Photo credit: http://www.cassiehastuphotography.com/
DJ/Producer/Label Owner Markiss Knobs has devoted over 25 years of his life to House music. Playing across the globe alongside top DJ’s and upcoming DJs at all types of venues from festivals, raves, clubs, lounges, bars, beach parties and underground parties including Pacha (Ibiza) and Oh! Marbella (Marbella).
For over a decade, he decided to put more focus on school and in 2004 and studied Audio Engineering, Mastering and Sound Design at the world renowned SAE Institute in Los Angeles, CA (School Of Audio Engineering), where he earned BME, BA, BS degrees. After graduation, he received an offer to be Director of Operations and Program Director for three channels on an online radio station geared to Online Gaming. During this time, he developed an extended network with labels, clubs, promoters, producers, studios, engineers and musicians.
His productions are influenced by growing up in a home where all music was accepted and enjoyed. They infuse Hip Hop, Freestyle, Disco, Funk, Rock, Pop, Jazz, and Blues with styles of Jackin House, Deep House, Funky/Disco House, Tribal and Breakbeats. They have been released on labels such as Instereo Recordings, Turtle Wax Recordings, House of the Sun (HOTS), Blackliquid Music, Paraiso Recordings, Groove Ventures Music, Fett Recordings, Midwest Hustle, Wetsuit Recordings, True House LA, Disco Balls Records, LB Recordings, Suitebeats and Clubbers Culture, just to name a few.
In 2019, Markiss Knobs established Turtle Wax Recordings (TWR). TWR is Hawaii’s first premiere House music label bringing world-class artists to focus on spreading the “aloha spirit” with our mana of Jackin’, Funky, Disco House with a splash of NuDisco Mai Tai’s.
In 2020, he launched a second label to represent Maui and Hawaii; House of the Sun (HOTS). This label focuses on wider range of Tech House, Techno, House, Afro House, Progressive House, Minimal, Deep House, Soulful House, NuDisco/Indie Dance, and Broken Beat from upcoming and world-known artists.
At the same time of launching HOTS, he announced his pseudonym project of Pasifika infused with House music elements…. Shaka Shakes.
GO BANG! Magazine: Where did you grow up and spend your childhood?
Markiss Knobs: With European and American blood, it was in between both. But if I truly had to call a place a home of my growth it would be a small town in Southern California called Palm Springs. And no, nothing from that town inspired my music. I was leap years beyond what they were into even into the 90’s.
GO BANG! Magazine: How did your childhood influence your musical style?
Markiss Knobs: I had an amazing family that was very eclectic and open to all types of music. I am the youngest of five kids. My father was into Classic Rock. He played acoustic guitar and Rhodes keys. My idol and brother Sam (R.I.P), was into Rap since 1982. My other brother Dan was into everything and was the person who introduced me to real House music. My biggest influencers were my brother Sam and my mother. She listened to everything from Jazz, Blues, Contemporary, Disco, Funk, Classical, Classic Rock and Pop Music. My mother allowed me to make my own choices from as young as four years old with music, which led to early experiments with making mixed tapes. You can hear a touch of each influence in my productions.
GO BANG! Magazine: How and when did you get involved in DJ’ing and producing?
Markiss Knobs: I actually started off producing first in 1994 to help make Hip Hop beats for my friends that had the original Akai MPC. With very limited resources of sounds, I noticed how other guys were just using instrumentals from either cassettes or vinyl. I connected with a friend in the same class that was learning how to DJ and had gear. I played around for a few months to chop up beats, but there was no passion to spin Hip Hop for me.
In 1996, my brother Dan played me a mix from DJ Dan and my whole life changed listening to it. It was a blend of every style of music, pumpin’ with hard beats. It was electrifying, inspiring and there was a feeling inside I never felt from music before. I immediately focused all my attention on learning how to mix vinyl.
In 1999, I started producing House/Techno/Trance/Breakbeats, along with going to school for music production, audio engineering and mastering, while earning a Master Degree at the world wide known School of Audio Engineering.
GO BANG! Magazine: When did you relocate to Hawaii and why?
Markiss Knobs: I moved to Maui, Hawai’i in 2017 to have a better family life with my kids and to raise them in an environment with nature, culture and a community of kind people. Best choice of my life.
GO BANG! Magazine: What is the House music scene like in Hawaii?
