Friday, 27 March 2009

Interview - Mark E

Given that it’s the second largest city in the country, from Londoner’s point of view, Birmingham’s contribution to acid house culture feels a little light. Whereas Manchester has given us the Hacienda, Leeds Back to Basics and Glasgow the Sub Club, Brum is more commonly associated with fancy dress clubbing at Chuff Chuff and the trance nightmare that is God’s Kitchen.

However, unbeknownst to the casual observer, over the last 10 years or so, a small but perfectly formed underground scene has developed in this otherwise barren land. Taking over the back rooms of pubs, dinghy basements and tiny club spaces, nights like Leftfoot, Jigsaw and Bam Bam have carved a musical foothold for lovers of deep house, disco and Balearic sounds.

And from this scene has emerged producer and DJ, editor and producer Mark E, who came to prominence when Gilles Peterson started to champion his edit of Womack and Womack’s ‘Baby I’m Scared of You’. The distinctive low slung, looped up style fast became his signature sound, as more releases followed on Gerd Jansen’s Running Back and then notably, on New York imprint Golf Channel, where Mark announced he is here to stay with his Janet Jackson edit ‘R+B Drunkie’.

Beyond the Stars caught up with Mark when he recently played the Warm party at London’s Plastic People. It had been a busy day, so we didn’t get to talk until Mark had a 2 hour break from the decks in the middle of the night, by which time a few beers had been drunk... This is what was said.

Starting at the beginning, how did you get into DJing?
How I got into it all, into the music, was my brother was 4 years older than me and he was going off to all these parties, well not parties but club nights in Birmingham - I’m from Wolverhampton originally, I think a lot of people think I’m from Birmingham - he would have been 18 and I would have been 14, and he’d going off to clubs nights like Love Revolution, at the Institute, and Snobs, and he’d be coming back and telling me about the amazing nights he’d had listening to people like Sasha, Tony Humphries and Frankie Knuckles. And they were all on at the same night, you know nowadays you get nights where there are a certain type of DJs, now you wouldn’t have Sasha on the same bill as Frankie Knuckles or at the same club week after week, but then it was just house music and they all fell into the same category, there was no different genres of house music. So that was when it all kicked off, it would have been 1990, he was going off to all these nights and I was too young to go, I couldn’t get into the places and I was just into the music, I just had all these mix tapes like everyone used to have then - Graham Park, Frankie Knuckles, Sasha, Jon DaSilva, Mike Pickering and all that. And I bought a single belt drive deck and my brother had one as well, and we were living in this house, both in our rooms with a belt drive deck, no pitch control, just a standard record player, and the first record I bought was ‘Playing with Knives’ by Bizarre Inc. I remember watching that on Dance Energy with Normski and seeing all that Dance Squad and all that, and that is where it all started for me.

Bizarre Inc are Chicken Lips now, aren’t they?
Yeah, they are and The Emperor Machine is one of them too, so they’re still going. And then we put our two decks together, my brother came home work one day with this sort of £5 mixer, which was absolute crap, which buzzed and everything, and then we put them together and we were mixing tunes together and we thought we were it! We were like proper DJs, in our bedrooms playing, couldn’t mix two records together, it was just fun, having a go. And that was it really, that’s how I got into it. I went through the whole Bizarre Inc thing, then Italian piano house stuff, like Last Rhythm and all that, that was my basis for getting into house music, listening to tapes by people like John Kelly – I used to worship John Kelly!… By that time I be 18 and I would be out and I was old enough to get into the clubs and could listen to the tunes, and religiously I’d try to find out what John Kelly was playing and I’d buy all those tunes. And you listen back to those tunes and he was playing some wicked proper old disco - he was playing disco tunes!

It’s hard to believe that John Kelly was alright!

Yeah, it is!

Have you heard that mix of G-Love he did for 8 Records? It’s wicked.
Yeah! I can’t believe the way he’s gone now. But we’d travel the country, me and my mates, we’d get together and go to this night in Stafford a lot, we’d go to Liverpool, we’d go to Nottingham, that was where it all go started. People might think that I’m some sort of disco ‘don’ but my thing is house music and that’s what got me into it, that’s my background.

So how did you make the progression from being a bedroom DJ with your brother on rubbish old mixer, to being a proper DJ on the scene?

I was pushing myself, I was doing mix tapes and stuff with a couple of mates, and I was quite lucky because one of my good friends Danny, his brother owned a club in Wolverhampton and he put us on, so I was getting experience at 18, playing out in clubs.

