I started college in Tacoma in 1991, the year Seattle became one of the few U.S. markets to launch an “alternative” radio station. In addition to playing my favorite bands, many of whom I assumed I would never hear on the radio, 107.7 “The End,” and DJ Marco Collins in particular, did a great job curating new and emerging local and national artists in those early years. I can vividly remember sitting in my Pacific Lutheran University dorm room listening to Marco introduce Beck’s “Loser,” which at the time sounded like nothing that I’d heard before.
After a whirlwind career in the music industry that took him to New York, L.A., San Diego and Sacramento, among other stops, he returned to Seattle in 2009 and immediately returned to a familiar role – identifying and amplifying emerging local talent.
In preview of his upcoming Tag 2.0 showcase at Chop Suey, I caught up with Marco.
NadaMucho.com: Describe to the good people what Tag 2.0 is all about.
Marco Collins: Well, first of all, it’s a rock show. A hip hop show. A pop show. A concept show. I just wanted to put together something that would be different and unique, not only for the concert goer, but for the artists themselves. The idea is to have five artists blend their sets together. For example the first band’s last song must blend into the second band’s first song. Hence the name Tag 2.0 (my second show).
NM: I love the idea of removing down time between sets. Will you have an actual baton to bass? A scepter of rock type of thing?
MC: Brilliant idea! It’s gonna be interesting to see how the bands work this out. They are in touch with each other to come up with cool transitions.
NM: Tell us a little about the performers. Did you have to get bands in a similar vein so the back line can be uniform?
MC: This time I picked picked artists that have very different sounds. The 2.0 lineup includes:
- Aaron Daniel, a beatboxer/loop aficionado
- Hightek Lowlives, my new Seattle obsession. They do “Soul-Fi,” a combo of Soul and Sci-Fi.
- Blake Lewis, who is a beatboxer extraordinaire slash recovering TV pop star slash all-around pop genius.
- Gozer, a killer blues rock duo that are BLOWING UP right now. We couldn’t use their real name because of prior commitments.
- Lovecitylove feat. Adra Boo & Hollis Wong-Wear, an amazing R&B/Jazz/Hip hop improv group.
We are still working out the back line situation. It should be interesting.
NM: Give me a little bit on what you did when you left Seattle. You DJed in LA for a bit?
MC: Naw. I went to work for Rage Against The Machine’s manager. We were trying to start a label called Movement (funded by the hip hop gods; Loud Records). I worked for them in LA for a year and then got an offer from VH1 to be their Director of Music Programming. It was quite a change going from Old Dirty Bastard hanging out in your office to Gwen Stefani doing shots of tequila in the Times Square offices. Then I went to rehab and ended up in Miami for six months. The rest is a blur.
NM: What brought you back to Seattle?
MC: I was tired of chasing the career all over the country and I wanted to settle down, find a boyfriend, get a house and a dog and chill the fuck out. It hasn’t exactly worked out like that, but I’m still trying. I’ve lived all over the country and Seattle feels the most like home.
NM: What’s changed about the Seattle scene between the early nineties and today?
MC: In the early 90’s the city was grittier and the underground was thriving. So many cool parties went down in Belltown and Pioneer Square. Gritty, arty little raves. I remember going to a party in Belltown and looking over and there’s Martin Gore from Depeche Mode. “Oh hey, wassup dude?!” Shit like that just happened all the time back in the day. Now there are condos everywhere in Belltown and noise ordinances. It sucks, but the party has moved to Capitol Hill and the underground has moved to Georgetown and to an extent to Ballard and Fremont, at least with the underground folk scene.
NM: What can you share about the upcoming movie about your life and times in Seattle, The Glamour & The Squalor? You hinted at a cartoon scene of you in jail with Weezer. What else can you dish?
MC: Haha! The Weezer/jail scene! I can’t give anything away, but let’s just say that there’s quite a bit of surreal animation depicting scenes that would be impossible to get footage of or reenact. I’m very stoked about the film right now. We were approached by Sundance… the next year is gonna be a wild ride.