Markiss Knobs: It’s very unique as Hawaii is itself. Each island has its own vibe, but at the same time all Hawaii style. Oahu has more of a night life than the other islands. Good clubs, solid DJ’s and promoters. Big Island has had cool events and definitely has potential in the future to really build a strong scene. Kauai has small but very nice gatherings with solid DJs and promoters pushing there. Maui has a special close-knit ‘ohana. A handful of venues that host House music, intimate beach parties, really good local DJs, community support, and we are just getting started. We’ve brought acts like DJ Dan, Rescue, Joel DeMarzo, Thee-O, Trent Cantrelle, Mark Farina, Marques Wyatt, JJ Flores, Anthony Attalla, Joey Avila, Donald Claude, Scotty Boy and many more to help build the support inside the community and the future will continue bringing top level acts to showcase their talent and spread the sound of House to the Pacific.
GO BANG! Magazine: As a DJ and Producer, how would you describe your sound and style?
Markiss Knobs: As a DJ, my sound covers everything HOUSE… from Deep, Funky, Disco, Jackin, Techy and Tribal and my style is a platter of smooth seamless transitions, track flow, reconstruction of remixes and programming on the fly along with tons of tricks in the mix.
Production wise, I allow my feelings and the vibe during the session to guide the sound and I always stamp my signature jackin’ beats and arrangements.
GO BANG! Magazine: You’re also the label owner of Turtle Wax Records and House of the Sun. Please describe your record labels and some of the prominent artists in your stable.
Markiss Knobs: I’ve thought about starting a brand of labels for nearly 20 years. Each time my hold up was that I couldn’t commit to building a brand and help promote these amazing talented artists as well. I’ve spent over a decade building other labels and finally when I moved to Maui, I felt I had the correct balance and best inspiration to build a label.
Turtle Wax Recordings (TWR) is focused on Jackin, Disco, Nu-Disco and House Music. 2020 was an amazing year for TWR with two tracks in the Top 10, 38 Tracks in Top 100, 17 Tracks in the Hype Charts, 5 Weekend Weapons, 55 Essential Charts and featured on 370 Artists Charts at Traxsource. There’s so many amazing people on the label, and I hate to leave anyone out.
First, I have the gifted artist Curtis C. Flush and my right hand braddah Benjamin Jay for bringing my vision to life. Spot on with the logo design. Artists of the label include Superfunk, C. Da Afro, Fred Dekker, JedX, Disco Ball’z, Rhythm Staircase, AVA(IT), Col Lawton, Moon Disco (US) Dan Ros, Alex Rai, Federfunk, Max Esposito, DJ Threejay, Agent Stereo, Filta Freqz, Rick Marshall, Da Funk Junkies, Loris Altafini, Omson, Mike Chenery, Tony Garcia, Dafunkeetomato, PC Pat, Claud Santo, Paco Caniza, Kevin Allen, DiscoGalactiX, Oggie B, Marshall (UK), Sam Sky (Sam Righetti), Doc Link, Bonetti to name a few. TWR’s 100th release will release exactly one year to the date of the first release on Feb 22nd with a full length album by The Stoned.
House of the Sun (HOTS) is inspired by Maui’s myth of the island’s highest mountain Haleakala (House of the Sun) the label is all HOUSE. The first release was in September 2020 and within three months had two tracks in the Top 10, three tracks in Top 100, one track in Hype Chart, one track in the Weekend Weapons, two tracks in the Essential Charts, and featured in 24 artist charts. Artists of the label include Joel DeMarzo, Porgie, David Britton, Chris Kiser, Atlows, Kennedy, Gregory Charlz, Brejner & The Teacher along with many more. I am extremely grateful and blessed for my long term relationships with most of the artists in the ‘ohana (Family)
GO BANG! Magazine: House music in Hawaii is probably much different than House in Chicago? Can you compare and contrast the House music in Hawaii, as compared to here in Chicago?
Markiss Knobs: Yes, for sure. Chicago, from my experiences, has been a city of acceptance of whatever House you want to throw down. It’s the birth of HOUSE and regardless of time of the day, day of the week, and the venue, Chicago has a vibe of jack! There’s no question about that. Park parties in Chicago are more appreciated and loved by the thousands over most places in the world on the grandest stage. Hawaii is smaller, intimate and the gathering embraces the music as long as the vibe of the party is jivin’.
GO BANG! Magazine: You’ve had the opportunity to travel around the world, in the name of House. How would you describe House’s acceptance in other countries, in comparison to here in the States?
Markiss Knobs: This is the hardest to explain to anyone that hasn’t experienced it before. There are a few cities in the US that you can find House music that have a good following. Europe House music is a pleasure every day, at coffee shops, juice bars, restaurants, retail and more. It’s part of their culture because it’s considered popular music. In the US, it’s completely different.. The scene is much smaller. The network of people that have embraced their lives into House Music isn’t the same compared to Europe. This isn’t a new subject either. Americans love to party and do drugs. But for the masses, they aren’t there for the music.