What club was that?

It was called Slam. It was this tiny little place, it had a wicked basement, it was one of those you remember from your youth and it was just great - all your friends would be there and it was just perfect, I wish I could go back to those days - playing all old piano roarers, you know what I mean?! Big piano tunes and everything, and just going for it… So yeah, that was how I got a bit of experience playing out in front of people. I always had this sort of bug, I just wanted to play my records, that I was buying, spending my hard earned money on, out to people. Wolverhampton was this place where there was a small alternative dance scene and I tried to play out there a bit, at various night clubs, pubs, parties we’d put on, we’d try to do our own thing. There was me, Dave and Rod, there was a trio of us DJing, we’d put parties on for our friends and but it never made it into anything big, never made any money, it was just a laugh really, playing out to people - we’d hire a place, get our friends in, fill it full of a hundred of our mates and their friends and it was great, good little parties… and then you get a bit older, into your 20s and people go their separate way. I was always buying music, just constantly buying music. I went to Ibiza in ‘94 with my mates, it was really before it really blew up, Radio 1 didn’t go there until ‘95, so we just caught it when it was just good and that opened my eyes. John Kelly was there, we went to see him! But it was really, really, really different. That was when I was 18. Then in 1995 I went to University in Birmingham, that’s why I’m in Birmingham now, I did a furniture design course. And I couldn’t find what I was into, because you’ve got all these different influences, you’re away from home and you meet new people. There were night clubs on in Birmingham playing big beat and all that sort of stuff, and it just wasn’t for me but that was the only good thing that was on. Then the whole deep house thing happened as I left university, in ’97/’98. There were various nights in Wolverhampton, like BFG, that were really good - they would get people like DIY, Charles Webster and Paper Records, and it was just perfect, that was the music that linked what I was buying early on to what I was really looking for - that whole deep house sound, it was spot on, it was just a great time. Wolverhampton had a little scene that was really good, and Birmingham had a little scene with nights like Flotation and nights on at the Medicine bar that Leftfoot were doing, and I thought that’s the sound, that’s it, that’s the house music which I like. And then I guess that was where it just went into the disco thing - deep house, disco.

So you didn’t cut your teeth as a DJ in Birmingham?
No, it wasn’t Birmingham, I didn’t really play out in Birmingham. Birmingham hasn’t really done it for me at all, really. It is now! But it wasn’t then. I was just one of the many people that was buying records from Massive Records, Tempest, Hard to Find and whatever, and just into that sound, I never made a name for myself DJng there. At this time, I had a computer at home and I was just into the music. And I was thinking I can do my own thing and have a go at this myself.

You’ve now got a name as a Birmingham DJ, playing at places like Bam Bam and Jigsaw quite a lot, so how did that happen?
Playing at those places only happened after ‘Scared’ came out. I was just friends of people who were doing the parties at the time. I was banging these tunes out and Jigsaw were these people I sort of knew, I was a face there, I’d go to all their parties. The thing is, backtracking a little bit, Leftfoot was the only alternative dance music night in Birmingham, and everyone would go there but there was nothing else. Then Jigsaw started and all of sudden there were these young guys, younger than me, who were doing something I was really into. And we’d go to their little nights, these little parties and it was like, man, this is really good, where did these people come from? I thought me and my mates and a few people that went to Leftfoot, were the only people into this music! Woody, Dave and Rich came from nowhere from my point of view but they were putting on these wicked parties and putting on DJs that Leftfoot weren’t. Leftfoot were doing DJs like Jazzanova, Gilles Peterson, Kruder and Dorfmeister, that sort of house, nu-jazz, whatever you want to call it. Whereas these guys were putting on people like Domu and the Idjut Boys - it wasn’t heard of in Birmingham. And they were doing it, it was small little party, they were doing it small scale. Leftfoot was larger scale, about 500 people, whereas Jigsaw was a hundred people and it was really good. So I started going to their nights, getting to know them.

So moving into production was the turning point for you?

