If you’re up on your game with the NYC party scene, then you’ve probably heard the name Jesse Marco at one place or another – Goldbar on a Sunday night perhaps, or maybe a LES loft party stocked with hip city kids all home from college for summer. Or perhaps you’ve heard Mark Ronson praise the young wonder for his innate talent and keen taste in music (and if you haven’t, then there’s your clue to keep reading). In the past year or so we’ve seen his name spanning more territory more often, from the left coast, to Sweden, France and the UK (quite a difference from a typical 22-year-old’s agenda). We recently got a chance to check in with DJ Jesse Marco and see what he’s been up to and what he’s been listening to. Read on to see what he had to say.
CP: You started out at a pretty young age, getting into the DJ scene in New York at about 15 or 16. Tell us how you went from sneaking into clubs to watch Mark Ronson and DJ AM spin to where you are today.
JM: Well the short version is that I was carrying a couple other DJ's records when I was about 16. I worked at the Scratch DJ Academy, which is where most of these DJs worked as teachers and coordinators. I was basically doing that and DJing at shitty Lower East Side clubs for no money, and practicing my ass off. At one point, a close friend of mine introduced me to Rich Kleinman and I began interning at Allido Records for Mark Ronson. It just grew from there. I met Adam through the same person actually, and I would always open for him when he came to New York. We became pretty close and he asked me to get down with his management team. Obviously a lot of things happened in between then, but besides all the fuzz from the "cooler than thou" parties, that’s the story. It really just grew from there to the point where now I’m barely ever home and I’m having residencies in different states and overseas.
CP: How would you describe your sound to someone who’s never heard it before?
JM: It's a little bit of everything, I'd say. There's definitely a strong emphasis on blending different genres. There’s a lot of hip-hop, rock ‘n roll, and dance influences that go into my DJ sets.
CP: What sets you apart from the other DJs out there?
JM: That’s really for the listeners to decide. For me, I just really enjoy what I do and take a lot of pride in it and I think that shows. Creativity always helps.
CP: You’ve said in the past that Mark and Adam (DJ AM) have been huge influences of yours. What is the most important lesson or piece of advice you’ve gotten from them, or any other artist or mentor you’ve met along the way?
JM: Mark really opened my eyes to a lot of music as I was always really into his style of DJing. He'd take a lot of risks, and usually with proper reward. I also got to watch him in the studio a bit, which inspired me. Adam was pretty much my hero, as a person and as a DJ. Everything I do I wouldn't be doing without the things I learned from him.
CP: You’ve made a name for yourself in New York with residencies at Goldbar, 1 Oak, Avenue and Butter. What has your reception been like in other cities, especially overseas?
JM: The reception has been really great, even in odd places overseas. I think there is this stigma with New York that people can attach themselves to. Either way, it’s very exciting to see people smiling and anticipating what you’re going to do in a place you've never been before – places in Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, France, St. Barths, Italy especially.
CP: What music are you into right now? Any particular artists or tracks that you like to feature during sets or any songs you put on that really get the crowd going?
JM: I'm really getting into a lot of disco house. Holy Ghost! is a group out of New York that is on DFA records with LCD Soundsystem. Their sound is just very hopeful and very New York.
CP: You’ve also been doing some production, remixing tracks by artists like Peter Bjorn and John, Chester French and Weezer. Any projects you’re working on right now?
JM: I just finished a remix for Nikki and Rich. They’re a soulful pop duo from New York based in LA. I've sort of transformed it into an electronic tune to use in my DJ sets. I'm also working on a remix right now for a British rapper named Wiley. It’s very “British garage dubstep.”
CP: Are there any particular artists with whom you’d like to collaborate or whose work you’d like to remix?
JM: All the obvious influences: DJ Premier, Pete Rock, Michael Jackson, Daft Punk, Larry Levan… the list goes on and on. But if we're talking about in reality and not in a fantasy world, I don't know, something LCD Soundsystem, or Eric Morillo, even something Thom Yorke or Radiohead, Hot Chip. My dream would be to do something with D'Angelo or Jay-Z. We can all dream can't we?
You can check out DJ Jesse Marco this weekend in NYC – tonight at Avenue or on Sunday night at Goldbar and on June 5th at PURE in Las Vegas. Keep up with his live schedule and newest projects on www.jessemarco.com.