In other parts of the world, they are there for the music, good company and vibes. This is something that has been an issue ever since I started international gigs. Places like Europe, Australia and Asia have pushed the scene into another level, compared to the US, with focusing 100% on EDM.
GO BANG! Magazine: Would you agree that House music has been commercially embraced in other countries, and not so much here in the USA? Why do you think that is?
Markiss Knobs: Absolutely! I believe that House music wasn’t formulated for the US culture of the 80’s, 90’s and early 2000’s. Although it’s the birthplace, I feel it wasn’t accepted in the US because of the money behind Hip Hop culture during the time. US have “no F’s given” when it comes to a culture of music. They are only focused on the culture of money making. House wasn’t going to sell top 10’s on the billboard so they don’t care. They did the same about Latin music until they realized it was sold more worldwide than their music that they focused on artists like Selina to make a profit. Of course, as a musician you want to make money off your material… regardless. Most artists worldwide enjoy “The Nod” more. From my experiences “The Nod” has always been more powerful and it’s the motivation I excel off of.
GO BANG! Magazine: Over the years, you morphed from being only a DJ. You’ve also accomplished great success as a producer. You’ve worked with many icons in the House music industry as well. Who are some of the DJs and artists you’ve had the opportunity to work with?
Markiss Knobs: I’ve worked with many talented people… The ones that have either set my bar higher or pushed my limits and have always been honest with me are DJ Dan, Superfunk, Rescue, Sam Sky (Sam Righetti), Kendo, The Stoned, Kennedy and many more.
GO BANG! Magazine: After working with such high ranking DJs over the years, are there any DJs that you would love to work with now?
Markiss Knobs: There are many I would love to work with. But, the top three that I’ve been itching to work with for 25 years is Hatiras, Conga Squad, and Jay Vegas. One of them is most likely releasing on TWR in 2021. Keep an eye out to see which legend!
GO BANG! Magazine: Are you currently working on any new projects or would you like to mention anything that you’d like our readers to check out?
Markiss Knobs: I am always working on new tunes, remixes and helping others tighten up their productions. I have over 50 tracks for release in 2021 from many different labels. 2021 is an extremely busy year for myself and both labels Turtle Wax Recordings (TWR) and House of the Sun (HOTS).
TWR will break its 200th release within 2021. HOTS will break its 100th release and two full length albums by Kennedy and Shaka Shakes (aka Markiss Knobs) within 2021. The main mission for the labels is to spread the love of House music in the Pacific. I trust with my ‘ohana we’ll complete the task. I’m extremely grateful for the ‘ohana I was able to build. Words can’t express. Without my extended ‘ohana, this year would have sucked like everyone felt. But, to be completely honest, my ‘ohana has made my year fabulous, very enjoyable and refreshing. To that I owe them all my love and respect.
ONE LOVE TO MY TWR & HOTS ‘Ohana. Check out all of Turtle Wax Recordings and House of the Sun releases.
GO BANG! Magazine: In conclusion, the COVID-19 pandemic has caught the world off guard. How are you dealing with it?
Markiss Knobs: Covid did stop the movement of the parties for Hawaii and the groundbreaking events that were in the forecast. But, like I said before, my TWR & HOTS ‘ohana has made 2020 a fabulous year. The long convos, debates, and just love for each other is something special. I credit 100% of it to HOUSE MUSIC.
I’m looking forward to having all ‘ohana members join us in Maui for a show. The whole mission for the labels… bringing world class artists to the Pacific!
YOU CAN FOLLOW MARKISS KNOBS:
You can also check out music at the following:
Markiss Knobs | Traxsource: https://www.traxsource.com/search?term=Markiss+Knobs
Turtle Wax Recordings Tracks & Releases on Traxsource: https://www.traxsource.com/label/48876/turtle-wax-recordings
House of the Sun Tracks & Releases on Traxsource: https://www.traxsource.com/label/53325/house-of-the-sun
Pierre A. Evans is a freelance writer of Entertainment, Music, Art, Culture, Fashion and Current Events, and previously for SoulTrain.com, NDigo.com, ChicagoDefender.com, EmpireRadioMagazine.com, and UrbanMuseMag.com, an author, singer/songwriter, actor, model, poet, dancer, and DJ. He is also the owner of Pinnacle Entertainment Productions. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and on Instagram
Photo credit: http://www.cassiehastuphotography.com/