Oh definitely. I was always doing stuff at home on my computer, I got software together, just learning shitty programs, trying to work them out, and putting loops together, sampling disco records and adding my own elements. At this time I was going onto the Jigsaw forum and they were going to start a new label, and I was like “Fucking hell, I want to do that. I’m gonna do that!”. And I’m really putting music together and sending it off to Dave and Woody. They were like “yeah, it’s good” and they never really took hold of it. I thought it was good enough - I did the Womack and Womack edit and I remember thinking “That’s really good“. I put it on the DJ History forum and people came back to me saying that it was wicked. So that spurred me on to send it to Gilles Peterson. You know, who else do you send it to? I you want to get some coverage, if you want to get it on the radio, send it to him. So I sent it to him and about a week later, I’m sat at work, the phone rings and it’s Gilles Peterson saying I’ve got your music and it’s really good, I’m going to play it on the radio. And I was just blown away! Made day, made my month, made my year! It was just totally out of the blue.

This is before it came out on Jisco?

Yeah, yeah!

So they didn’t know what they had?

Yeah, they didn’t know what they had! They thought it was good, but they had some Al Kent edits being pressed at the time. But as soon as Gilles played it on the radio, they were like, right, we’ve got to get this out as soon as possible. That was how it happened. It was mad because I gave Gilles Peterson a CD of about 10 tracks and Scared must have been about number 6, so whoever listens to his stuff, all credit to them, they listened each one all the way through, because you know how long that tune is, it goes on forever and only really hits it at the end. So that person listened all the way through and picked it out. And all thanks to him, he sort of broke me, in way, he said “I’m going to play this” and that was it. It was played on the radio, it was summer 2005 and it was class!

It came out on Jisco that summer, didn‘t it?
They wanted to get it out as soon as it had been played on Gilles’ show, it took about 2 or 3 weeks, maybe a month, but it was out there and he was hammering it. I went to the Big Chill and he played it on the main stage, I was there with my missus, it was the first time and only time I’ve been to the Big Chill, so that weekend was wicked - the weather was great and Gilles Peterson played my music! I remember he was just there, the sun was going down, he was doing his thing, he had his guy there with him, Earl Zinger, is it? MCing all over it, totally ruined it, haha, but he played the tune. I remember thinking he might play it, he’s bigged it up on Radio 1, so he could play it - and he played it!

So that first production was a key moment for you and you went on to play at places like Jigsaw and Bam Bam quite a bit, so what is the Birmingham scene like?

At that time it was really good, Jigsaw would be on once a month, Bam Bam would be on once a month, two weeks separation between the two, and then you’ve got Leftfoot happening at the Medicine Bar, and it was great, for a period it was absolutely fantastic. Now it’s not so good. I don’t know why, lot’s of people have left? Jigsaw was really good, it was like the best party in Birmingham I thought, it just edged Bam Bam. Bam Bam was great, great venue. The venue helped Bam Bam, because the Rainbow was good, especially in the summer out the back [Venue Ed: a sort of alfresco semi-warehouse space]. With Jigsaw, they started out in small little basement that would about hundred people, then they went to another venue, it was bigger venue and it didn’t quite happen. The thing is with Birmingham, it’s all down to the venue, people get into the venue for a while and then they lose interest. It’s a shame but looking back it’s probably a good thing that it finished when it did because we had some great times. Now you’ve got Adam Reagan still doing his Leftfoot thing, he’s really holding it together, he’s really good at promoting and he has his following. It’s small but he’s still got it going. Rob J (Bam Bam promoter and DJ) and I do our thing at Adam’s pub.

Is that a new residency then for you then?
It is, yeah. We’ve our first birthday in March. Called Drop Out Boogie, Rob came up with that one! It’s getting going, we’re getting people in and I think the second year is going to be the good one for us. We need to push it more but I find it hard to get the time to do it.

What’s the venue like?

It’s a small upstairs room in an old boozer - and it’s perfect!

So are there any other good clubs or promoters coming through in Birmingham?
Yeah, there’s stuff going on, you’ve got Below at the Rainbow, they do some good stuff. They made their name doing the minimal thing. Birmingham is based on minimal techno and bands. House music is very much niche and you’re lucky to get a hundred people out every other month to listen to it. It’s an older generation thing. We play disco, we play house music, funk, soul, what and we can fill a hundred and fifty capacity place doing it, but that’s it, there’s nothing more than that. You’ve got lots of smaller, younger promoters coming through the minimal, electro house thing, but that’s it really. Adam fills a 200 capacity place with Gilles Peterson, Norman Jay, Ashley Beadle, get’s bands on, does a live thing, but he’s got a following, he’s got a good reputation. So there is something ticking along, there is something to go to, but that’s it. For a city that size, the second city, the alternative dance, leftfield, house music [scene], it’s very minor, it’s very small.

