‘Turntablism game’ spins in Vail | VailDaily.com

‘Turntablism game’ spins in Vail

Caramie Schnell
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the DailyDJ Nu-Mark, who plays in Vail, Colorado Thursday, was a member of Jurassic 5, which broke up in 2007

VAIL, Colorado ” A DJ coming to Vail, Colorado with nearly 35,000 records. Impressive, yes, but not unheard of. A DJ with an arsenal of children’s toys and household items he plays along with those 35,000 records during any given set? Now that’s unique. DJ Nu-Mark ” real name Mark Potsic ” is perhaps best known as one of the founding members of Jurassic 5, the underground hip-hop group that disbanded in 2007. And indeed, he produced nearly half of J5’s work over its 14-year career. Nu-Mark has peformed in front of crowds as big as 50,000 in venues around the world.

During a 2007 performance caught on video and posted on YouTube, DJ Nu-Mark moves seamlessly from his turntables to a miniature drum kit and then over to a brightly colored toddler’s toy. A monkey with a pair of tiny cymbals finishes off the set. Nu-Mark has been known to tap on the turntable’s dust cover to simulate a bass drum. He’s even gone so far to wrap a rubber band around his turntable’s needle and use a pick to play it like an upright bass ” something he came up with while sitting on his porch playing with a rubber band. “It was just making a cool sound,” he said.

“I’ve been collecting more and more toys for my toy set, but I haven’t come up with anything as innovative as those other things lately,” Nu-Mark said during a phone interview from Los Angeles, where he’s based. “I’ve been in a technical mindset, working on my album. A lot of my creativity is being poured into my album and into my DJ sets.”

That doesn’t mean that Nu-Mark won’t return to the creative mentality that spurred those earlier innovations, he said.

“I’d like to go back to looking at the turntable in a completely different light,” he said. “I figure the scratching thing has been covered by the best people in the world, so I’m not trying to be Mr. Scratcher. I want to hopefully breathe a different life into the turntablism game.”

Support Local Journalism

DJ Nu-Mark will spin at Samana Lounge in Vail Thursday night and though he’ll be performing what he calls a “straight DJ set,” instead of a performing with all of his accoutrements, he promises it will be a good time for all.

“I’ll play everything from funk and hip hop to Brazilian samba and crazy folk stuff and psychadelic stuff,” he said. “I’m all over the place ” it’ll be funky, you know?”

Peter Blick, house DJ and talent buyer for Samana Lounge, said promoters have been telling him to bring DJ Nu-Mark out for a long time.

“He plays a mix of funk, soul, and an eclectic mix of hip hop,” Blick said. “We’ve had a lot more house and techno guys perform so I’m really interested to see how (DJ Nu-Mark) goes over. It’ll be a good trial for us.”

Though Nu-Mark called Jurassic 5’s breakup two years ago “difficult,” in the end, some positive things emerged.

“There were lots of forces pulling us apart and at the end of the day, it was better for all of us,” he said. “It’s nice to see everyone develop on their own.”

Personally the change has made Nu-Mark a better producer and forced him to reach out to new artists and expand his repetoire.

“I really didn’t think I’d be having this much fun,” he said. “I’ve always considered myself a team player. I always wanted to be the guy hiding behind my hat in the back corner. But I’ve been having a ball and I’ve learned a lot and traveled a lot.”

And speaking of having a ball, it would be hard not to considering the people Nu-Mark’s been hanging out with. Along with working on his own album and remixing Pharcyde’s “4 Better Or 4 Worse” song on “RMXXOLOGY,” he spent the summer with Saturday Night Live members Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone. The group, called The Lonely Island, released their debut album called “Incredibad” in Feburary. Nu-Mark produced two of the songs ” “Punch You in the Jeans” and “The Old Saloon ” Interlude.”

“I spent my summer with those guys,” Nu-Mark said. “It was pretty hilarious. That was a nice change from what I normally do.”

High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or cschnell@vaildaily.com.

Support Local Journalism