Since his early days of producing House music in the 90’s, MarkZowie has formed part of other aliases before taking the solo route in 2014. His music has been championed by the likes of Roger Sanchez & Pete Tong and has seen releases across Fatboy Slims’ Southern Fried Records and Ministry of Sound to name a few – not forgetting early studio work nurturing a-then young Calvin Harris! We check in with him on the release of his new album ‘Outside The Circle’…
Mark – welcome to DMC World! How are you?
Very good thanks! It’s a beautiful morning and I’ve got my three kids running riot as we speak
We hear you have just released an LP on JULA Music. Can you tell us a bit more about the label?
Well, JULA is my own label. After 20 plus years of releasing with many labels, I decided in 2016 to start my own label journey. The ethos of the label is to release electronica / indie-electronic music / house / tech-house / techno and even ambient soundscape material. It’s still very much in its infancy, but I’ve a solid team of people who help me with the important things like agreements and distribution. That way, I can concentrate harder on my own output and look for appropriate artists for the label.
The album is titled ‘Outside the Circle’ – what’s the story behind the name?
If I’m honest, it’s quite personal. But the ‘basics’ are I’ve moved away from various circles of contacts and avoiding others. It has been to the detriment of big support for me, but the saviour to my sanity. Some people have to make the decision between power over health. I’ll take health any day.How would you describe your sound to first time listeners?
‘Outside the Circle’ is the best example of the Mark Zowie sound. I feel that these days, there’s a horrible generic sound destroying the whole house music scene. If someone stood and played 10 current tracks to me, I wouldn’t have a clue who any of them were. 10/15 years ago, you could almost pick out an artist by the nuances they’d bring to their productions. DJ mag described my past music as chameleon-like, difficult to pigeon hole. And that’s what I feel is the same for me today. No two tracks sound the same. No sample packs. Every track treated differently.
Over the years you’ve had releases on Southern Fried Records & Ministry of Sound. Are there any other labels that you’d like to collaborate with?
Well I always wanted something on Paper Recordings and so I achieved that last year by releasing two tracks through them. I suppose if I was to pick a handful of labels, ‘R&S’ would be up there for sure. I like what Josh Butlers ‘Origins’ label is doing right now, with that slightly deeper jazz mood tech-house. Dirtybird always impress me, as does Ovum.
Roger Sanchez & Pete Tong have shown their support in the past. Are there any other DJs you’d like to win over with your music?
It’s difficult to say, because some DJ’s are so strangely RIDGED about what they play. I’ve had some pretty big DJ’s say they ‘ABSOLUTELY LOVE’ the album but couldn’t play any of the tracks in their sets! Which is fine my me. The album is diverse and that can make people divided on their opinions. That said it’d be nice to make sure I could get my music to the likes of Simon Dunmore, Carl Cox, Mark Knight etc!
You have played some iconic gigs in the past – Creamfields, Glastonbury, Ibiza Rocks – what is your most memorable show to date?
Most memorable would have to be Ibiza Rocks. Just before Soulwax. 2000 strong crowd and an amazing sound system. I was looked after like Bono that weekend – surreal yet fun.
Which DJs and producers are you feeling right now?
Josh Butler, Steve Mac, Sonny Fodera. Marsh always steps up his game, our very own Axel Doorman is producing some amazing music right now and I’m super proud of my old mate Ki Creighton, he’s smashing it at the mo.
Advice to anyone starting out as a DJ?
Prepare for the highs and lows. The industry is a machine with many cogs sometimes you fit, sometimes you don’t. Have some class, self respect and don’t expect miracles. You have to dig deep and work hard.
Old or new, which record would you close a set with?
Wow! That’s a difficult one. I’ve used this lots… Global Communication – The Way. (Secret Ingredients mix)
Whats in store for the rest of 2018?
I’m looking at my live set-up, although we’re having our 4th child in July so it’ll be late ‘18 early ‘19 by the time I’m ready I think.