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Interview: Karkasaurus (DJ Kark of Beat:Cancer and DJ PeeWee of Cosmic)

If you've attended a Gothic music event that is even vaguely electronic then there's no doubt you would have seen Mark (DJ Kark) announcing bands, charity collecting for Beat:Cancer festival which he runs in often very entertaining ways, or spinning at the DJ decks (Once even alongside Memmaker!) Then there's Peter (DJ PeeWee) who is one half of what makes up Cosmic hard dance, again often found at many a music event filling the DJ set between bands. Both of these wonderful guys have been a real integral part of keeping alternative music and fun nights out alive. So when the two of them decided to join forces, even the titanic impact of a meteor couldn't keep these two down!

Q. So just what on Triassic, Jurassic, or Cretaceous period Earth is Karkasaurus and how did it come about? Did the idea start when you were dressed as a nurse leading a T-rex around at Infest Kark?

[Peewee] If you give Mark a Chance to dress a nurse, he will take it!! That ‘stunt’ was actually to help promote Beat:Cancer and Infest’s own Charity.

[Kark] And the dinosaur first came about at one of Petrol Bastards many Last Ever Gigs with Beat:Cancer in 2017 - Ben’s face presented with a dinosaur bearing a “F*ck Off” cake was priceless!

[Peewee] Karkasaurus actually predates that - our first gig together was headlining at Khronology in Bristol back in January 2018.

Before that we had been DJing at the same gigs often taking over from each other. I practically lived around Kark and his better half’s house for the end of 2017 when we were playing most weekends. It just seemed natural that we went B2B, it meant between us we could co-promote and bring new even crazier ideas to the table.

It’s also more challenging up on stage. We honestly don’t know what the other is about to play and we feel this unplanned and unpredictable nature of our sets can be felt on the dancefloor. We live near enough 3 hours away from each other - so we don’t really get many ‘practice sessions’.

Combining our two DJ names wasn’t really going to work (KarkWee has an awful ring to it). So Kark kept his and I donated my love of dinosaurs instead. The costumes followed straight after and have been there since our first gig.

(Pictured Rachie / Mark @ Infest 2018, Bradford)

Q. Last I saw you both play Cosmic at Slimelight, you had your Dino onesies on and our good friend Ryan donning the inflatable T-rex in the crowd. Can we expect a larger herd of dino’s at each show, should we be worried, should we take precautions??

[Peewee] Ryan has been brilliant. Every show we’ve played in the last year he has been at and terrorised the local club goers. The best thing is we never once asked him to - he just started doing it and we love him for it.

Our next show is at Infest 2019 (The UKs largest Goth festival) and we have been given the task of closing the festival in the main room. Chris and the team at Infest have been great - all our ideas have been approved in advance and they are giving us four decks to mix on instead of the normal two for an extra amount of creativity on stage.

Should you be worried? Nah, our fans haven’t eaten anyone yet*

*correct at the time of print

[Kark] Mainly correct.. I have seen some bite marks… But just to be safe I’d advise camouflage: if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em in your finest dino-themed regalia!

(Elektro Vox- It's true, Ryan has been known to bite..)

(Pictured Ryan @ Bioshokk, London)

Q. Are you guys working on some original music to bring out a Karkasaurus album in future perhaps?

[Kark] Funnily enough we are! Whereas it’s bad form as an Industrial DJ to play your own music (not to mention the fact that BeinE and D.E.P isn’t particularly danceable material), with hard dance it’s a great way to progress your sets; writing tunes specifically for our own DJing to bring the audience something new. We’ve got a few things lined up for Infest specifically - namely the first two Karkasaurus tracks and a new hilariously ill advised mashup by Kark (Peewee refuses to be associated with it!). There’s hopefully more in the pipeline with a few awesome vocalists lined up!

Q. What are the origins behind you DJ names of Kark and Peewee?

[Kark] I’m Mark. With a K… Kark. It came about when we had two Marks (Mark and Marc) in a group of friends. We tried to differentiate with “Mark with K” and “Mark with a C”... someone blurted out “oh Kark and Carc - that makes it easier!” it’s become my nickname and

the rest is murky and ill advised history..

