Mark Knight: Leading the new decade's charge

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When you think ‘Knight’, do you think of the one in the shining armour? Or do you think of a DJ behind the decks, a producer with six arms and the capacity to tour, manage and produce for the masses without breraking a sweat? If you think of the latter, you’d be thinking of none other than Mark Knight. He’s the man responsible for the super successful Toolroom Knights label, and a leading forces behind an energetic revitalisation and reinvention of techno and tech house, carving out compilations from top dance stars such as Gabriel & Dresden and label mate Funkagenda.

When we spoke to Mark, he was just about to board a plane that was due to land on our shores so he could show the festival goers of Summadayze exactly who’s boss. This is exactly what he did, and he’s got a handful of shows left for this weekend where he’ll do exactly that again. It’s extremely hard to believe that this man still has time to produce, collaborate and remix the likes of Underworld and the Black Eyed Peas (the likes of which he recently received a Grammy nomination for) and throw down stunners like the progressive wonder of a track, Susan – as well as taking home one of the top slots in ITM Top 20 Releases of 2009! for his superb mix compilation from this year Toolroom Knights 2.0. All of this is done under the banner of one of the pillars of dance music, his label Toolroom Records.

I have been a fan of Mark Knight ever since hearing the instrumental version of the afore mentioned Susan back in 2007, when it was compiled as part of a Toolroom Knights collection. It was then that my love for Toolroom Records was founded as well. “I was in a fairly dark place when writing Susan,” says Mark, on the phone from the studio in the UK. “It was after I had broken up with my then girlfriend, and I just wrote how I felt.” That being said, you can really see his feelings emphasised in the tracks and mixes he produces, as Mark himself wholeheartedly agrees that he aims to “evoke feelings and craft journeys through my productions.”

For those following the über producer and label boss, you’ll already know that he’s been working on a debut album. However, indications are that with his current rate of collaboration material and single releases, work on the album has slowed somewhat. However, Mark offers reassurance. “It’s getting there, I’m working on it at the moment, along with few other tracks.”

Those “other tracks” include future collaborations with Wolfgang Gartner and Underworld, no less. “Basically, on the last tour (in the States) I had three days of down time, and I shot over to Washington and hooked up with Joey (Gartner) in the studio and we worked on a track, and it sounded absolutely phat. We had a few projects we had to get back to, leaving a few days work on it, but hopefully it’ll appear on Toolroom early next year!”

In regards to his return to Underworld, Mark reveals that “we’ve been working on tracks from their forthcoming album, we’re one single in and it’s going well – just about to come to Australia, so we’ll road test some of the tunes and we’ll get cracking on the second and third after the touring.”

Over the last few years, Mark has had releases pouring out of his collective ear over at the Toolroom house, across both Toolroom Records and offshoot Toolroom Trax. Why does someone need two labels? Mark explains that Toolroom Trax exports “more of the underground tracks,” while Toolroom Records “was for more of the bigger tracks, you know: the Underworld release, records from myself…” – but you’d think running two labels would be a logistical nightmare, right? Mark shoots the justification and reveals, “we’ve got a third label; for the really underground stuff and for new talent. We’re trying to cover all corners to get as much music out there as possible.”

It’s hard to believe, but 2010 is upon us, and as we all prepare to usher in a new decade, Mark shares his thoughts with ITM on what is to come. “I think all music trends, whether it be through technology, or – to be honest, who knows why it happens, it just does! [I think that] tech is on its way out on this side of the world, and house is coming back in a big way… electro had its day about two or three years ago, now minimal and techno are big and now house is coming back.”

At the rate this superman produces and has maintained a steady flow of quality releases over the years, we can easily see him leading the charge into the new decade only days away; it’s looking to be quite a good one.

Catch Mark Knight on his remaining shows this weekend:

Saturday January 9th – Summafieldayze, Gold Coast
Saturday January 9th – Platinum, Gold Coast

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