How do you become the go-to DJ for all of HBO’s events? Don’t mess up.

“I never let them down, showed up on time and always played what I call a ‘bulletproof’ set,” says Marvin Coleman, a Philadelphia-born mix master who has used his signature, seamless blends and music knowledge to establish an enviable career as a DJ and producer. He’s been shouted out by the likes of Jill Scott on her albums and has traveled the globe thanks to his signature “Buttamilk” mixtapes. What’s his secret? “Don’t make a mistake, don’t make a bad blend, don’t be too choppy.”

After impressing an attendee at one of his gigs at Bluewater Grill he was invited to play for a “Chris Rock Show” premiere party. He opened up for Grandmaster Flash and managed to not let his fan-dom get in the way of doing a good job. That led to spinning for a party and then the Holy Grail; the HBO company holiday party.

“That’s not glamor,” he says with a smile. “There’s no red carpet. That’s the business people, but it was 2,000 of them. I’ve done their Christmas party every year since ’98 or 99. I built trust with them. I never pushed or campaigned, I just got the gig and said thanks. I had a Masters Degree in Journalism from Columbia so I wasn’t sure DJing was what I’d be doing.”

But then HBO hit their stride and they began cranking out hit shows like “The Sopranos” and “Sex And The City.” Every time a show premiered they had a party guess who they called?

“They got comfortable with me doing the local premieres in NY but then they had wrap parties. Those are different. They’re in their jeans and t-shirts and just celebrate. Went out to Silver Lake studios in Queens and had turntables on the Sopranos set.”

A few weeks ago Marv DJ’d the premiere party for HBO’s latest hit “Boardwalk Empire.” Given the show’s 1920s theme Marv applied some special preparation to his usually meticulous sets.

“I may go through 600 hundred songs for this party and it’s not unusual for me to do for any gig,” he says. “If I’m playing for three hours I’ll prepare three times the length of the party at a minimum. So nine hours for a three hour party and I’ll choose the cream of the crop from that. And I watch every episode of the show when I get the gig.”

Watch the clip to see how he dug in his own jazz collection to move the crowd.

UPDATE: Listen to the podcast of the event HERE!


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