Mark Starr was born with a name that other DJ might make up. But ironically, he is one of the more humble guys in EDM.
He's been a big part of the Tallahassee dance scene for six years, but it was this year the San Francisco's Dirtybird Records crew reached out to him and began releasing his tracks. Record-head Claude VonStroke called Starr his "favorite new artist," and he was just added to the opening slot of the Dirtybird NYE celebration at Grand Central.
Understandably, Starr's pretty stoked. Like, how often does the new kid actually get signed by his favorite label?
Crossfade:This last year has been really big for you and knowing you personally, I know this success you're finding in the last few months is something you've been working toward for a long time. How does it feel to get recognition from your favorite artists?
Starr: It's been really surreal. That's I guess the best way I can describe it. There's really no greater privilege than to be on the same bill, let alone on the same record label. I've been trying for a long time to reach out, and I still don't really know how they stumbled upon one remix that I did. It's just been crazy and things have kind of been snowballing over the past few weeks. I've been able to connect with a lot of people that I've admired for a really long time and have been able to get some really good insight from some of my favorite artists that I've looked up to in some cases for almost a decade now.
And especially with Dirtybird, it seems like they're a really tight-knit team. Do you feel like you've been challenged or inspired by them since getting released?
I mean, I try to give everybody their space 'cause I'm the new kid on the block. The record I did sign with them was only a couple months or two ago and I actually talked to Barclay about it. Justin Martin had hit me up and was so nice and asked about the song "Rood Boy" that's coming out if he could have a copy, as if I wouldn't give it to him anyway.
So you don't know how they found you?
No, not really. One day randomly on twitter, Kill Frenzy said something about "Send me some demos." So I just hopped on it, and I sent him a song called "Sunshine." It has a bit of that 808 feel. I sent it to him and that was really it. I didn't really follow up on it, I didn't want to bug Sebastian. He tweeted me randomly like "Hey, by the way, I played it at Hard Summer Festival out in California and it was crazy." And somebody I knew had taken video out there, which never happens. I was just really lucky. I don't know what they said to each other or who said what really. I'm hoping to find out.
It's an awesome label to get embraced by.
Anyone that knows me well knows that it's my favorite, and has been for a long time. It's definitely a dream come true. There's literally no other label in the world right now I would rather release on. I think it's the most forward thinking label right now, and I think they're starting to get a lot more of the attention they deserve.
You played Lights Out Festival, so you've played Miami before. What do you think of the scene down here, and what are your expectations?
I have no clue what to expect. The whole idea of me playing was very last minute. A couple days ago, I got an email, so I really don't know what to expect. One thing with the Dirtybird parties is the people that go out there go out for a very specific reason; to hear a very specific brand of music. I think there's going to be a lot of people there for the right things rather than trying to look cool and spending a ton of money. I think that's where all the house-heads are going to be. I'm expecting a really reactive crowd, a really fun crowd, and a crowd that's there for the music.
And Grand Central is a cool venue.
I've only been one other time during Winter Music Conference. I'm excited to play that venue. I think it's going to be the party everybody talks about, I really do. Especially musically. I mean, you don't have to get dressed up, you don't have to get super fancy.
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It's a Miami club, but it's not too much about status. It's very about the music.
You know you're not going to have any people from the VIP bottle area making requests and shit that night. You know you're not going to have any one of them getting kicked off stage for playing "too future." You know, that's why I think it's going to be awesome. I have no idea what's going to get played. I'm just as excited to hear everybody as I am to play - no, I'm definitely as excited to play.
A Dirtybird NYE. With Claude VonStroke, Justin Martin, J. Phlip, and Kill Frenzy. Presented by Poplife and Young Hearts. Monday, December 31. Grand Central, 697 N. Miami Ave., Miami. Call 305-377-2277 or visit grandcentralmiami.com.