Between a busy tour schedule, including the WHP 2017, we managed to catch up with Mark Jenkyns to dig a bit deeper into his latest Beatport topper “Sirens”, education and the music industry, tips on how to make yourself more marketable, and tons more!
Recognized in equal measures for his expert command of the dance floor, his heavyweight productions and his close affinity to the Paradise and Hot Creations family, Mark Jenkyns has become an undeniable stalwart of the house and techno scene with an impressive and ever-expanding list of accolades that includes release on Suara, Crosstown Rebels, Hot Creations, Defected, and VIVa.
Blurring the lines between house and techno, this Newcastle native has always let his music, skills, and talent speak for himself. And with his most recent “Sirens” EP out now on Hottrax which broke the overall Beatport top 10 within just three days, we’re all ears!
Time to flip the kettle on, put your dancing feet up, and discover the man behind the music, Mark Jenkyns.
OUT NOW: Mark Jenkyns – “Sirens” EP
MCOT: In 3 words, who is Mark Jenkyns?
Mark Jenkyns: Hippy Daddy Bear
MCOT: Describe your first experience with electronic music that triggered your passion to pursue it as a career.
Mark Jenkyns: If truth be known, I probably wanted to be an MC first even though I couldn’t MC. I used to go to north east raves from the age of 14 – places like the After Dark and New Monkey happy hardcore/bouncy techno nights. The MC was basically GOD, even though the DJ was bashing out the tunes. So it’s the old cliché of going to Ibiza that made me hang up my tracky bottoms and trainers and fall in love with house music.
Alex Arnout once told me “don’t be owned by what’s in front of you, at the end of the day it’s digital information which can be deleted or manipulated at the touch of a button“.
MCOT: Can you tell us about your latest release ‘Sirens EP” on Hot Trax?
Mark Jenkyns: It was the best happy accident ever to be honest! The vocal was actually Fay (Mizbee) warming her voice up for another track we did; I was going through all the vocal takes again, found that bit and my head just started to spin! It stuck going around and around, I think that’s when you know you need to finish something.
MCOT: How does it feel to have broken the Beatport Top 10 in only a few days after the initial release?
Mark Jenkyns: Quite surreal really… Obviously it’s always the aim when you release any track, but you can never tell until it drops. This one seems to have hit the spot though so in short: proper buzzing.
MCOT: What inspired you to complete a degree in ‘Music for Industry’?
Mark Jenkyns: I was just thinking long term really. I’m living back up north and there are limited avenues for kids to study electronic music production, so it’s a step into the world of teaching. It’d be great to carry on DJing and releasing music for the rest of my life but I think it’s important to have a plan B, the idea of setting up my own academy at some point is definitely something I’d love to explore.
MCOT: What are your thoughts on training and qualifications applied in a legit music career?
Mark Jenkyns: It’s definitely not essential, obviously – some of the best musicians out there are self-taught and reach success through a natural path. But there are so many different methods of learning and some people do thrive in education with a structured progression, so it just depends on what you want really… For me, I wanted letters after my name!
MCOT: What do you think are the pros and cons of having an educational background about the industry vs those who don’t?
Mark Jenkyns: You can look at it from a few different angles. The music industry is unique in that it generally doesn’t discriminate against people who do or don’t have qualifications – in some situations they’re a bonus or a stepping stone, but more often than not you have the opportunity to work your way up the career ladder. For me, it’s all down to experience – knowledge gained and know-how, then adding the degree on top adds further weight to your credibility on a few different levels, and is definitely required if teaching is something you’re interested in. But nothing gives you more industry experience than getting out there raving and meeting people involved in it.
But nothing gives you more industry experience than getting out there raving and meeting people involved in it.
MCOT: How much do you think is down to raw talent and chance of being discovered by the right people?
Mark Jenkyns: I think these are certainly the main ingredients required, along with hard work and dedication; you can have all the qualifications in the world but if you haven’t got the desire to succeed and get in the mix of going to raves and putting yourself about a bit then it’s gunna be hard.
MCOT: Are there certain things that you can do to make yourself marketable and clued up for dance music, or do you just have to live it and ride the wave?
Mark Jenkyns: Well I think nowadays if you’re not social media savvy with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at the very least it’s gunna be hard for you. It’s the nature of the beast now – sometimes it’s not even about your music, it’s about how mental you portray yourself as being! If people think you’re crazy and up for anything, they want to be around that, then ‘oh yeah, they make tunes too’.
MCOT: For aspiring artists, can you share 3 best practices you’d recommend to help them reach that next step?
Mark Jenkyns: #1 Work out your sound and what you’re into, don’t blatantly copy the latest big thing!! Be inspired by it to create your own bit of art – a lot of people fall into this trap which I think is quite sad really. #2 Don’t get caught up in one tune. Alex Arnout once told me “don’t be owned by what’s in front of you, at the end of the day it’s digital information which can be deleted or manipulated at the touch of a button“. #3 Believe in yourself and your sound. Get yourself out and about at raves and meet people, don’t be afraid of criticism because it’s always the best advice.
MCOT: And our favourite question to ask our guests, how do you take your tea?
Mark Jenkyns: I like my tea macha green with bee pollen coconut oil and a touch of honey, all blended in a Vitamix.
Catch him playing at WHP17 /// Paradise