MARK PEMBERTON / Housemasters Resident
Like many people that grew up in the 70’s and 80’s Mark’s roots and influence are drawn from many genres, Northern Soul, Motown, Electro & Hip Hop to name a few.
Just as many people of a “certain age” Mark fell in love with the underground rave scene in the early 90’s, travelling all over the country to dance till morning with his friends.
His passion for the music led to his first purchase of turntables towards the end of 1991, with very little money Mark started to build up his record collection. This was a time where the underground music scene didn’t tend to have “labels or genres” attached to tunes, they were just tunes. This was something that Mark would grow to be passionate about in the future.
Mark played mostly in his bedroom and at small house parties with friends who shared his passion. In 1993 Mark was offered the opportunity to play regularly at a small club in his home town, it was a small upstairs room, dark but loud. The perfect place for Mark to express himself.
Throughout the 90’s Mark DJ’d at many parties locally and made a few trips up North, gathering influence and knowledge.
The turn of the Century saw a resurgence in “OldSkool” parties, many of the old names were coming back, putting on parties all over the country.
Mark took his chance and for the first time really pushed himself, this led to regular slots in his home town, monthly residencies in clubs up and down the country and the opportunity to DJ alongside the biggest names in the scene and for some of the biggest brands around such as:
Quadrant Park reunions, Shelleys reunions, FantaziaFlashback, Entropy, Unity, House Nation and Take Me Back.
The HMR Q&A
1. what made you start DJing?
I started buying records in the early 90s, I quickly realised that just listening to them wasn’t enough. I decided to buty some turntables, practiced and practiced, after that it felt like a natural progression I guess.
2. Who would you say was your biggest influence on the dance scene and why?
The obvious choices are the likes of Carl Cox and Sasha, however my influence has always been DJ Nipper. The reason is simple, those who know or have followed his career will know he’s versatile, to say the least. His roots are in 70s soul and funk, moving into the electro & Hip Hop of the 80s and so on. That pretty much mirrors my life in music.
3. Compare the scene now to how it was when you first started spinning. What differences, good or and bad, do you see. What do you see for the future of the DJ?
Apart from the obvious “Digital” debate, the biggest difference in my opinion is how easy it is to “network” nowadays. Not necessarily a bad thing for anyone, social media has opened up doors for many, many people and you have to evolve. So overall I guess I’m saying it could be considered an easier field to break into, that said, there are millions all competing for the same thing, whatever that is.
I thrive on competition personally, I love seeing good people that work hard be successful and will always support people that conduct themselves properly.
I have no idea what the future holds for DJs, I embrace technology but have my roots planted firmly in the vinyl camp, I guess technology will keep evolving, my only hope is that we don’t end up in a scene where its “OK” to be playing a pre-recorded set and dancing about like a fanny. Or are we already there?
4. Favourite label, Favourite artist, Favourite track?
Favourite track: Impossible and I defy anyone to hold a favourite track, if I was held with a knife at my throat it would be something universal, something that means something to everyone, Last Rhythm maybe?
5. To date what has been the best experience you have had as a DJ?
There are many, I’ve been very lucky and have played on the same line up as some of the biggest OldSKool names, Grooverider, Fabio, Stu Allan, Fallout, Mark Archer, there’s so many I’ve had the pleasure of DJing alongside. For me though the stand out “proud” moment had to be playing at the Shelleys reunion in March 2016 at Keele University. For the first time ever I was on the same line up as my idol Nipz. I was booked to play an early Electro / hip hop set and was on early – not an issue for me, I loved it. Plus the fact that I had my closes friends there with me, they will know how much that meant to me.
6. If you could play anywhere, where would it be?
Im not sure I can say really, I’ve played festivals and smaller events, for me the smaller events hold up. I love the intimacy and playing to a knowledgeable crowd is key. I’m not one for craving a massive venue, obviously I wouldn’t have turned down a slot at the infamous SPACE in Ibiza !
7. Your favourite Housemasters DJ and why?
Difficult as I respect every DJ that puts themselves out there, I have to say that the guy that mirror my music taste the most is Robbie Avery, I hold total respect for him and what he’s doing in the scene at the moment. All of the DJs are top here though, I don’t get in as often as I’d like but I’ve never heard a dodgy track, Which is rare for internet radio?
8. Biggest mistake, biggest fail, most embarrassing moment as a DJ / at a gig?
I’ve done the “wrong needle off the wrong record” one, I’ve done the “forgot my headphones” one, I’ve done the “spill beer on the mixer” one.
9. How do you keep check of ego?
I find it very hard to talk about myself, those that know me the best will tell you that I don’t push myself hard enough, I know what I can do, I know how to work a crowd, I do struggle with pushing things out there, I’m getting “better” at it but I do prefer to let others decide if I’m any good or not.
I listen to feedback, good and bad, take the rough with the smooth and no matter what I achieve i never believe I’ve achieved anything.
Plus I keep good people around me that tell me what I need to hear not what they think I want to hear, crucial.
10. How do you find Housemasters, we like to call it your home of house music, do you see it like that and if not, how do we change that?
I’ve been involved with many, many stations in one way or another. There are no ego’s here, that I’ve seen anyway, I think I’ve found a new home and have no plans at this stage to call it a day !!
Music should not have boundaries – mix it up a little !
Never plan a set, the first couple of records maybe, then see where the crowd takes you
Enjoy life to the full
Above all………… Lets Dance !!!