MR
How have you been man, welcome to Monarch and thanks heaps for releasing with us

 

Mark
Mate, no problem! Seeing what you guys have been doing since I first sent you some tracks... I'm really honoured to be part of it!

 

MR
Awesome man, so I know you’ve got a deep history with the clubbing scene, across the globe and such, so tell me a bit about your history with music, what were some of your first electronic music interests?

 

Mark
Oh god... we're going back a bit now haha. My first major influence would have been the Prodigy back when I was at school. I remember a mate giving me a badly recorded tape of their first album "experience" around 92 and I wore that thing out. From there I picked up on the Chemical Brothers with their album "Exit Planet Dust" and just kept searching... Couldn't get enough of that sound!

 

MR
Is this back in the UK?

 

Mark
Loved the big beat sound of the mid-late nights... Skint, Wall of Sound... all that stuff.
Yeah I moved out here about ten years ago, so this was way before I even knew what DJing was!

 

© Chinese Laundry

© Chinese Laundry

MR
Did you ever make it out to any gigs in the UK?

 

Mark
Yeah I hit the clubs pretty hard when I first went to uni... but for me it was all about trance back then!
Loved a bit of techno and house too, but the DnB came later.
I remember first hearing Cafe Del Mar on a big system and I was hooked!

 

MR
Oh nice, I was right into Trance when I first started clubbing and raving.
Where about in the UK were you from?

 

Mark
Yeah man... ATB's Til I Come, Binary Finery, Sandstorm before it became a meme lol
I went to high school west of London but I lived 8 years in Plymouth in the westcountry before I moved out here. That was where I cut my teeth in the music world so I always say that that's where I’m from.

 

MR
Haha classics
What were some of your first genres you produced? and when did you start?

 

Mark
First track was some 200bpm DnB lol. This was back before I had a clue what I was doing and didn't even really know what DnB was.
Actually, there wasn't really any bass in it thinking about it so it was more dn? but anyway...
That would have been around '99 I guess.

 

MR
Oh nice man 200bpm sounds interesting! haha

 

Mark
Lol you don’t want to hear it!
Actually, it had some good ideas... always wanted to fix it up properly one day.

 

MR
Haha it’s always fun to go back and re-invent old ideas
have you ever produced anything other than DnB?

 

Mark
Yeah, back when I first started I was making all sorts of stuff... house, techno, breaks, trip-hop. Even made a full length 'album' of poorly produced tunes!
I'll have to send it to you sometime... maybe you can give it a belated release 😛

 

MR
Hahahahaha, I'm always keen to hear "new" music

 

Mark
Lol "music"

 

© Tee Eightch Photography

© Tee Eightch Photography

MR
So the tunes you've released with Monarch, I must admit, definitely grew on me.
I dug them when you sent them, but now I love them.

 

Mark
Yeah they're definitely growers... but that's something I try to work into all my music.

 

MR
So what was the inspiration behind the tunes?

 

Mark

Wow... that's a good question...
Soul Trader started with that really big string sample. I'd never really used strings in a track before but always wanted to.
I've always loved the old 90s trip hop music and I guess the rest of it just followed along on that sort of vibe, but at a DnB tempo.

 

MR
It’s such a euphoric tune
So big, so beautiful!
What about Everyday? How did that tune come about?

 

Mark
Everyday began with the xylophone part and then again just flowed from there. The vocal is pitched down into key and just gave it a really haunting feel and I just sort of rolled off that vibe.

I wrote both as I was going through a really long process of really understanding the technicalities of producing DnB and so I worked on both of them for ages... I reckon I spent at least a couple of years working on Soul Trader!

As a result, they've both got some really complex variations and patterns in there... I had to keep the tracks varied to maintain my interest if nothing else!

Hopefully as a result they've both got some longevity in them... there's so much throw away music released these days, I really didn't want to add to it.

 

© Tee Eightch Photography

© Tee Eightch Photography

MR
wow couple of years!

 

Mark
Yeah for sure!

