Words and Photos by Antonio.
As the legend goes, DJ and producer Marquis Gasques, formerly known as Murda Mark, was knocked unconscious due to an explosion while playing a gig in Baltimore. When he came to, he realized his new found powers: to use his hard-hitting productions and remixes to move bodies on the dance floor.
The transition from “Murda” Mark to “Mighty” Mark, is more than nominal. The Cherry Hill native, has aspirations of taking his signature hybrid club music sound to bigger audiences and grander stages. His most recent release “The Mighty EP” features club bangers and remixes with Baltimore’s best including Blaqstarr, Tate Kobang, TT the Artist, DDM, and DJ Angelbaby. His mix for the “Melt” series features some dope exclusives from his upcoming EP, Mighty Mark – Real, dropping later this summer!
Mighty Mark discusses playing Baltimore club music in other cities, transitioning to the “Mighty” moniker, and his favorite professional wrestlers.
Q: What keeps you in Baltimore?
MIGHTY MARK: There’s no place like home! The reaction to the music I play here is always crazy, especially in some of the biggest parties. There’s nothing like playing Baltimore Club music in Baltimore, with Baltimore dancers in the crowd, et cetera.
Q: Is it hard when you go to other cities, who may not be familiar with the dancing or the music?
MIGHTY MARK: Mostly on the East Coast, people rock with it, they know what Baltimore Club music is. We recently went to Chicago and it took them a little while to get hip to it, but it hasn’t been hard at all, because Baltimore Club music has been out so long, that it’s gravitated to other clubs around the world.
“With ‘Mighty Mark,’ I was able to expand to juke, vogue, EDM and house”
Q: What happened to Murda Mark?
MIGHTY MARK: What actually happened, is that I wanted to create something new. I already had Mighty Mark on my second “Ayo Murda Mark, Vol. 2” mixtape, so I decided to switch with the name change [permanently]. Eventually I want to go into sounds that are more dance than Club music, and Murda Mark sets in with just Club music. With Mighty Mark, I was able to expand to juke, vogue, EDM and house.
Q: Do you think music from Baltimore is overlooked?
MIGHTY MARK: Not really. Baltimore Club music is worldwide. Our hip-hop scene is the hottest that it’s ever been, at least since I’ve been living. I really don’t think Baltimore has been overlooked, but if you compare it to other cities, people like to say we’re trying to be like New York, we’re trying to be like Atlanta.
If you really think about it, a lot of the cities that are not in New York and California don’t have a big music scene either. In terms of hip-hop, we’re still waiting on that “big” artist. There are a lot of people in the music industry in Baltimore and they are not necessarily going out saying they’re “from Baltimore.”
“In terms of hip-hop, we’re still waiting on that ‘big’ artist”
Q: How was the Boiler Room set?
MIGHTY MARK: Boiler Room was amazing. It was fun that they thought of me to come out there. We brought some Baltimore dancers out there. If Baltimore is my favorite city place to play, then New York is my second. We go to showcase how Baltimore gets down, even though it wasn’t in Baltimore.
Q: Do you see Baltimore Club music changing? How have you seen it change? After K-Swift died (Editor’s note: R.I.P. K-Swift) it seemed to be quiet for a while.
MIGHTY MARK: It’s not as popular in the urban communities and the youth anymore, because K-Swift really brought it to the youth. When it comes to the 18-and-over hipster and college crowds, I think they’re loving it more than ever. Worldwide, it’s poppin’ right now. It’s changed, change ain’t always bad – it’s different.
“Worldwide, it’s poppin’ right now. It’s changed, change ain’t always bad – it’s different”
Q: How did you choose the songs for the Mighty EP?
MIGHTY MARK: With the Mighty EP, with my club music, it’s really just making music that makes people dance, with a concept to it. I don’t do too many remixes, so I always have to be feeling something to make a track. It’s really whatever I feel when I come in the house, put it to a track, and I really don’t make a bunch of tracks for an EP. I really just make that amount of tracks. It’s not like twenty tracks; it’s those six, and those are the ones that I’m rockin’ with.
“I never take anything back. I might look back and say damn, I was mad that day, but I’m not going to take it back”
Q: In your interview with Stereo Champions, you said that sometimes a person will frustrate you at your job, and you’ll make a track off that. Has there ever been a time a where you recorded and track and you’ve thought you went too hard on it?
MIGHTY MARK: Nah, never that! I really don’t say names. Once I start second-guessing myself, it’s not real anymore. I never take anything back. I might look back and say damn, I was mad that day, but I’m not going to take it back.
Q: Who’s your favorite wrestler?
MIGHTY MARK: I’ve got a lot – I watch wrestling a lot. I want to say Ric Flair, then I want to say Shawn Michaels; but then I want to say I like Daniel Bryan. One of the most entertaining, I would say The Rock. For in-ring performers, I would say Shawn Michaels, but I like Ric Flair promos. Those are two different things.
Q: Was it a big part of your childhood growing up?
MIGHTY MARK: I was watching wrestling during the Attitude Era. I fell off a little bit during high school, but then I got back into it in like 2010, real heavy. I’m now on the WWE Network watching everything now too.
“In terms of wrestling, I like where it’s going right now. There’s so much good content. I want to see the secondary champions, their belts get back to that prestige”
Q: Do you watch TNA or any other promotions?
MIGHTY MARK: I can’t even stand to watch TNA. I tried to watch TNA, but it’s so corny and cheesy. In terms of wrestling, I like where it’s going right now. There’s so much good content. I want to see the secondary champions, their belts get back to that prestige, especially with Daniel Bryan Intercontinental Champion (Editor’s note: Daniel Bryan is semi-retired and Ryback is current IC champ at time of publishing), and John Cena being the U.S. Champion, it’s very different right now; they’re giving the belts more importance.
Q: Do you have any upcoming projects or big shows coming up?
MIGHTY MARK: My next project is called “Real,” a collaboration project. It’s got Angel Baby, DDM and TT the Artist on there. It’s really raw and might drop any moment. I might pull a Beyonce or Drake.
Q: For someone that has never heard Club music before, what tracks would you say that you have to hear?
MIGHTY MARK: “Dance My Pain Away,” “Samir’s Theme,” and “Hands Up, Thumbs Down.”
Q: Where will you be in 5 days, 5 months and 5 years?
MIGHTY MARK: In five days, I’ll be playing a show in Haverford, PA at Harverford College. In five months, hopefully doing more touring. In five years, providing services for the community, maybe teaching the next me how to produce or DJ.