The music of Mark E is overwhelmingly deliberate, and in that sense it’s quintessential house—unswerving, mechanistic, intoxicatingly simple. And life imitates art: the Wolverhampton-reared, Birmingham-based DJ/producer has had a slow, steady ascension to his status as one of the genre’s most natural talents. Ahead of next weekend's Electric Disco the Ghostly family member, Merc honcho and purveyor of all things fine and not always slow took time out of his ridiculously busy schedule to pen an exclusive mix and have a little chin wag with Tim... here is the fruits of both. Check at the bottom to win a pair of tickets to Electric Disco too.
Oh and check the mix right here while you read:
Mark E - Dreams of Taramakoosh exclusive mix
You’re synonymous (at least originally) with a looped, disco-inclined, sample-heavy kind of house music. In terms of the music currently being released and your DJ-ing experiences, do you see the scenes you originally drew on in the formation of your sound, as progressing, regressing or is it similar to how it was?
Yes its still there, it's House music, it will always be there i think, I drew inspiration from House at that time, and still do. in terms of it progressing, I don't hear anything mind blowing new in the loopy sample genre. But still alot of really good music out there.
With ‘Stone Breaker’ you shifted from manipulating samples into completely original productions. Do these compulsions complement each other now, or are you presently drawn to one in particular?
They compliment each other for sure, its all music no matter how its made, I find when I'm djing I contrast the two quite alot, its shakes it up a bit.
Your label, Merc, began as an outlet for exercising full control and independence in releasing your own work and has now been steadily releasing material since 2009. In a difficult climate for a vinyl imprint (in terms of competition and the prevalence of mp3 as the most popular format) what do you think maintains the appeal of Merc for yourself as boss, and the people that buy the records?
I really dont know, the buyer needs to answer this one really, but I like to think what I'm doing with Merc is different and not just a formulaic reproduction of a certain sound.
In the last few years, you’ve released work from other artists (namely, Chicago Damn and Edward), is Merc then going to become more about your curation of other artists or are you likely to continue maintaining a balance between releasing your work with those of others?
Yes a balance between the 2, but i'm always eager to hear new exciting stuff by other people, and if I think it's good, then let's put it out.
You’ve mentioned in an earlier interview about the necessity to ‘evolve rather than revolve’ citing your shift from a ‘disco tinged sound’ to one more house and techno orientated, was this the result of anything in particular (maybe some records that inspired this decision?) or was it more of a gradual, personal progression?
Haha the term " evolve rather than revolve " was lifted from an episode of Alan Partridge it sounds so cliche, I'm surprised people pick up on that. But I guess its true to a certain extent. I just found some of the disco stuff especially the edits all a bit too throw away and of that time, but you look at techno and house and it can be timeless and a more serious route to take, and if done well still listened to in years to come.
The quality of your work seems to be accommodated by a greater track length in which the layering of different elements is able to unfold in a subtly built but gratifying way - you can also see this in your earlier work, with much of ‘Works 2005-2009’clocking in at over 7-8 minutes, why do you think you were originally attracted to this ‘slo-mo’ conception of dance music?
Greatly influenced by Theo Parrish here, the long drawn out loops just blew me away, I listened to his Slowly Surely remix just the other day, its incredible.
Does your approach in terms of production differ according to whether it’s a remix or your own work? It seems many producers are constrained by being commissioned to do a remix as it has a deadline which contrasts with the relative freedom of producing their own work, do you find this is the case with you?
No I never let myself be limited by time when remixing, I will allocate a time scale and work to get it done by then and most times it works fine. Labels are mostly very good because they want a good remix so allow you the time.
With new original stuff it just gets completed when its completed, it could take a day it could take a week or longer.
Your roots are in Birmingham, are you still involved with any nights, labels or projects there? Or does touring take precedence and make that difficult?
No nothing is going on there for me at the mo, although there should be podcast coming from freeschool soon. Would love to play there though sometime.
Having initially been associated with re-edits, were there any producers or labels which you found yourself constantly revisiting; the ones which you liked to edit and mess with the most?
No, I just edited tracks I really liked.
Are there any records people wouldn’t necessarily expect you to play which you like to surprise them with?
It's not so much a certain record, its more a certain tempo. People expect me to play really slow, but i play quite uptempo. I think when ive been playing techno lately it surprises a few people too.
Are there any clubs, labels or artists around currently that you’re particularly excited about?
Artists, linkwood, Omar S, A Saggitariun, Patrice Scott, Andy Ash, Quaid, Chicago Damn,
Labels, fxhe, Elastic Dreams, Golf Channel, Kultra
What’s next for Merc?
New artist Quaid joins merc for the next release, then another ED track ( formely known as Edward ) then something im working on with a guy called Nathaniel which im really excited about, sounds incredible.
And then something with channel X of muzique tropique.
And what are your plans for the summer and beyond?
Lots of gigs, Japan tour, lots of US stuff before xmas happening, and a few festivals in UK and europe.
Plus a release im really proud of with Robert Owens on vocals coming soon on needwant.
Catch Mark E @ Electric Disco next weekend. We have a pair of tickets to give away to this rather fine line-up. Simply email firstname.lastname@example.org.... "Let me Mark E my Electric Disco one time. Tix... if you please!" in the title. Winners to be notified next Thursday. x
***CHANGE OF VENUE***
HOSTED BY HORSE MEAT DISCO
WITH ELECTRIC MINDS & WARM MUSIC
RHYTHM FACTORY, SATURDAY 19 MAY
Due to circumstances beyond their control Electric Roller Disco are unable to host the party at Hackney Downs Studios.
They take great care in making sure all of our events are licensed well in advance and are managed professionally however on this occasion we are unable to run the event as planned. With such short notice to find a new venue they're unable to source a space big enough to run the roller disco and after party however in the sprit of making sure the party and music still goes ahead they've have confirmed The Rhythm Factory as the new venue.
In the face of adversity, journey into a galactic rave battlefield as Horse Meat Disco, Electric Minds, Warm Music and To The Lazer Cave join forces for an apocalyptic disco to end all parties.
Sound-tracked by Horse Meat Disco, Mark E, Ali Tillet, Ollie Seaman and Dolan Bergin, dress up boxes and stalls from Netil Market will mark a path into the throbbing underbelly of the Rhythm Factory.
Find your roller-field respite with art, photo-booths and more.
16 – 18 Whitechapel Road
Times: Midnight – 6am