Mark Radford has been in the DJ game for quite some time, evolving in tandem with the London scene and the many genres that have come out of our ever fertile capital city. He is currently at the forefront of a movement in the house scene, which has been labelled ‘deep tech’ – a hugely popular style of house that has resulted in a sold out events across the city – in particular, his own event Audio Rehab has been bringing in ravers in their droves and is now based at one of London’s most famous clubs, Ministry Of Sound. We caught up with Mark to talk about his career and ‘deep tech’…
First off, can you please give us a brief round up of your musical history and connection with house music?
My first taste of raving was back in ’89, the legendary Dungeons night club on Leabridge road in East London. That was back in the days of Acid House and I have evolved with the London dance scene ever since that era. My musical route took me through jungle/drum’n’bass, then garage to where I currently stand today.
How did you end up being one of the key DJs within your particular sub-section of house music?
I’m not sure! I guess it’s because I was one of the first people to break away from what was going on around me at the time and experiment with a new sound.
Would you say there was a particular moment in time when you made the transition from being one of many DJs to becoming more of a prominent name? What was the catalyst behind your rise to your current position?
I think the fact that I’m all about pushing new sounds and artists has played a big part in getting me where I am. I could see that around 2011 I was getting more and more recognition for what I was doing, not just from the ravers, but the promoters and other DJs that were taking an interest in the sound that I was pushing. Then I was lucky enough to be asked to join Rinse FM for their primetime Saturday night show. This has played a major part in helping me showcase what I’m all about.
Which DJs/producers, from London in particular, really inspired you when you were coming up?
My influences go back a long way, the guys that first made me think to myself, ‘I want to do that’, were the likes of Randall, Jumping Jack Frost, Grooverider… watching those guys create their own genre was amazing, and to think that I am now doing the same is crazy.
Now you’ve been placed as one of the key protagonists from what’s called ‘deep tech’… firstly, where does this name come from?
I’m not one for pigeon holing music and breaking it down into sub genres, but I guess the name has just come about as people where always asking me, ‘What is that sound your playing??’ I always said, ‘I dunno, call it what you want, it’s just my take on house… Audio Rehab house’. So I think it’s just been adopted by kids as their way of differentiating what we are doing compared to the rest of the house world. It has elements of both deep and tech within it, so why not?
Second, can you name some tracks that epitomise the ‘deep tech’ sound?
Some of the tracks that have helped us carve out the sound are….
Serious People – Luke Larrell Victor Reid
Our Kind – Playtime Productons
Lonely Travels – Shea Burke
Memories – Nightshift
H.O.U.S.E. – Carnao Beats
Deep Down – Louie Anderson
Little Man – Rs4 Remake
Each one of these in my opinion were ground breaking tracks that will stand the test of time.
Some people are opposed to labels/sub-genres and so forth, especially within house music as it’s all house at the end of the day – what do you say to those who might take issue with the ‘deep tech’ label?
There’s always going to be a certain amount of snobbery from those that seem to think they ‘own’ house music and they will always try to put down what they don’t understand. Like I said earlier, I’m not one to pigeon hole music, but if that’s what people want to call it, who are they harming? It’s only music after all. If people want to take offence to it then they are sad individuals that need to get a life. I feel blessed that people are calling my take on house a different genre, it’s what we as DJs strive to do, to break the mould and to be different.
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In light of fabric’s recent troubles and the closure of Plastic People, how do you feel about the current state of the London club scene?
I feel that the London club scene is amazing, it always has been. The authorities will always try and stop us having fun, but even if they close all the clubs it will just go back to the illegal raves that I grew up with. Life is hard out there and clubbing is a way for a lot of people to forget about their daily stress and let loose, so it will always live on.
What could be done to improve our club industry?
Take a look at Amsterdam, they have it spot on, the government actually invest in club culture and it’s a great place to party, the people in power here have it completely backwards, they want to make it so hard for people to have fun and then wonder why there’s so much trouble with the younger generation. I think if they took the time to actually help build decent relationships with clubs instead of always looking to shut them down it would help. Like I said, dancing is a great way to relieve stress… if we all danced a little bit more, the world would be a better place!
You run Audio Rehab, which recently took up residency at Ministry Of Sound, tell us about the event?
The event is a showcase for the amazing talent we have on board, we have done four events there over the last year and each one has been a sell out.
Audio Rehab at Ministry of Sound | Saturday 31st January | 11pm – 7am
The Box: Shiba San | Tough Love | Mark Radford | DJ S.K.T | Nightshift
103: Carnao Beats | Croatia Squad | Apollo 84 | Adam Cotier & Riaz Dhannani | Max Eskuche
Baby Box: Hosted by Plus Recordings
Loft: Hosted by Covert