Your Love: Short interview with Mark Grusane and DJ Qu

The first edition of Your Love in 2024 will take place in Panorama Bar on Friday. As usual, Tama Sumo and Lakuti set the focus on no nonsense house. And as usual, they invited guests that live up to that expectation. This time, Mark Grusane and DJ Qu complete the line-up alongside the two party founders.

To find out about their musical upbringing, their influences and their respective musical style, Lakuti caught up with both of them. Read her interview and learn why “dark” is a good thing in music and which DJ’s inspired Mark Grusane.

Lakuti: Did music play a big part within your family or household when you were growing up?

Mark Grusane: Music played a very big role for me from a very young age. Blues, Funk, Soul, Disco and Jazz were some of my early memories to what my dad, a big music lover, played. Radio legend Herb Kent’s shows were on heavy rotation at home and on some you would hear music more odd in Chicago. Back then, being 7 or 8, I would also listen to my older brother Durward playing live mixes off the radio, WBMX mostly. He had turntables and a mixer and introduced me to DJing and to my first record stores. Around that time, I started attending a dance and performing arts school to help sharpen my craft being a young performer in the modeling and acting industry. During classes, we practiced anything that came to mind. Those were formative years that heavily influenced my career and my take on music.

DJ Qu: Music definitely played a huge role in my growing up. Latin music was the main genre in my household when I was young and from there I ventured into American radio where I learned about other genres and developed a love for music that has lasted till this day.

Mark – you are very well known for your love of obscure music. Qu – you have garnered a reputation for releasing hypnotic, darker edged house music. What got you hooked to this?

Mark: Around 10 years old, I got my own turntables and my first drum machine with money earned as a model and actor. Between the older kids I grew up with, I got exposed to a vast amount of DJs and mixes. By 9th grade I was playing on FM Radio WKKC and started to collect more records. My goal was to find records I didn’t know to be played as much as I loved.

DJ Qu: To be honest I never considered the music I was making to be dark. I just considered it House music. It was when my music started to get write ups on different platforms that “dark” was a continuous description of my music and I’m totally fine with that. “Dark” is a good thing in music.

You both started DJing in the 80s in Chicago and New Jersey, New York City reigned supreme–cities with a rich musical history and DJ culture. Which DJs from that era influenced you the most and why?

Mark: Ron Hardy: I was amazed how he crossed many genres and styles. I started learning that mixing music wasn’t all about staying in one particular genre but also I could be fluid mixing records based on the feeling of them.

Frankie Knuckles: I loved his finesse and discipline, the art of having a steady groove, many times chill also, but at the right time. He was a master of building a crowd up and bringing them down physically and emotionally.

DJ Rush: I adore how he would mix Chicago House, his custom tracks, disco, and industrial music, leading to techno.

John from Pittsburg: He worked at a record store and during my first days of record-heavy collecting, he would send me very private NY labels and more. John impacted me heavy.

Mike Cole: My longtime friend I partnered with when opening Mr. Peabody Records. He opened me fully into the 80s sound and beyond–electronic sounds like “Boogie” and “Electro”. As record dealers we sold all types of music, what we wanted to collect was obscure disco, boogie or anything like it from all over the globe. Digging and selling based on sound was our thing. These years have been a heavy influence on me since.

Detroit DJs: Hearing the Detroit sound for the first time on Chicago radio in the 80’s was another groundbreaking experience for me and seeing how it continues to evolve, is another great inspiration. Theo Parrish, Rick Wilhite, Marcellus Pitman and the Detroit fam they introduced to us also were a very great support in the record shop days.

New York DJs: Listening to an old Larry Levan tape from The Paradise Garage or mixes from Nicky Siano, David Mancuso, Tee Scott, Merlin Bob and other early NY/NJ DJs was truly fascinating and always a lesson for me.

DJ Qu: I started messing around with my cousin’s DJ equipment in ’89 but it was in 1992 and 93 that I started taking it more seriously. I can name at least 100 DJs that influenced me at that time but to keep it short DJs like DJ Disciple, DJ Hippie, DJ Camacho, Tony Humphries, Lil Louis, Louie Vega, and Timmy Regisford were definitely big influences along with many others.

Did touring around the globe as DJs change your approach to this art form?

Mark: It’s great to see dance music alive and thriving, so happy it’s taken so well with the younger as well as that’s the fuel that still keeps all of us moving ahead. To travel the world and learn more, to hear everyone’s unique special take as far as what inspired them, particular DJs and moments that touched them, is truly a blessing and humbling in many ways.

DJ Qu: I would say touring exposes you to what’s happening globally which in return can make you a better DJ because you gain a deeper understanding of it all. 

Are there upcoming projects or releases of you to look forward to?

Mark: My most recent newly launched label, Disctechno Music. Expect more dance music from my friends and I globally. The names say it all. Dance music from disco to techno, new and old.

DJ Qu: There are some upcoming releases on the Strength Music Recordings label but no official dates just yet so look out for the end of 2024 into 2025.

Your Love
February 23 2024, 10PM
Panorama Bar

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