Marc Kinchen, or MK as he is sometimes more commonly known, is a producer that has seemingly done it all. Twenty years ago his productions helped define the house music sound that now booms over dance floors the world over, his ’90s house sound influencing producers the likes of Jamie Jones, Lee Foss, Bicep and other giants such as Disclosure and Duke Dumont.
Earlier in his career he worked with UK bands like Depeche Mode, New Order and The Cure. Then, at some point, Marc gave up on house, moved to Los Angeles to work for Will Smith and ended up producing beats for Rihanna, Jay-Z, Pitbull and Snoop Dogg, just to name a few. As we all know, Marc has since come back to house and has continued to churn out track after track, playing some of the most coveted stages in the world including Amnesia Ibiza, Creamfields, We Are FSTVL, Parklife and many more.
This coming October 28th he is back behind the decks in his hometown of Los Angeles as he headlines Minimal Effort: All Hallow’s Eve. We caught up with him ahead of the gig, where he will be sharing the stage with acts such as Claptone, Dusky, Brodiski and Lee Burridge.
Enjoy the read and don’t forget to secure your tickets to see him at Enox Center at the end of October.
Hi Marc, how has 2017 been treating you?
It has been a super up and super down kind of year for me. When it was up, I was on the moon, headlining shows and working with some of my favorite artists and friends. And when it was down, it was really down, as I lost my mom this year.
Like I said, it has been up and down. I am really happy she got to see some of my shows and success.
It made me very happy to make her proud.
I am sorry to hear Marc, my condolences. As far as gigs go, what has been your highlight for the year so far?
I can’t pick just one sorry. Headlining the main stage at We Are FSTVL in the UK, curating Area 10 stages at Creamfields and SW4 Festival, great shows in Ibiza, Croatia, Malta and even had our very first Area 10 festival outside of Dublin… it was mostly an amazing year.
You just recently released your new single, “17”. How has the reception been for that?
So far so good, I had a good feeling about it ever since i started playing it out. People seem to like it, it’s got a feel-good vibe about it and it brings everyone back to a time when their lives may have been simpler and full of possibilities, that works even when you are 22.
What was the inspiration for that particular track?
It was a team effort, the lyric was written by the vocalist Carla Monroe, so she would need to tell you what she was thinking although it kind of sounds self explanatory. To be honest, the lyric and vocal is what inspired the music, it just seems to fit with the vibe of the story… it all seems to fit.
You’ve been a producer for quite some time and have had the ability to work on projects of extreme polarity as far as music is concerned, both with more mainstream and more underground sounds. Can you recall what were the artists and sounds that you were first attracted to when you discovered electronic music?
Hands down it is super easy to remember, it would have to be Depeche Mode, The Cure, and Ministry to begin with.
Did you ever feel like you faced a moral dilemma in choosing which type of sound to pursue with your productions?
Not sure I know what you mean, a moral dilemma? In what way, you mean like working on commercial records? At the end of the day, I am always happy with what I contribute on records, of course, there have been a few times that I have been asked to do things I don’t want to do and 99% of the time I stand my ground. I have to feel good about the music I produce or contribute.
I imagine being in the studio and working on completely different project means having to channel completely different inspiration and motivation for each. How does that process work for you?
Good question, it is not easy and if you are not in the right frame of mind, you can come up dry. You need to wind down, walk away, do something else until it flows again. it’s never the same, it’s always different.
What was the craziest experience (that you can share) working with big radio pop/hip-hop stars?
Really? I don’t know if I can actually talk about it, these guys make you sign confidentiality agreements! So not sure I can really say… wish I could tell you about the time I did a session with Snoop and everyone had to wear body armor and we had armed guards with us in the studio… ah but I really can’t! Oh well. Crazy memories…
Do you see any important similarities and differences between these two worlds you’re both so heavily involved in?
There are so many similarities in both when it comes to drive, focus, love of music, and creativity… and there are so many differences in culture, fashion, business, audiences, but at the heart of it, it is all more similar than it is different.
As a house artists who were some of the early influences in your career?
For me it was house and techno. I grew up in Detroit and a little time in Chicago too. In Detroit, I was surrounded by the techno originals Juan Atkins, Derrick May and Kevin Saunderson, can’t ask for more than that, and in Chicago there were the house people like Dr. Fingers, Steve Silk Hurley, Marshall Jefferson and the late Frankie Knuckles. Solid people and incredibly talented, all of them.
While house has remained house throughout the time you’ve been producing and DJing, there’s no denying that sounds have developed. How do you feel about the progression of the genre?
Music, like everything else, is never constant, it has to move, it has to change and flow. I may have some basic basic rhythm patterns that run through my life and music, but I always want change, I want fresh and new sounds to keep me interested. Doing the same thing over and over again never appealed to me back in the day and it still doesn’t now.
In recent years the role of record labels has changed and they’ve become more than just an outlet for music, more often then not turning into party brands and ways for DJs to get booked. What are your thoughts, as a label head, on the subject?
Just like music has to change, business has to change and when they stopped selling physical product, they needed to change their business model, I get it. Nobody wants to be in business to lose.
Who are some of your favorite up-and-comers we should keep an ear out for?
I really like KC Lights, Will Clarke, Camelphat, Solardo, Icarus, TCTS, Prok & Fitch, Option 4… so much great talent I run into all the time.
Any predictions on the future of house music in the coming years?
Nope, not good at that, living in the now and next week is tough enough.
You’ll be playing Minimal Effort in LA over Halloween weekend. What are your takes on the scene in LA right now?
I am really excited about playing at Minimal Effort on Halloween weekend, it’s been a while since I have been able to trick-or-treat at home. I am not home enough these days to really give you the download, but when I am here I go out and it seems pretty cool
What side of MK can we expect to see during your set?
Not telling, going to be a surprise!
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