It's like Diamond D, large professor, I guess to an extent the Beat Nuts, I know that you had Juju produced, didn't you, Fear? Who were the chief, in terms of production, who were the chief influences on the West Coast?

DJ Nu-Mark (52:15.702)

Mm-hmm.

DJ Nu-Mark (52:35.11)

Uh, West Coast? I mean, I think, well, I can only speak for me personally. For me, I was, you know, DJ wise, my West Coast influence was DJ Aladdin. You know, uh, from the, from the cutting side of things, you know? Um, but my production style, I was way more intrigued with the East Coast and what they were doing with loops and those dirty fucking baselines. I mean, it was unmatched.

Adam (52:50.735)

Yeah.

DJ Nu-Mark (53:02.13)

I like the way he sampled drums. I've always been a huge fan of Dre since day one, since early, since Wrecking Crew. And his ability to mix things so clean and punchy, I could never get it the way he did, but we were also trying to mix on an eight track at Cutts House. So there was that. And it wasn't until many years later, I realized how fucking incredible he was as an engineer.

Adam (53:02.17)

Yeah.

DJ Nu-Mark (53:32.498)

Aside from that, yeah, I mean, I'm a huge large Professor fan. That's why he was on my first album. I'm a huge Pete Rock fan. Of course, later Dilla. But yeah, I mean, all my early influences were really from the East Coast. That sound resonated with me.

Adam (53:35.854)

Just.

Adam (53:40.28)

Yeah.

Adam (53:53.219)

So just going back to something you've just said then, how much of the J5 stuff did you do on an eight track?

DJ Nu-Mark (54:00.79)

the whole EP.

Adam (54:02.811)

Wow.

DJ Nu-Mark (54:05.322)

and a portion I think of quality control the song quality control and I think some of the songs from the quality control album cut hat on that a track

Adam (54:17.999)

me. You just assume, I suppose it's with the independent isn't it, you just assume with what 4 MCs and the beats that you'd be on something a lot more substantial than that.

DJ Nu-Mark (54:32.415)

We didn't have substantial money.

Adam (54:35.007)

Yeah, not until after you retained all the publishing.

DJ Nu-Mark (54:36.619)

I'm going to go.

DJ Nu-Mark (54:41.727)

publishing comes a lot later, man. You got to wait in the mail for them joints. And, you know, people say, you know, oh, the way to make music, the way to make money in the music businesses, you know, the publishing and the syncs and all. Yeah, the syncs got to come. You know, they got to know what they want. And what they want is you. That's not a guarantee. You know, especially if you're an underground group from the West Coast that's like on the same label as

Adam (54:45.779)

Yeah.

DJ Nu-Mark (55:07.454)

50 cent Dre Eminem. You know, I mean, they're not looking at you like that, bro. So like our as far as J5 was concerned, we had a cult following. We'll follow you longevity. And so do hit records and so do hit records. I'm not taking anything away from that. You know, one good hit record and you mean you're off to the races. But yeah, I mean. I enjoy the path that we took or that I took.

Adam (55:18.797)

Yeah, that must have been... Yeah, it must have been re-

Adam (55:39.637)

Yeah, because you do touch on that time on Interscope or that era in the book, but you had that one guy that was kind of riding for you, didn't you? It must have still been strange seeing the level of attention and focus on Dre's Extended Camp while you guys were there kind of fighting for everything that you had.

DJ Nu-Mark (55:57.683)

Mm-hmm.

Yeah, it rightfully so all of it makes sense time always tells it They had every reason to have their attention on dre m and m You know at 50 like that Makes complete sense. Those are classic timeless fucking artists You know

Adam (56:04.969)

Mm.

Adam (56:15.727)

Yeah.

Adam (56:19.691)

So one link across the two then would be Scott Storch. How did you find him to work with?

DJ Nu-Mark (56:23.418)

Hmm.

