When I hear the words “House Music” only one name comes to mind that stands out more than the others, and that name is Mark Knight. Mark Knight’s legacy already ranks him as a leading player in dance music culture. His rise to the top has been more than just gigs and remixes, but it’s his contribution to the scene via his label Toolroom Records, which demonstrates abilities that go beyond the glorified title of ‘DJ’. MK is my all time favorite Producer/DJ so when he comes around the tri-state area I DO NOT miss him! This was obviously no exception as I was excited to see the Toolroom head honcho and not even have to leave the state this time.
Once EDMNYC‘s Editor-in-Chief, Nicole “Swedeheart” Pace told me about Mark Knight coming back to the area I was SO pumped up, but when she told me she would be setting me up to do an interview with him, I nearly fell off my chair. Last time I saw Mark was last month at Marquee. It was one of the greatest nights I ever had, and I was able to meet him right after his set for a few minutes. To find out I was interviewing him and actually going to get a chance to sit down and talk to him one on one this time was great news!
Anxiously waiting for a couple of weeks for this day to come it was finally here. Working that day was the worst because it was dragging out so long but once the clock struck 10pm, I was out so fast and on my way to Mister East. It took me a quick 30 minutes to make it to M.E. and thank God it had stopped snowing. Honestly it could have been a blizzard out and I still wouldn’t have missed seeing and interviewing Mark Knight haha! I got into the club at 11pm, and made my way to the DJ booth to start off what would be an incredible night!
Walking into this club you could instantly sense how wild the night would be. It was more than half way packed already and people were dancing to the sounds of opening and resident DJ Sevag. If you aren’t familiar with Sevag yet, then you better start to fast because he is absolutely blowing up! Sevag is a producer that has taken the tri-state area by storm since his beginnings as a local producer in NJ. He has had a string of successful ‘unofficial’ remixes with garnered support from industry heavyweights such as Roger Sanchez, Thomas Gold, Marco V, Sick Individuals and more. He has played in some of the hottest and biggest venues in the area such as Pacha NYC, HQ Nightclub & Beach Club and Lavo NYC alongside guys such as Avicii, Chuckie, SJRM and Thomas Gold to name a few.
Sevag, usually known for his big room sound, was showing how diverse he can really be by playing some groovy tech house that kept the dance floor rocking until the Toolroom boss made his way to the booth shortly after midnight. This was my first time seeing Sevag live and I can’t express enough how impressed I was. Flawless mixing and an awesome track selection made the Mister East crowd go wild. Everyone I talked to who had never seen Sevag were instant fans, and I could tell by the amount of movement on the floor, just about everyone else was already on the Sevag movement! You should definitely get your ass down to Mister East every Saturday night when Sevag is spinning to hear what everyone is talking about. Here is a partial list of what he played:
- Criminal Vibes – Finally
- Nalin & Kane – Beachball (Joris Voorn Remix)
- Leftwing & Kody – I Know (Original Mix)
- NERVO & Marco Lys – Don’t Break My Heart (Extended Mix)
- Red Carpet – Alright 2014 (Lucas & Steve, Nothing But Funk Remix)
- Pirupa – Party Non Stop (Franky Rizardo Remix)
At around 12:30 Mark Knight made his way to the decks to begin what was going to be a set full of groovy and funky house music that we all love. The lights went out and the epic vocals of “MARK KNIGHT IS IN THE HOUSE” started to play with the intro to one of my personal favorites, “Your Love“. The infectious bass and deep low vocals hypnotized the Mister East crowd as they bounced, swayed and rocked to the music. Mark came out guns blazing with heavy house beats that had the dance floor below going into a frenzy. After his first few tracks I was able to join Mark in the booth for the rest of the set which was unbelievable! It was such a mind-blowing experience to see up close and personal how he mixes and controls the event. MK continued to rock the house for the next two hours with multiple tracks from Toolroom Records (which are my favorite) and everything in between that just defines the words of “Dance Music”. Here is a partial list of what Mark played:
- Mark Knight – Your Love
- Finder – Ninetoes
- Dusky – Careless
- Filterheadz – True Light
- Kraak & Smaak – The Future is Yours (Prok & Fitch Remix)
- Storm Queen & MK – Look Right Through (Prok & Fitch Alien Booty)
This night was going so perfectly and I didn’t think it could have gone any better! Around 2:45am he dropped his remix to “You’ve Got The Love” by Florence And The Machine, and every time I hear him play that song, it’s like I’m hearing it for the first time again. It is one of my all time favorites and it’s so well produced. The party ended just before 3am due to NJ state law, that’s all he could play till. After Mark’s set it was time for me to finally sit down with my favorite DJ/Producer and get to really talk to him for the first time. Here’s how it went:
AN – “Thank you for taking the time to sit down with me Mark! To begin, I just recently saw you live about a month ago at Marquee NYC, so tell me what’s been going on since then?”
