Mark E’s love affair with electronic dance music began began early, as an adolescent, when Manchester was Madchester and the irreverent attitude of rave culture swept through England.
As Mark got older, he dove headfirst into the surprisingly fertile Wolverhampton scene, tasting house at the hands of legends like John Kelly and Frankie Knuckles before a move to Birmingham for University also installed him in a larger club scene.
A stellar remix for Matthew Dear’s “Little People (Black City)” introduced him to the Ghostly/Spectral fold, who are now releasing his first artist album, Stone Breaker. It’s as defining as anything he’s done, a symbol of his unique spot in the global club music landscape, sounding simultaneously familiar and unique like few others can.
For those of us who don’t know yourself can you please introduce yourself and tell us where you’re originally from and what type of relationship did you have with electronic music whilst growing up?
My Name is Mark Evetts I’m originally from Wolverhampton, but now live in Birmingham. I started getting into music around the age of 13, since saving up for my first stereo, a JVC ghetto blaster with tape record facility and FM tuner, i started buying cassette singles and albums. My first cassette album was KLF’s white room, which then led to various XL recordings compilations.
I flirted a little with the band scene at the time, Happy Mondays, Charlatans, EMF, New Fads etc. I bought my first 12″ at the age of 15 bizarre inc playing with knives.
How has living in Wolverhapton and Birmingham helped shape your vision and taste of electronic music?
Wolverhampton was good for clubbing at that time, it would host all sorts of international DJ’s at clubs like PIMP and later UK Midlands, so I was spoilt for choice I guess. We would also travel to Swoon or Stafford most weekends.
I guess moving to Birmingham to study at the age of 21 pushed this love for house music further with nights like Leftfoot, Floatation, Jigsaw and Bambam.
You’re renowned for disco. What was it about this form of music that grabbed your attention?
Its always been House as far as I’m concerned, I did some disco edits and I was buying disco records for sure, but it’s always been house music for me.
How did your career progress in terms of becoming a professional musician? Who is responsible for getting you to your current situation?
Well from buying records and DJing the next thing that I was curious about pursuing was production, so that’s what I did. I bought some equipment and learnt how to use the software. I’m totally self taught, although saying that I don’t know a single note, I just seem to be able to gauge what sounds right.
What elements of the past have you reincarnated in your current productions?
Musically, I think the whole album is a reference to the past, in the way it explores vintage sounds from old house and techno.
What provoked you to establish your own record label ‘Merc’?
The desire to have total control over the whole process. The musical content, the artistic content, the release schedule, everything.
What have you learnt from starting up your own imprint, and would you do it all over again?
Yeah I’d do it tomorrow1 As long as people are interested and want to buy the music I’ll do it. I’ve learnt that its possible to sustain a vinyl product albeit in a small market, there’s still the desire amongst the music buying public to support the medium of vinyl. But I do believe that the product has to be quality not quantity.
How did you go about your new album Stone Breaker? Is it a personal reflection of you, or is it just music that you like the sound of?
Well I have made music that I would play, so that’s got to be a personal reflection of me somehow, even if its subconscious.
I didn’t sit down to make an album it just happened that I had amassed a group of tracks I had produced over the summer of 2010. They work well together so why not keep them as one and make an album. I think its about time in my developments as an artist that I released an album, so here it is!
Spectral sound is predominantly a dance floor orientated label. How did your relationship with Spectral Sound & Ghostly International come to fruition and how do you feel your album fits in with their legacy?
They asked me to remix Matthew Dear, so I built the relationship from there and kept sending them my music. They were interested in my music so we worked it out from there. I think most people will see it as a strange combination, but it works for me.
Who’s behind the title for the album and its artwork, what are you trying to convey?
Michael Cina did the artwork for the album. He works closely with Ghostly International and he put together the logo and everything, I absolutely love it! Stone Breaker relates to the music of the album and the place in which I grew up in.
How important is visual art to you? Are there any artists who you’re currently digging?
Its really important to me, I wish I had time to create more art myself. I love drawing and painting, I’ve just painted my back wall and it looks great.
What things could you not live without?
What can we expect from Mark E over the next year or so? Any remixes on the cards?
Yes lots of remixes and lots of new music with Ghostly and Merc hopefully.