DJ Nu-Mark is, likely, best know as being one of the in-house DJ's for critically-acclaimed/widely loved Los Angeles-based Hip-Hop crew Jurassic 5; although, Mark Potsic (affectionately known as "Uncle Nu") is also, a talented producer, turntablist, drummer, multi-instrumentalist, and film composer, in his own right. In addition to Jurassic 5, Nu-Mark has spent time playing with groups 4 Player Co-Op, Blendcrafters with Pomo, TRDMRK with The Pharcyde founding member Slimkid3 & Austin Antoine, Rebels of Rhythm, and Afrika Bambaataa-helmed Zulu Nation. DJ Nu-Mark has either composed music for—both solo and with Jurassic 5—or appeared within a multitude of feature films and documentaries including Coachella: The Movie, Keepintime: A Live Recording, MacGruber, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, Ride Along 1 & 2 starring Ice Cube & Kevin Hart, Rock The Bells: The Documentary, and the upcoming Shaft 2019 sequel/re-boot co-starring Samuel L. Jackson & Jessie T. Usher.
Additionally, Uncle Nu has amassed a fine pedigree of recording credits and collaborators over the years, which includes, but is not limited to: Aloe Blacc, Charles Bradley, Chali 2na, Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, DOOM, The Lonely Island, Method Man, Money Mark, Nas & Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley, Guilty Simpson, TiRon & Ayomari, and Dan Ubick. DJ Nu-Mark functions as the founder of his own imprint, Hot Plate Records, serves as the in-house DJ for TBS/TNT celebrity competition series, Drop The Mic, along with his very own live band, The Katz, and produces a monthly astrological-based mix series dubbed Zodiac Tracks. DJ Nu-Mark, Slimkid3, and newly-instated member Austin Antoine recently released their first proper EP together as TRDMRK and Uncle Nu was kind enough to step out from behind the 1's & 2's for long enough to bless us with a comprehensive interview.
Matt "The Witzard" Horowitz
Your Hip-Hop Tour Guide
I. Since releasing 2013's self-titled Slimkid3 & DJ Nu-Mark 2xLP for Delicious Vinyl, when did Austin Antoine come into the fold? How exactly does he fit into the pre-established TRDMRK group dynamic?
When we started to record the new album, which is now an EP, we wanted to bring in other writers and guest vocalist. Both Tre [Slimkid3] & I liked Austin's performance on a song called "Double LieF" by Bizarre Ride. Austin ended up writing and recording half of the TRDMRK album. At one point, I looked at Tre and said, "why don't we just bring him into the group?" It seemed to make sense for us and his energy and attitude is outstanding. He really added a wonderful color to this project.
II. How exactly did you go about recruiting featured emcees Guilty Simpson & Dillon Cooper for TRDMRK's latest self-titled EP?
There's a song on the EP called "Fall In Numbers"—we just kept hearing Guilty's voice over it and we're both big fans of his music and delivery. Dillon was brought to us by K-Natural, who was featured on our first album. K-Nat kept telling us to check his music out. We needed someone with young energy that had an understanding of the "middle school;" Dillon was the perfect fit for "Pick It Up." His spread-out flow balances Austin's rapid-fire delivery with great contrast!
III. I noticed your latest TRDMRK EP comes complete with Main, Acapella & Instrumental versions of each track; are there any immediate plans to host a fan-submitted remix/freestyle contest?
Hadn't really given that much thought, since people tend to remix things on their own these days. I figured, if we gave people the parts, they could do what they like. We did the same thing for our first album and I got a ton of great feedback from consumers thanking us! I decided to repeat the process... feel like it's important to offer that.
IV. Now that TRDMRK's self-titled EP has been let loose upon the world, what else do you currently have in-the-works or nearing completion?