You’ve got a bit of a reputation for playing ‘Slo-Mo’, how did that come about - where there any particular influences that led to you DJing that way, because it‘s quite a distinctive style?
I think my productions are like that but my DJing isn’t necessarily. I can DJ like that but when I play out, it’s more four to the floor house music, with some disco.

Do you think you pitch down the tempo a bit more than your run of the mill house DJ?
I do like to do that. It makes you stand out a bit more if you can take the tempo down and change things a little bit, so I do like to do that. Production wise, I don’t know why I did that? I got well into what the 3 Chairs, Moodymann, Theo Parish were doing, I don’t want to say that is my main influence in doing that but I guess it is! All the Sound Signature early stuff is this sort of monotonous, slow, dirty, deep house music, and I guess I took a bit of influence from that. And also the choice of stuff I’ve chosen to edit or remix has always been at that tempo. It’s not a conscious decision I’ve made, like right, I’m going to make a slow track. It’s just the way it’s happened.

Listening to some of your mixes, I was wondering if you were a bit of Luther Vandross and Loose Ends fan as a young teenager, as it feels like there is almost a bit of that 80s soul influence?
It hasn’t come from anything I was into as a youngster or a teenager. Not at all. That’s come later, I got into that whole neo-jazz thing for a while, I got into the whole soul thing, Erykah Badu, Common, Platinum Pied Pipers, and all that Ubiquity stuff. I went through a period of being into that and there was soul music there that which was slow house music. People over look it but there was a track on the Erykah Badu album Worldwide Underground and it’s just the best house tune ever, but slow and it’s soul music. It just goes on and on, taking that soul mentality and making a bit more techno-y.

How do you think that slo-mo style translates to the dance floor, do you need to educate people into it?
I was playing in Hamburg a few weeks ago and I played this set, it went really well, disco, house, probably about 115-116bpm or something like that, and at the end I just slowed it right down, and everyone went for it. I think it’s the context you play it in, if you’ve built it up and you got the crowd, they’re all with you, they’ll go with you. Or you come on after someone and you think I’m going to educate these people, I’m going to slow it right down, and they’re not with you an you’ve read it wrong and then you’ve fucked it up!

Do you think that slo-mo style travels well then, or do you feel more comfortable playing it on your home turf in Birmingham?
No, not at all. My typical DJ set is not slow. I think people have got this perception me - looped up, slow disco and stuff. Whereas if you hear me play out and some of the mixes I’ve done, it would be quite different to that, although I do play a lot of looped up house tunes. I guess my sound could be likened to what’s happening with Philpott’s, they do a lot of these disco-y, very deep sounds.

Actually I was listening to an old record by The Mole on Philpott the other night and thought that the style must be right up your street.

All that Mole stuff is class. Funnily enough I got in contact with The Mole - Colin his name is, Colin the Mole! And we were going to do something together , we were both up for doing stuff. He liked my stuff, I’d been buying his for years but it never happened, it just never came about.

Given your recent success in the studio do you now see yourself as primarily a producer rather than a DJ?

No, it’s both - one feeds the other. You get more DJ work when you’ve got your music out, that’s how it works. Once your name’s out there and people are buying your stuff, you get DJ work, so I have to do music to feed the DJing. And that’s how it is, sadly, because everyone’s a DJ now, you can’t make your name just being a DJ. I have to stress I need to thank the whole edit thing for putting me where I am now - although at the time, when I did the first tune, I didn’t set out to do an edit, I was sampling music, which people like DJ Sneak have done for the last 15 years, but he’s not called an editor, he’s making music. And that’s what I set out to do, make some tunes, sampling a little bit and make track out of it. I did that first track and I didn’t know how to end it, so I just put the original track in. And I was totally oblivious to this edit thing that was going on. I wasn’t part of it, but when ‘Scared’ came out, I don’t think that the edit thing was as big as where it is now? I had finished that track, I had a really good beginning but I didn’t know how to end it, and the only way I could do it was to put the original tune in and it just worked! It was by mistake really, and then I’ve been thrown into this whole re-edit culture thing.

I’ve read that you think edits should primarily be DJ tools, how do you feel about the glut of basic edits - looped up the intro, looped up the outro - of obvious tracks that seem to have flooded the market over the last year or two? And do you think they are legitimate stepping stone for DJ/Producers trying to make their name?

I don’t want to start slagging off people who are editing stuff because that’s how I’ve done it.

At least with your edits you do something different with the track, take a snippet, loop it up and turn it into something different, whereas a lot of edits are really good disco tune to start with anyway, with a bit stuck on the start, another bit on the end, and they’ve lost the cheesy bit in the middle!