[Peewee] is my nickname from primary school. Everyone I know calls me Peewee whether that's at work, at home or out with my friends. It seemed silly to try and brand myself as anything different.

Q. What bands and artists got you in to doing this type of music yourselves? Who are your inspirations?

[Peewee] I wasn’t that big into music for a long time. My parents took me to see AC/DC when I was around 14 and it changed from there, where like a lot of teenagers I got into the metal scene.

I’d never heard much Industrial music till my friend asked me to go with her to a small festival called Resistanz in 2012. I got hooked and I’ve been a part of the scene ever since. Bands like Memmaker, Phosgore, Noisuf-x etc with hard hitting bass are the ones that attract my attention though.

My true passion is Hardstyle and Hardcore. Da Tweekaz, Kutski, Darren Styles, Zatox, Sefa, Headhunterz, Dr Peacock, N-Vitral etc are a handful of names that I can think of that of that inspire.

DJ wise I’ve just hit four years since I bought a small controller for my bedroom. This year I supported Headhunterz (Ranked the 17th best DJ in the world) at Ministry of Sound and I’m grateful to all those promoters and friends who have helped support the journey so far.

[Kark] I’ve always had an Industrial background, and have been DJing Metal and Industrial since I was 18. My very first Industrial gig (and first festival full stop) was Infest 2007, with Gothsicles opening. To be playing the closing set there 12 years later is amazing! Since then it’s been a community more than a scene for me and I’ve been privileged enough to work and collaborate with some truly amazing people: from getting my solo work (D.E.P) on the old Static Distortion Records label and later partnering with AnalogueTrash for Beat:Cancer, to getting the opportunity to remix artists like ESA, Global Citizen and The Gothsicles. That’s always inspired and pushed me to be involved as an artist, a DJ and a promoter.

The harder side of things is thanks to Sarah and Peewee inviting me to guest at Cosmic. I started off opening with trance and futurepop and was told if I played hardstyle I could get later slots - so I whored myself out, and realised I really enjoyed DJing hardstyle. Then Xtreme London asked me to do a hardcore set, which I’d never really gotten into… I left the booth in love with hardcore, now I’m a true slut for hardcore!

It's gonna be beautifully messy.

Q. Which venues would you love to play at and which artists would you love to share the stage with one day?

[Peewee] 2020 we are aiming for an international gig of any sort. Got tunes will travel!!! More local I would love to be able to play either Fabric, Egg or Printworks.

We would also love to play Resistanz 2020 should it go ahead. Club Antichrist would also be pretty good fun - but unless people ask for us it’s hard to get the chance. Artists I would love to play alongside? Da Tweekaz, Kutski, Vengaboys or Scooter :p

[Kark] Venue wise: Resistanz. That is all. I actually did it once - I was a last minute emergency stand-in with 5 minutes warning, a copy of the Beat:Cancer v3 CDs and some borrowed headphones… but I’d kill for a chance to do it properly as Karkasaurus (Leighton.. If you’re reading this... ). Artist wise: likewise Da Tweakaz, but also I’d say Gammer and Dr Peacock!

Q. Kark, how is Beat:Cancer festival fairing? You have two incredible B:C festivals lined up with Manchester soon and London Elektrowerkz in November which I’m sure we are all looking forward to! I have also heard that you may take a break from B:C for a while now though is that right?

[Kark] We’re really excited for this one - we’ve actually still got one artist to announce (at Infest!) but to be the only event in Europe to be getting a full band performance of iVardensphere is mind blowing. It’s going to be a brilliant end to 7 years of work, something I still can’t believe I get to do it. Then though we are taking an indefinite break; it’s time to spend some time catching our breath and refining how we work, but we’ll not be totally silent - we’re looking to help club nights run “In Aid of Beat:Cancer” events such as we’ve done with Cosmic and Khronology before now!

Don't miss the end of an era

Q. Peewee, being one of the two organisers of Cosmic hard dance, tell us about how Cosmic has been doing and what we can expect to see in future?

