Interview by Fidel Trotman
Welcome to DMCWORLD Mark. Can we begin by you telling about the early days when you started playing at Philip Salon’s Mud Club, what the club scene was like back then and what your most memorable nights were there?
It was very eclectic back then. Gay and straight. Debutantes and gangsters. The occasional axe murderer. It was very mixed and the music was equally eclectic. Every style was played including hip-hop, funk, disco, rockabilly, Italo, New-Wave electronica, punk, pop music and even a show tune or two from the likes of Cabaret or South Pacific. Also everyone was dressed to the nines! The best night was when the place got CS gassed and everyone ran out while I was DJ-ing. I was thinking, ‘This record isn’t that bad is it?’ Somehow the CS gas didn’t affect me! Another great night was when there was a power cut so everyone had to talk to each other for an hour. The atmosphere was incredible once everything went back to normal so it just goes to show small disasters can be a good thing.
What were your other favourite DJ residencies?
So many. Asylum and Pyramid at Heaven to name two. They’d do these amazing fashion shows or performance art pieces in the middle of the night. Often you’d go there one week and be picked to model in a fashion show the week after. It was very ‘A Star Is Born’.
You were one of the first UK DJs to support and play Chicago House and Detroit Techno. Did it occur to you that you were setting up a platform for such a groundbreaking longevity genre?
It never occurred to me but I did feel I was on a mission to spread the word! I was convinced the music was amazing and they lapped it up in the gay clubs but straight people other than a few key clubs in London didn’t get it until about 1987. They would dance to the big house records but were more into rare groove and hip-hop. The alternative gay scene was years ahead on the house music.
1988 was as outstanding time for S’ Express, Theme from S’ Express was a monster chart topper all around the world. How did you come up with such a genius concept and how did the formula of the group come together?
It was just all the things I loved over the years and throwing it all into a big pot. Haha. Making S’Express into a group was just because I knew it would be more fun to travel around the world promoting the group with a bunch of my friends. But to be honest I had no idea it would go so big so quick. I was thinking maybe 5 years later something might happen. So the group was more for making videos as I was a closet film director and liked the idea of doing some colourful videos with my great looking friends. No real master plan really but it worked out ok.
Must had been a great experience working with William Orbit remixing Prince’s Batdance, Electric Chair and The Future. What was the Purple Rain artist response to your well executed mixes?
He loved them. He would call me up in the middle of the night for long, rambling chats and confide in me about his problems, which was quite surreal but really touching to find out he was human after all. He asked us not to sample any of his records for the remixes but of course me and William couldn’t resist and we did it anyway. I love those mixes and it was such an honour to work with Prince. Me and William were thrilled but to be honest just working with William was amazing anyway as he was always my favourite producer and I managed to track him down so we could work together.
How does music challenge and inspire you after so many years of being the music industry?
It goes in waves where sometimes all you hear is the same things rehashed a thousand times and then suddenly you find something that just ignites you again. At the moment the things doing it for me are movie soundtracks. Things like old Ennio Morricone, Stelvio Cipriani and newer ones like Beyond The Black Rainbow, Maniac, Under The Skin. Great electronic soundscapes.
Being heavily into the music scene from a young age, who were your biggest musical influences that got you behind the decks?
I just fell into it by natural osmosis. Haha. I was helping out Tasty Tim who was DJ-ing at The Mud Club so it’s mainly thanks to Tim and Philip Sallon who ran The Mud Club. Tasty’s still DJ-ing now and is as wonderful as ever! The first DJs I listened to regularly were Rusty Egan at Billys and The Blitz plus Colin Faver and Evil Eddie Richards at Heaven and The Camden Palace (now Koko). They were always very eclectic and played things you would hear for the first time that would go on to be classics (Planet Rock, Blue Monday, Liaisons Dangereuse). Very inspiring.
What DJ/Producers are catching your attention on the dancefloor?
I’m loving Hi-Fi Sean’s album. A great dance pop-album. Classic. Loving Arca but not hearing him on a lot of dance floors. Perhaps I’m going to the wrong places?
You’ve been around for some of club culture’s most vibrant years, how do you feel about London clubs now and why?
A few of my younger friends are saying that clubs aren’t so important to them at the moment which is a bit worrying to hear. I always find that there’s a very vibrant energy at the clubs in East London which are more mixed/gay and I think they get a varied age range so it’s interesting. I can’t honestly say it’s as good as it’s ever been but I think it’s healthy.
Name some of the tunes in your record box that will be working the disco vibe this weekend at Egg…
I’m doing my disco set so it would be:
Michael Polnareff – Lipstick
Melody Stewart – You Don’t Know What You’re Missing Tonight
The Supremes – Let Yourself Go
The Passengers – Hot Leather (Patrick Cowley Remix)
Finally! What exciting new production can we expect from you this year?
I’m working on a track or two for a new movie where I’m also a consultant. It’s by one of my favourite directors but I can’t really talk about it yet. Very excited to be involved.
Mark Moore (S’Express) headlines The Loft at Egg London’s Birthday Part II this Saturday May 6th alongside The Nextmen whilst Green Velvet, Enrico Sanguiliano, Daniel Miller (Mute Records) and Tobi Neumann fire up the Main Room. On the Terrace catch Jay Shepheard, Zaki Muak and Manish whilst on the Ground Floor: Margot, Alex Bau are joined by the Resident DJs Kyle E, Ireen Amnes and The Willers Brothers.
All info www.egglondon.co.uk