• Donate today!

  • About Me

    DJ Mark has been dropping trance and progressive house beats since 2000. He now hosts the Pacifica Radio Network's only syndicated dance mix show, "Trance on the Porch", originating from KZGM-FM in Cabool, MO since April 2009.
  • About

    DJ Mark has an extensive list of accomplishments both as a club DJ and a radio DJ.  He’s been “on the air” ever since high school back in the 1990s.  He pioneered a trance and progressive radio show while a student in college, and since then has spun at clubs and events all across the midwest.

    Trance on the Porch now has a formal programming philosophy.  To read it, click on the following link: TOTP Program Philosophy.pdf

    Due to heightened interest, a full detailed biography appears below.

    ——————————————————————

    Speaking in third person is weird, so I’m going for a first person perspective here.

    My earliest memories with music was growing up in the 1980s and being exposed to the late works of Jefferson Starship and George Harrison.  I had no idea that Mr. Harrison was a Beatle (I didn’t even know who the Beatles were) but it’ll be cool to brag to my future children that I was around to hear solo Beatles music on the radio.

    At any rate, my parents are Baby Boomers and were riding the resurgence of 1950s rock n’ roll in the 1980s.  Perhaps my first favorite song as a little kid was “Tequila” by The Champs.  Why?  The build, man.  I loved (and still do) how the song started out with only a couple of instruments and then built, and built, and built until it exploded midway through the song.  Then, just when the song peaks, it starts to trail off, one instrument at a time until you’re left with just a guitar riff.  I just loved the structure of the song- and have been a fan of music that builds, peaks, and trails off ever since.

    The years that defined my musical tastes were 1991-1992.  I was barely ten years old at the time, but the local top 40 station played all time classics by M.C. Hammer, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Madonna, 2 Live Crew, 2 Unlimited, Right Said Fred, etc, in heavy rotation.  This was the golden era of dance music on the top 40 charts, and the styles crossed everything from house to early trance to hip-hop.  Two songs that stick out in my mind from that era are “It’s A Fine Day” by Opus III (a textbook example of early vocal trance music), and “Gypsy Woman (She’s Homeless)” by Crystal Waters.  I started to accumulate various light-and-sound discotheque gear and opened up a rudimentary night club in my bedroom, complete with a color organ, laser light show, and strobe light, all homemade with the help of my father the electrical engineer.

    Top 40 went downhill starting in 1993, and my musical tastes stagnated.  I was big into the grunge and alternative rock thing in the mid 90s, but still broke out my old tapes of the defunct St. Louis based Hot 97 to relive the dance music of the early 90s.  Sometime in 1994 I started to listen to disco music, when listening to disco was still a laughable offense.  By the time 1997 came around, I had to give up the disco thing as it suddenly became mainstream and I had to move on.  Dance mix compilations were staples in my CD boombox, and the MTV Party To Go series was among my favorites during this time.

    My high school years were a hodgepodge of alternative rock, top 40 dance music, and small amounts of hip-hop.  I was really turned off to dance music by 1999, though, as big beat music was the only kind of dance music exposed to wide audiences.  Although I didn’t hate artists like Fatboy Slim or The Chemical Brothers, I knew there were better genres of dance music out there waiting to be explored.  I started to branch out into house and trance music thanks to Paul Oakenfold, Sasha, and John Digweed’s compilation CDs.

    The real breakthrough came when I decided to finally try my hand at actually beatmatching two dance songs to emulate what I heard on those compilation discs.  So, in 2000, I purchased my first true dance records and attempted to use my parent’s old Fisher turntable to beatmatch and blend songs with a casette tape.  The early experiments were a failure, but only because I lacked the gear necessary for mixing dance music.  For my 19th birthday in 2001 I invested what money I had in two Gemini direct-drive turntables and a simple two channel mixer.  It was low end gear but I was finally able to start pumping out mix tapes from my parent’s basement.

