Nepetalakton session #03:
Roy Porter – Drums For Daryl (Mawkus’ Bunny Bread Edit)
Dadisi Komolafe – Speak No Evil
P.E. Hewitt Jazz Ensemble – It Doesn’t Matter… Yes It Does, But I Can’t Stop
Paul Horn – Short Politician
Don Rendell – Euraquilo
Azymuth – 500 Miles High
Nil’s Jazz Ensemble – Reflexiones
Roy Haynes – Dear Old Stockholm
Michel Sardaby – Welcome New Warmth
Quincicasm – Trent Park Song
Chene Noir – La Musique d’Orphee
Austin Peralta – Epilogue Renaissance Bubbles
Kamasi Washington – Desire
Heavy record collector from Darker Than Wax and Host of two weekly shows on The Lot Radio and Red Bull Arts New York; Marcus Aurelius Rosario a.k.a Mawkus takes up everything at a time and joins the electrocaïne session for the special jazz series Nepetalakton; in context of MAMAJAZ, the sole annual jazz festival of Mauritius.
Mawkus lays out an energetic set crafted with spellbinding music and captivating voice samples, steered through his sheer DJing experience and dedication to jazz, narrating an hour-long story full of compelling rhythms and drum patterns.
Further to this session, Mawkus gives a helping hand to the NYC-based non-profit Building Beats, teaching youth from all over the city’s five boroughs on how to DJ and make beats.
The magic of drums was really accentuated throughout the mix; and as the drums are the backbone to Jazz, what do you think is such as pillar when on the decks?
Knowing how you react to a song is vital because the drum pattern or rhythm is the thing that speaks most and connects us all. It helps one in knowing what to play next. Vibes don’t lie!
What’s the latest jazz concert that impacted you and why?
Latest concert was a local bar a few blocks away that had some young guys jammin’. It was fun because they didn’t care and just played to themselves, which is how music should be shared sometimes. I don’t wanna blow up the spot!
How do you go on about seeking fresh music and keeping inspired in the world of Jazz/Blues and other genres?
These days, I don’t physically dig for records as much as I used to, mostly due to lack of physical space in my apartment. Oddly enough, I still have a lot of my records back home in California at a friend’s house as well as my parents’ house. I do buy a lot of digital releases these days but also still get sent music regularly from various labels and radio promo services worldwide that have been there for me since my first days of college radio many years ago. I also listen to radio shows regularly like Gilles‘ and LeFtO‘s as well as public radio stations like KCRW, KEXP, KPFK and KSDS plus other global selectors’ programs on Soundcloud and Mixcloud. The best resource for me has always been the radio though! Long live terrestrial public radio!
Are there a lot of pronounced releases going on?, if so, could you share some with us?
Been really liking a lot of new stuff by Sampology, especially his collab with Seven Davis Jr. The Kraut group Klaus Johann Grobe‘s release from last year hasn’t left my personal playlist either. Also Dexter Story and Mark De Clive-Lowe‘s forthcoming releases that you’ll hear very soon.
You host a weekly and monthly radio show through ‘DTW FM‘ and ‘We Move‘, showcasing on broad genres, taking from blues to rare grooves. The mix itself felt like a radio show and was even aurally interactive with the voice samples present among the tunes. What features, from your experience, do you think is essential for creating engagement in your listeners through your shows?
I think the best engagement for listenership has always been just us playing whatever we feel like. Being ourselves for each and every show has made people want more whether it’s hollering after about a certain song or just finding out where we’ll be playing next.
You were involved with the San Diego’s Jazz radio. Could you give us a picture on how the jazz scene was in California during your time as a host back there?
Living in San Diego, there was a jazz scene but it was still relatively small compared to other big cities. It’s definitely a band town – a lot of live music happening throughout the week regularly. There were pockets of live jazz jam sessions in SD and also big fancy jazz shows at highbrow venues that catered more to older rich folk. KSDS, San Diego’s Jazz 88.3, the public jazz and blues radio station would throw shows from time to time but the market wasn’t as exciting as what’s happening compared to LA or London right now.
The art of DJing has captured your attention since a very young age and radio led you to that. Today’s aspiring and emerging DJs are influenced by much more different media. Do you think you’d still become a DJ if you were born in this era?
I’d probably still be a DJ if I was born in this era. There has always been some part of me that’s wanted to do music since I got turntables at 15 as an aversion to learning to play a musical instrument that I didn’t want to play. I started playing piano as a small child and then clarinet in middle school but I always wanted to play drums yet was never allowed to. In terms of DJ’ing these days, I don’t mind all the technological advances that have made it insanely easier in terms of beat-matching and mixing. People will still play vinyl and learn how to DJ traditionally no matter what. If anything, I’d wish to be born in 70s because it seemed so much nicer and groovier then.
What are some of those radio stations that shaped you when growing up?
Radio is so different these days because it’s gone way more online. Since living in New York, I don’t listen to terrestrial radio as much anymore but I do listen back to shows online. My favorite stations still are KCRW, KPFK, WBLS and a lot of college radio stations. I also love my Lot Radio because there’s always so many different dope DJs playing daily. I listened to Power 106 during the day and KCRW at night growing up because DJs like Jason Bentley and Raul Campos always played the deepest cuts that still have an effect on me to this day.
What is Mawkward all about?
Mawkward was always a way of explaining things through my lens of living. I know I can be an awkward person but that’s just the beauty of human nature.
What lead you to take your journey up to New York and how did you find the music scene over there?
I moved to New York because I wanted a change of pace and felt stifled with California. It was driving me crazy. I needed to get away to appreciate where I’m from. I didn’t want to move to LA or SF as much as those places will always be home. Since moving here, I love it because you can do anything at any hour and there’s always so much going on. The music scene can be overwhelming because there’s always something happening you might be into every night of the week. The weather doesn’t bother me either because I actually like cold weather, haha!