DJ Nu-Mark (56:28.026)

I personally, for me it wasn't a, for me it wasn't a true collaboration. It didn't make sense to me. But the group was also in tatters. Cut had left the group. The MCs were very, very much pushing for a long time since the EP that they wanna work with outside producers, no problem. And so this album was that album. Let's get as many outside producers as possible.

especially with the advancement of cut leaving. And for me personally, the Scott Storch sessions felt like he just had some extra beats laying around, maybe this will work, but it wasn't like he was there with his drum machine and his keyboard going, what do you guys think about this? Like, what about this phrasing? What about like, which is what I thought we were kind of gonna go there to do or maybe he plays something that was more along the lines of us meets him, like a collaboration.

Adam (57:00.748)

Yeah.

Adam (57:17.005)

Yeah.

DJ Nu-Mark (57:28.674)

And you got to understand that both myself, Cut, the group, had a lot of collaborations up until that point. So I knew, I think, day two when we were waiting for him to come to the studio that I was like, I don't think anything's going to come out of this. That's going to be popping. But he plays some fucking dope-ass shit from a...

Adam (57:28.812)

Yeah.

DJ Nu-Mark (57:48.798)

You play one dope ass beat for Paris Hilton. You played a dope ass beat for Lil Kim that came out that put your lighters up. That was the first time I heard that in that studio. It was knocking. But for J5, it just, I don't know, maybe he had other projects. Maybe he just wasn't a fit. Maybe he didn't understand us. Or maybe it just was the luck of the draw. But yeah.

Adam (58:12.919)

Yeah, could be many things, couldn't it? It seemed like the one that was the most surprising sort of collaboration, I guess because of the level of commercial hit he'd had on the stuff that he'd done with Dre and that sort of crew.

DJ Nu-Mark (58:27.058)

Yeah, but he could have easily turned out a fucking knocker for us very easily. Very easily. Like he would have did it in his sleep.

Adam (58:31.725)

Yeah.

Adam (58:36.603)

Hmm. So, when the group disbanded, if that's the best way of putting it, did you feel kind of out in the wilderness? Were you then like, right? I know, because Blendcrafters came out around that time, didn't it?

DJ Nu-Mark (58:56.394)

Uh, blend crafters came out, uh, at the tail end of, uh, power numbers. Yeah. No, I was still in the middle. That was the first thing I did outside of the group, really, you know, aside from like hands on and shit like that, you know, like mixes or whatever, but that's like nothing, um, but I'm sorry. What was your question about? Um, did I feel lost in the wilderness? Yes. I was, I was completely disheartened. Had no clue what to do. Phone was not ringing.

Adam (59:01.003)

Right. Okay, so you'd already kind of gone out.

Yeah.

DJ Nu-Mark (59:26.234)

I hadn't done any solo projects or anything notable outside of the group that people were talking about that were like, oh, we got to get him, you know, we got to get him to produce this or we got to get him to DJ this. So I gravitated to the one thing I did best and that was my toy set that I had started doing with the group on stage. Once Cut left the group, I had these two toys called Music Blocks.

that I used for the DJ solo portion of the set and I expanded on that and it just took off. And I had to learn to be kind of a front man or to be in the spotlight instead of like hiding behind my hat in the back and you know, not being on the mic and all that, you know, which I never wanted to be that person. I always just wanted to be the guy that says, here's the baton, go, run, get to the finish line, you know. I have a lot of ideas. I'm an idea guy all day long. Like I can't get to my ideas.

Adam (01:00:03.997)

Hmm

DJ Nu-Mark (01:00:22.422)

but I don't want to necessarily execute them. I want to execute them with people. You know, that's how I would like kind of best sum up my persona as an artist.

Adam (01:00:25.443)

Yeah.

Adam (01:00:34.811)

Did you find doing those sorts of gigs on your own?

Adam (01:00:41.439)

like a lot more exhausting, fatiguing than doing them with a group.

DJ Nu-Mark (01:00:46.322)

Yeah, I was mentally exhausted. I was physically exhausted from carrying that. The toys are a lot of cases. You think, oh, toys, small plastic things, but they always break. You're always repairing them. You have to have proper cases from them. It was a lot to lug around, a lot of travel. But I wasn't complaining because I was like, man, I'm making a living at this. It was like six years of steady touring off of that toy set. And I was like, shit. Like.

