Meet the producer who has defined the sound of house music since the 1990’s. Mark ‘MK’ Kinchen has elevated the art of the remix to new levels, transforming average pop tracks into pure dancefloor gold. He’s back in the limelight thanks to an astonishing rework of Miss Lana Del Ray
Welcome back to DMC Marc. The last time we spoke you kept me waiting on the phone whilst you ran to the pub next door to Defected and had a cheeky Vodka Redbull! How’s the drinking going!!?
“Oh it’s going, nothing like having a sip before going on, it gets the blood going…loosens everything up…”
How was that gif in Hollywood with Todd Edwards at the weekend?
“It was really fun especially because it was in LA, and playing with Todd is great. He and I are friends, he is a very talented DJ and producer, so it was a win win. Turned out that Danny Daze was playing at the downtown standard, we should have triple teamed. I had lot of friends and family there so it was really great. Some of them had never seen me play before. I am doing another pool party at the W in San Francisco next month (Aug 15) and that should be pretty wild.”
You are back on everyone’s lips thanks to your mighty MK Darkest rework of Lana Del Ray’s ‘Blue Jeans’. Talk us through your remix…
“Recently, I was in the studio with Jamie Jones and Lee Foss working on the Hot Natured album when one night when I got to the studio Jamie was just starting his remix of Lana Del Rey’s “Blue Jeans ,” and I really liked the song. I said hey I want to do a remix as well, I thought how cool would that be all of us on the same package. I called her A&R, Ferdie from Polydor who I actually owed a remix to and told him i was with Jamie and that the LDR song is dope and I really wanted to mix it. Thing is, I got so into the song that I ended up doing 3 remixes: Dark Blue dub, The Darkest Mix and The Darkest Dub. My own fav is The Darkest Dub. The crazy thing is Jamie was never even able to finish his mix, so now Jamie and Lee play my Darkest Dub in their sets. You just can’t make this stuff up. I love those guys, I am having so much fun with them, they always inspire me…I guess we have good musical chemistry.”
Are you a fan of Lana’s music – what do you like about it…?
“I love her music, I actually heard her a little over a year ago when I was visiting Ferdie at the Polydor office and he was telling me “MK you have to check out my new artist, she is gonna be massive!!” and one year later , it ends up that not only was Ferdie right, but it’s also one of my best remixes. He was also he was the first guy in England to want to sign me when I did “Burning.” He was at his own imprint called “Go Beat” in those days.”
Aside from dance music, who are the artists you are listening to from other genres at the moment? Please don’t tell me you have Depeche Mode on replay still?!
“I will always listen to Depeche Mode, they are probably one of the only bands that i would still be excited about seeing live…I don’t really listen to too much music. My whole life is music, so when I get a break, I promise you, it’s without music.”
We heard a rumour that a little while back you found a hard drive from when you lived in New York with hundreds of songs from way back. Have you done anything with it?
“This is true!!!! I copied the hard drive into 4 separate hard drives to make sure I don’t ever lose them again, I have every remix sequence file from the 90’s on those drives…I even have some of the remixes that I didn’t turn in cause sometimes when I do a remix I make a few versions and only turn in the best one…haven’t done anything with it yet…got any ideas?”
You have an ability to sensitively and tastefully rework music for the underground in a fresh – but signature way. How would you describe your ‘signature way’ in 2012?
“Doing remixes is kind of different now from before, since I approach it first as a DJ by making sure that I love the remix enough that ‘I’ would play it out in my own sets. Having that as a new priority has definitely given me a fresh approach on how I work on things. Also, by being out and about I keep finding and hearing new inspiration, and end up being surrounded by amazing people like Laidback Luke, Steve Angello, Danny Daze, The Art Dept., Maceo Plex, Lauren Flax/Creep, Maya Jane Coles, Yasmine of Tearist, Gina Turner, I am really having fun. This might sound funny but, I don’t think I have a signature. I know that must sound weird because at the same time I know I do have one. It’s not like when I make a record, I say OK I am going to put my signature in this “MK” remix or song, it just happens. It comes from a vibe, a really personal vibe. I think a lot of people have that. Great musicians have it, Eric Clapton has it on guitar, Kenny and Louie have that, Lee and Jamie have it, you can always recognize their style. As for me, i just keep working at it to the point that I know that this is the shit and then I guess it has my stamp on it. Like a signature on a check, guess that’s why they call it that.”
