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Toolroom trax

2013 has been Toolroom Records’ 10th anniversary. DJ Mag grabbed label boss Mark Knight the night before their Ministry of Sound weekender; taking over the club space and also installing an exhibition on site. The whole year has been all about celebrating their decade in dance music, touring the world, releasing tune after tune and smashing their new residency at Eden in Ibiza. 
“Hand on my heart, it’s been the best year for us in Ibiza,” Mark beams.

Now that they’ve given the label some serious birthday beats it’s going to be time for some visual rebranding. From now until February Mark is going to be working on his artist album, having already produced for Underworld and Faithless. It’s an exciting, credible project aimed at touring main stages.

Mark auctioned off most of his vinyl a few years ago, giving the money to charity, but he’s kept back a few gems...

The track that reminds you of your childhood?

“There’s loads but one that springs to mind is a track by Andrew Gold called ‘Never Let Her Slip Away’. It reminds me of my mum, she had a Mini and it used to break down a lot. We’d go down to the seaside and we’d spend more time waiting for the AA.

It reminds me of sitting in the car with my mum singing it to us to pass the time. It was just a moment in time, but I remember it well. I’ve got one brother, me and my brother run the record label, actually the whole family do, my dad comes in and does three days a week. He’s 70 and he lives breathes, sleeps Toolroom. He looks after the strategy side of things. He brings a different perspective.”

What was the first record that you ever bought?

“‘Break Machine’ by Break Machine. I remember getting the bus into Maidstone with my pocket money, that I got from doing my paper round, and that’s when they used to sell 7”s in Boots. I went down that day and it was there. I was massively into break-dancing back then. I had the lino, we were out there breaking our necks. It was good times.”

What’s the cheesiest record in your collection?

“I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for Michael Buble. Every home is Christmasy when you put on a bit of Michael Buble, that’s more of a compliment to that time of year than to him really. Yeah, I am partial to a bit of Michael. I love Christmas, with everyone around. Every year I say I’ll take two weeks off, but I end up being home for about eight hours.”

What is the track that’s guaranteed to make you cry?

“I think, The Police ‘Every Breath You Take’, just because it reminds me of my granddad when he died, on the way to the funeral it was on in the car and it stuck with me, every time I hear it I think of him and I well up a bit. I was really close to him, we’ve got a really close family and I don’t think I’ve ever got over it really.”

What’s an album that you’re currently into?

“I just bought the Bonobo album. It’s really cool. I need a bit more time with it, but I just know it’s going to be one of those ones that I’m going to grow to love. One of those ones you keep putting on. I used to buy a lot more albums, I’m a big fan of soul, especially '80s soul music, disco and funk. I buy more singles now than ever. Albums are a time thing, to really appreciate an album you have to take time to listen to it six or seven, eight times to understand it.”

What is the record in your collection that you most treasure?

“I’ve still got the vinyl of Michael Jackson’s ‘Off the Wall’. I suppose it was one of those things that got me into music. I used to come home from school, we had a radio in one of those cabinets and I used to lie down and listen to it underneath with my headphones on, I’d turn it over and I’d do that for about three or four hours until my mum came home from work.

It just blew me away. I couldn’t stop listening to it. I must have bought it a million times on iTunes, but I still have the vinyl. It has a very special feel when you listen to it on vinyl.”

What is your all-time favourite track of all-time?

“That is a very hard one. I think Maxwell ‘Ascension’. I think if there was the epitome of a perfect record in terms of production, vocals, everything about it, it’s just absolutely spot-on. It was the first dance at our wedding and it’s one of those records that if I was to go away and have just one record to listen to, it would be that one. That’s the favourite of all-time, there’s a lot but that’s the one.”