Minimal Fabrique: Mark Henning
Mark-Henning Sargent aka Mark Henning is one of the purest minimal players around you can hear. Even the Glaswegian Soma guys were very excited when they first hear the demo they received from him, a track called "Jupiter Jive" which also made the debut album possible and gave chance to Henning, conveying his nice and clever music to a wider audience.
Infact he is already a well known true player in the field of minimal techno. With his nearly cult net label Clever-Music (which is also known for it's sophisticated discography just like Archipel or Textone) Mark and his fiends defined a higher level of electronic music production, which has helped the minimal scene evolve or progress in the last years.
Where the presets are all the same, the software used is similar and the plug-ings are identical, the output becomes really boring and sounding same. This is the utmost problem that the music industry and musicians are trying to solve these days. What counts, or what makes difference is what we call 'groove'. The conception or comprehension of contemporary electronic music production lies beneath being 'what you are' and producing 'what you really like'. Experimenting and being multi disciplinary is also a plus, and if you are a management consultant like Mark-Henning, you can realize and finalize things even better both musically and financially!
With his latest EP "Fabrique Belgique" from his debut LP "Jupiter Jive", Mark-Henning continues to spread weird alien funk of it's kind, this time with the help of Dario Zenker and Tim Gregor. His unique style with a blend of weird minimal funk and rare minimal groove really defines his trademark and fashion of electronic music.
Dark, yet funky in a way, catching your ear with a taste that only above the line minimal listener would notice. Being a former drum & bass producer and junglist absolutely gave him a sense on realizing these interesting atmospheres, just like in Ed Rush & Optical's "Wormhole" for instance. He is one of the latest and best 4/4 electronic music producers. Nowadays busy with his touring schedule and performing live all around the world. Hoping to see him in Istanbul soon. Here is the interview we did with the best DJ from Jupiter; Mark-Henning!
Your name is written like Mark-Henning in some places, what does that dash do? Does it come from your German roots?
Good question! My actual first name is Mark-Henning, not Mark. But labels can be lazy and they sometimes forget the dash.. plus it's sometimes not to easy when designing artwork or flyers to have such a long name. But I’ve given up correcting everyone! And yes, it reflects my German roots.
Could you please tell how you first started producing electronic music?
I started producing around 1998 - initially drum & bass, then techno in about 2000. At this time I just did it for fun - it wasn't until 2004 that I was happy enough with my tracks to send them to some labels. I guess I’m a slow learner.
What were your main inspiration channels at that time?
I was pretty much listening exclusively to drum & bass and jungle when I first started producing. Everything from the smooth sound of LTJ Bukem to Ram or Ganja Crew records. It’s safe to say I was just fixated on that sound at that time.
And then how did it evolve and come to an end all the way to Clever-Music?
Everything changed when I moved to Berlin in 1999 as a student – I spent a lot of time at clubs like Tresor, WMF, Casino – and discovered my love for house & techno. I very quickly ditched drum & bass and started buying 4:4 tracks - DJed at house parties and then eventually started up Clever Music with a friend when I moved to London in 2001/2002.
You also had a daytime job for a long time right? You were a business man. What were you doing and how were you able to pursue such double sided career?
I basically sacrificed a lot to make sure that I always spent plenty of time in the studio after work and on weekends (and had an extremely understanding girlfriend (now wife)). It was really tuff and there were times when I made myself ill balancing both – but I can safely say that it was worth it! I was a management consultant specializing in IT systems in the area of finance – a very well paid city job, but not what I wanted to be doing.
How you decided finishing being a businessman and concentrate fully on production and DJing?
It took a long time to make the decision – I first quit my permanent job and became a freelance consultant. After doing that for two years, I just felt it was the right time to take the plunge and try music full time – I was DJing more and getting more offers of remixes etc. Even now I see the move as a kind of experiment – I hope it works out, but if not then I can always go back to the consultancy work.
How things going in Berlin right now? Everybody is saying something. What would you say about the life and scene, compared to England and London for example...
I’m really enjoying Berlin – my wife and I moved here 6 months ago. I don’t feel too associated with whole crazy non-stop party scene but I go out and have fun enough of the time! For me personally, it’s given me the opportunity to pursue a career in music – living in England this just wasn’t possible (for money reasons). The quality of life here is definitely better than in the UK I feel. There’s more space and more freedom to do your thing – Berlin is a proper 24 hour city – unlike London (which pretends to be). As I lived in Cambridge for the last 3 years I wasn’t really part of the London scene and so I can’t really comment on how it compares with Berlin.
Are you happy with your debut "Jupiter Jive"?
Yes! Though it’s not really an album in the traditional sense.. There is no general theme or 1 single specific ‘sound’, and the album is made up of just 4:4, house/techno tracks. But I think it works – it shows the different sides to my production. It’s not a big ‘hit’ type of record – there are definitely more deep and dark sounding tracks than hands-in-the-air tunes but that’s just me – I tend to avoid big cheesy breakdowns and stuff like that.
How you get in touch with Soma and why you chose such a name for the LP?
Soma have a history of releasing a range of styles and so I just thought that they’d dig my sound.. I literally just sent them a demo. The name was originally a track name. I just liked the sound of it – and it kind of conjures up images of space, interstellar raving, futuristic techno sounds or bizarre looking aliens jiving in a disco on Jupiter..
