By Vanessa

South Africa has managed to produce many musical talents over the years, and one of those is the legendary Mark Stent, DJ/Producer and musical extraordinaire. Mark graced Nelspruit with his presence not so long ago, and we sincerely hope to have him here again. He has released a new single, called “Deep In” ft. Basel Grey and it ROCKS! Listen here while you read. It is awesome, PLUS it’s available on iTunes.

Mark is undoubtedly a humble family man who remains focused and driven. He is also proudly South African and has invested his talents in the music scene and is now so deeply rooted that he has some very interesting career goals in the pipeline, so fear not. The man is planning some big stuff in the near future and if you are a fan (how can you not be?), keep your ears and eyes open peeps. You do not want to miss what’s heading your way!

I was very privileged to have him answer our infamous 20 questions in a very open and honest way. I’m sure you will, like me, be extremely chuffed to have some insight into the brilliant mind of one of our top SA DJ’s. I proudly present his response;

STM: Please tell us at what age you started mixing and what happened that got you into it?

Mark Stent (MS): I started DJ’ing when I was 18 years old. I had always been into music and had a huge collection. I guess it was the logical step for me to progress into making and mixing it!

STM: You’ve played at many events and venues. Tell us about your favourite past event and why you enjoyed it the most?

MS: I think two events come to mind: Playing the main stage Ultra South Africa is probably the pinnacle gig of my career. It’s such a huge and international brand. H20 parties over the last 15 years have been consistently my favourite: large crowds, outdoors, in the day. I love playing to big dance floors.

STM: Your biggest musical influences?

MS: Originally it was my dad. He was an avid music collector and musician. I think that’s where my love of music stemmed from. Over the years I have had so many influences and role models I have looked up to for various reasons from the musical ability to technical ability. Some of the people in the industry that always inspire me are artists like Ricardo Da CostaKyle WatsonJust Jinger to name a few. These guys are super consistent and at the top of their game and are the epitome of professionalism.

Mark Stent - Photo Steven Butler Photography
Mark Stent
(Photo Steven Butler Photography)

STM: You’re pretty much one of the hottest SA DJ’s. However, dreams do keep us focused. What are your current dreams and aspirations as a DJ?

MS: Right now my passion and love are making music. I get so much pleasure from hearing my music being played by others or on the radio. Producing music is my way of expressing myself. In the future, I want to experiment with more genres, work with other inspirational artists and hopefully get more of my music respected on an international level.

STM: You have a background in extensive bodybuilding (and boy, you look so good!). Please tell us more about that: when did you start and are you currently still building that hot bod of yours?

MS: Blush (LOL)… for many years I was a bodybuilder and WABBA SA heavyweight champion. It’s never stopped being part of my life and I feel that having a healthy body (especially in this industry), helps to keep my mind clear and creative. I think I’ve been training for 18 odd years now. Watch this space: I’m opening a fitness franchise very, very soon!

STM: You have played at F1 Grand Prix Opening Parties. How on earth did you land that?

MS: I was actually very lucky. It was a South African running the event and she had heard me play a few times. So she brought me out there a couple of times.

STM: You have played many different styles of music, including EDM and Deep House. Which is your favourite type and why?

MS: It’s very hard for me to choose a once specific style, it’s like saying “which of my children I love most”. I am intimately in love with dance music as a whole and there are different styles for different types and sizes of events. For example, EDM is more big-floor music and deep house is suited more to smaller, cosier venues. My personal favourite genre to listen and party to is techno.

STM: You are loved by many and you certainly have no lack of fans! What is the nicest thing a fan has ever said/done to you?

MS: I have been very lucky to have so many people support me, and I am intimately grateful for everything. I once had a guy give me a brand new set of SL1200 turntables (the holy grail of DJ turntables) just because when he was partying I was nice to him when many others weren’t. I really didn’t feel that I deserved it but it was definitely the kindest gesture I have had.

STM: Being famous has its advantages and disadvantages. Can you give us an idea of both in your experience?

MS: Well, I wouldn’t say I’m “famous” per se, but from having a relatively large network there are perks. I get to represent some of the awesome brands I’m endorsed by and get some cool free stuff 🙂. I get access to amazing events and get to meet wonderfully talented people plus I get to travel all over the show. There are some downsides, though, your privacy is at a premium. People tend to judge you harshly too.

