Mark Cutajar: Norti Vikings

Mark Cutajar: Norti Vikings

With the Norti Vikings preparing to set sail for their latest Sea Raid this weekend, we caught up with one of the captains of the ship Mark to discuss his strategy for this musical voyage...

RR: Hey Mark! We're looking forward to this Saturday's Sea Raid boat party, which sees the return of DJ Ruby to Sydney - what kind of set can we expect from the man?

Mark: Same here bud! It's now been 12 months since our last Sea Raid party on the Harbour and it couldn't come round any quicker! The sets you’ll hear on the boat, will consist of everything from house, to progressive, to techno. As for DJ Ruby, his speciality is progressive house - he’ll be playing a 3 hour journey set and if it's anything like last year, we’ll have a lot of people not wanting to get off the boat!

RR: Nice. Tell us how Norti Vikings started...

Mark: We started 2 years ago... when the lock outs came into effect we got tired of all the rules, so we started hosting our own parties in my friend and co-founder Linda's apartment. The parties were so awesome, and when they out-grew the apartment, we hosted our first official boat party in November 2015 on a tiny fishing boat for 30 guests. Soon after that boat party, we quickly needed a bigger boat!

RR: And what's the meaning behind the 'Norti Vikings' moniker?

Mark: Simple really... I used to run an events company called Norti Events, and seeing that Linda was Swedish, I nick-named her Viking haha. The two words worked together, Norti just being another spelling for naughty. Since then we’ve built a crew of Norti Vikings... you should join haha!

RR: Count us in haha! Which has been your favourite Norti Vikings party so far?

Mark: We’ve had nine official events over the last two years now which have been held in warehouses, clubs and boats. In that time, we’ve had 3 internationals play for us, and a number of locals start their DJ careers with us, which has resulted in some awesome parties. But the one that stands out the most for me would have to be last year’s Sea Raid party with DJ Ruby. He absolutely nailed one of the best progressive house sets I can remember... people still tell me today how much they loved that party!

RR: You also play out as DJ Norti - how did you first get into DJing?

Mark: I’m 34 now, I actually started when I was 21 - bought myself a couple of vinyl turntables and taught myself how to beat match. Once I could actually put together a seamless set I started hosting a few parties on boats and a few bars across Sydney. Back then it was about trance for me, I loved it. Then like many, I got into a relationship and ditched the decks, but after I saw the light and became single again I quickly got back into hosting parties, which gave me the urge to DJ. Three years later I'm still here and loving it more than ever!

RR: We gather that you hail from Malta - how did growing up there influence your music?

Mark: When I was a teen I loved listening to hip hop and 80s funk... everything from Prince to Naughty By Nature. After a trip to Malta back in 2001 with my family, my love for hip hop changed quickly to house, trance and progressive music. Malta has influenced my sound so much over the last 15 years. It's a tiny island in the middle of the Med with a population of only 400,000, but has a massive active underground music following. I take a lot of inspiration from Maltese DJs, like Ruby and Jewel Kid who for me are forward thinkers, and don’t wait to see what everyone else plays... they set their own trends.

RR: Tell us one track you like to play which always goes off...

Mark: Very hard question because I hardly play the same songs in any of my sets, but one track would be Illusiones by Sabb. If situated at the right time it always gets everyone emotional and singing along.

RR: Ok... if you could bring down any DJ to one of your parties, who would you pick?

Mark: 100% Guy J.

RR: Next month, you have a big gig at Guys Bar in Thailand. Can you tell us more about it?

Mark: Yes! I'm so excited about this gig! I visited Guys bar for the first time as a clubber two years ago and quickly fell in love with the place. For those who don’t know, it's a club situated in a jungle on the island of Koh Phan Gan. The place kicks off from midnight and goes all the way past 11am... it's paradise for progressive lovers! I was very lucky to score this gig, I was on the same flight to Malta as the owner of Guys Bar last year and after a few beers he could see I was very keen to play there. I gave him a set of mine to listen to and next minute I was booked to play at the magical Guys Bar. I’ll be playing a two hour set there on Feb 2nd warming up for DJ Ruby.

RR: Finally - what's in store for the Norti Vikings in 2018?

Mark: Well after the Sea Raid this Saturday there is talk of a secret beach party and possibly a small bush doof! We generally only do 4 parties each year, so for us and our guests each event we do is very special.

RR: Sounds great, thanks for the chat!