Marques Wyatt is a messenger of the deepest, most soulful kind of house music. Beneath his relaxed, spiritual and unknowingly suave persona, therein lies a man partially responsible for giving birth to the West Coast house scene and bringing the fresh sounds of New York to Los Angeles beginning in the mid eighties. Carefully pointing out that he has "always had a deep passion for music," you know that his adoration of house has become its gateway into the lives of thousands of people. Promoting and playing an enormous amount of parties including BBC, Brass, MAC's Garage, Does Your Mama Know? and currently Deep, over the years, Marques has changed the face of LA nightclubbing and the presentation of its music and sound.
Growing up in Santa Monica, Marques' family and environment were his major musical influences. One brother was in a psychedelic band while the other two were listening to the likes of Earth, Wind & Fire. His father introduced him to jazz and as he grew older, he inevitably discovered clubbing finding inspiration at Hollywood's Odyssey; the venue featured the unique and eclectic sound of New York-influenced disco and club music ranging from Donna Summer to Malcom McClaren. Marques lingered by the DJ booth noting titles that he would later search out at local record shops; he stored his rapidly expanding vinyl collection at a friend's house and around the age of eighteen, learned the mixer and began doing parties while going to high school and then college.
On a journey to New York City in 1984, Marques found that "something else" he felt was missing from the LA scene. The massive size, assortment of music and the very mixed crowd at Danceteria enthralled him. Witnessing the magic of Larry Levan at the Paradise Garage was another major catalyst. "Once I got introduced to that sound, I was all about New York club music," he recalls. On another East Coast venture in 1986, Marques introduced himself to Frankie Knuckles at The World in New York, a meeting that would prove to be one of the major turning points in his career. "I had never heard music played that way, presented that way or sound like that," he says of Frankie. "From that point on, I was on a mission to bring that music into the scene here (in LA)." Tony Humphries was another mentor to Marques; he was musically schooled and nurtured on cassette tapes of Tony's groundbreaking weekly mix show on New York's KISS-FM.
Marques began promoting and his first event, BBC at the famed Osko's Disco, led to bookings at various underground parties. He was then approached about DJing at the Hollywood hot spot Helena's, the chosen location for high-class celebrity dining and entertainment. Marques trained the crowd at Helena's, turning the clientele on to his flavorful mesh of house. Madonna, Robert Plant and Prince were among many that were exposed to early sounds of Marques Wyatt. After Helena's, there was Water My Bush and MAC's Garage, circa 1988. MAC's Garage became Marques' seminal club and the first LA venue to feature live house acts such as Adeva, Tyree Cooper, Liz Torres and New York legend David Morales. "It was such a phenomenon here," says Marques. "It was one of the first clubs in LA where crowds were making noise on the breaks of songs. It was a first in a lot of ways. Every Friday, everyone would end up there and it was such an amazing scene." After its initial weeks, MAC's Garage carried on without alcohol, following in the footsteps of New York's legendary Paradise Garage and becoming the first club in LA to attain success without a liquor license.