Backbooth notably straddles the worlds of live music and dance nights in an effort to do the impossible: make everyone happy. Largely they succeed in this party-maximizing balancing act, but rarely are grins quite so plastered as when the Smile for Camera crew invades with resident DJ Big Makk for Shake 'n Bass every Sunday. The party started in 2012 as a testing ground for established DJ Big Makk to experiment with new music and see how his more inventive mixes shook out in the club.
"I can say that there is definitely a mindset that I can get into during a set," Big Makk says. "Kind of like a zone, I guess, where you're just playing hit after hit and the party just gets bigger and bigger. That's definitely a feeling that most DJs can relate to. My approach is basically to reach all genres and try to fit as much as I can in a set, with it making sense but also keeping the party flowing."
This week, Big Makk's tropical bass swerves in on Gilt Nightclub for the local DJ/producer's first time opening up for groundbreaking old-school Florida breaks DJ Icey. While Big Makk says he's excited to share the floor with Icey, his earliest influences weren't early figures paving the way in the clubs per se, but in driveways and on the radio waves.
"Honestly, who first got me into DJ'ing was my neighbor," Big Makk says. "I remember way back when I was a child, he had a friend that had turntables and had records and stuff like that, but I wasn't allowed to use them 'cause I was a little kid and they were, like, teenagers. Also, the radio back then used to have all these radio mixes in the afternoon and on weekends, and I always thought it was so dope how they manipulated songs with records and put it all together."
Now Big Makk's body-moving manipulations bust up formats at major festivals like Electric Daisy Carnival and Ultra Music Festival. His special Makk Sauce mixes (Volume 7 is online now; soundcloud.com/bigmakk) spiced things up enough to get him on bills with spunky big players like Juicy J, Chief Keef and Riff Raff, plus he's been added to the bill with Showtek for the Life in Color Big Bang World Tour at the Central Florida Fairgrounds Sept. 6.
"I'm not gonna lie when I say it's pretty cool to see your song played on a main stage festival to tens of thousands of people," Big Makk says. "So, yes, it is definitely a surreal experience."
As crowds slosh within his bent hip-hop, house and electronic dance mixes, heads swim tracking Big Makk's relentless bobbing and weaving, crafting the sharp, escalating dancefloor narratives that are now his signature. He explains the vibe best as a free-flowing manifestation of his mood.
"The only thing really important to me to create these certain vibes is my state of mind," Big Makk says. "What kind of mood I'm in or what I've been thinking about all day can kind of come out into a piece of music. That's all that really matters to me is my state of mind when I'm making a track."