The likes of Laidback Luke, Todd Edwards and Danny Daze have all admitted that you have had a profound effect on their lives. What producers would you say have had a profound effect on your life?
“I think it changes all the time, growing up, it was definitely Depeche Mode, The Cure, New Order and in the 90’s, it was Masters at Work, Murk, Kevin Saunderson and the Detroit pals, Richie Hawtin, Carl Craig and today I really like Danny Daze, Maceo Plex, Maya Jane Coles, Jamie Jones and Lee Foss, ALi Love Afrojack, Nina Kraviz and The Art Department.”
You have laid your magic fingers on the likes of work by Nightcrawlers, Moby, Jay Z, Michael Jackson and Inner City. Taking a step back, what one piece of music are you most proudest of producing?
“I would have to say “Burning”. That track just set such a tone. I remember after I made the track, I listened to it for like an hour or 2 non stop, I just let the sequence loop over and over and I thought to myself “this is really good!!!” Hahaha!”
What is the current top 10 you are spinning?
1. MK feat. Alana Burning (Vibe mix) 2. MK feat. Alana Love Changes (MK mix) 3. Flight Facilities With You feat. Grovesnor (Danny Daze 5am mix) 4. Teenage Mutants Out Of Time (finnebassen remix) 5. Maceo Plex Deez Nutz (original mix) 6. Amirali “Just An Illusion (MK remix) 7. Yass Secret feat. Francine E Murphy (Rocco Reconstruction mix) 8. Matt Tolfrey & Maher Daniel It Aint Over Yet (original mix) 9. NTFO Policrom (Audiojack remix) 10.Alex Arnout Movements In Soul (Laura Jones remix)
What’s the latest with working with the Smith family studio wise? Any new projects from Will and his clan?
“The Smith Clan, haha! It’s funny I am watching the little ones grow up. I am still working with Willow on her project and I have also been working with Wills youngest son, Jaden and he is another Superstar Smith in the making, he is an awesome kid. Myself and my music partner Omarr Rampert are working hard on both of those projects. There must be something in those Smith genes though, there’s his older son too, Trey…another amazing and talented kid. As for Will, he keeps pretty busy making movies but, every once in a while he pops in and goes into the vocal booth, but the kids kick him out right away. Lol.”
What are your thoughts on dance music in 2012 – do you think it is in a healthy state?
“I am really happy about the state its in right now, it was always so underground in the US. Like even when i would have these massive club hits, they would still be considered underground. “Push The Feeling On” was underground? So now in 2012 I finally have a Top 10 pop/dance record with my good friend Pitbull, the “Back In Time” song from the movie “Men In Black 3″ – so far it has sold about 2.5 million copies, that’s incredible.”
Do you think America can sustain it’s sudden obsession with EDM – has too much money been thrown at it, will the bubble burst or is it here to stay for a while?
“Good question, I don’t know the answer, but I do know one thing I have noticed in my music career – and that is once a style of underground music has ben exposed, it doesn’t really go away…people said the same thing about rap music. Both rap and dance/edm have had plenty of time to build their foundations strong to keep their houses standing so to speak.”
What has been your summer anthem?
“That’s supposed to be a secret surprise! I did this extra special version of my Storm Queen “Look Right Through,” The MK Talk To Me Dub #3″ is a monster and I only play it in my live sets. I promised Simon Dunmore I would give it to him after my August Ibiza dates.”
Where are the big gigs you are looking forward to this summer?
“I am really looking forward to the Eastern Electric gig and the after party too at Corsica Studios. I am also really looking forward to playing the Shoreditch House in London and I am hoping to play in Berlin too. I love going there, it always feels like home when you are on the road. Vanessa at Shoreditch House should be calling any minute.”
What is coming next from the MK studio…
“There is a new Pitbull single called “Get It Started” featuring Shakira (I co-wrote and co-produced that) and my team keeps asking if I finished the remix for that – they think it could be huge. And I am really excited that I have two new songs with Lee Foss “Thoughts of You” feat. Yasmine Kittles from the indie band TEARIST. There is more Hot Natured stuff too and guess what!!! My mini Moog Voyager gets delivered in a few days…that’s when the magic is really going to happen.”