I couldn’t put my name to anything like that and say that’s my work. I think when I did it, subconsciously, I had to add elements of my own to it, so I could put my name to it - it’s by me, it says Mark E, and called something different to what the original track is. Most of the track, the Mark E tune, is totally new to what the original is. You might get a couple of minutes at the end of the original track, and it just sort of makes sense. I couldn’t release anything, I couldn’t put my name to anything if I hadn’t done anything to it. I couldn’t put my name to it if I’d just looped it, I could do that on a CDJ in a club. It’s a form of bootlegging. I think with what I’ve done, I’ve made new music out of old music. A new interpretation of something - and that’s good. And that’s why I’ll put my name to it because I think it justifies it.

Do you think the ease of access to cheap technology has dumbed down the creative process of making music or has it created opportunities for talented people to get involved who would never have done so in the past?
It’s a great thing, it’s fantastic. It’s meant that people who otherwise wouldn’t have the ability to do anything with music, they go along and do a boring job for the rest of their lives, whereas technology has come along and it’s easy to do. I think it’s a good thing technology gives people access to make music - if it’s not good music, then people won’t buy it!

So you think there is more creativity coming into music because of this?
Yeah, of course, definitely. It’s got to be good that people can get access to software and computers and have ago. It might open their whole lives up to something that otherwise wouldn’t happen. It’s got to be good. There a lot of untapped talent out there that would go unrecognised if it wasn’t for that. And that’s exactly what happened with me! If I wasn’t messing around on my computer, and because of technology I can sample something without buying an Akai sampler or something, I wouldn’t be sat here talking to you now. It’s good! It’s just ideas and how people interpret them - people have got ideas about music. I think of myself, that it’s luck. It’s nothing new what I’m doing, it’s just a different interpretation, anyone can do it, anyone can learn what I’ve learnt. I don’t think I’m special, I don’t think I’m especially talented. It’s just having an idea, having some experience in buying music and listening to lots of music and thinking I could do this but like this. It’s just those ideas - it doesn’t matter who knows what to do with what equipment and what the equipment is - it’s having the ideas and knowing what to do with them. I’m not going to say I’m some sort of wiz kid on technology and computers, because I’m not, it’s just having an idea and knowing how to use a bit of software.

What software do you use?
I’m not going to go into details, but I use a basic wave editor and a sequencer, that’s all I use. There’s a lot of snobbery in what you use, I don’t care what people say, it’s how you use the equipment you’ve got. If you’ve can use a Mac and you’ve got Logic, then good for you, use it, it’s a massive program, I haven’t got time to learn how to use it, I’ve got a family, I haven’t got time to sit behind Mac all day and learn how to use Logic. I use what I use and I use it to the best of my ability. It’s the idea that counts not the equipment.

Is there a particular process you go through when identifying and creating an edit?

I don’t think to myself I’m going to find a tune to edit tonight, it’s not like that. A label doesn’t come to me an say, “Mark, I want an edit, can you get it done really quick”, it doesn’t happen like that. I’m not going to do anything that is going to compromise me in quality of music, it has to be something where I find something in a track which I really like anyway and I think could be good. A tiny little snippet, it doesn’t have to be a major part of a track. The first Running Back release I did, Beat Down, must have been 3 or 4 seconds worth of one track at the beginning, the rest of the track doesn’t bear any resemblance to it. It’s got that “It hurts so much now” and the little bit before that - that’s the track, there’s no other bits to it, the rest of the track doesn’t bear any resemblance to what I made, and it’s just finding that little bit. I’ll listen to something, it could be anything, and I’ll think that could be really good, I’ll sample that, I’ll manipulate the sample, I’ll take the bass out, I’ll isolate the bass on its own, then loop them up together in a different way. So it’s not as if I’m looking for a track to edit, it’s just I’ll hear something and I’ll think that could work on a different level, totally.
You’re now getting quite a bit of remix work, things the Detroit Experiment where you retained many elements of the original, but also stuff like Holy Jungle where didn‘t. So, do you approach remixes in a different way to edits?
The difference with remixes is you get all the parts separated on their own, so you’ve got total control over what you do, you can create something totally new. With the Holy Jungle mix, the original track was great, totally weird ju-ju disco or whatever people liken it to! But there was the bass line [sings bom-ba-boom-ba…], it had these sort of up and downs, and I thought it could be something really special, it had this Carl Craig feel.

