How does one go from hating Baltimore club music to becoming the City Paper’s choice for Best Club Music Producer of 2010? Just ask Murder Mark. As a hip-hopper from the jump, Murder Mark, aka Marquis Gasque, was more used to a certain type of flow and spoken word you normally hear in standard hip-hop. Some of his favorites were Biggie, Lupe Fiasco, and Kanye West. He appreciated their unique types of flow, whereas he thought the styling of Baltimore club was merely just noise. Cut to a few years later when he took a challenge to produce Baltimore club and the rest was history. Turns out he’s got a knack for creating something he never liked in the first place. How ‘bout that?
But you can’t make great Baltimore club music without a vast understanding of it. So after a doing ton of research ranging from just being in the scene, kickin’ it with true Baltimore club heads, and listening to an endless loop of 92Q Jams from DJs like K-Swift and K.W. Griff, Murder Mark turned his hatred into skill in no time. Look at him now, ayy!
Tear Shit Up by AyoMurderMark1
He’s been praised for his old school-meets-new school mentality – more specifically, the way he uses a unique style of synths, almost like hyperactive techno at times, layered behind original, chopped and looped vocals, an old school element of Baltimore club that some producers have since replaced with Lil Jon loops. What inspired the City Paper to award Murder Mark the title of Best Producer of 2010 was his signature sound being “an absolutely horrifying buzz of synthesizers—like the sound of club’s youth scene attacked by bees—rubbing up against a surprisingly traditionalist sense of sample-chopping and looping.” Murder Mark knows what old school Baltimore club music should sound like, but this is 2011 and he also knows the movement needs to keep moving with the times.
His most notable release to date is his Party Starter EP, which features his original beats behind original vocals by Mike Mike and TT the Artist. Showcasing twelve songs of pure Baltimore club adrenaline, the Party Starter EP is just as it aspires to be – that one joint you play when you’re getting ready to go out, pre-gaming with your friends, or on your way to the club. With grimy, hyperactive tracks like “Cherry Hill and Down Ya Block” and“In My Hood”, it’s the perfect mix to play when you’re looking for the right energy to begin your night – an essential weekend jump-off.
In addition to creating club music on the regular, he’s also an innovator of Zoo On Mars Entertainment, or Z.O.M.E. for short, which is an artist’s collaboration between Murder Mark, TT the Artist, Mike-Mike, D.O.L.L.A.S., K.S., and Doug. Keep a look out for Z.O.M.E. as they’re promoting and booking various artists and gigs in the area. Also, Murder Mark is learning how to DJ so perhaps you’ll see him behind the decks a little sooner than you expected.
I had a chance to talk to Murder Mark recently. Here’s what he had to say about the state of Baltimore club, working with Mike Mike, and where you can find him when he’s not in the studio: