(Originally published October 2007)

How’d you get started and decide to dj?

I was working in Switzerland ten years ago when I went to my first real club. I danced differently, felt differently – just an overall new and exhilarating experience. When I graduated with my degree, I wasn’t quite ready to join the real world so I applied for a job at a new bar that played strictly house music. That bar is Liquid Ice and my job was bartending upstairs. By fall I was cleaning, organizing shifts, and tending the main bar. When I was free, I managed to teach myself to spin. I had support from Daryl Downey, Deb Birmingham, Mike Mathers, Batty, and Russtafari, so it wasn’t difficult to keep at it. Plus, I loved it more than anything.

What kind of style do you have?

I’ve always been sure to never get pigeon-holed. I don’t want people to know what to expect from me, but know it’s going to be good.

How important is it to be flexible in your style?

If what you’re playing for a crowd doesn’t seem to be ‘doing it’ the ability to make changes in your set with little notice is what separates good dj’s from real dj’s. Sometimes it’s just not in the cards to please all crowds. I’ve been booed off stage a couple times and it wasn’t because I sucked, I just didn’t play a lot of radio hits. It was around then I realized I probably wouldn’t make huge cash at home because I was more into underground music.

Vinyl or CD, why?

I’m sure my blood contains peanut butter and jam sandwiches from 13 years of lunchtimes in school and liquid vinyl. Since moving to Natuashish, shipping costs and feasibility has forced me to try the digital age. The other teachers and I are waiting for the call to go down and start getting stuff off the boat right now, including two Pioneer CDJ 1000’s and Numark mixer for one Mark Power, Gym Teacher. (laughs) Meanwhile 700 records and my turntables are in storage in an unnamed basement until my inevitable return for holidays (sorry friends, I can’t tell you my hideout).

What was your best night playing or clubbing?

I like to think a reason people enjoy seeing/listening/dancing to me is that every gig I play I put in everything I got. I did play a gig in Bangkok that really made me feel like I was actually a good dj. I played from 8pm till 3am and when I was done people stood and cheered. I was amazed I’d touched so many people and it did a lot for my confidence.

Is a dj booth a dj booth?

Like your style you have to be a flexible person. There’s nothing worse then hearing complaints. Know your music, have courage, and literally feel your way through every booth. It takes a little while to warm up anyway, so use that to get warm with the booth.

All of the djs in this series credit you for inspiring them and you’re one of the pioneers, how’s that make you feel and what’s your best advice?

I wouldn’t have started without others inspiring me too. I hardly stand alone. The beautiful thing about our dj scene is everyone influences everyone. Turntables are the most recent instruments I’ve learned to play. I still play my guitar, accordion, fiddle, and while in school the trumpet then moved to percussion. While here in Natuashish I’m going get good on the CDJ’s. I also plan on making some music for a change. In terms of advice, I feel one reason others mentioned me is I’ve never wavered from my mission to play good music that wasn’t overplayed or over remixed. Believe in the music you play and don’t play it because you know it’s the music that works now. People have become who they are by taking risks, falling flat on their arses, getting back up, and brushing the shit people give them off so they can continue making themselves braver in the face of conformity and popularity.

One thing people don’t know about you?

I sang in a choir from when I was five till I was 25. I attribute my mixing skills to having been in choir with incredible musicians and singers.

What’s your favourite drink?

Trying to focus on water (laughs) but a beer during the hockey game too… paint me Canadian.

What’s next for Mark Power?

I’m taking school day by day right now. I try not to think about all of the things I’m missing back home because it doesn’t contribute to progressive thinking.

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