How often have you seen MK & MTV on the playlists of the hottest DJs over the past few years? The team of Mark Knight and Martijn ten Velden is responsible for some of the hottest original tracks ("Insatiable," "A New Reality") and remixes (Shapeshifters, Joey Negro, Natasha Bedingfield). Toolroom Records, which was originally launched to support Mark Knight's productions, has morphed into Toolroom Knights, themed events, and a compilation series. Watch out for the upcoming Toolroom Knights CD mixed by clubland superstars Gabriel & Dresden.
DJ Ron Slomowicz: What was your motivation to start the record label Toolroom Records?
Mark Knight: Initially, it was just borne out of an imprint to support my own material, and things kind of spiralled kind of out of control. I had success with my own music, then people wanted the association and they bought into the professionalism of what we do, one thing led to another and here we are.
RS: You do a lot of work with Martijn ten Velden. How did the
two of you meet up?
Mark Knight: It was through mutual friends, really. We had some friends in the industry and we all kind of hung out together. We always said, for ages, let's get together and do a track. We were both working with different people and those relationships kind of came to an end. When they did we had the opportunity to get on and do something and the rest is history, we just clicked and that was really the launch pad that pushed our careers up a notch - getting together and working together.
RS: Would you say that the sound of your music is the Toolroom
sound or is the Toolroom sound bigger than that?
Mark Knight: I think it's a combination of both really. We don't want to define the sound of Toolroom too much as we don't want to pigeonhole it and put it away in such a small box that we can only put out a certain style of music, we like to put out quality music. I'd like to think it's one and the same really.
RS: I notice on the Toolroom EP that there are some great tracks
from Richard Dinsdale and Dave Spoon. How did those guys get involved
in the project?
Mark Knight: Richard and Simon (who is Dave Spoon) are both signed to the label and what we wanted to do with the Toolroom Nights EP is use it as a kind of platform to launch the club night and the albums that we've gone on to do. We're all good mates and wanted to work together so we said, why don't we hook up and do some tracks. We did and it went really well and it was just a good launch pad to prick peoples' ears up and get them aware of what we were trying do with the concept of Toolroom Night.
RS: Which came first - the record label or the Toolroom Nights?
Mark Knight: The record label's been going for the last four years and Toolroom Nights is something we've developed over the last year really. It's a kind of natural progression. If you want to use the same model as Defected in the House or Subliminal Session – you've got to establish the brand as a label first and foremost, and then look forward to the opportunity to go on ahead and to expand what you do.
RS: When I think about the Toolroom sound and your sound as a DJ
and a producer, and then I see the next CD by Gabriel and Dresden, it
seems like a completely different sound. How did that work out?
Mark Knight: Not really. There's a hell of a lot of my tracks and Toolroom records on the album and I think Gabriel and Dresden have a happy kind of association with this branding of trance and more melodic house, but if you listen to the CD it's quite the opposite. It's very electronic and underground which is very much inline with what we're doing here as a label. They wanted to be on board and they needed that association with what we do. Obviously, we wouldn't put out a trancy kind of album, as it would be without the realms of what we're known for. I think they're pretty inline, to be fair.
RS: Toolroom Nights kicked off at the Amsterdam Dance Event in
2006. Do you see the ADE as a big launch pad for the next big sounds
in Europe in the dance scene?
Mark Knight: I think so. As a conference I think ADE is leading the way in the world because it's very much work-oriented. The Miami Winter Music Conference is great, but with the advance of technology, the ethic of work that sits behind it has kind of fallen to the wayside of the party. That isn't a bad thing, but as far as a business conference, ADE is more viable and we do a lot of licensing there. ADE is not so much oriented around a week of parties, when you go there the whole thing is under one roof and hooking up meetings is really easy. I think ADE is s definitely the big thing as far as music's concerned. The Amsterdam Dance Event is the dance remix of Midem.