Indie, rock, ‘60s garage, soul, electro, punk—punk and post, if we’re being specific: DJ Nick Marc plays it all, so long as the “all” in question keeps the night moving. A music mainstay since arriving to New York City in the 1990s, Marc made a name for himself spinning at the hallowed halls of Coney Island High, Webster Hall, Wax, and Spy. In the late-‘90s and early-aughts, Marc’s “TISWAS” party, which recently celebrated its 21st anniversary, was the Britpop night of note, and he later co-founded parties at velvet-rope hot spots Life and Spa. In short: Marc has a track record for playing, well, the right tracks.
These days, Marc sets the mood at Butterfly, a new bar and lounge at SIXTY SoHo courtesy of Nur Khan, Jason Pomeranc, and John McDonald. Socialites, models, and the well-to-do mill about while Marc runs a bespoke soundtrack for the evening at hand. To give the uninitiated an idea of what a night with Marc sounds like, he’s crafted our inaugural Butterfly soundtrack, a mix—true to form—of retro throwbacks, Norwegian techno, and some good ol’ rock-n-roll.
Meet Marc in our interview below, and then press play.
Where are you from?
I am British. I was born in Worcester in the Midlands but grew up just south of London in a town called Woking.
How long have you lived in New York City?
For over 20 years.
Where do you live in NYC now?
I live in Clinton Hill in Brooklyn.
What got you into music?
I am not sure if there was any one thing that got me into music; it just always seemed to be there. David Bowie was a definite early-influence, as was The Jam, who came from the same town as I and were, at the time, the biggest band in the country. Also the energy of punk, post-punk, and New Wave had a definite effect on me.
What was the first album you ever purchased?
The first album I bought with my own money was David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, quickly followed by Iggy Pop’s Lust For Life, and Lou Reed’s Transformer, mainly due to their Bowie connection—he produced them. They are still amongst my favorite albums!
What was your first big investment as a DJ?
That would be two Technic 1200 turntables and a Rane two-channel mixer. The turntables are still in very regular use but I have had a few more mixers since then!
Any DJs or musicians you admired growing up?
Bowie again, along with the classics like the Rolling Stones, T.Rex, the Kinks, the Beatles along with the punk acts such as the Clash, the Damned, Sex Pistols, as well as Iggy Pop and the Stooges, New York-centric artists such as the Velvet Underground/Lou Reed, the Ramones, Blondie, Talking Heads, and Johnny Thunders, which probably had some influence on my fascination and my eventual move to New York.
Post-punk acts such as Joy Division and New Order, the Cure, Depeche Mode and the Smiths had a big influence on my formative years. Late ’80s acts such as the Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, and Primal Scream, whose sound embraced the burgeoning acid house scene, helping bridge the gap between traditional guitar-based indie rock music and dance music. I would say all the above acts informed and influenced my early DJ sets and club nights and still do to a certain extent.
It was not until I became a DJ myself that I really started paying attention to other DJs, but the Chemical Brothers—or, as they were then known, the Dust Brothers—had a huge influence on me when I heard them play at the Heavenly Social party many years ago in London. That was when I first realized what was possible with a DJ set—that you could play many genres of music together without losing the groove and make it work as a cohesive whole.
The London club night Blow Up also had an influence on me, though that was more of retro mod/soul/lounge vibe and I was also a big fan of Erol Alkin and his “Trash” party, as well as his remixes. While I came to it later, I came to appreciate legendary Paradise Garage DJ Larry Levan, who pretty much bridged the gap between disco and modern dance music. The best nights always create a unique atmosphere and experience, which is what all the guys I have just mentioned had in common.
What was your first DJ gig in NYC?
In the mid-90s, I was asked to fill in for a friend at Webster Hall. After my set, they then offered me a gig. It all snowballed from there.
Album you’re currently very into right now and why:
Listening to quite a few albums right now. I am loving Iggy Pop’s new album, Free. I am always interested in what Iggy is up to, but this new album is something else! It’s more of an introspective, ambient album—even jazzy in places—with Iggy interpreting other writers’ words, including Lou Reed and Dylan Thomas. It is not something I would drop in my DJ sets, but it is a fantastic record. I have always liked electronic rock act the Chromatics, who have just dropped a surprise new album, Closer to Grey, which is spectacular. I am also enjoying Metronomy’s new release, Metronomy Forever, which has a dreamy electro pop feel.
What do you bring to the table at Butterfly?
I like to think I bring a fun, eclectic vibe to Butterfly. One of the things I like about Butterfly is that I feel free to be more adventurous with my sets than I am at other places. The music I play complements the aesthetic of the room in that it is an intimate, sexy space, rather than a big room with pounding dance music, meaning I can switch up styles and genres, creating a unique and inviting atmosphere where you can either dance if so inclined or have a conversation while enjoying the music.
When you’re not behind the decks, where are we likely to find you?
I am a bit of a homebody when not working, so you will more often than not find me in my Clinton Hill/Fort Greene neighborhood. Fort Greene farmers market on Saturdays, wandering around Fort Greene Park or Prospect Park, eating or having a drink in various local bars and restaurants. I am fortunate in that there are lots of great places to eat and drink in my neighborhood.
Being a bit of a bookworm, Greenlight Bookstore is my local bookstore. As an avid vinyl collector, Rough Trade, Academy Records, and Turntable Lab are amongst my favorites record stores. I also like seeing live music, work schedule permitting. Mercury Lounge, Bowery Ballroom, and Baby’s All Right are some of my favorite smaller venues, while Brooklyn Steel is a great spot for seeing bigger acts.
Living in a city like New York, we are blessed with some fine museums as well as art galleries, and I always enjoy going to the theater when I have a chance. You really are spoiled for choice in this city!
The recipe for a perfect night in NYC:
I have always found the best nights to be unplanned—they just happen. Let’s just say a perfect NYC night would include good music, fine food, classic cocktails, and great people!
Any other places for our readers can listen to your sets?
I am resident DJ, along with Kieren Taylor, at the long-running Morrissey Nite Sundays at Paul’s Casablanca on Spring Street. In conjunction with my friends at GBH Events, I do a monthly 2000s disco punk party at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn, which has been very successful. Later this month, we debut a new party, also at the Knitting Factory, called Indie Crush, which is going to explore the poppier side of indie music.