Mash UP brings two Midwest artists or bands together to do one thing: create something new. Musicians have an hour to mix their styles and come up with an original song, tweak an existing track or work out a cool cover. After the hour is up, Urban Plains captures the performance. This week: Dustin Smith and MarKaus.

Dustin Smith

Creativity isn’t new to Dustin Smith. He’s been writing and singing in bands since he was 20. Now 29, Dustin has become a big name in the Des Moines music scene. Playing and penning songs while studying jazz in New York, Dustin began to find his own sound in the roots of folk. But when he returned home to Des Moines, he really fell into his niche: soul. From his first group, The Sunday Silos, to his current band, The Maytags, Dustin has created his own style of soul infused with rock ’n’ roll and a Midwestern accent. On Mash UP, Dustin teams with rapper MarKaus — and brought along fellow Maytags Sam Mogerman (drums) and Dan Kreipke (bass and synth) — to perform an original song created by the two artists: “When the Night Comes.”


MarKaus will tell you hip-hop is the language of the people, the voice of your soul. The Kansas City-born rhymesmith has lived in Des Moines for five years and has helped to grow the hip-hop scene in the capital city. He’s not only a rapper, though. At 25, he’s the founder of indie label Media Fresh Entertainment, as well as the Freshen UP showcase. He’s performed with his hip- hop collective, Media Fresh, at the Gross Domestic Product music festival in Des Moines and is working on an EP release for July. MarKaus focuses on creating honest rhymes and moving hip-hop forward. Here on Mash UP, he’s teaming with Dustin Smith — a collaboration that both artists have wanted to explore for a while — to bring Mash UP some solid bars with “When the Night Comes.”