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For over 20 years now, DJ Mark Anthony has been serving up his signature textured house beats, blending shake-it percussion, savvy special effects and a heaping helping of pure love. His spot-on eye for the hottest emerging sounds helped pioneer Montreal’s now world-famous house scene from the outset. True to himself and his vision, Mark has been instrumental in making house music and clubbing a unique experience, an art form, a means of expression. He may be recognized globally as a master of the turntables, but Mark’s career has also included turns as an accomplished music and event producer, always striving to breathe new life into nightlife. Along with a full-length interview, he has recently been featured in the prestigious bible for luxury living; KA Magazine- Best of Canada 2010 Special Issue, which awarded him the distinctive title of Best Canadian DJ.
When he’s not rocking the house at a long list of clubs and special events at home in Montreal, across Canada and abroad, Mark is always focused on making music, be it original songs, remixes, or producing artists in a variety of genres. His latest releases out on the NYC label Kult Records are big room progressive house bangers that are getting the dancefloors moving and grooving! He continues to wax prophetic at his weekly residency at Red Lite, the largest after-hours venue in the Montreal area. The collaboration yielded the first Red Lite Series CD compilation, which soon became a top seller. Mark stepped up to man the decks again at the 2011 Black & Blue Festival main event, which brought circuit enthusiasts to their knees.
The 80’s: The Underground Years
At age 16, Mark began spinning at hip hop, r’n’b, and reggae parties in dance halls and church basements, and after a scratching stint as a DJ in a local rap band, he soon took over the decks four nights a week at Montreal’s legendary industrial club, Thunderdome. Never one to follow the pack, and conscious of the emergence of a burgeoning underground house movement in the city, he soon began producing house happenings with Nicholas Jenkins of Sterile Cowboys & Co. Their warehouse parties in Old Montreal and the Plateau area have gone down in the city’s history for their racy invitations, amazing ambiance, décor, and dancers. Mark was involved at all levels of production and promotion — and of course, manning the turntables for lengthy sets. Other standout work included Gag at K.O.X. and crazy nights at Di Salvio’s on a pre-über St-Laurent Blvd, both of which are still talked about to this day. But the scene was about to go through a sea change with the opening of Montreal’s first legal after-hours club, Playground, and the advent of the Black & Blue phenomenon, both of which Mark helped spearhead.
The 90’s: After-Hours and the Circuit
Through the early ’90s, Mark held residencies at a range of straight and gay clubs in Montreal, such as Mekano, The Bronx, K.O.X., Joy, and the legendary Squeeze nights at Metropolis. Playground quickly became a permanent fixture for clubbers, and Mark steadily stirred up legions of loyal dancers, divas and club kids every Saturday night for several years.
His following grew exponentially through groundbreaking work with the BBCM Foundation’s annual Black & Blue Festival, which donates a healthy portion of proceeds to local AIDS initiatives. Since he began headlining the Black & Blue main event in 1995, the party has grown to attract as many as 20,000 devotees from around the globe, making it the world’s largest circuit event. Mark has released a number of highly successful mixed B&B CDs in addition to other compilations on various international labels.
In 1998, Mark co-founded Stereo, a nightclub that soon morphed into Montreal’s premier after-hours haunt, giving worldwide street cred to the city and its scene. It was here that Mark introduced his Ritual event, which would give him the freedom to work his self-concocted style.
For a number of years, Mark headlined Montreal’s annual outdoor closing party for Divers/Cité, Montreal’s gay pride event — in 2003, a record 50,000 people came out to groove under the stars. He also became a big-ticket DJ on the North American and world house scene, playing clubs and special events in such cities as New York (Twilo, SBNY), Miami (Crobar, Mansion, Space), Atlanta (Backstreet, Eleven 50), Boston (Rise), Chicago (Crobar), San Francisco, L.A., Mexico City (Living), London, Paris (Queen, Mix Club), Barcelona, Ibiza (Space), Cologne and Berlin.
The 00’s: New Grooves for a New Millennium
Ritual drew such widespread attention that Mark eventually took the show on the road, and, driven by his longstanding club experience and sound-console experimentation, he moved into the studio and worked with premier Montreal talent to turn out his first full-length artist album bearing the same name and featuring the same percussive prowess and beat expertise his fans know and love. For La Vie, his contribution to the homegrown film Saved by the Belles, a favorite on the indie festival circuit, Mark received a 2004 Genie nomination from the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television for Best Achievement in Music – Original Song. That same year, he began moving into another genre altogether with the collaborative side project Lectroluxe (www.facebook.com/lectroluxe), generating an edgy, down-tempo, ambient and funky sound that’s sure to be music to lounge and chillout lovers’ ears everywhere. Mark continues to collaborate on a number of projects, while producing and working his remix magic with other artists. Check out some of these releases on his record label Dark Panties Recordings (www.facebook.com/darkpanties).