Mark Jenkyns is a man who knows how to get the dance floor moving. With his unique blend of funk-laden deep house grooves, the British-born artist’s productions are a sure-fire choice when it comes to getting the crowd sweating. So, it may come as a surprise that despite his life-long friendship with Richy Ahmed, one of the industry’s hottest names, and a decade long companionship with Hot Creations co-founder Jamie Jones, it wasn’t until taking a trip to the white sands of Ibiza early in the 21st century that Jenkyns was inspired to start making his own music.
The DJ/producer took some time out of his busy schedule recently for an exclusive interview with Music Is 4 Lovers, where he discusses his relationship with the Hot Creations family, life outside of the booth, and what it was like going from working out in the middle of the ocean to playing music on the beaches next to it.
Just to get started can you tell us a bit about yourself? Where did you grow up and what music was prevalent in your life at the time? Has the music scene changed much there since that time?
I was brought up in South Shields, which is just outside Newcastle in the UK. Growing up was cool as it was in the 80s and there were loads of new styles of electronic music that were coming out. It was a good era to grow up and South Shields just pretty much grew with the trends of popular music. It was mainly stuff that would get played on the radio, but it also still has a little scene in certain places that still love the 90s rave scene, which I, for one, used to go mental to!
Who was the first musical act that you remember truly liking and why?
My first musical act that I remember was without a doubt Michael Jackson. He was pretty much being played everywhere and hard to miss. His music was obviously a massive inspiration to a lot of people — from the punch phat beats to the melodic basslines. And his dress sense didn’t go amiss too; half my mates in London will tell you if there are no sparkly bits, there’s no point!
What made you want to start making music yourself? What was the catalyst in you setting off on this journey?
From going to Ibiza (the old cliché!!!!) and just loving what I was hearing and the scenes I was beginning to get involved in! The people I met and started to hang around with, who were themselves making music, also had a massive influence on me.
I read that it was during a trip to Ibiza in 2003 that you decided to start making music.
Yeah 2003 was my first full season there and I can honestly say that it changed my life forever! I had been working in the steel industry on oil rigs and huge vessels, which to be honest I loved. I had been to Ibiza for a few holidays and it was always hard going back to 7 x 12 hour shifts when you had thoughts of an island! So I decided to put down tools and pack my bags, telling my step father I will never put overalls on again!
What is it like returning to Ibiza now that you are making music?
It’s such a nice feeling, especially when someone plays one of your tracks or you get a message saying they have just played it and it went off! Even when two get played and you miss them both, as you weren’t in that room at the time.
Your tracks “Superstar,” “Wondering,” and “Moolah” came out on Hot Waves Volumes 1, 2 and 3 respectively, and “Wind It Back” came out on the Hot Creations Paradise Summer Sampler. How did your relationship with Hot Waves come about? What’s special about being part of that family?
I’ve been good mates with Jamie for the last 10 years and Richy Ahmed since I was 11 years old, so the bond has been there quite a while! That makes it even more special when a group of mates can party and play together!
Speaking of “Wondering,” that track embodies what could be called your signature style; productions with an overall deep house feel but with enough groovy, funky elements to keep a dance floor full and happy. Is this something you consciously try to achieve or is it just what seems to happen when working in the studio?
I never really set out with an intention, most of the time I roll with something and see what happens. The ‘Wondering’ track that I did with Dean Tyler was quite a slow paced track, around 116 bpm, which Dean insisted on! But it seemed to go down well and was well received by most people I spoke to, so no I never really have a plan it’s just what comes at the time!!
You’ve also got a release coming on Dogmatik. Did you approach this record differently because of it being on another label, or do you come to each project with the same frame of mind, regardless of label?
I never make a track thinking that’s for them and this one is for them! I make things and as I go, just give them. The second Alex heard this track he asked for it. I thought he just meant to play, but he signed it on the dot, which was really cool.
I’m sure you’ve been a busy man as of late, but when not working on music, how do you like to spend your downtime?
I like to try and catch up with friends and family and just do normal things. Nothing too out of the ordinary; cinema, books, food, go to the gym and the odd bit of yoga here and there! I am actually beginning to love yoga!!
What are you listening to right now, traveling around, chilling at home? DJ Kicks style… What would you recommend?
I listen to all sorts, including lots of promos. In fact, it’s mainly promos that I listen to at the minute. I spend quite a bit of time digging the holes for new tunes.
I listen to a lot of shamanic and eastern music too; things that recite mantras and have amazing drum rhythms. I feel this music is very important to me as it gets me out of a 4 by 4 zone and into a really nice head-space! Some people think I’m a bit hippy-fied and weird for this but it really does help!