I have eight projects I have to get to; I am the quintessential "idea guy" ... ideas plague me. Can't really say much about them because a lot of them are either halfway done or haven't been started, but there's a lot to come at the end of 2019 and 2020, in the way of mixes and original production. One thing that I'm almost done with is a producer drum pack that I'll be selling on my site and, hopefully, though Splice & Serato, as well. I get a lot of producers asking me about my drum sounds, so I'll be putting together three drum packs for producers very soon!
V. How did you initially the gig as Drop The Mic's in-house DJ with The Katz? What sort of role did the show have in helping you get co-host Method Man on your recent 7-inch single, "Zodiac Killah?"
I was contacted by one of the producers of the show, Jensen Karp. Jensen enjoyed my production from past releases, as well as my Zodiac Tracks series and thought I'd be a good fit for the show. He wasn't exactly sure, if I could do the show until I was invited to do my all-Kids Toy Set at [Seth Rogen's] Charity for Hilarity to help Alzheimer's patients. After James Corden saw my set, he asked Jensen if I could work well on-camera. Next thing I knew, my agent told me they wanted to talk to me about Drop The Mic.
I ended up producing the theme song for the show, which was a really big deal for me... I've never landed a theme song! After being on-set for a while and getting to know Method Man, I told him I was doing an all-Zodiac DJ mix series on my socials. I told him I really needed an original song to push the series, as I [planned to] release it to the public in-full on the USB. I placed some headphones on him, while we were on set and within two seconds of hearing the the beat, he said, "Oh yeah, Nu, I'm f**kin' wit' this!" He came to my studio and knocked it out in one take. One of most memorable sessions in my career.
VI. Who would be part of your dream head-to-head "emcee" battle no one would expect to see on Drop The Mic and why?
Would be cool to see Zack Galifinakis battle Eric Andre! My fav. episode was The Muppets battling each other! Thanks for having me!
VII. Are there currently any plans to properly re-release your annual series of astrological-themed Zodiac Tracks digitally or on vinyl?
Oh yeah, my Zodiac Tracks series is available on USB and it contains all 25 mixes, every credit, and my song with Method Man called "Zodiac Killah." This is [currently] available on my site. I'm on my sixth press of the USB and this will be the last run! It went really well; [this] was a very rewarding and challenging project. Very happy to give back to all the inspirational artists in an all-astrological vinyl mix series for two years straight.
VIII. Since Jurassic 5 re-formed at Coachella 2013, you've released "Customer Service" & Heavy D-produced "The Way We Do It," but are there currently any plans for a proper follow-up to 2006's Feedback?
No... but, never say never.
IX. Aside from your various solo projects and TRDMRK, do you have any immediate plans to sign other artists to your label, Hot Plate Records?
I'm still on-the-fence about signing other artists at this time. Hot Plate is really set up to get my personal releases out there. Historically, it's been so tough to get all my ideas to the public because I've had to wait on a label or distributor. I got a good rhythm now with my release schedule. I do, however, plan to release a record with 6-8 different bands and producers in, hopefully, late Summer. I can't say exactly the concept, at this time, but I'm really excited about it. Flying to Germany at the end of May to complete the second song!
X. What can you currently tell us about your involvement in Tim Story's upcoming 2019 Shaft sequel/re-boot starring Samuel L. Jackson, Jessie T. Usher, and "First Generation" Shaft Richard Roundtree?
Yeah, I've worked with Tim a few times now. We worked on Ride Along 1 & 2 with Ice Cube & Kevin Hart. Todd Bozung was the Music Editor for those films and the upcoming Shaft re-boot. Todd has been kind enough to bring me in as a Music Producer on these films and helping out with some of the beats behind-the-scenes. For the upcoming Shaft re-boot, I did a remix of James Brown's "Get Up Offa That Thang"—came out HARD! Unfortunately, Todd recently passed from cancer. He was one of the kindest people I've engaged with professionally. He reached out to me from hearing my past production and since then, I've slowly worked my way into more motion picture work! I owe a lot to Todd and [how he] really trusted me in a new territory.