Mark Stent  - photo via Mark Stent's Facebook page
Mark Stent
(photo via Mark Stent’s Facebook page)

STM: Please give us an insight into your personal life. What makes you tick? Who is the love of your life? How many pets do you have?

MS: Anyone that knows me will tell you my three daughters are the centre of my life as well as my muses. I love them. Luckily my job is my absolute passion, so playing music, making music and listening to music literally does make me “tick” in every way. I do also like to read, watch movies and debate about religion. I have 2 beautiful Boston Terriers.

STM: What do you do for fun when you’re not playing at a gig?

MS: I hardly ever have any real time off so when I do, it’s really quite boring. I like to spend time with my girls, especially curling up in the lounge with popcorn and a good movie.

STM: Do you only enjoy electronic music? Or do you have a band/s that you enjoy listening to from time to time?

MS: I am a massive fan of music in general. Electronic music is at the top of my list definitely but as I have matured as a musician I have been open to the musicality of other styles. I do really like NirvanaLimp BizkitJust JingerSaving Silence too.

STM: What, in your opinion, is the criteria to match if you want to be a successful DJ in South Africa? What is the secret recipe to make it work?

MS: Well, things have changed a lot over the years. Currently, in order to get DJ gigs, you need to produce music people want to listen to. Yes, there is a secret formula: It’s called patiencehard work and time! Most new DJs don’t realise how long it has taken most of us to get any level that we have.

STM: Please tell us what equipment you make use of when playing. Some DJ’s keep it old school and still mix on their Technics turntables, others on CD Jays and a lot of DJ’s make use of Ableton and the like. What is your technical poison? What do you feel comfortable with?

MS: If I had my personal choice it would always be on vinyl playing on Technics SL1200 turntables. It’s the purest form of DJ’ing. I’m getting into live play now with an instrument and live music production, so I’m working a lot with Ableton Live and the Akai APC40 along with a Korg Keyboard. It’s great to be able to play your music live and not just mix other people’s tracks together.

STM: Who is your favourite international DJ?

MS: Carl Cox, hands down.

STM: Have you been a mentor to any aspiring DJ’s in South Africa?

MS: I like to think I help the younger generation as much as I can. We all had to start somewhere. I currently run a course with Rise Academy teaching young artists how to produce music.

STM: If you could play anywhere in the world right now, where would it be?

MS: Anywhere with a beach and a swimming-pool-like sea! In terms of events, I think I’d love to play at massive festivals like EDC (Electric Daisy Carnival) and Creamfields.

STM: Where do you see Mark Stent in 5 years’ time?

MS: In 5 years I want to be producing and playing music live all over the world. I have started a live act called The Fibonacci Sequence with two top vocalists, Miss K and Basel Grey.

STM: Give us your opinion on the South African music scene currently.

MS: South Africa is brimming with talent. We have so many amazing artists that are pushing boundaries with music production – it’s amazing. In fact, probably 70% of the music I play is South African. In terms of the club scene, I think we are going through a transition period right now. The music is changing and evolving and the DJ’s are feeling what it is that moves people.

STM: On a final note: please tell us what is new in Mark Stent’s career. We’ve been watching you and a little bird told us about something fresh and new hitting the music scene this week?

MS: SOOOO much! I have a new single on the radio right now called “Deep In” ft. Basel Grey. We start shooting the music video next week. My first music (not DJ) album is out this week. It has 12 original tracks ranging from deep house, to tech house to future bass to trap to hip hop to kwaito to an acoustic version. I’m so so proud of it! Something so different for me. Of course, the album tour will kick off in the next 8 weeks or so. Lots of overseas gigs coming and some POWERFUL collaborations. Let’s just say I’m keeping busy!

Mark Stent in the studio working on his new album "Solid" -
photo via Mark Stent's Facebook page
Mark Stent in the studio working on his new album “Solid”
(photo via Mark Stent’s Facebook page)

Be sure to get Mark’s new album, Solid, that is launching on 10 March 2017.

If you have not seen this guy do his thing on the decks, be sure to catch him soon at one of his gigs by following him on FacebookTwitterYouTubeiTunes and Instagram. As his website, bio describes: he is known for his magnetic and uplifting energy!

Here is a #1 on the 5FM Dance Chart:

Vanessa is a hippy/gypsy/traveller of the world. A single mom who loves all things music and a complete festival junkie