That's what gave me my confidence. Back to your original question, that's what gave me my confidence. Being with the group gave me a certain amount of confidence, but I was always in the back. So like, I can always hide behind them. They were my wall of dope emcees that I can count on. You know? Not with this. This was like every move counts, every split second counts, and it was do or die.

Adam (01:01:26.628)

Yeah.

Adam (01:01:41.179)

Did you then kind of build up more of that network of DJs then as well at that time? Because you know, because you've got a few different DJs contributing in the book. You've got like Gaslamp Killer and people like that.

DJ Nu-Mark (01:01:56.782)

I think it's just for me being around for so long. I don't know. Like I said, I have my blinders on, man. I was just like, I gotta continue some way. I didn't expect any of this. Like, you know, I guess a wise man would know everything that goes up comes down, but I really thought J5 had a hit record in them. I really did. I know now to this day, they got a hit record in them. It was just time and patience and...

being more experimental. And so when the group broke up, I was like, oh shit, I mean, I literally was there until the like wheels fell off. I was the last one standing like, oh snap. Like, so the network of people, MCs, DJs, whoever entertainers just kind of came along with me just slowly chugging along kind of taking the, I guess the DJ premier approach just slow and steady wins the race. Just

Adam (01:02:36.972)

Yeah.

DJ Nu-Mark (01:02:54.83)

constantly putting out something, working at your craft, don't worry about the outcome, just try to put out quality shit. That was it.

Adam (01:03:03.307)

Yeah. So were you doing quite a lot aside from your personal sort of albums, were you doing quite a bit of outside production as well then?

DJ Nu-Mark (01:03:12.442)

Not that much. No, I actually decided to cut that off. I actually decided to cut off remixes and outside production like 2018, 2017 around that time, shortly after the group broke up, after we did our like three year reunion tour or whatever. I was like, I'm not doing remixes unless I get a piece of the publishing. There's no more budgets. What am I doing? Like I have shit to do before I die. I want to put out certain things before I die.

Adam (01:03:31.428)

Yeah.

Adam (01:03:38.127)

Hmm.

DJ Nu-Mark (01:03:41.802)

That was, I had to have that conversation with myself where I was just real with what was going on going on in my head and what I, what my goals were. Um, so when you talk about outside influences, you got to get very real with yourself. You have to be very grounded. Um, yeah, I wasn't shopping beats. I shot for a short amount of time and I was like, this is a waste of my time. I could be putting out my own project, bringing in MCs or singers, vocalists,

guitarists, piano players that I've been a fan of. I want to bring them into my world because I love them. I'll put paper in their pocket, I'll retain publishing and I'll in the end get to a project that I want to put out before I kick the bucket. That's really my logic. And I wanted to build my own ecosystem like I did with J5. I want to build my own like, I want to reach out to people one-on-one like I'm doing with my book. Like I want to be able to talk.

Adam (01:04:27.916)

Yeah.

DJ Nu-Mark (01:04:41.183)

directly to my people.

Adam (01:04:43.903)

Yeah. And when did the book come around as an idea then?

DJ Nu-Mark (01:04:49.682)

Well, it's been brewing for 24 years. Like I said, like, you know, when my mom heard Big Pimpin' 24 years ago, it was like, you need to make Middle Eastern beats and mixes like this. But the last three years I buckled down and decided to kind of put together all the pieces for it. Ernesto was a big force. He was like, you got to finish this project, Markey. He's the only guy who calls me Markey. Him and my uncles. Markey, you got to finish this project. So I was like, OK, well, maybe I can, you know.

put my best recipes in a, it started from my mix. That's where the whole thing started from. This DJ mix that goes from 1969 to 2024, right? But I'm like, nobody gives a shit about mixes anymore. It's a sad state of affairs these days. So I was like, well, what can I do to, you know, help bring this to life? And so I was like, well, there's a handful of recipes that I like. So maybe I'll make like a coffee table book. I'm like, so it started there. And then I was like, well, maybe I can get like the homies to

Adam (01:05:25.54)

Right.

