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Respect the DJ Interview with THECAINMARKO

Amanda Giordano

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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

Respect the DJ Interview with Don OD

Amanda Giordano

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How did you get into DJing?

I got into DJing in the early 2000’s. The late 90’s and early 2000’s was the golden years of Nu Metal. I had taken note of several metal bands incorporating Turn Tables into their stage set up. One most notable to me was Limp Bizkit. I was already a huge fan of DJ Lethal 

(House of pain/Limp Bizkit). Being a huge fan of both hip hop and metal, it immediately peaked my interest in learning. 

What did you do to advance your skills/knowledge?

I studied the OGs. Everybody from Grandmaster Flash & Grand Wizzard Theodore to one of my favorite instrumentalists of all time, Madlib.


What did your first set up look like?

My first set up was crazy. If we are just talking DJ set up... it was crazy. If we are talking musician/ music producer set up over all- - it was insanity. I was a purist when it came to making music. If there was a specific sound I was looking for, it usually meant another piece of equipment. I was reluctant to enter the digital age. I had to work 2 jobs while going to school in order to pay for my equipment. My room was cluttered with 13 guitars, 2 basses, MPC, Electronic drums, turntables, wires, speakers, recording equipment and way too many synthesizers to name them all. 

I remember the day I threw my bed out to make room for more equipment. I slept under a table in my room or the couch in the living room for a long time. 

My original DJ set up consisted of a single Technics SL1200 audio out into a cheap mixer and that cheap mixer into my Gemeni CDM 3600. The Gemini did not have scratching capability, so all the scratching was done on the SL1200.


What does your current set up look like?

I wised up and adapted to the new times. 

My new set up is condensed which makes for easy transportation. I have a pioneer DDJ SX2 and I use my Mac book, with Serato software. 

How did you get your DJ/Artist name?

My original artist name was just OD. When I felt anything was over the top, in a bad way or great way- - I’d always say it’s O D! Every time I’d hear a banger whether it be best lyrics, a bass heavy beat or really any composition that was perfectly constructed, I’d always yell out that it’s OD! The name caught on but I felt it wouldn’t be best to stay with it for marketing purposes. 2 letters aren’t easiest to find in a search engine. I also didn’t want anybody to feel I was promoting drug use by using an acronym for overdosing. I later added Don to my name. Now they call me Don ØD (pronounced Don odd). I’m not into self proclaiming. If I wasn’t a leader or a boss of something- - I would have probably just found another name. 

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

I’d like to bring my own live setup to Burning Man and perform anything I want for as long as I want. I’d also be interested in performing my EDM sets at Ultra and Electric Zoo. 

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

I’d love to perform in Miami and Las Vegas because I know the EDM scene in both those cities is wild. I’d most love to DJ in Florence Italy- - honestly just because I miss Florence and I want to go back. 

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

I’d love to perform in Miami and Las Vegas because I know the EDM scene in both those cities is wild. I’d most love to DJ in Florence Italy- - honestly just because I miss Florence and I want to go back. 

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

I’d be a tour DJ for any artist who is most in tune with their crowed. One of the names that comes to mind is Denzel Curry. I think he’s killin it right now and I’d love to be a part of his tour. I feed off the energy of a crowd. It makes my performance more enjoyable. 

What is your goal when you play live?

My goal when I play live is to make a connection with the audience. And to entertain. Anybody can pick up turntables and learn to spin. Anybody can pick up a mic and try to rap. It’s the human connection and entertainment that makes for a superb show. I went to a side show act recently and realized something extraordinary. A side show act is one of the last pure performances in existence. The show is true with out any ulterior motive. The performer is up on stage to amuse and entertain the audience. The audience is there to be entertained. It’s such a simple concept that isn’t respected as often as most believe it to be. 

If you could be a tour DJ for any artist (dead or alive), who would it be?
I’d be a tour DJ for any artist who is most in tune with their crowed. One of the names that comes to mind is Denzel Curry. I think he’s killin it right now and I’d love to be a part of his tour. I feed off the energy of a crowd. It makes my performance more enjoyable. 

What is your goal when you play live?

My goal when I play live is to make a connection with the audience. And to entertain. Anybody can pick up turntables and learn to spin. Anybody can pick up a mic and try to rap. It’s the human connection and entertainment that makes for a superb show. I went to a side show act recently and realized something extraordinary. A side show act is one of the last pure performances in existence. The show is true with out any ulterior motive. The performer is up on stage to amuse and entertain the audience. The audience is there to be entertained. It’s such a simple concept that isn’t respected as often as most believe it to be. 

What's your go to song right now?

I’m grinding my teeth a bit while I answer this one. My go to song right now is “I Love It” By Kanye West & Lil Pump. I think it’s such a dumb song but it gets stuck in my head all the time. I suppose that’s the genius behind the making of this song. When I play it at shows, the crowd bumps and so do I. It’s definitely a guilty pleasure song.  

What is your dream as a DJ?

My dream as a DJ is to continue to reach a wider audience with more variety. I like to turn people on to lesser known artists and broaden their knowledge of dope music. As many artists create one dimensional music- - they can all too often build a one dimensional mind set in their fan base. There is so much music out there, so I always try to stir the pot when I perform. I love when people come up to me and ask me what song I just played. I also want to continue to teach my protégés the craft. 

I’m currently working with JAY$AW teaching him everything I know from the ground up. I have a few others lined up who are interested in learning how to DJ as well. 

