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Respect the DJ Interview with THECAINMARKO

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Respect the DJ Interview with THECAINMARKO

Amanda Giordano

thecainmarko headshot 1.jpg

Press Play on this exclusive mix by Cain Marko as you enjoy the interview

How did you get into DJing? 

Three main things/ happenings got me into DJing.  The first thing was my cousin Bones who suggested that we start DJing in high school.  We would always talk about it, saving up for equipment and learning but we never did it.  The second thing was East Village Radio.  East Village Radio was a tiny online radio station on 1st or 2nd ave in the village that would broadcast all their shows on their website but also archive everything as podcasts.  Back then you could get away with an all music podcast and not get shut down.  I used to listen to Mark Ronson's show Authentic Shit and hear the way he would effortlessly go back and forth from genre to genre, that show and really made me want to learn how to DJ so I could do the same thing.  Finally, I was unemployed at one point and answered a craigslist ad for a mobile DJing company called DJs at Work.  That was the first time I got paid to DJ and the first kind of DJ training and performing I've ever done.


What did you do to advance your skills/knowledge?

The two biggest things I did to improve my skills were going to Scratch Academy in NYC and listening to a lot of different DJ mixes.  Going to Scratch Academy was important to me because up until that point I was just DJing using my computer and a mixer and a cracked version of virtual DJ.  I went there with the express purpose of learning how to DJ using records and so that I would have a solid foundation.  Listening to different people's mixes opens me up to new music genres, new artists, and new ideas in how to blend music.  


What did your first set up look like?

The first things I ever DJed on were two CDs players and a Denon mixer for the DJ company.  I wasn't beat matching, just dropping everything on the one and using a giant booklet of CDs full of top 40s music and Spanish music.  The first set up I used myself was a Denon DN X120E3 mixer and my laptop using virtual DJ.  My friend Andre put me on to virtual DJ when I was about to try to spin on CDs.  I had already collected a massive library of songs on my laptop so I listened to him because it made sense and I didn't have time to create enough CDs for my first gig ( a New Year's Eve house party ).  After a few gigs doing that and deciding to go to Scratch Academy, I ended up buying a serato box and 2 1200's which is what I prefer.  

What does your current set up look like?

Right now all of my mixers are broken in some way so I'm primarily using a Pioneer SB2 DJ controller.  It's light portable and gets the job done, until I'm able to upgrade my laptop and get a new mixer.


How did you get your DJ/Artist name?

I took my name from the character Juggernaut from Marvel Comics.  He is one of my absolute favorite comic book characters; in particular he had an arch in the early 2000s when he went from being one the most well known villains to being a hero in three different comic books.  Now my specific name THECAINMARKO,  came from me realizing that there was a rock band and a couple other rappers named Cain Marko, so on the advice of my friend Soul Khan I made it THECAINMARKO so I'm the only person that comes up when you search.  


If you could DJ at any 3 events/festivals what would they be?

The first event is easy, Coachella.  I want the flashing lights and people going crazy on a huge stage.

The second event that immediately comes to mind is Afropunk.  I've been attending for close to a decade now and I've always wanted to touch the stage at an event full of so much positive POC energy.  I just feel like If I DJed there I would feel seen and validated.

The third event is more difficult for me to think of, but I will say at Burning Man in a random tent doing some weird marathon 6/8 hour set.  Just me and a group of people sweating out their problems in a desert searching for meaning ... wait I'm lying, it would be Hot 97 Summer Jam.  I'm from Jersey and I've been listening and going to this concert my whole life.  I'd love to represent NJ on that stage.

If you could DJ in any 3 cities what would they be?

London, Rio De Janerio, Ibiza.  London because apparently there are insane clubs there and I have a couple friends out there, Rio because I've always wanted to go to Brazil and if I'm over there DJing it would mean some of the violence will have died down in the country, and Ibiza because every huge DJ ends up doing a 4am-7am set there because they never stop partying.  Honorable mention to Detroit because I've never been and the rappers out there are just a different kind of animal and I need to see it up close and personal at a show in Detroit.

If you could be a tour DJ for any artist (dead or alive), who would it be?

My immediate answer to this is Outkast in the early 2000s because they are my favorite group and they were killing the game back then.  After thinking about it I realized that maybe a better answer is Ludacris then up until now because he has so many hits and so many fans and I know that when we get off stage the backstage would probably be so much fun.  Then I had a crazy thought and was like, why not Limp Bizkit.  Think about it, when they were hot, like on fire, the shows were insane.  The venues they played were giant, and they really didn't have beef with anyone so I'm sure their shows were just hours of great energy and heavy guitar riffs.  I thought about this question for a long time and I'm just going to go with Outkast.


What is your goal when you play live?

My goal when I play live is to make people dance and try to have everyone feel like I played a song just for them.  I try to make sure I play at least 4 different genres everytime I DJ so hopefully everyone can feel like they heard what they like.

What's your go to song right now?

It's weird my favorite song to play right now is Calvin Harris & Dua Lipa "One Kiss" because it's the perfect blend of house and pop and beyond it being a smash I just love the way it sounds.  My go to song right now is still Drake "In My Feelings".  It's at around 90 bpm which makes it flexible because I usually play with my pitch faders at 16%.  It can end a portion of a set and lead into a different genre or signal the beginning of a switch in the type of music I am playing.


What is your dream as a DJ?

My dream as a DJ is to be on multiple platforms weekly and to DJ festivals and conventions on the weekend.  So ideally making a couple podcasts per week, on a terrestrial station 4 days a week, and with my own satellite radio show on Sirius XM; while traveling on the weekends to do music festivals and bigger shows.   I also want people to associate me with a good time and knowing that if I'm DJing they are going to want to dance and they are going to sweat out their hair, tee shirt and scuff up their sneakers.

What is some advice you would give to someone with a dream to become a DJ?

Just do it.  Just start DJing until you find your voice and do it as much and wherever they will let you.  NEVER PAY TO PLAY anywhere and be aware of yourself worth.  The last thing I would say is when figure out your rate, don't accept anything less unless it's an opportunity that is possibly life changing or it's your dream to DJ there.

Where can people find you? (social media, website, etc)

Soundcloud.com/thecainmarko

Instagram & Twitter: @THECAINMARKO