With over 20 years of experience and a résumé that includes work with the likes of The Pet Shop Boys, Madonna, Mary J. Blige and George Michael, openly gay producer, remixer and DJ Mark Picchiotti should have no problem keeping things exciting when he holds court at New Hope Celebrates’ Farewell Tea on May 17.
In the midst of his whirlwind American tour of clubs with the cast members from “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” Picchiotti gave PGN a quick shout about what New Hope is in for and what it’s like to be one of the top remixers in the business.
PGN: What can people expect when they come to see you at New Hope Celebrates? MP: I’m playing from 4 until 10 p.m. Because it’s a Pride festival, I’ll be playing stuff that is more up. I tend to be more of a vocal-oriented DJ anyway, but during Pride events, I keep it a little happier and lighter. I tend to be more on the soulful tip. I’m more of a house DJ than a pop-y or a circuit DJ. I mix all of that together so that everybody pretty much gets what they are looking for.
PGN: Having done remixes for artists ranging from Enrique Iglesias to AC/DC, is there a certain type of artist that you look to work with or do they seek you out? MP: It’s less that I have a choice of what remixes I’m doing and more who approaches me. A lot of times, the record company, the manager or the artist themselves are looking for a particular sound. They’re looking to round out the remix package. Sometimes I’ll get several requests in. I just have to pick through and decide what is more of interest to me. My roots go back into very dance-oriented rock music. That’s where I started in the 1980s. In those days it was The Cure, New Order, Skinny Puppy and Severed Heads. Then house music came around and I fell in love with that. In the 1970s, I used to throw disco parties as a teenager, so I was always into that. The fact that I got to remix AC/DC was such a coup. I just like a challenge. Sometimes I’ll get straight-up dance records and those are sometimes harder to do than something like AC/DC or a down-tempo R&B Beyonce record because you really have to think, How do I reinterpret this?
PGN: Who has been your favorite artist to produce or remix? MP: Kylie Minogue was the biggest joy for me. I had just been catapulted to a level of working with an artist that had such a history. Then when I got to meet with her and work with her, she was such a sweet lady, a consummate professional. I think that a big part of it for me is, regardless of the level of celebrity that they have, if they’ve got the chops, then I’m in heaven. My favorite part of making records is recording vocals.
PGN: Are there any artists that you haven’t worked with but you want to? MP: I had a top-five list of artists I either wanted to remix or produce. I got through all of them except one. The number one on my list was Barry White. I never had a chance to do that. I won’t be able to work with him personally, but I would love to remix something of his. It was Madonna, Michael Jackson and Mariah Carey. Donna Summer, I’ve never done anything for her. That’s just because that was the artist that introduced me to dance music. When I was in high school, I borrowed a cheerleader’s “Donna Summer Live” album and I wouldn’t give it back to her. I’ve pretty much checked off most on the list. Hopefully, I’ve got a few more years in me. We’ll see what happens.
DJ Mark Picchiotti spins from 4-10 p.m. May 17 at the Nevermore, 6426 Lower York Road, New Hope. For more information, visit www.markpicchiotti.com or call (215) 862-5221.