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

Learn your scales and BPM’s. And don’t be afraid to break a thousand turntable needles until you get it right (metaphorically speaking). 

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

www.soundcloud.com/theycallmedonod

IG- @theycallmedonod

FB- Don OD

Twitter- @theycallmedonod


Noudle Respect the DJ Interview

Amanda Giordano

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How did you get into DJing?

I’ve always had a love for music since the age of 3 and started off learning the piano, singing, dancing and acting at Chiswick Saturday Music School, Sylvia Young Theatre School and The Brit School. From then I always had an interest in the way songs were structured and how from start to finish, you could feel so many different emotions. My dad was a DJ and my mum had always played records on his turntables in the house, mostly 80s Groove, Funk and Soul. In 2015 my dad found his Technics 1210s he’d had from the 1980s and so I started practicing on my parent’s vinyls and then eventually bought Traktor Scratch Pro 2.

What did you do to advance your skills/knowledge?

I practiced at every chance I could and if I didn’t have decks to practice on I’d watch loads of YouTube tutorials of how to better my skills. I’d even sit on the tube on the way to university, listening to music and tapping out rhythms on my legs, really feeling the song and trying to understand what songs could mix in best. The most effective way was where I’d record nearly every practice I did so I could listen back to how I could improve (this is still something I do now).


What did your first set up look like?

x2 Technics 1210s, Pioneer DJM 909 Mixer, Traktor Scratch Pro 2 and Laptop


What does your current set up look like?

x2 Pioneer Nexus 2000, Pioneer DJM 900 Mixer and USB’s

How did you get your DJ/Artist name?

I had a nickname at school called ’Noods’ and so when I recorded the first mix I’d put out, I played off that and first came up with ‘Noodle’. I changed the spelling to ‘Noudle’ a couple days later when I learned that ‘Nu’ translated to ‘ a new style’.


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

Glastonbury (UK), Dimensions Festival (Croatia) and Defected In The House (Worldwide)


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

New York, Tokyo and Toronto - The culture in all three cities are so varied that it would be interesting to see the type of crowds they all individually attract. It would be exciting to play alongside DJ’s from that city too, it’s the best way to discover new music.


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

Kalis Uchis - It would be insane to be a part of and DJ for her flamboyant, creative and quirky tours

What is your goal when you play live?

I’m enthusiastic when I DJ that my audience will connect with me and my set through a personal and unique experience. I want the groovers to feel a special bond between myself, them and the music.

What's your go to song right now?

Marian Hill - Down (Franky Rizardo Remix)


What is your dream as a DJ?

A world tour would be incredible! The idea of travelling the world, meeting fans and promoting my brand to new followers would be so inspiring. I’d imagine I would always feel motivated to build on my skills and create more ways for my shows to be an exceptionally special experience

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

If you truly have the dream to be a DJ you have to maintain patience and persistence not only when practicing your skills but also to build a following. Take the time to learn the core elements and always have the attitude to want to know more.

DJ CoolHand Respect The DJ Interview

Amanda Giordano

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How did you get into DJing? 

Over a decade ago, I was a promoter that needed a DJ. I was a high school student and I was putting together Hip-Hop parties called B.A.R.S. (Break. Art. Rap. Scratch.) back in Oakland. It was hard to find dope DJs I could afford and a local youth program was teaching lessons. It was just around when Serato was coming out, so I started by beat matching vinyl doubles (yes, kids you had to buy two of the same record) and worked up to more advance things. Shout out to DJ Daze, Phat Trick, and Aebldee for showing me the ropes!

What did you do to advance your skills/knowledge?

Practice, practice, practice and performing as often as I could. The advantage I had starting in high school meant I had the security to really take it as a hobby and advance my skills that way. Once I got Serato and didn’t need crates or trips to the radio station anymore, it was a wrap. Pro tip: use technology as a way to boost your creativity, not a crutch to be lazy. 

What did your first set up look like?

For $100 on Craigslist, I got a Staton Turntable, a Numark Turntable, and a Denon Mixer with the “How to DJ Right” book. From there I got a Serato box then a Vestax mixer then Technic 1200s (I ended up with 7 of those) and then eventually a Rane 57, and finally a 62 before I went from battle style vinyl DJing to club style CDJs.

What does your current set up look like?

2 CDJ 2000NXS2’s and a DJM900. Just USBs. No laptop.

How did you get your DJ/Artist name?

Because I was part of a youth program, they had an interview coming up to feature me and they deemed me DJ CoolHand based on the Paul Newman classic Cool Hand Luke. Much better than DJ Skywalker in my opinion.

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

Ultra, EDC, and a Do-Over Party.

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

Ibiza, Miami, and LA.


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

Beastie Boys, A-Trak, and Diplo.

What is your goal when you play live?

I’m there to rock the party. Create that undeniable energy. Get synced with my audience. Once you build trust with your party and you’re in tune with them, you can do no wrong. That’s when the magic happens. That’s when you’re in touch with a higher power. That’s when you can break records.


What's your go to song right now?

Body - Loud Luxury

What is your dream as a DJ?

Build on the legacy others have paved. Make the DJ the center of music. The DJ should cultivate talent, curate great music, and break records.

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

Don’t skip the fundamentals. I’m telling you, the ability to not rely on technology for everything will make you stand out and give you an edge over your competition.

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

Everything is @djcoolhand. I use Instagram the most, instagram.com/djcoolhand. My website is my main hub, djcoolhand.com