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A World Music DJ (Or Something)

Off The Cuff with Marcus Doucette

Jul. 9, 2014
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Marcus Doucette, 88nine Milwaukee
Marcus Doucette is the on-air host of the “Sound Travels” world music program, on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee, weekdays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., as well as a DJ who plays at local bars and events.


How did you get into DJ-ing?

I started DJ-ing sometime in the summer of ’98, like right after graduating from Marquette. Like a soundtrack to a pretty stoned life, my hopes were high and my job prospects as an English major were few. From ’98 to ’05, I was in this constant rinse cycle, trying to figure out a career while waiting tables, painting walls, landscaping or whatever, while DJ-ing on the side just to stay sane. I lucked out in 2005 while spinning at a bar called Red Light (above Trocadero) when Tom Crawford (WMSE) guest-bartended and was impressed enough with my (now expanded) global sounds to invite me and my then-partner David Soto (a co-host who’d eventually leave for China), to host a show at 91.7. Two years in, I was still having an existential crisis of my life’s purpose, so I started literally praying and meditating on a change. Got a call for this new radio station starting up using the old jazz station’s call letters, had a great interview and kicked it to WYMS to become their man in the mid-day.


Where does your love of music come from?

By accident. I was born Guru Amrit Singh to parents who’d chosen to become Sikh and my early years were spent in an ashram where music was a part of the yogic and spiritual practice we were all a part of. I don’t think I was particularly interested in music till I got to college and got a job at a record store called Vibes Music on campus. Getting exposed and learning about so much new music made it a tool for figuring out my own convoluted identity.


What drives your musical vision?

Just to play great music! Especially the stuff that is hard to find, rare and from places that are worlds away from ours. I love to travel and music is my trip. I go with my gut and play the familiar to get to the unfamiliar. The desire to get other people to connect with me in the ether of what I think is amazing.


Other interests?

Yeah, I’ve been on the fixed-gear biking thing since before the boom (like 2003) and have been steadily biking since then with fat bikes being my latest evolution. I cook like crazy, and make food like I’m a world music DJ or something. Also, so obsessed with Oriental attars and oils that the crib smells like an Indian bazaar. Big into basketball—I’m fanatic about the Milwaukee Bucks (and super excited about their future!).


Upcoming events?

The Nomad (solo) for the World Cup Final block party on July 13, and the Brady Street Festival on July 26, with my reggae crew Chalice in the Palace, celebrating our 10th year from noon to 3 p.m.


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