Publication: BPM Magazine

Article: Mark Grant/ Emissions / “If Black Had a Sound…”

Author: Mark Von Pfeiffer

Reference: Issue 29 / Page 28



When my editor first approached me with the idea of doing an interview with Mark Grant via email I laughed, chalked it up as being slightly impersonal, and sent the questionnaire never expecting to meet him in person. I haven’t. However the fact remains that Mark Grant, the quick-handed wax-slinger whose 1997 A Taste of Cajual blew my chaps off, has become a permanent fixture in my life.


Shortly after the interview had reached a point of “cyber-resolution” I boarded a plane to Seattle for a weekend of debauchery with a college buddy who had recently landed a job with a certain (MS) software company. Taking my seat on the plane, debilitated from a savage bout with Tequila the night before, I glanced across the aisle to see Grant slumped over, suffering a similar state of exhaustion. Imagine my surprise. That night I saw him spin on three tables at I-Spy, dropping tasteful acappella’s which always ended up making perfect sense. He blazed like Vulcan at the forge. The rest of the weekend escapes me.


I returned to LA and passed an uneventful few days when I was once again presented with an opportunity to meet the Prince Regent of Chicago’s famed Boom Boom Room. Arriving dehydrated and slightly mad from the middle-of-nowhere head-scratcher that was Area:One, I jitterbugged in and out of Club Vinyl after 10 short minutes of basking in the glow of the DJ who was becoming more common in my life than a square meal. Aided by obscene amounts of caffeine, I made it into the magazine the next day to find that he, in an abstract sense, had beaten me to the office. It was merely his face printed on the sleeve of Sound Design v2.0 (Om Records), but it got me to thinking. So content he looked. So wise. What did I know about this phantom with whom I’d had no verbal communication?


I can say he slams. I can say that everyone I have spoken to respects him and that he prides himself on being an American DJ and producer. I know that his favorite color is black, and if black had a sound it would be, “strong, deep and enticing, like me.” I know that the one sound he very well may have trouble reproducing using only digital means is “a woman moaning and saying [his] name during sex. “You could sample it,” he says, “but there’s nothing like authenticity.” He loves what he does, and given infinite time and infinite space he would not change his course.


Somehow, I also know the media figure he would most like to see dressed up as a clown at a child’s birthday party is George Bush. “He wouldn’t even have to change clothes.” Not surprisingly, when asked, “By your reckoning, what major figure in the media is most likely to be a robot?” the answer is Bush again. Mine is Richard Simmons on both accounts.


He spins on three decks at shows and in the studio because he’s “able to express more creativity in the mix.” SD v.2 has a complexity of shifting movements and emotions, which demands such flexibility. In 74 minutes it gallops from jazzy, vocal house into deeper moodier territory-layered with acappella’s. From there it’s on to ass-slapping disco giddy-up and Latin-vibed rompings, which finally breaks down into MAW’s remix of “Round and Round.” Shazam.


He is currently rampaging helter-skelter on Om’s Sound Design v.2 tour, probably coming soon to a club near you. I swear by the dark gods of electronic music, once you see him you won’t be able to stop. I can’t look at the sky anymore without seeing his face in the clouds. My girlfriend is worried about me. Hark … a knock at my door; I bet that’s him now. We’ve got so much to talk about.