MK – “A lot of traveling. It has kind of gotten very busy this time of year. Historically this has been the quiet time of the year, but now with the explosion of dance music around the world, January and February is just as busy as it is in August because you’ve got the hot summer in the Southern Hemisphere like in Australia and Asia so there has been a lot of touring and a lot of work done in the studio which is cool. Working on some releases right now… I am up to about 8 or 9 releases that are about 80% done so I’m excited to get those done. Right now pretty much everything is demos, so a lot of everything.”
AN - “I can’t wait to hear all of these new releases!”
AN – “With us going into the Miami season and Winter Music Conference, what do you have planned for this upcoming WMC? I know you guys just announced the Toolroom Party with Stereo, so what do you have planned for Miami Music Week and what not?”
MK - “Well obviously we have our big Toolroom compilation album we do every year which is a very big deal for us and we put a lot of work into that so that’s a big focus right now, obviously, well hopefully my plan is to break my new record, well one of the two there, which is going to be sort of big, epic kind of follow up to “Downpipe”, that sort of vibe, or “Bullet”, which ever one I finish first to be honest haha, so that is the plan. It is always a great opportunity to see the record for the summer because it has a lot of focus on it and if you get it right you can really optimize that in terms of how you release records, so yeah big Miami album and my single.”
AN – “With the Tenth anniversary of Toolroom just passing not too long ago, I was actually at the Toolroom event at Pacha which was great, so how does it feel with ten years strong going in right now?”
MK – “Yeah it’s great, it’s been a fantastic journey to where we are currently, far from sitting back it’s a great opportunity to sort of regroup and refocus what we are about. We’ve had great years and it’s about the next ten years. We have big focus on new talent, you know that’s a big deal for us in 2014, guys like Vice and Prok & Fitch.”
AC – “Ahh! We are seeing them next week at Cielo so we can’t wait! It kinds of leads into my next question which is you have a lot of guys on your label like Prok & Fitch and My Digital Enemy and so on, so who are your guys to look out for in 2014?”
MK – “Those are the two guys who are really killing it for me right now, Prok & Fitch, um Vice, Adrian Hour, I am a real big fan of him, he is a super cool. A guy called Bear Cubs out of the UK who does a lot of deep house, so yeah there is a load of new talent and it is exciting for me to take those guys, it’s the same ways we did for Funkagenda and Fedde Le Grand and all these that we found really early and even Hardwell, I was the first person to put his music out to the point that we weren’t sure if it was good enough to put out on Toolroom so we put it out on a label called “Leaders of the New School” which is a sub label of Toolroom, so it’s a great opportunity to find a new team a new roster so it’s exciting for us this year.”
AN – “For the rest of 2014, what do you guys have coming up?”
MK – “It’s exactly that, artist development. If you kind of likened it to football or sports having a fantastic winning team or winning the championship of the league for ten years and some of those players are ready to retire and move on, you need to find a new team and as captain or manager of the team it’s up to me to find those players or those artists and regroup and refocus on what we are about. We also kind of bloomed very wide musically and we kind of refocused that more underground more straight up stuff that you know we really feel are supposed to do and putting out music we love.”
AN – “That’s awesome. Well, I just want to say I appreciate everything, and this is more than I could have asked for and I really hope to sit down with you again soon! Thank you so much, Mark.”
MK – “Absolutely. Anytime!”