Mark James is no stranger to showdowns. His latest venture launching Arcade nightclub on the Gold Coast is clearly testament to this courage and determination in an unprecedented year of obstacles and pitfalls.
"Along with my many years of festival and event experience with Future [Music Festival], I'm hoping all this experience makes Arcade something to look forward to," Mark declares.
As former Creative Director of dance music juggernaut Future alongside years of running clubs throughout Melbourne and Sydney, Mark has certainly been a pioneer of the Australian dance music landscape.
His taste for selecting international and local premium talent for the country's most legendary festivals has been balanced alongside a love and passion for performing on the wheels of steel and churning out the production tracks.
He's particularly been hitting it hard on the production side of things lately, from 'Me & You' released on Disco Filter Records steadily climbing the charts, to his newly released dance-floor banger 'Pump This Place' – also remixed by local dance icons Peewee Ferris, Holmes John and John Baptiste.
While Mark has led the way for Australian dance music, he has always held a deep-abiding love for the creative art just as much as the promotion finesse.
"I went through a very tough time personally a few years back," Mark reveals, "so that prompted me to shut the world off and just bury my head into my first love of making music. It's the old saying: Music really did save my life."
Clearly not content to be the king of Sydney and Melbourne clubbing, Mark appears determined to conquer the entire east coast with his foray into Queensland dance heralding interesting times ahead.
"I'm finding there are so many talented DJs and producers in this region," Mark says, “who are really making some waves on Australian and international circuits and charts."
But Mark is the kind of character to also go against the grain – and he's certainly doing this now by launching a new club when the nightclub industry has been brought to its knees. Thankfully, his experience places him in an excellent position.
"It is an unusual time to say the least to launch a new club. "This time [with COVID] will pass and the Gold Coast will bounce back bigger and better than ever. We are quietly confident that when it does, Arcade will be well placed amongst the clubs on the glitter strip.
"Arcade," Mark promises, "is not your average nightclub. It's a social venue where music lovers and artistic types can gather in a comfortable, boutique-style designed atmosphere.
"My aim is to present the best in local talent – both DJ and live indie bands – and when the time comes, international artists."
Opening weekend (4-5 December) sees a local DJ line-up featuring Robina, Minx, Damo Cox, Taleena, Flash, Kondo, Tara Blook, Andy Finn and Mark James himself on the bill, all preparing to let loose as an alternative social club focussed on house music.
"Obviously the Gold Coast is a local and international tourist hot spot, and Arcade hopes to bring something different and less commercial to Surfers Paradise nightlife," Mark says.
Certainly 2020 has indisputably been an incredibly challenging year, and while these are unprecedented times, Mark has never let challenges or obstacles prevent his way forward.
"I've learnt a lot of lessons in past experiences in the industry, but what this year has definitely taught me is to expect the unexpected and whatever may happen down the track, you must stick to your guns and keep working hard."
Arcade is located at 13/15 Orchid Ave, Surfers Paradise, and launches 4-5 December.