[Peewee] Cosmic was set up as a one off to celebrate Sarah’s birthday as we thought it would be fun to host a clubnight. Since then we’ve had Organ Donors, Dark by Design, Amber D, Phil Mackintosh, Reklus, Halestone, Cut-Up, Matt D, Bitman and a whole range of talent play for us.

We couldn’t have done it without the help of the local talent in the form of our friends though. Sy Soundwave, Digital Chaos, Jester N’ Kohl and Problem Frequency all come to mind. 2020 is going to be an odd year as Sarah is off to live in South America for a year and I’m looking to buy a house. Let’s see what happens.

Q. How did you get so many great bands to play Beat:Cancer and Cosmic shows? Is it all just down to the power of networking over social media as I have found with Elektro Vox, or has there been a lot more to it?

[Peewee] Cosmic like most things is sadly simply down to the money and how many people we can get through the door. All the artists we’ve approached have always worked hard to help our budgets and we respect everyone for helping us out - especially the local talent.

That being said we’ve spent thousands on lineups. Top of the game DJs and venues don’t come cheap with hotel costs, travel etc etc. Then on top of that you have costs such as wristbands, fuel, insurance, glitter, facebook ads, drinks rider etc all add up fast that people don’t really think about.

However, the support has been amazing and we couldn’t have done it without everyone coming each time. We’ve spent every single penny in putting those shows on and are happy to keep doing that if people appreciate it.

[Kark] As Peewee says the support has been amazing: B:C started off with a Halloween club night with Club Recall to help build up to releasing the first CD back in 2012 and on the back of that I contacted Jamie Blacker (ESA) to see if he’d headline our first gig at the end of 2013. From that point we’ve had so many band contact us and word has spread: we’ve been overwhelmed at times by the giving nature of artists, promoters and always fans in the Industrial scene. What I love as well is that Jamie has been back pretty much every year in one form or other as ESA comes gets better and better in leaps and bounds!

Q. Who have been your favourite artists to work alongside or play at your shows?

[Peewee] Keltek (ex Psyko Punkz) was one of the nicest guys I’ve ever DJed alongside. I picked him up from the airport and got to hang around with for a few days. Even though he plays to crowds of 30,000+ over in Holland he was very down to earth.

We also went on tour with our friends Sirus when they were over from Australia and they are great fun to be around. Shout out to them! Obviously there are so many more to mention but I would be here all day.

(Pictured Keltek)

[Kark] *COUGH* Memmaker… My highlight has got to be joining Memmaker for their Beat:Cancer Festival set, closely followed by DJing alongside Organ Donors at Cosmic. It’s also honestly always an honour to be a regular fixture alongside Jester & Kohl - they’re a real influence for our b2b performance, are great guys to work with and an honour to share residency at Xtreme.

..(Elektro Vox- Honestly Mark threw himself around so hard at Memmaker in what was possibly the best showmanship I've ever seen on stage and that gig (alongside ESA) is still the one I raved and danced the hardest at to the point of near collapse!)..

(Pictured MarkMaker)

Q. What’s next for Karkasaurus, do you have shows lined up and what direction can we expect you both to take in the future?

[Peewee] After Infest 2019 we’ve are both playing Rave Logic in Nottingham, we are doing a solo set each - Kark playing Industrial into Hardstyle and I’m dropping a 200bpm cheesy frenchcore set before passing over the decks to one of the most famous pioneers of the hardcore scene - Scott Brown. We are then also playing a second B2B2B set with our good friend Problem Frequency who runs the Harder Side of Hardcore London.

[Kark] In keeping with the Dino theme that b2b2b will be the start of “Terrordactyl”, a gloriously stupid way to follow Scott!

[Peewee] We’ve also got another big gig coming up supporting one of the world's best DJs. But that’s about as much as I dare say right now.

[Kark] mmm, Juicy sekrits!

2020 we hope will bring more craziness.

A big thank you to Karkasaurus for speaking to ELektro Vox! ....

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