'Don't call it a come back', sang LL Cool J, and he might well have been talking about MK, aka Marc Kinchen. Detroit born, his influence on the '90s house scene was immense, producing timeless classics such as 'Burning' and 'Love Changes' and re-defining the art of the remix with his influential cut-up style turned on Jodicee, Masters At Work, Nightcrawlers and many more. After a break from producing house, he's carrying on where he left off, working with Hot Natured and adding his distinctive touch to everyone from Storm Queen to Lana Del Rey. But as we find out, his studio adventures never stopped, merely moved to even higher heights.
It feels like MK is back, but you never actually went away. In fact, you've been busier than ever. Can you give us a quick rundown of what you were doing between stopping regularly releasing club records under the name MK and appearing at the Hot Natured party in Miami last year. We hear you've been swinging it Big Willy (Smith) style amongst other things.
“Ha, ha, yes I have been working with Will on and off for years now. About a year ago a friend of mine named Omarr Rambert called me and asked if I wanted to work on the Willow Smith follow up single to 'Whip My Hair'. Omarr is a lifelong friend of Will and they have worked on music together since the start of Will’s career. I said, 'yes, absolutely', and I ended up co-writing and producing 'Fireball' feat. Nicki Minaj for Willow. I'm also currently working on music for his youngest son Jaden.
“Also, I have been working with Defected on the MK Housemasters full length which features some of my favorite remixes and some of my own originals. I am actually playing at a couple of the Defected parties in Ibiza, I can’t believe it will be my first time going there. I am also playing the DJ Mag pool party in Miami, another first for me.”
There are so many people out there who sing your praises but Jamie Jones and Lee Foss seem to have been quite instrumental in getting your name out to a new generation of twenty-something kids. What are the studio collaborations you're working on together shaping up to be like? How do you get on and has it given you a taste for the house underground again?
“It’s funny, during the years that I wasn’t really putting out house music, I would get approached by DJs and producers that wanted to do work together but I was just never that into doing it. The ideas we talked about didn’t inspire or feel fresh to me. Then around a year ago when I played for Jamie and Lee in Miami at the Electric Pickle I had so much fun and thought that what they were doing was so cool and in line with the music I love, and the kind of events I like to play at, that I thought, 'yes, the time is now', this is a perfect match for me. It really reminded me of the way I felt about Kenny & Louie from Masters At Work in the '90s when they were a perfect fit for me. We are currently working together finishing up the Hot Natured album, and Lee and I have worked on a few remixes together. I am DJing at some of their events too. It’s great on so many levels, even being in the studio with them is a great experience, it’s relaxed, fun and no pressure.”
You've just remixed Morgan Geist, AKA Storm Queen's, 'Look Right Through'. What else have you got in the pipe-line on that front? We know you've done a version of 'Forward Motion' but you've also been working with the likes of Enrique Iglesias.
“I just co-wrote and produced the theme song for Will Smith’s new movie, 'Men In Black 3', with Pitbull. I have also just finished a co-written production for a Pitbull feat Shakira song with Sidney Sampson and that should be coming out soon. The new remixes I have been working on have been lots of fun; I just did a Lana Del Rey 'Blue Jeans' remix, I'm finishing a remix of a brand new Tricky song, one for Dev feat. Enrique and also Inner City’s new song. I'm doing a record for Leftroom, another one for Defected and a new one by Creep with Sia. Alana and I are also planning a new MK feat. Alana record in April that I am really excited about!”
We know many of the artists who are feeling you these days but what young guns are you supporting ? Does it feel like an exciting time now that the US is getting back into dance music again or?
“I like Maya Jane Coles a lot , Creep and Art Department. I also like Maceo Plex and everything that Jamie and Lee have done so far, and Treasure Fingers who I plan on doing a project with in the near future. I also have some new artists that I am working with.
“It's a funny thing about the US; in Europe and England, dance music has been the mainstream music for a long time but here it goes in cycles. It's great that dance music is happening here again but every time it goes through the cycle, it seems to come out a little differently. Like in the '90s, the ravers helped to bring dance music to the forefront, now the hipsters are into it. It’s great, I am looking forward to playing in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, for the first time, right near where I used to live.”
There aren't too many producers who can still work in underground house and make tracks for Hollywood movies. Which do you feel most happy working on or is it impossible to distinguish these days?
“Great question. It is literally the difference between night and day when I work on a 'commercial' project versus an 'underground' one. I would have to say the underground project is the normal preference because those are the projects where I am able to do 100% of what I want to do and I can be as raw and as unorthodox as I like. However, the advantage of working on the more commercial project is when it is successful it can bring in so many new opportunities and the financial rewards can be very pleasing. Of course, let’s not forget the most important advantage is being able to show your parents that this really is a real job and make them proud. But the downside, or more difficult aspect of working on a commercial project, is that they tend to be more political and in need of departmental approvals for every change or note you do, so there is a lot less creative freedom there.”
Everyone has their own but what are your favourite three MK productions?
“MK feat. Alana 'Burning' for sure, Jodeci 'Freaking you' and MK feat. Alana 'Love Changes', although the Storm Queen remix is one of my favs at the moment!”