DJ Nu-Mark (01:05:46.402)

tell me about their favorite Middle Eastern restaurant. So then I did a travel guide. And then I was like, well, maybe I should add a flexi vinyl in the back. And so I embedded that in the back. And then I was like, well, I'm always posting funny shit on Instagram. I do post like DJ shit and production stuff, but I'm always like joking around because I love, love comedians. It's like my second love, like after music. But I was like, maybe it's time to kind of get real.

and talk about myself in a serious manner, like some of the pitfalls, maybe some of the people reading this can get something out of it, from the music side or from my upbringing of abuse or being scared to get out in the world or facing adversity and accepting failure, all the things that you go through as a human being, really. And so, yeah, that's really the whole kind of...

Manifestation of Amunou.

Adam (01:06:48.363)

Yeah, I mean, I can't wait to see the physical of it. As I say, I think it's really open and it's written in a really kind of friendly way. And yeah, there's a lot of good stuff in there. I think that the design on it's beautiful. Cause I think with Persia, even the script, that the whole scripture or whatever, I don't know the word for it, it's just beautiful.

DJ Nu-Mark (01:07:09.56)

Thank you.

DJ Nu-Mark (01:07:12.876)

Yeah.

DJ Nu-Mark (01:07:16.662)

Yeah, far see the calligraphy far see is beautiful. Yeah.

Adam (01:07:19.967)

Yeah, and you think about the fabrics and the textures and the art and everything. And yeah, and something else that's really nice with the book is that the food photography is actual photography of actual food, which is actually edible, rather than in a lot of cookbooks.

DJ Nu-Mark (01:07:25.246)

Yeah, there's a lot there.

DJ Nu-Mark (01:07:38.943)

I'm glad you think so, man, because I was doubting myself, bro. I'm no chef. I'm no chef, just so, you know, people who are checking this out. I'm no chef. I'm just a guy bringing you into his world. That's it. Yeah.

Adam (01:07:42.7)

Yass

Adam (01:07:53.015)

I'm not a chef yet, at the weekend I cook the chicken thighs in the walnut, I made the cocktails with the sumac and the sugar around the glass. My kitchen's never been so messy. I'm a pretty lazy cook.

DJ Nu-Mark (01:07:57.738)

Hehehe

DJ Nu-Mark (01:08:01.73)

Now there you go, yay!

DJ Nu-Mark (01:08:07.462)

Oh shit, damn. That one will get you pretty tipsy, the Caspian chiller. That one will get you tipsy.

Adam (01:08:15.295)

Yeah, I felt pretty raw the next day, I'll be honest. But it was nice and I think with the book, it's kind of a celebration of different things that bring you together. I know I said that earlier on. And it's like food is such an important thing and smell. Someone I know is.

DJ Nu-Mark (01:08:18.751)

Yeah.

Adam (01:08:41.559)

reads a lot about kind of left brain and right brain activity and all that sort of thing. And he was telling me the other day that good smells will actually increase your right brain activity. All your sort of creative, yeah, your creative and sort of holistic processing, I guess, rather than the analytical and logical, yeah. I think he was saying that if...

DJ Nu-Mark (01:08:52.223)

Mmm, really

DJ Nu-Mark (01:09:03.658)

There's a page in the book where I show like all our main ingredients like sumac and saffron and lemon and dried mint and all this stuff. I was trying to make that a scratch and sniff and I was astonished that I couldn't find a scratch and sniff scent for saffron. I mean I guess it makes sense. I'm not saying it out loud but I'm like damn I would think like 2024 they would have something other than

Adam (01:09:26.775)

Mm.

DJ Nu-Mark (01:09:30.286)

Lemon and bubblegum and you know the normal shit so that page was supposed to be a scratch and sniff page

Adam (01:09:36.799)

Right, I love it though, I love that it's got all these different kind of things to it, it's like so multi-purpose and I think it's a really nice item for collectors as well because I think you've kind of got to be a little bit more...

DJ Nu-Mark (01:09:44.482)

Thank you, man.

Adam (01:09:54.024)

considered about sort of packaging and presentation and things like that. I mean, the alchemist does it a lot with his records as well, doesn't he? He's got those ones that are like sandwiches. Yeah.

DJ Nu-Mark (01:09:57.504)

Yeah.