I’ve actually described it as a techno record - it wasn’t like anything else I’ve heard to do.

Totally. I just saw something, you could do something really good with that and I think it really worked in the end. And with the Think Twice thing, to be asked to remix that track, a track which I played and played and played out… you can’t better it, you can’t better the original tune, and people will probably think why even bother trying to remix it. I was worried that I would do something poor and get really slated for it. I shouldn’t worry about what other people think but I did with that track because it was such a big tune. And it was really hard, but I think did something good with it. I think I did something which was deeper, I wasn’t trying to make it better than the original, because you can’t, I did something that was a different take on it, more strings and along drawn out groove rather than an instant, modern day, disco-y house track. And I’m really pleased with the way it came out. I added elements to it, people might listen to a snippet of it off a website and think it sounds exactly the same, but if you listen to it all the way through, you’ll get a different feel for it. I’m really pleased with the way it turned out.

I’ve heard that you now want to concentrate on original music rather than edits, do you have anything in the pipeline?

Yeah, I want to do my own label. Hopefully that’s going to happen this year, I’ve got distribution set up for it and I’ve got music ready for it. I’ve got to thank people for wanting to put my music out, it’s brilliant, I still can’t believe it now. But I just want to have a bit more control over it - when it’s released, the artistic content. I could do it myself, I haven’t got time at the moment because I’m up to my eyes in it all over the place, but ultimately I want to do it myself and have total control over everything. I’ll do the artwork myself, I’ll do the music myself. It’ll be an outlet for my own music and if it leads to it, then other people - if it’s good enough, great! That’s what I want to do.

Do you have anything coming out soon our readers could look out for?!

I’ve done a track on Mule from Japan, something on their compilation. Another Jisco, another Running Back. The Running Back will be original and Jisco will be an edit. The Jisco is imminent, it’s going to be the edit of Grace Jones ‘La Vie En Rose’ I did that’s on my Resident Advisor mix. And maybe another Golf Channel, who knows?! I haven’t spoken to Phil [South, Golf Channel head honcho] for while but I’m going to New York in May.

That take us nicely to R+B Drunkie on Golf Channel Records. It really had a wide appeal, from the DJHistory lot through to being played as the last record of the night at Secretsundaze. I remember playing it at a Carnival party and had teenagers that looked like extras from Skins taking pictures of it on the decks - were you surprised by its success?

Yeah. It was quite different for me that tune. I don’t think I’ve ever played it out myself. It was totally different for me, it was a totally different type of track, some people got it, some people totally didn’t, so I’m quite amazed it had the cross over appeal. Although it isn’t really attributable to me, it’s by someone else, someone called M.E…

I hear there was lot interest in it from the likes of Running Back, why did you decide to put it out on a fledgling New York based label?

Well he was the first one who said he wanted to release it. Rob J (Bam Bam) sent it to Phil, Phil emailed me and said he wanted to release it, and then phoned me up, told me what wanted to do, how he really wanted to do it and that it was great, so I was like yeah, go on, do it! I didn’t see the potential in it, so if someone wanted to release it, great, have it! If we make some money and make something out of it, then even better!

So you didn’t see it as a little gem you should hold back for the best offer?

No, I don’t think so. Actually, I did play it out and everyone was going mad over it. Gerd (Janson, of Running Back) wanted to release it and I said I’d promised it someone else and he was like “Ahhh, man!”, then Prins Thomas was interested in it - I went to a Faith party, a couple of years ago, Rahaan was on with Prins Thomas, Karizma, Idjut Boys, and I remember going down into the basement to listen to Rahaan, and Prins Thomas came on. His first tune was this track, and I recognised it, it was my tune, R+B Drunkie, and went up to him and asked him how he got it, and said Rob J sent it to him - the bastard! So he was interested in it too, which was unreal.

So do you see R+B Drunkie and Scared being big the two big pivotal moments in your recording career?

I don’t see R+B Drunkie as. It didn’t really get any radio play like ‘Scared’ did. It sold quite a lot but I see that as a separate thing really, I don’t see it as my main musical body of work, I see it as separate. I called it something separate, it was under a different pseudonym. It was just to create a little bit of hype, it was more a party tune really.

Finally, is there anywhere our readers can catch you playing in the near future?

The Garden Festival in Croatia, Faith are there the first week and I’m there second week. Then Fabric in London on 18 April and Cut Loose in Manchester the night before.

Thank you Mark.

With thanks, as ever, to Nick Ensing for the pictures