February 18, 2013 Share


When it comes to music, one need not be an expert on music history to be a fan. As much as this may pain the purists protecting the sacred history of dance music, the same applies to this genre as well. Truth is, it’s something we who take time to read the fine print and who dig deep into the crates, just have to get used to. Unfortunately, this means many important people will be forgotten. Perhaps it is figures who simply made their contributions from behind the scenes or peaked before the digital era, or perhaps never played at a massive music festival or been on a Top DJ list. Whatever the case may be, it is the job of those who do know, who remember, who appreciate, to spread the word to the new jacks.

This past weekend, the DJ community lost a very important and grand figure. Yet, his name is known mostly by those he worked with or those with more than a decade or so in the game. His name, let alone his role in bringing dance music and DJ culture to the world, mostly unknown by the new generation of fans. In this DJ of The Week, we pay our respects to Mark Kamins.

Mark Kamins first began playing records as a kid and by 10 years old was already manning the decks himself. He first began making a name for himself in New York’s underground club scene by DJing at the legendary Traxx nightclub. From there he went on to spin at classic hotspots such as Danceteria, Mudd Club, Peppermint Lounge, Mars, Palladium, the Tunnel, just to name a few. He also DJed for the Talking Heads for a while.

Kamins was the man behind a lot of DJ firsts. He was one of the first DJs to spin for extended periods of time, going at it for over 12 hours, which was unheard of at the time. It might seem strange to some now, but hiring a DJ to play records in another country was something else that was unheard of at one time. And the first DJ to receive such an honor? Mark Kamins of course.

Kamins was also an accomplished producer and the way he joined the ranks of producer is itself etched into the history of dance music. See, Kamins wanted to produce. Looking for an act he could produce himself, he took a demo of a one time girlfriend and Danceteria dancer to Seymour Stein, founder and President of Sire Records and urged him to sign her. Legend has it, once Stein heard the demo he did so even though he was laid up in the hospital at the time. This artist was Madonna. Kamins went on to produce Madonna’s first single ‘Everybody’ and as they say, the rest is history. Madonna would go on to become a massive pop star and Kamins solidified himself as not only one of New York’s premier DJs but, one of the world’s first superstar DJs.

Although Kamins continued as producer and would go on to work with the likes of David Byrne, Tommy Page, Afrika Bambaataa, the Beastie Boys, Sinéad O’Connor, UB40, Ofra Haza, Danny Elfman, and many more, he would primarily be known for his role as a DJ. Based on just the accomplishments that I have mentioned here, which have barely skimmed the surface of the true scope of his career, it isn’t hard to see why. Being a DJ, bringing smiles to peoples faces as they danced the nite away, there was nothing Kamins loved more. It is a role he savored until his last breath. And sadly, that date arrived much too soon. On Friday, February 15, 2013 Kamins suffered a massive heart attack.

When news hit DJs from all over the world took to the social networks and began sharing their disbelief, their memories, their hurt. You could say that on that day, the music literally stopped.

To honor Mark Kamin by posthumously selecting hims as DJ of The Week is our way of not only thanking him for all he has done and meant to dance music and DJ culture, but it’s also our way of us introducing him to the new fans and the younger generations out there. One can’t know everything or everyone in the history of the scene, but Mark Kamins is one name you should be familiar with. That’s the best we can do, to honor all that he did.

Rest in Peace Mark Kamins.

NOTE: The following mix was uploaded by Kamins himself to his Soundcloud account and is the only one I could find.

In classic Kamins fashion, it clocks in at over 13 hours! How he managed to record and consequently upload such a massive mix is beyond me. Unfortunately, it might also be beyond our current machines capabilities to play it. I have yet been able to successfully play it in its entirety, the mix basically goes dead on me at different points every time I play it. I’m not sure if the length prevents the entire mix from loading or what, hopefully you’ll have better luck than me.

If you come across another one of Kamins mixes, please let us know and we will place it here.