    From 2001 through 2004 I was accumulating dance records, DJ compilations on CD, and spinning at small house parties across St. Louis, occasionally recording the road mixes on a portable Minidisc recorder.  Whereas I started out spinning trance and house music, the events of 9/11/2001 combined with the global recession meant that darker dance music was all the craze.  I became enamored in deep, dark, sexy progressive house and focused almost exclusively on that for a few years until a chance encounter with a young, budding DJ at St. Louis University.

    In late 2003, I was entering my final year at SLU and my 4th year working at KSLU, the campus radio station.  At a staff meeting, I met Eric Janke, a meager Sophomore who quietly confessed at the meeting that he spun trance music on his program.  We hit it off, swapping strategies about beatmatching, equipment use, and record labels.  Before too long we were spinning at campus parties, providing a tag team not unlike the legendary Sasha/Digweed combo; I specialized in progressive house, and Eric in upbeat trance.  It was with Eric’s connections and encouragement that I landed my first public gig, spinning alongside him and DJ Blueprint at the on-campus restaurant and bar.  That night in April 2004 was a breathtaking success- even though almost no top 40 mainstream tunes were played, the audience, who wasn’t really a dance music crowd, was very accepting of us and by the end of the evening the manager was asking us to return.  We never did, but it was then that Eric and I knew we had a sound that couldn’t really be matched.

    I graduated SLU with a meteorology degree, my life’s ambition at that point, and began my job search.  Eric had been telling me about this new genre of dance music that blended elements of progressive house with that of trance.  He forwarded me a copy of Markus Schulz’s “Coldharbour Sessions” and one night, while listening to the dual disc compilation at our family farm in the backwoods of the Missouri Ozarks, I became totally hooked.  I haven’t looked back and have been spinning progressive and trance ever since.

    A series of girlfriends, a flurry of television weathercasting job offers, and two years later in 2006 I found myself spinning at some of the best clubs in St. Louis.  For a period of time, Eric and I were resident DJs in the Washington Ave club district downtown, and we both did a tag set to open for Markus Schulz himself later that year.  This was the pinnacle of my club life- at the end of that year I had to give it all up to move away from St. Louis for a temporary management job in Nashville.  I never returned to mainstream clubs after that- I realized I was better spinning records in my apartment and releasing customized dance mixes to friends and family, with the occasional house party or wedding reception thrown in.  Eric moved away from St. Louis upon his graduation, so all of my club contacts were gone by then, anyway.  He would later find success opening for some of the biggest DJs in the world during their US tours, and open up his own record label while working for a top 40 FM in Chicago.  We keep in touch from time to time even today.

    I continued to be the quiet bedroom DJ, while listening to trance and progressive dance mixes down on the family farm, from 2006 through 2008.  The allure of those nightly trance mix sessions on the front porch in the woods, under a starry sky with friends and plenty of drinks on hand, became a tradition for me and my friends.  In 2008 I got word that the Ozarks were going to be getting a full power community radio station on FM.  I quickly sent a show proposal and a demo CD to the management of the radio station, offering my services and touting my own radio experience.  The station’s management was impressed with the style of dance music and gave me my own Saturday night timeslot.

    So, when the station, KZGM 88.1 FM, went on the air a few months late in spring 2009, I finally accomplished being able to share those “Trance on the Porch” moments with my neighbors in the Ozarks.  6 months later Trance on the Porch went national and began adding new FM affiliates nationwide at the rate of about one per month.

    It’s been an improbable and fun decade since I started spinning, full of success and with little failure.  Although my mixing skills these days are nearly perfected, I’m still not the best DJ out there- but I know what sounds good, and that’s what DJing is really all about.  In 2010 I celebrated my tenth year by releasing a dual CD mix compilation called “Ten-Year Tracks”, and replaying all of my old mixes on my radio program to show everyone that we all have to start from somewhere.

    Pacifica Radio Network affiliates have come and gone throughout 2010-2012, and in summer of 2011, Trance on the Porch celebrated its 100th episode, a landmark achievement.  By early 2012, the show has captured audiences on 9 network stations, reaching potential radio audiences well over 1.5 million strong.