DJ Dossier

DJ Dark Mark Talks Industrial Music, Tranzylvania, Lords of Acid, Front 242, and More

Name: Mark Tomlinson

AKA: DJ Dark Mark

Genres spun: I started out playing with what I knew best -- EBM, industrial, and rhythmic noise. As of late I have been mixing a lot of dubstep and drum 'n' bass into my industrial sets.

Current schedule: I am one of the resident DJs for Horns and Halos ( and we put together quarterly events, fetish balls, and are now starting to have regular concerts all through out the year. I also work regularly with SINge every fourth Friday at The Firehouse in Phoenix.

How did you get started as a DJ? When I turned 21, I was brought to Tranzylvania. I quickly loved the style of music and will never forget rocking out on the dance floor with DJ noiz.fkr played "Smack My Bitch Up" by the Prodigy. I was a metalhead up until that point. Friday after Friday, I went there and fell in love with the diverse styles of music that were produced. Between Tranz and Horns and Halos events bringing in a lot of electronic artists, I was sold.

I spent (and still do) hours a week searching for new songs and artists and I wanted to bring out what I loved to the people I danced next to for years. I learned using some awesomely bad Gemini CD-J's and got my first gig playing at Tranz. The rest is history.

Why do you dig industrial music? Bands like Fear Factory, Spineshank, Static-X were always heavy on electronics and that caught my eye right away, so I kept trying to find a mix of metal and electronic. Most people usually had Skinny Puppy, Nitzer Ebb, and Front 242 as their first bands, mine was VNV Nation, which I heard while walking through Hot Topic. From then on, I just couldn't get enough of industrial music. It can be as mellow as Depeche Mode and as hard and aggressive as Hatebreed.

Best experience as a DJ? It's bittersweet. It goes back to my favorite club, Tranzylvania at Palazzo. After five years of being a patron and occasional guest, noiz.fkr asked me to DJ with him on the final night. I took so much honor in that and getting to keep the packed floor dancing was defiantly one of the best feelings to have.

And the worst? During a Horns and Halos event last year and I had been given a cd to play during a performance and the CD had some weird format that our player couldnt read it so it was a dead silence half way into the performance and Mr. Bound schmoozed the audience for probably the longest 25 seconds of my life until I got the song continuing again. It was horrible!

What's something surprising about yourself? People are always surprised of my day job working at a laboratory in a hospital [where] I get to work with some interesting specimens. Seriously though, I have been working my way up in the medical field and love helping people getting better. I love what I do and I can't thank my mom enough for kicking me in the ass to go to medical school.

Best concert you've attended in the last year: By far, it would have to be getting to see The Lords of Acid. They put an amazing rock feel to their very electronic songs and I thought it was perfect to mix it all together.

Preferred poison while DJing: There's nothing better than a good Absolut and cranberry next to me. (I gave up Red Bull..I have way too much energy when I DJ.)

Which do you prefer -- spinning at club or spinning at raves? I've only gotten to play at one rave so far which was Bloodfest last October. I had a blast and hope to get into more of those in the upcoming years. I have been lucky to play all over Phoenix in some of the best clubs and in particular Venue of Scottsdale and Palazzo. The sound is amazing and both are beautiful.

Which bygone place do you miss the most? I would love to have The Sets back. The three rooms were perfect to walk in and out of and the outdoor room was perfect when people needed to drink and smoke at the same time.

Explanation behind your DJ name: Back in my metal and hardcore days, some friends that were in the group x24x gave me the nickname. And from then on it's always stuck.

What's the darkest thing you've ever done? I'd say dressing up as my own version of Dr. Satan a few years back for Halloween that ended up getting me first place at two clubs and placing at others. Anyone that knows me well always questions why that is my name as I am always laughing and having fun, being quite the opposite of dark.

Who are your idols and influences? I have many people I look up to as influences here in Arizona over the years that got me where I am now. The crew at the Sadisco* always had the best nights and got me to learn about new artists with their compilation CDs they always put out.

What is your mantra when it coming to DJing? To me its to always bring something new to the crowds and keep them moving even if its not a club hit. There is nothing better than always having people come up asking what I played and where to hear more. That means I did my job.

When not DJing, where can you be found? I always do my best to support the scene and its nice to be able to go out and dance and socialize. I love hitting up Sanctum on Fridays and I tend to hang out at Harrah's over in Maricopa to spend the night at the craps table until dawn. I don't think I would be a good fit for DJing to the primarily over 75 crowd there though.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.