mk2

What do you think that time spent working on pop music has brought to your production that you didn’t have before?

I think it’s probably brought a bit more colour to my production. Working in the pop world for ten years you’re used to hearing radio people, managers and A&Rs tell you exactly what they’re looking for and it’s usually the same type of thing because they want that big record. I think I’ve been able to kind of take some of that and apply it to what I do in house music. You don’t take too much of it because you don’t want to be too pop, but you take just enough to where it’s masked in a cool house track. You’re like, ‘Why do I like this song so much?!’

It’s like a secret catchiness.

Yeah, exactly. And if you pull the house part away you’ll find a pop song. The perfect example is ‘White Noise’ – if you just heard the vocals without the track, it’s a pop record. But then the way Disclosure did the production is perfect. It’s like doing a really good remix to a pop record.

So you mentioned how the major labels were pushing you for remixes which sounded just like the Nightcrawlers mix. Did people expect certain things of you when they sent you a track to remix?

It doesn’t happen any more, but it happened back in the 90s, when I wasn’t really known. The hardcore house DJs knew who I was but I was still new. To me it took that ten years I spent working in the pop world for people to realise what I was doing was dope, just because it stuck around or it still worked or whatever.

But looking back you were the master of taking a track, twisting it completely and turning it into a pop hit with a house twist, even if major labels didn’t realise that at the time. Were you getting a lot of remixes rejected?

I got rejected a lot. Honestly I think one out of three remixes were getting rejected, then I’d go back and do it again. The first Nightcrawlers mix got rejected. What I learned over those years was that I was giving the label what I thought they wanted, rather than just something that was all me. When I got rejected, that’s when the MK dubs started coming in. I’m like, ‘Let me do something that I think they want, but then let me do a dub that I know I want just in case.’ And the dub was the one that always won. Over the years I started trusting my own judgement.

That’s quite reassuring to new producers, to know that even you get remixes rejected. 

It’s a normal thing. It’s frustrating at first to new producers, but it happens to everybody. It happens to the biggest pop producers. It’s like if you want to be an actor, you’ll go on castings and sometimes they just won’t like you. I just did a remix of ‘Addiction’ and that was a second take at it.

I think everyone has this idea of the classic MK dub in their head: chopped vocals, organ basslines, shuffling drums. When did you first realise that you had a distinctive sound?

I realised it back then. I was getting asked to remix songs that I didn’t really like or songs where the melodic line wasn’t strong enough, so I basically tried to create my own hook by chopping the vocals. Any dub that I’ve done over the years, you can replace the melody with an actual lyric and it’d probably be a pretty decent song, but the ones I’ve done you can’t understand what they’re saying. Probably the first or second time I did it, I was like, ‘Oh… This works.’ Then I realised, ‘This works every single time.’ Even now if I’m doing a song that’s really great I still do it anyway because it makes a second hook.

You did that on the Lana Del Rey remix.

Right. It makes the song even more catchy.

Which other producers do you rate now?

Jamie, of course. He’s a really really good producer. Disclosure, of course. Duke Dumont. Eats Everything is incredible. I like Catz & Dogz, I think they’re really good. There’s a few out there that I really like a lot. Their production follows that formula where they could have a pop record but it’s matched with the production so perfectly that it stays cool.

Author Greg Scarth
22nd April, 2013

Comments

  • Prime example of someone who makes music for making money and not the love of the music! Dislike!

    Report
  • Exactly what i thought! Wish this guy had stayed away instead of coming back to dance music just because there’s money in it now – this is just the kind of leech the industry could do without right now!

    Report
  • shittiest music I’ve heard all week.

    Report
  • Fuckn pop music. When did Pop become a standard all modern music is judged against?

    Report
  • Can’t believe the comments on here. The guy’s a fucking legend. He was making classic house records before most of us were born. What’s the problem, that he’s honest enough to admit he wants to get paid for his work? Are you really naive enough to think that other producers don’t want to get paid? They just don’t admit it in public!

    Report
  • In agreement with CV/G – MK has produced some great classic tracks and thats all that really matters at the end of the day.

    Many producers, Diplo being one example produce underground dance music and have produced an astounding roster of pop/RnB/hip hop artists. Musicians and producers need to make a living, and aspring to be up there with Quincy Jones isn’t a bad thing ! MK seems very fair in his appraisal of both sides of the fence and it’s great news that Hot Creations have got him back on board 🙂

    Report
  • 20k a week in the 90’s, whos gonna say no to that? Mk worked the dam system it didn’t work him. And even if his tracks are more pop tracks are still fun to listen to props Mk maaad props =)

    Report
  • He Is a living legend within House music in which he even influenced Todd Edwards in at least thinking of another of way of producing and making House music. He was so hot at one time (from 1992 to 1995) that he was close to upsetting the Holy grail of House music Producers at the time. He was making so much “noise” that Legendary House music producers such as Todd Terry, Masters at Work, Steve ” Silk” Hurley , Larry Heard and Kerri Chandler, were looking over their shoulders.

    However, I feel that he got out at the right time. I think that the real reason why he left was that he thought his “Sound” – The “Mk Dub” sound – would burn out!

    Like he mentioned after ” Pass the feeling on single every record exec wanted a record like that. This pressure to come up with that and also he wanted he wanted to try something different instead of becoming known as a House producer meant he was on his way.

    If there was a book to be written about about Usa House and Usa Garage Music – a proper book! Real stories, real events, no filler.. Then this man would have to be in it.

    There was another mix that he did that is legendary in my Opinion. The one that he did that used Jodeci track called “Freakin you”.
    If you listen to the original single by Joedci – it is a ballard!!!

    Also another genius track that he got to do a “Dub mix” on original done the Masters at Work – ” I Can’t Get No Sleep (MK Dub). Now this is something else!

    90’s House and Garage music was the best period for House and Garage music period! The reason why – was that the dj/producers made sure of the grooveability and a soul vibe were contain in their records which I still think is missing in todays releases. For Instance – Strictly Rhythm records was releasing a House and Garage record each week in the early 1990’s – and the the majority of today are considered classics today!!!

    Carl Brown
    http://www.electricsoulshow.com

    Report
  • Lol @ant pure jealousy!

    Report
  • MK is a legend

    Report

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You currently have an ad blocker installed

Attack Magazine is funded by advertising revenue. To help support our original content, please consider whitelisting Attack in your ad blocker software.

Find out how

x

A WEEKLY SELECTION OF OUR BEST ARTICLES DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX