Those Usual Suspects - Under Suspicion
3D’s Nina Bertok speaks with DJ Maarcos from Melbourne trio Those Usual Suspects, mixers of the new Housexy compilation.
Even before Those Usual Suspects established themselves as dance heavyweights both at home in Australia and overseas, DJ Maarcos – AKA Mark Kwong – knew that to make it big, the group had to think big. Fast-forward six years later, and the Melbourne trio are happily tasting the sweet, sweet fruits of their labour.
“We could see all the hard work had started to really pay off when we were the first ever group from Australia to be signed on as one of Bob Sinclar’s Africanism All Stars,” Kwong recalls. “That was a stroke of luck but I think we just as much worked really hard to make some good tracks in the first place. Being signed on with him really blew us away, it’s pretty massive when someone you look up to so much comes up to you and says they really like your track.”
As Kwong adds, the international leanings of The Usual Suspects’ musical style quite probably also played a part in the signing.
“We’ve always looked to overseas for our sound, I don’t think we’re Australian-sounding,” he says. “It’s hard being in the Australian music industry because we are such a long distance from Europe, which is the main hub for the sort of stuff we play. And it’s not just us, it’s Australian dance acts. But it’s probably helped a bit by the fact that groups like TV Rock are pushing the Australian thing over there and the support from Ministry of Sound is really important too. For us, they have certainly supported us in our sound and they haven’t tried to change the way we operate in any way.”
That support is evident with the current Ministry of Sound Housesexy Autumn 2009 compilation, a two-disc package featuring mixes by Mobin Master and Those Usual Suspects.
“We mixed the second disc,” Kwong says. “It really carries and encompasses all of our styles combined within the group. It kind of starts off a bit mellow and heads through into the more big-room sound. I generally do the big-room, tribal, house-y stuff. Since we became a trio with Atridge [D’Costa, bass] coming on board, we’ve expanded our sound but we’ve always kept it house-y. You have to consider three people will have three different tastes, but it works for us. We’ve been a trio for about four years. Wei-Shen [Mak] and I have known each other for about 15 years since we started DJing together six years ago. Atridge came along about three years ago and he was classically-trained at the Victorian College of Arts so having that musical background, he can tell technically what’s what.”
With the release of Housesexy Autumn 2009, Kwong declares his mission to spread the word about Those Usual Suspects in America come April.
“I’m heading to the United States and Canada to represent our group,” he says. “Basically the reason is to showcase our group to a bit of a different market, so I’ll be visiting places like Denver, New York and Vegas. Having the chance to get overseas means it’s kind of letting me off the leash for once to do the promotion side of things, so it should be good.”
WHO: Those Usual Suspects
WHAT: Housexy Autumn 2009 through Ministry of Sound / Universal / Play The Argyle
WHEN: Out now / Sunday 12 April
MORE: ministryofsound.com.au / myspace.com/thoseusualsuspects