Student Marko Cubric has been performing in Bristol for just over two years and will be playing at I:M Presents: Reclaim the Night on Thursday. We met up to discus his involvement with Semi Peppered, the music scene in Bristol and why his biggest influence is his mum.
When did you first start making mixes?
I got my first decks when I was 16. The first mix I made was for one of my friends when he asked me to make him a mix for his revision, it was probably one of the best mixes I’ve ever done. It was quite relaxed jazzy house stuff. That was the mix I showed to the Semi Peppered guys when I first met them.
How did you meet Semi Peppered?
One of my friends from halls introduced me to his older brother and his friend Evan. We had a massive discussion about music and had a lot of common ground. I showed them my mix and they asked me to play at their first night in December 2015. It was in the basement of the Arts House in Stokes Croft, it was a really fun night actually.
How often have you performed with them since?
Quite a lot, we had a residency at the Doghouse for a number of months. We’ve done nights at the Love Inn, Crofter’s Rights, Motion and Lakota. We played at the HiFi club in Leeds too which was great.
What kind of music do you like to play?
I guess I like to play music that I really enjoy listening too regardless of what type of music it is. I think every genre has good music if you look hard enough. Having said that, I’m not going to be playing really depressing weird music on a night out despite the fact I might listen to it. I like to play music that surprises to me when I first listen to it, that makes me have a certain feeling and then when I play I hope I can pass it on. Some nights if it’s quite a dingy dark club I’ll play like aggressive techno but other nights, I like to play older more jazz influenced house music. At the moment I like music that has a lot of interesting percussion, it’s rhymically interesting and it’s kinda fun to dance to.
Who’s been the biggest influence on the kind of music you play?
My mum’s been a big influence actually. She used to take me to all sorts of concerts. When I was really young she took me to see B.B. King, Keith Jarrett, Pat Metheny and to various jazz festivals. That opened my eyes quite a lot. Every morning on the way to school she’d play me her Herbie Hancock CD which is still one of my favourite CD’s. My dad as well has the most open taste ever. He listens to Russian church bells on a CD and enjoys it somehow. He taught me to be quite open with what I listen to.
When did you start playing music?
I started playing classical piano when I was 7 which at the time was quite a burden. I wasn’t pushed into it, it’s just like a good hobby to have. I always liked to improvise from a young age. I got to a certain stage with classical piano and realised I don’t enjoy just sitting down and memorising a piece of music, I’d rather play whatever comes to my head. My sister had a jazz piano teacher who used to be a resident at Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club so I started playing with him and really liked it. He taught me a load of interesting ways to practice so now whenever I practice I try and improvise for a couple of hours. He told me to come to this jazz course which was a really good experience, I improved a lot. Every day you’d wake up, play with an improv group and then in the evening’s they had a jazz club. It was a good learning curve.
Do you think learning jazz improvisation has helped you with improvising in your DJ sets?
I guess so, when I first started playing I used to get a bit nervous before and really think about and plan what I was going to play. Now I’ve organised my music into certain feelings so whenever I’m playing I’ll scroll through these playlists and find what I think is suitable.
What’s your go-to song for really picking up an audience?
There’s this great tune I recently got called ‘I Want Some Trade’ by Bernard’s Amazing Disco Band (Ralphi Rosario's remix). It’s just this old garage house record from like the 90s. It’s really, really upbeat and it’s got some cheesy vocals but there’s nothing wrong with cheesy vocals.
That sounds brilliant, if there was a movie of your life which song would be your introduction song?
I think it would be Spider by Herbie Hancock, it’s got this really good like jazzy funk build up. There’s not too much going on but it’s a really cool tune, quite upbeat.
Do you think the music scene in Bristol has influenced the stuff you play?
Yeah there’s definitely a big music community in Bristol. I feel like everyone influences each other but it’s also easy to be too influenced by the people around you. You want to retain some of your own sound.
What mixes have you officially released so far?
Semi Peppered does a mix series called PEPMIX which has been going on for a year and a bit now. I released one on that a while ago, I’m planning to make another one for them soon. We have a monthly slot on Noods Radio too which each of us alternate and we do a radio show special. I had mine in November which was really fun. I met some guys who are starting a mix series called Adventures in Sound in London and we want to try and sort something out for that as well.
If you could play to anyone and anywhere, who would it be and why?
It sounds boring but maybe just like all my good mates from home in my living room that’d be fun. Just need to wait for all of us to be in the same place at the same time, it’s a rarity.
How did you get involved with playing at Inter:Mission’s exhibition on Thursday?
I know one of the artists and I had a discussion with her about the exhibition and she asked if I wanted to play. Speaking with the artists they were saying to play like really upbeat stuff but I also got the impression that I’m meant to play more relaxed music from others. I guess I’ll bring a mixture of everything and hopefully can crescendo into whatever it’s meant to be.
Thursday’s exhibition features work by female artists inspired by the “Reclaim the Night” movement, do you consider yourself to be a feminist?
I’m definitely a feminist, I think if you’re not a feminist you’re sexist by definition.
Do you think it’s important that men are also involved in the “Reclaim the Night” movement?
I think anyone who believes in it and wants to be involved should be involved regardless of gender. As much support as possible for these kind of things is always a good thing, it’s never a bad thing.
Interview by Sam Stone @babbikat
Check out Marko play at I:M Presents: Reclaim the Night on Thursday the 8th of February www.facebook.com/events/1496125707145601