There is gonna be a very good remix EP "Fabrique Belgique", a personal favorite of mine from the album. Which is your most favorite track in your LP?
Hmm.. good question! I play out “Moody Bastard”, “I Lost My Brain At Wrinchout”, “Stash” and “Fabrique Belgique” the most.. I’m really proud of all of these..
You have such a unique and well defined sound. Full of a weird "space funk" and "alien groove" which is mostly suitable for minimal techno and house. Is that why you are producing that kind of music? Is it the way you define yourself the best?
I’d never labeled myself like that but they’re certainly cool descriptions. My sound is pretty much dictated by the tools that I use (e.g. synths, drum sounds, plugins etc) – I never had any particular sound in my head that I wanted to realize, more it’s just what comes out when I sit down in the studio. I like a whole range of music and soon I will be spreading my time across different projects (now that I have the time to do it) – not just producing house and techno.
What other labels, producers and names do you love or appreciate these days?
For example (in no particular order) Playhouse, Agnes, Peace Division, Ion Ludwig, Cadenza, Cecile, Raum Musik, Mathew Johnson, Cobblestone Jazz, Vakant…
What do you think about the "deepness madness" or funk and nudisco fashion going out real strong?
Hmmm.. For a start I don’t follow the nudisco scene – I really don’t know anything about it! In terms of the deepness reference – if you mean the whole deep house revival then I like it to a certain extent. I’m definitely into my house at the moment – I’m playing more house records and producing tracks on that tip. But, there are way too many boring, generic deep house tracks being released at the moment with the same preset sounds and beats.. (but that’s true of any house or techno sub-genre right now I think – always will be I guess).
What about your future projects and forthcoming releases?
I have lots of tracks in the pipeline but nothing 100% confirmed yet. Since moving to Berlin and finishing my album I’ve been a bit slack on the producing front. In the up & coming months there will be two more EPs on Soma from the album (on vinyl – including remixes from Barem, Dario Zenker, Dilo, Tim Gregor and Vector Lovers) and some remixes on Eminor, Absurd, EQ and Minimood records. Aside from releases I’m starting to tour ‘live’ as well as DJing – looking forward to that!
Any news at the Clever-Music side?
Clever Music is taking an extended holiday! Whether or not we’ll release any more music is unknown.. I just wanted more time for my own productions.
What do you know about Istanbul and Turkey, Would you like to play here?
I’ve never been to Turkey so unfortunately I really don’t know much about the country or it’s music scene. Of course, especially because of this, I’d live to visit and perform there!
Anything you want to say or add up for your Turkish fans?
Check out my myspace page for more info & sound-bytes and go tell your nearest club/promoter to book me!
Interview: Christereo aka Christopher Çolak
02 November 2008
Techno ranger from Westerwald: Dominik Eulberg
While not being a forest ranger, Dominik Eulberg produces techno that no one else is…
T.E.E.: Turzi Électronique Expérience
French pyschedelia virtuoso Romain Turzi gone wild with his real synths and analogue recording techniques…
Two Decades of Hardfloor
One of Germany’s best techno outlets, Hardfloor has been doing electronic music for 20 years…
Kate Simko: Soul & Heart
Chicago's Kate Simko is digging deep with her diverse style, full of soul & heart.
Niederflur: Techno with an attitude
Cologne based duo Niederflur has been releasing mind blowing techno music since the early 90’s.
Kaiserdisco: "In No One's Shadow"
Kaiserdisco duo has gained reputation with their high quality dance floor tracks all around the…
St. Vinyl: Michael Mayer
"You can get into trouble but you can also find a new friend" says Michael…
Mr G: Still Here
Most of us know Colin McBean for years now and he is making people dance…
Mr G: Hala Burada
90’lı yılların başından beri techno müziğin en önemli figürlerinden olan Colin McBean aka Mr G…
Phonique: Kissing Strangers
Phonique is kissing strangers in his new album released from the label of ‘best kept…
Be friends with FM Belfast
Do you really think that Iceland is all about melancholy, coldness and dark melodies? No…
Danton Eeprom: The most serious Frenchman
Londoner Frenchman Danton Eeprom is one of the most inlfuential and inspiring and emerging talent…
10 shots from Maayan Nidam
I caught Maayan Nidam just before her Vodka shots and asked her real questions before…
Orlando Voorn: Transit Technocu
Detroit techno denince ilk akla gelen isimlerden olan Orlando Voorn şu günlerde hiç olmadığı kadar…
Müzikli Seks: Jimmy Edgar
Müziği seksüel bir titreşim ve etkileşim kaynağı olarak gören Jimmy Edgar dünya üzerindeki en yetenekli…
Emika Drops The Other
Electronic music world is yet not aware but Emika is the next big thing in…
When Ai Was Ten
One of the world's most underground and best electronic music labels, Ai Records is celebrating…
Phil Kieran's "Shh"
One of world's busiest electronic music producers and DJs, Phil Kieran released his debut "Shh"!
Estroe and her "Elemental Assets"
One of the best DJanes around, Estroe proves herself also in the production area with…
Deniz Kurtel’in Ses Heykelleri
Uzunca süredir Amerika’da yaşıyor olsa da Türkiye’den çıkan ender kadın elektronik müzik prodüktörlerinden biri, belki…