After a few minutes with Mark Anthony (the DJ responsible for the crazy beats at the now famous ‘Black and Blue’ parties in Montreal), you know you are in the presence of the real deal. At the recent shoot with Mark for this issue of KA Magazine, we asked him to show us what he is like before a session. As you can see from these shots, he is definitely “in the zone”. KA Magazine Best of Canada 2010 DJ Mark Anthony, has been spinning in Montreal and around the world for more than 20 years now, and his signature “textured beats” and mastery of sound has helped to propel this DJ aficionado to the top of his game.
KA — What does being the best mean?
MA — Wow, that’s a question I don’t really give much thought to! When you’ve been working on your craft for so long, I guess you hope it becomes second nature. I love to play (DJ) in front of a receptive crowd that is totally into the music. Although, when I started, I never imagined that DJ’ing would be my career of choice. I’ve always taken it very seriously, putting in the necessary time to perfect my skills. Part of the work involves shopping everyday on the Internet (yes I BUY music! but that’s a whole other topic!) searching for new material to play. So I’m still doing my homework to stay current and keep fresh. One of my goals has always been to be a DJ who is not afraid to play a record because it is different than the status quo. I embrace new sounds and ideas, which I guess helps to keep a new perspective which keeps the ball rolling. Success is not random, it chooses those who persevere and never give up!
KA — How do you keep on your game for so many years?
MA — As I said earlier, I put in a lot of time when it comes to searching for new music so as to stay on top of my game. Besides the shopping, in my recording studio, I like to remix and edit a lot of the tracks I play, which gives me the opportunity to personalize each song and give them another dimension. Surrounding yourself with the right people is a big career booster as well. You can’t climb to the top without a helping hand! I am blessed to have a great partner who helps to guide me when needed. I know my weaknesses and I try to improve on them.
KA — Where is your favorite city to work?
MA — This is a question I am reluctant to answer simply because I haven’t played in every city on the planet but I do have favorites in the ones that I’ve DJ’d at so far. Montreal will always be one of my favorites because my roots are here and I have so many fond memories, such as the warehouse days, Playground, Stereo, the BBCM Black & Blue parties just to name a few. Montrealers are very open minded, cheery people who love to have a great time all the while discovering something new. I also very much enjoy playing in Paris, Mexico City and Atlanta- love the people; their joie de vivre and the energy and of course, let’s not forget NYC which never misses a beat!
KA — When you are traveling, what is it about Canada that makes you the most proud?
MA — For one, just how vast, beautiful and rich the landscape of this country truly is. When I’m traveling, I am most proud to be Canadian since we are viewed as a civilized, peaceful and giving nation that care. Canada is also a multi-cultural country, which helped shape what we are today. I like to think that we live in a progressive and liberal society.
When abroad and asked what my nationality is, people always have good things to say about Canada. I also love the fact that we have two official languages in our country; French & English which spices it all up. The standard of living in Canada is quite good as compared to many other developed countries in the world. I think this is especially true for Québec (except for the taxes we pay…), where housing and real estate is still affordable overall. Let’s not forget about all the knowledge and talent in the educational, medical, business, arts sectors, etc. that comes from here and is exported worldwide. It is good to be Canadian- Canada rocks!!!
KA — What has affected you the most in your life so far?
MA — I think the answer to that one would have to be raising my two young children; they are a couple of happy-go-lucky smart cookies that are always on the move. Besides, getting to raise my children as I see fit and seeing them develop (at an alarming rate!) is priceless. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am fortunate to have my office and studio in my home however, finding a balance between the creative, business, and raising my children can be quite the challenge at times. Needless to say, that for the past few years, I’ve had full days and sometimes full nights. Thank God the nightlife schedule has somewhat prepared me for this madness!
I’m grateful that my business partner is also my wife and the mother of our kids. Having someone share the same passion as yours is a blessing in disguise. Due to the workload that it all represents, we would probably not be able to get it all done or rarely see each other, if it weren’t so.
KA — You did the 64 Prince warehouse parties in Montreal when Prince Street and Old Montreal wasn’t even a destination, what do you think you can do now to be “new” and fresh?
MA — For the most part, the club scene in the late 80s and early 90s was saturated with commercial music and lacking a dance venue that we could call our own. So, we created these parties in warehouses to have a place to “get down” to the music we liked and cared so much about. These parties in question gave birth to the afterhours scene, as we know it today. So naturally, I am still creating new events such as my latest; F_cker which showcases the music I produce and play and which is an explicit exploration into sensuality and decadence that meets the dancefloor.
Furthermore, we’re starting a new weekly club night on Sundays at U.N. Nightclub that promises to feature an eclectic crowd of music lovers and aficionados set in a beautiful venue in historic and trendy Old Montreal- back to my roots!
One thing is for sure, is that I’m always looking around the corner to try and see what’s coming up and how I can take it to the next level. We have lots of projects and ideas that we are constantly looking into exploiting. Along with my two new priorities in life, the plan just seems to always expand!
KA — Who is Mark Anthony?
MA — I’m essentially an artist who is passionate about his craft and all that surrounds it. I have an equal love for the music as well as the nightlife. I’ve always wanted to create the ultimate night clubbing experience. Being a professional DJ, music producer, sound engineer and event producer permits me to create and work in the many facets of the industry that I live for.
I get to travel the world and discover the diverse architecture, design, cuisine and way of life of the various cultures that compose the beautiful world we are fortunate to live in. All of which certainly inspires me both in business and on a personal level.
I cherish our planet and can only trust that we will become better at giving it the respect and care it deserves. We all have to do our part no matter how little or insignificant it might seem.
All in all, I consider myself extremely lucky to be doing what I love for a living. It can get quite confusing when you wear many different hats but at the end of the day, all that is most important to me is under one roof!!!