AfterDark interviews Mark XTC before the Hacienda Easter party
The Easter break approaches, and with it, the Hacienda 040415 Easter Party at Sankeys. The event features a range of jocks that have played for the legendary brand in its modern guise before, with one exception. A name that's famous among both drum 'n' bass and old skool rave warriors, Mark XTC (Mix Factory/Da Intalex), is making his Hacienda debut at this particular reunion party.
Mark is set to play upstairs in Spektrum, alongside names that we would more readily expect at a Hac event, including 808 State and K-Klass. We took the opportunity to find out what led Mark to play at a Hacienda event, where he's up to on the production side and what's next in a career that's already hit the 25 year mark, despite him being one of the younger faces on the lineup.
AfterDark: Your early DJ career included being a part of Mix Factory and playing bars in Oldham. How have your musical influences from those teenage years shaped your current musical taste and the style that you play in?
Mark XTC: Definitely, when I was with the Mix Factory we used to play R&B and Hip-Hop as well as house music. This started in the late 80s in bars and clubs like Zolly Boshers, Bergman's, Over The Rainbow and Butterflies back in Oldham. I was heavily influenced by Jazzy Jeff and Cash Money back then and still regard them as two of my favourite DJs, but working with the likes of Sasha, Ratpack, Top Buzz, etc. in the early 90s at raves and clubs changed the genre of music I played, but kept the hip-hop style scratching element in what I did in clubs.
AfterDark: You're known for being able to switch between old skool gigs such as events at Bowlers and drum 'n' bass parties such as Religion. Do you see a clear distinction between how they feel to you when you play at them and see them as having different crowds?
Mark XTC: I have always liked to play different genres of music as I like different genres of music, from soul to house to drum and bass/jungle. The crowds at clubs and raves are very similar, no matter what genre you're playing. The main job is to make people dance; if you're not doing that as a DJ then you're not doing your job.
AfterDark: You released several tracks of your own back during 1994 - 2003. Do you ever think about whether you might have continued to produce music, or have any plans to in the future?
Mark XTC: Yeah defo, I've been releasing music since the early 90s with Mix Factory and various remixes for people. I plan to have an EP coming out very soon with NB Audio , which will be an EP of various genres, not just house and jungle/d&b. I will be collaborating with various people on it but it will be a reflection of my musical tastes hopefully, haha!
AfterDark: When you get the opportunity to remix someone else's work, such as 'I'm Gone' by Rolaz , what do you like to bring to the project and do with it to give it your own distinctive vibe?
Mark XTC: I like to keep an element of the original song when I remix a track, but my key elements are always drums and bass, even if it's a house track that I'm creating, bass has to be one of the major factors. The 'I'm Gone' remixes were brilliant for me, as Adam (NB Audio label owner) asked me to do a house style remix as well as a jungle one.
AfterDark: This is your first gig at a modern day Hacienda party. How did the gig come your way and why was the invite to play made?
Mark XTC: It is and I am so excited and honoured to play for such a legendary brand. I played in the Hacienda back in the late 90s after winning the DMC heats there, I played hip-hop downstairs and played a few nights including a Fantazia night there upstairs. I think because of my history with the DMC thing as well as having a good friendship with the likes of Marshall Jefferson, 808 State and K-Klass, who have all been on my radio show, helped.
AfterDark: You might not be what some might think of as an obvious name that comes to mind when naming Hac DJs. What does the original Hacienda mean to you, and what's your connection to the club?
Mark XTC: Defo, when you think Hacienda you think Graeme Park, Mike Pickering, John Da Silva, 808 State, etc. I was very lucky to be connected to the club in a few ways, winning DMC heats there, playing hip-hop downstairs, as well as knowing the majority of DJs very well from working in record shops such as Spin Inn and Eastern Bloc. The original Hacienda makes you think of Manchester, Tony Wilson and one of the first ever superclubs. It was a venue that will forever be remembered and spoke about all over the world.
AfterDark:What are you looking forward to the most about the Hacienda gig?
Mark XTC:Just playing for the Hacienda brand is something to look forward to, as I said its an honour to play for such a prestigious brand, I have worked with K-Klass, 808 State and MC Tunes before so it will be great to catch up with them again.
AfterDark:What kind of set are you planning on playing at Sankeys?
Mark XTC:I will be playing my usual old skool, classic house tunes as well as some gems from the late 80s, all mixed up. Can't wait.
AfterDark:You're a family man, have your full-time day job as a tutor at The Manchester College, your gigs and your radio show, how do you find the time and energy to fit everything in?
Mark XTC:Haha, it's tough juggling everything, family always comes first. I do love my job as a teacher, it's so rewarding when one of your students does well, not only as a DJ, but when they achieve something themselves, it's a good feeling to know you helped them on their path. I think I will always DJ, it's my greatest passion, to make people smile and enjoy themselves while dancing to tunes you're playing. Apart from having my children, there's no bigger buzz.
AfterDark:Imagine a world where rave tunes from the late 80s/early 90s haven't maintained their popularity, and in which D'n'B doesn't exist. What would Mark XTC be playing in that world?
Mark XTC:Wow, that's a great question, but I can give you an easy answer, Hip-Hop all day. I was such a hip-hop mad DJ back in the day, I know I would still be playing hip-hop today if rave and jungle didn't exist.
AfterDark:You must have achieved many of your dreams, judging by your achievements so far. What's next?
Mark XTC:I think the collaboration with other people for an album is a project I am looking forward to doing, I am planning to DJ much more abroad, I have never been to Australia so would love to DJ there, I am planning to DJ in America, Dubai and Hong Kong as well. I will remain a teacher at the Manchester College for as long as I can also.
Words: Justin Richards
- Event details:
- Saturday 4th Apr
- Hacienda @ Sankeys
- Todd Terry
- Graeme Park
- Mike Pickering
- Tom Wainwright
- 808 State
- Mark XTC
- 10.30pm – 5am
- SOLD OUT, but there will be 100 tickets on the door
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