 

MR
That’s amazing

 

Mark
But then I was a bit of a perfectionist with them.

 

MR
I love your commitment

 

Mark
Also, I was learning... I've got much quicker these days but that has its pluses and its minuses.

 

MR
They are really really good tunes man, I'm glad you kept working on them and held back until they were perfect

 

Mark
Cheers man! I've had some really good feedback from both and it's really nice to hear that people are appreciating them 🙂

 

MR
So what labels, artists, tunes are you vibing at the moment? any genre!

 

Mark

Oh man... that's such a hard question! I've found myself basing a couple of sets around the music of Seba and Future Engineers recently... I've always loved their vibe with the contrast between uplifting, funk and dirt that they both manage to get into their tunes.

As for newer artists... I've been following Mage for a couple of years and Ill Effects is doing some awesome jungley stuff

Also, I've recently discovered an artist called Axi who is still developing. He makes some really cool rolling DnB which almost has a kinda psytrance vibe to it.

 

MR
Oh man, I'll have to check some of these out!
what’s your thoughts on the Sydney DnB scene?
you're pretty ingrained in the scene and a staple at most of the gigs!

 

Mark
Sydney's scene has been like a roller coaster throughout the time I've been here! It was strong when I first arrived when Foreign Dub were doing the BBQs then it dropped off for a bit, then it got strong again with 4Q, No Frills, The Collective and Bassdrop going strong around 2009 then it dropped off again before Afterlife started up about three years ago and it's been up ever since!
Definitely really strong at the moment!

 

MR
Yeah I have to agree, it is really strong at the moment, so many good gigs so often, we're spoilt for choice!

 

Mark
Yeah, I've been lucky to have played and promoted with most of the crews throughout the last ten years.... I love it, just can't let it go haha.

And production wise... it's great to see local artists like Royalston, Severity Zero and Dauntless all making waves on the international scene.

© Tee Eightch Photography

© Tee Eightch Photography

 

MR
Amazing to see! the source of my inspiration for starting Monarch tbh

 

Mark
All we've been missing here has been a local label dedicated to DnB... until now!

 

MR
Haha such a vibrant scene, would be rude not to!

 

Mark
For sure!

 

MR
What have been some of your all time Sydney stand out gigs, and which are some of your favourite event nights?

 

Mark
Well, Afterlife has got to come top of that list! It's a shame that it's no longer monthly but one of my favourite gigs of all time was actually at the last Afterlife in August this year when I played a set accompanied by Emily Harkness on the mic. She's got an amazing voice and we played to a packed out crowd... that was one gig I'll remember for ever!

 

Mark
Bassdrop earlier this year at the Chinese Laundry was also a stand out when I played the support slot for the Upbeats in the Cave.
Subsonic last year with DTech on the mic was another.

 

MR
So devo I missed that Afterlife gig!

 

© Simon Gorges

© Simon Gorges

Mark
Lol that's just going back 12 months.
Ah man! Gutted, that was an amazing show!
If anyone knows how to put on a party, it's James and Carly from Afterlife!

 

MR
100% agree!

 

Mark
They literally brought a scene together when there was hardly anything happening in Sydney. They created the community feel that you can still get if you go out to a DnB gig in the city today.

 

MR

So I'll finish up with the same question I've asked everyone, have you been vibing any Monarch releases, and have any resonated greatly with you?

 

Mark

Yeah man, all of them!
(complete cop out) lol

 

MR
Haha any that you really really really like!?

 

Mark
No, really though, I've been really impressed with the standard of the releases so far. If you're going to refuse to remove that gun from my head until I answer, then I'd have to say that Severity Zero's Sirocco has just tips the scale 🙂 Amazing vibes and that piano riff reminds me of an old Omni Trio track!

 

MR
Hahahahaha awesome man! I just want to give shout outs where they're deserved! haha
Again, thanks for releasing with Monarch and thanks for your time tonight mate, I had fun!

 

Mark
Yeah for sure! Definitely deserved!
No worries man! Any time

 

Comment