Great interview with Mark Broom, conducted by djdownload.com‘s earworm blog…
Since the start of 90s, Former East Londoner now Norfolk based Mark Broom has always been a name that is synonymous with the UK electronic music scene. A truly prolific artist, he has a myriad of production credits to his name having worked with world renowned labels such as Mo-Wax, Warp, R&S, Soma, Ifach (with Baby Ford ) Bpitch Control, Platzhirsch,Rotary Cocktail, Material and more recently 2020 vision It all started in the summer of 89 when he landed in Tenerife on vacation and stumbled across the delights of the emerging sounds of Chicago & Acid House. And here the man reveals it all…
So Mark, your new album ‘Acid House’ is out now on Saved Records. Its been 14 years since your last…. what took you so long?
For me it felt like the right time to bring out some sort of album project, the last two/three years have seen my sound revert back to what i was making back in the earlier period of my career, so doing a long player seemed the natural next step. I’ve been involved with Saved for the last two years and we have built up a great partnershipso releasing the album was a real pleasure!!!
Many listeners may be expecting the Broom sound of old, and may be surprised to find that not only is their very little actual ‘Acid House’ on the album, but also of the range of sounds on their…. was that intentional and is this indicative of where the Mark Broom sound is right now?
As a producer who has been in the game for many years I’ve always been into and have made various styles so with this album I’m showcasing the music i love to play out, there is a good range of house/disco/techno grooves that will cater for all ears. There is no “Acid House” music on this release and people might feel they have been cheated when the see the title, but it was my way of saying thanks to the only dance music genre that has inspired and influenced me when making my music.
With this disco and jackin’ flavour of many of the tracks on there,do you worry that many of stalwart Broom fans of old may disapprove?or do you think that recent productions such as ‘Scream’ will have already well prepared them?
I’ve always had a soft spot for the disco style tracks and have made many under my Lighter Thief guise so i think the fans will already be aware of this style from me, i’ve been easing them in gently with my Jackpot and Supersnout releases and as you mention the Scream 12″, also i did make quite a few things in this style for Ben Sims on his Ingoma and Hardgroove labels.
Your productions, past and present, have always received huge support from your peers (apparently Cassius’ Philippe Zdar owns all of your release on Vinyl) and are rarely out of the record boxes/CD wallets/laptops of the worlds finest jocks. Is there a secret Broom formula?A key ingredient maybe?
Hard work!!! I’m constantly working away in the studio and keeping my options open when making tracks so i suppose the variety i produce is the key ingredient, and it’s an honour when your fellow producers support your productions
As a producer, do you think that today reinvention, or maybe just variety is the key? I read recently that you deeply respect Robert Hood for sticking to his guns sound wise, and we’ve all seen his recent resurgence.
For me it’s variety; for others it’s sticking to what they are good at, you mentioned Robert Hood, he’s one of the Techno producers who’ve influenced me the most and i have the upmost respect for his productions and it’s greatto see his kind of music getting the props it deserves. Techno is slowly creeping back again which is great you have labels like M-Plant/Blueprint/Sandwell District/Skudge to name but a few sticking out some great functional Techno cuts.
Talk us through your production process. Where do you start? An idea? A beat? And what are you producing on? Is still some analogue hardware getting in on the act?
I usually start with the 4/4 then go from there, i’m a big fan of inserting random notes into the sequencer then installing a synth and seeing what magic comes out, this was a technique i used a lot when i was producing on theAkai MPC300, nowadays i’m doing all my music on a computer using Ableton with a few choice plug ins, i used to be a hardware guy using the MPC a Soundcraft mixing desk and synthwise a Novation Supernova/Nordlead and a Yamaha SY85…Good times
We know that you now live in Norfolk, in the middle of the UK countryside. Why did you move out there and is the quietness conducive to creating noise?
I had been living in london for around 20 years and it had taken it’s toll so we (me and ere indoors) sold up and bought a place in the Norfolk countryside, it’s been great for my creativity and i’ve managed to produce a massive amount of material since we’ve been here.
So to DJ’ing. We know that you are a bastion of the Wax. Have you dallied with digital or is it vinyl forever?
Tried it for about 5-6 months then got bored and went back to the black gold, computer dj’ing suitssome people but it’s not for me i’m much more in control when i’m using vinyl, although i’m a big fan of using cd’s as well
Is your choice down to the common reasonings of sound quality, crowd interaction, avoidance of repetitive strain strain in the mouse finger? Or is it simply down to the fact that those are your preferred choice of tools?
You can’t beat the sound of vinyl and the promoters and clubbers get amazed when you turn upwith vinyl because it’s becoming a rarity.
A friend of mine recently recalled becoming a Mark Broom fan at one of your early gigs at FUSE in Belgium… You began your DJ career in the UK, but how big a part did your early gigs in Europe and beyond play in the progression of your career? Was it hard graft or instant success?
I was producing and releasing tracks in 92-93 so it was an easier way to get dj bookings, i also did some gigs with my friends The black dog and if i remember correctly one of them was at the Fuse club, after playing there my name became popular in Belgium and was going there all the time, later on i was lucky enough to be an Autechretour dj and visited the USA plus two big tours of europe, some of my good friends have given me the catchphrase ” when i was on tour with ”
Do you have favourite Countries, Venues and Parties where you love to play today?
I’m enjoying doing gigs in the UK, one of my favourite gigs this year was in Malmo, Sweden the party was in a warehouse and the promoter used his own sound and lighting and the vibe from the clubbers was amazing,every tune i played they loved and by the end the atmosphere was electric!!!.
You’ve been working recently with James Ruskin and Edit Select. How did those hook ups come about and what can we expect from the collabs in the near future?
Tony and myself have know each other for many years and i have produced stuff for him when he went under his Percy X guise, then he began his Edit Select thing and we naturally started to work together again. With James, we had been doing some dj gigs together and both agreed that a collaboration was the logical thing for us to try, the first results of this came out on Blueprint earlier this year titled ” No Time soon ” the follow up is just being finalised now and will hopefully come out in November.
You have your very own ‘Vinyl Only’ label ‘Beardman’. Tell us a bit about it and the artists featured? Does it follow the sound and formula of your legendary Pure Plastic imprint?
It’s mainly my stuff and some bits from Tony (Edit Select) we have just mastered numbers 7/8, the sound is strictly Techno it’s good for me to do the more ” underground ” style on my label and keep the overground stuff for labels like Saved. We are going digital very soon as many people are asking for the tracks, at first i was not to keen on doing this but apparently it’s the future so I’m giving it a try.
Finally, we know you have a penchant for Brazilian thrash metal and are partial to a drop of The Doors (who isn’t?), but who would you select to appear on a, ‘Mark Broom Mix tape’?
Japan, Specials, Joy Divison, Groundhogs, WU Tang, Libertines, King Tubby, Sepultura, 80’s Disco Funk, Fleetwood Mac The Smiths and last but not least Dennis Waterman !!!!