Yeah, he has a wonderful ecosystem. Yeah, his ecosystem is great. That's, I think, where artists should be headed towards. Just the major labels are gone, man. I mean, they're about to be. And for what we're trying to do, speaking directly to the people, it's the way to go.

Adam (01:10:18.719)

Yeah, yeah. So where's best for people to pick up the book?

DJ Nu-Mark (01:10:24.55)

They can go straight to my website DJ new mark calm and it's NU hyphen Mar K And everything's on my Instagram. I'm very active on my Instagram and Facebook for that matter But I'm constantly posting the links and if you just go to my bio on Instagram And you don't feel like going to my website it'll all be there If you're in the LA area March 31st, we're doing a big release For the book launch and

Russell Peters will be there kind of asking me questions about the book. We'll have performances by Habib Beetz and Gaslamp, myself, of course. And the book will be there. And an exclusive poster will be there of all the rare Middle Eastern records on one poster. So a lot going on. And kebabs on site and drinks on site. Yeah, it's going to be a good one.

Adam (01:11:13.147)

Amazing. Yeah, we'll put some links in the socials as well. One more question before we go. The last thing that's on my notes, I think we've been pretty thorough there. So I really appreciate you taking all this time. And it's hard when someone like yourself in the group have had such a massive influence on my reason for getting into DJing.

DJ Nu-Mark (01:11:18.389)

Solid.

DJ Nu-Mark (01:11:30.124)

No problem.

Adam (01:11:41.727)

I first got a turn take, like I heard you guys, I started trying to make beats before I knew anything about sampling, just doing everything in the box, and then I was like, right, I want scratching on this. Boom, I'll buy a turntable. Da da da. Heard product placement and, sorry, brain freezing, then some other mixing, and that's like, right, I better get a second turntable. And then it kind of goes on from there, so yourself and Cook Chemist and the group, massive, massive influence on me, so.

DJ Nu-Mark (01:11:51.939)

Hmm.

DJ Nu-Mark (01:12:00.246)

Uh huh.

Adam (01:12:10.655)

you know, huge thanks for that. And so another slightly anorak-y question is around lesson six, something that's really cool in there and you don't get that much of, I wouldn't say, in hip hop is the swapping between half time, double time, and six, eight swung sort of time signatures. If anyone doesn't know the tune, it really takes you on a rhythmic journey. It's on the first.

DJ Nu-Mark (01:12:12.631)

Wonderful to hear.

DJ Nu-Mark (01:12:19.004)

Mm.

DJ Nu-Mark (01:12:30.83)

Mm.

Mm-hmm.

Adam (01:12:40.051)

EP called Lesson 6 and yeah, so you go between the half time, the double time and the six eight. Was it like, did you kind of almost have an agenda to do something that did that or did it just, you brought the samples and it just felt right?

DJ Nu-Mark (01:12:40.865)

Yep.

DJ Nu-Mark (01:12:55.642)

this is a cut creation, you know? So that's cut. But the one thing I did from that record collection that I told you about, from the guy that I bought 20,000 records for $500, there was one record in there by Sapo, this record Sapo. And I played it for Cut when we were making the EP and Cut was like, hey, why are you holding out on me? I need this for lesson six. And so...

Adam (01:12:57.944)

Right.

DJ Nu-Mark (01:13:23.402)

there was that record and then in the interludes between all the songs of the J5 EP, quality control and disc mastering, record pressing is important, that guy talking like that is also from that collection. So that all kind of both fit in line with where the EP was going, how nerdy Cut and I were and how...

Everything was shaping up about record production. And then of course, Lesson Six, which is all about being a DJ and going through. We were meant to meet basically is the moral of the story. My record collection and his record collection were meant to meet.

Adam (01:14:02.523)

amazing. Maybe I'll meet them one day. Who knows? Right, I'll let you get off, Mark. Thanks so much for your time today. It's been fantastic to catch up and best luck with everything with the book. We'll do what we can on the socials to get it out there to people.

DJ Nu-Mark (01:14:05.574)

Hahaha

DJ Nu-Mark (01:14:09.606)

Word up, man. Pleasure's mine.

DJ Nu-Mark (01:14:19.018)

I appreciate you, Adam. Thank you so much for having me, man.