For a man whose stage name originated in a film of pornographic origin, Mark Pember is quite the timid and pleasant fellow. He admits to stealing the name from a film but while the connotations have long worn off, the name itself has stuck. And in 2012, he is taking all of it to the next level – he’s back in the studio, the label is going great guns – and he has secured a residency at Berlin’s famous Tresor club to boot.
First things first though, he gives us the low down: “we’ve had a bit of a restructure at the label. Previously, we had a decent studio but what we did was built another studio - and decided to kind of push forward with the label and develop it. We built an office and thought about getting our working environment really well thought out. Dylan Rhymes - the guy I share my office with and my label partner at Lot 49 - decided it was a good move so we did it.”
Now, the other office is inhabited by another legend, Alex Metric. Yet with the new investments in the studio, Mark is again focused on his greatest love – music. “It was unfortunate, because the music took a bit of a back seat while we were doing all of that,” he explains. “In the last year, we’ve been pretty tied up with it all and it chewed through a far bit in the way of our finances. But we got going again, so right at the moment it’s full steam ahead.”
Studio wise, Mark claims he’s sitting on a few releases which he plans on releasing over the next few weeks including some bits and pieces he’s doing for friends. “There’s a few things coming up,” he chimes. “I’ve done a mix called Hey Kids which I’m pretty happy with and I’m also about nine tracks into a down tempo album,” he says, breaking into laughter. “I just needed a bit of a break and I thought I’d do some stuff which was more electronica rather than what I’m specifically known for.”
Likewise, over the last decade, Mark has been privy to significant changes in the industry – forgetting about genres altogether, so much else has happened, one needs to be adaptable and willing to change, even before you get to twiddling knobs in the studio. But he has managed to navigate those murky waters rather successfully, coming out at the other end, suitably accomplished and still highly motivated.
“You know, music is forever developing! The music around now for example, I kind of found a lot of bass line techno type stuff was working for me so that’s sort of what I’ve been pursuing in my beats. But in the same breath, the next few singles I have coming up are breaks with a techno feel. I’ve never really been big on the trendy genres anyway. Like dubstep for example; there is this bandwagon for people to hate on it, so while I admit it really isn’t for me, I’m not going to hate on it. I’ve listened to some of the best dubstep DJs in the world and I’ve been impressed with their ability, but it just isn’t something that does it for me.”
And over the years, his experience and insight has convinced him of one other important thing – music and going out is about one thing: delivering a good time. “I used to get really upset when people weren’t getting where I was coming from. Now I’m longer in the tooth and see it like this: you either dance or you don’t dance. If you don’t like what someone is playing don’t sit there and analyse it, just enjoy yourself! I don’t want to be one of those DJs who claims he’s ‘educating an audience.’ What sort of a person says that?”
“I’ve always played broad sets of music, but I like that tough, jacking, techno breaks sound and I like that little bit of dark funk. For a while there, I was finding breaks a little cheesy and thought to myself, why don’t I mix in something that’s a little cooler? So as things have changed up a bit, there is another divide again. I’m doing about 70% of my work in America now. The west coast has really embraced my music, which is a nice feeling - but it is a lot of travelling. I’ve got a label, kids and a life nowadays, so you have to be realistic about it all. The UK has been a bit quiet for some reason and a lot of the promoters and things aren’t doing much over here at the moment. That is the economics of the music industry I guess. For now, I’m getting ready for my gigs in Australia and I’m going to tear shit up basically – there’s no game plan other than that!”
Meat Katie [UK] performs at New Guernica on Saturday June 9.