The ClubPlanet Interview: MK

The ClubPlanet Interview: MK

by DJ Ron Slomowicz
04.05.2016

Dub of Doom.  That’s really all you need to say to introduce Marc Kinchen.  That dub of The Nightcrawlers' “Push the Feeling On”  is one of the most beloved club records of all time and nearly 25 years later it is still played, remixed, and sampled across all genres.  Of course, there is more to MK than a single remix, both his artist album ‘Surrender’ (with the vocal gems from Alana - “Burning,” “Love Changes,” “Always”) and a slew of classic remixes (Inner City, Ethyl Meatplow, M-People, Masters at Work, Jodeci) have kept clubbers dancing for two decades.  After a few years exploring other sounds, he came back to dance music in 2011 for a second major run.  The Storm Queen remix was just the first spark of what was to come.  With his new single “Piece of Me” climbing the club charts and an album on the way, Marc Kinchen is ready to school a new generation in quality deep house.

RS: I am sitting here next to a freaking legend, I can’t believe this! How is your Miami going this year?
MK: Thank you. It’s been good, usually when I come it’s like party, party, party, hangover, hangover, hangover but I have been pacing it out so I am alright.

RS: We have to talk about your new record. It is "Piece of Me" with Becky Hill, did you get the record through the Rudimental remix that you did?
MK: For the people that don’t know, I remixed Rudimental - “Powerless” featuring Becky Hill. Even before I signed my record deal, I reached out to my management and told them that I wanted to work with Becky. Once I signed with Sony UK that was the first person that I made them get in touch with.

RS: So you are signed through Sony and Area 10 is your personal label?
MK: Area 10 is my own label in North America and in the rest of the world I am on Sony/Columbia.

RS: What I love about the track that you did with Becky Hill is that it is a pop record but it is a great club record. Was that in your mind when you were working on it?
MK: No, I had Sony reach out to Becky and Becky’s management. Becky sent me some ideas that she had and one of those ideas was “Piece of Me.” I heard only the vocals and I started playing keys to it and within 30 minutes I knew that it was it, it just felt right. It wasn’t a thought out thing where I wanted to make a pop/dance track, it was all organic and just felt right.

RS: Can you believe “Can You Forgive Her” was 15 years ago and now you are back with the “Pop Kids?” How is it different remixing a Pet Shop Boys record now in 2016 versus in 1991?
MK: I try to keep the feeling the same, I have been a fan of Pet Shop Boys since I was 15. I always wanted to do something really cool with them because I know what a cool audience they have. When I approached the mix I wanted to make it so that I would play it, I didn’t want to think about radio playing it. I just wanted to do something cool.

RS: You succeeded! You and I have been around for a while - this isn’t our first rodeo. What is your take on this whole house rebirth?
MK: I was actually thinking about it today because I meet these young kids who tell me that they love deep house. There are so many terms, I just call it dance music, it’s kind of weird getting used to it.

RS: My next question was going to be how do you react to the way the term deep house is used these days?
MK: It kind of makes me cringe a little bit.

RS: This is a little personal, as I was researching and looking through your discography you did a lot of stuff and then in ‘96 it kind of stopped and then it started again in 2007. Where did those 11 years go?
MK: I was doing R&B and hip-hop and I did something with Snoop, SWV, Jay Z, Pitbull, and Arianna Grande. It just got too political and it wasn’t fun or creative anymore so I kind of eased back into dance music after working with Pitbull. I started working with Jamie Jones and Lee Foss, and then I started DJing and that was when I realized that was the route that I wanted to go. I wanted work and make music that was more creative and not have people higher up at the labels tell me how to make a record, especially when they have never walked into a studio.

RS: Exactly and they have never been to a club before.
MK: That is the funny part, I DJ at clubs and festivals. I see how the kids react, trust me I know this part.

RS: Pitbull is no stranger to clubs, what is he like in the studio?
MK: He knows what he wants and he is super nice. We met when he did “Hotel Room,” they sampled “Nightcrawlers” the remix that I did but we didn’t know each other. There is a funny story about it, the actual writer of that song owns the publishing and that writer took a lot of publishing so Pitbull didn’t get that much. When I reached out to Pitbull and said hey I am MK he said “oh you made that song, you are the one that took all the publishing.” I was like “no I didn’t even get publishing” and so we became friends. He was like that’s messed up and told me that he would help me out. He was the one that really helped me a lot on getting back into more production also.

RS: I have to ask you, I got the CD single for Nightcrawlers and that original song sounds nothing like the masterpiece that you created. How did that sound come to you?
MK: I actually did a remix of that song using all the vocals, there is a version with all the vocals. No one has it, I don’t know where it is but the label didn’t like it. I basically had a couple of hours to do a new version. I said eff it and I scratched everything. I chopped the vocals and just did a new track and that was it. It was one of those things where I did what they wanted me to do first and they didn’t like it so I did what I wanted to do and there it was.

RS: Did you have any idea that it would be the monster that it was?
MK: No, the funny thing is that when I did the remix I turned it in and I went out of town to Detroit and I didn’t listen to it again. I came back home two weeks later and when I listened to it I was like “Jesus this is really good!” Sometimes as a producer when you are producing a song for a while you kind of get lost in it and forget what you are even doing or what it sounds like or how good or bad it is. Taking a two week break from it and coming back and listening to it I knew that it was good, I didn’t know it would be like that but I knew that it was good.

RS: It’s not good, it’s freaking amazing! What are you working on right now?
MK: I am finishing up my album. It is pretty much done, I just have to do a little bit of mixing on it. Now I am doing remixes again because I took a year off of doing remixes to work on the album. I just did a Tiga remix of “Planet E” that is really cool.

RS: When they make the movie of your life, what actor is going to play you?
MK: Some tall handsome guy! I don’t know, that is a good question. It depends on when I die.

RS: Well you are so famous they would probably make the movie while you are still alive.
MK: That would be nice, really nice.

RS: What would you like to say to all of your fans out there listening?
MK: Thanks for supporting me all these years, it has been a lot of years and they still come up and say that they appreciate my music. I see a lot of kids that say that they started producing because of me and I really appreciate that. It is the most humbling thing I can hear people say.


Interview conducted March 2016 during Winter Music Conference.

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