Mark Knight is an influential DJ and producer who also heads up scene leading record label and club brand Toolroom.
One of the UK’s most accomplished electronic music artists, Mark Knight has showcased his skills behind the decks everywhere from BBC Radio 1’s Essential Mix to the super clubs of Ibiza.
Also, a talented producer, his music can be found on labels including Nervous Records, Defected and Suara, but the majority of his releases come via his own Toolroom Records.
Most recently, Mark Knight teamed up with MOBO award-winning soul singer Beverley Knight, who is known internationally for breaking into the Top 40 with many of her classic releases.
Keen to learn more about the release and what Mark Knight has been up to during lockdown, we took the time to have this quick chat with him
Hi Mark, great to speak with you today. What part of the world are you currently living in?
Currently holed up at home in Chislehurst, which is on the outskirts of London. It’s a lovely village in London, so you get the best of both worlds.
What effect has lockdown had on your life, have you found yourself exercising more or picked up any new hobbies?
I have actually been exercising like crazy. A few months back I set myself a challenge to have a six-pack by my birthday in June, so I’ve been hell-bent on trying to achieve that. I have a gym in my garden so have been hitting that pretty hard, and now back in the proper gym now those are open too. On top of that, I’ve also discovered mountain biking which I’ve been loving. It’s something that I can do with my son Rupert, and in lieu of playing football for the last few months, it’s been a fantastic replacement.
I know you had a busy gig schedule before clubs got shut down, what are your thoughts on vaccine passports, do you think they are needed for gigs to be safe?
Maybe not something as official as a passport, but I do think there needs to be something to make people feel safe. The lateral flow tests are super quick, so maybe something as simple as doing one of those before you go out, getting your result and then showing a text or scan on the door before you go in. Given that none of us has really been out clubbing for well over a year now, that doesn’t seem like too much to ask.
Recently you collaborated with soul singer, Beverley Knight. How did this collaboration come about?
I’ve always thought she was amazing, in my opinion, one of the best soul singers we have in the UK for sure. I saw her perform a cover of Sound of Blackness Optimistic online and I was blown away by it. Knowing what I was trying to achieve with Everything’s Gonna Be Alright, I hit her up on Instagram, as I knew she would be perfect for it. Happily, she was really into the idea, and it all came together from there.
What influence has soul music had on how you interpreted electronic genres such as house?
I’m very much from a soulful background, and when I’m making music, it’s always influenced by soulful music, that’s always what I’m trying to do even if I’m making techier stuff for main rooms. I grew up in the 80s so was massively influenced by the music that soundtracked my life back then, and when my new album drops in June, I think you’ll be able to hear those influences brought to the forefront more than anything else I’ve made.
Outside of Beverley Knight, what other soul singers or bands do you listen to, and is there an album you could recommend?
Oh man, so much stuff. No way I could list them all, it would probably get boring, but everything from 80s acts like Kashif the SOS Band and D-Train, through to 90s icons like D’Angelo Rashaan Patterson right up to current artists like NAO and Katranada.
Can you talk us through the process of putting your new release together, was it the vocal or backing track that came first?
I produced the track first then Andreya Triana wrote the vocal which we sent to Beverly. She loved it, and it came together so well from there. We really wanted that super churchy call and response between her lead vocal and the London Gospel Community Choir on backing vocals. Beverley had already worked with the choir on many occasions, so we knew the chemistry would be right for that kind of vibe. It was actually the first track I made for the album, and the last one we finished – not because it was difficult, but just because there were so many moving parts and people involved. I’m super happy with the finished record, and I think it sets up the album really well.
What else is forthcoming on your label, and do you have any Toolroom branded events planned for later in the year?
We have our first Toolroom show on 17 July at Ministry of Sound which we’re obviously all pretty excited about. My album lands on 11 June and we have loads of other music coming over the coming months and the rest of the year.
Talking of events, do you think we will have an Ibiza season this year, as right now it seems to be hanging in the balance?
Realistically I don’t think so, certainly not one that resembles a usual one. And I don’t think it would be responsible to. The world isn’t ready for something on that scale yet. Let’s just make the 2022 season the biggest one of all time – just imagine the anticipation!
Before we finish, is there a message to your fans or anything else you would like to add?
Yes. To the fans: thank you for sticking with us over the last year. Dance music has been hit especially hard by the pandemic, and it’s been amazing how much the Toolroom fans have all stuck with us. Your support is massively appreciated, and we can’t wait to be with you on a dancefloor again really soon.
You can pick up a copy of Mark Knight’s new release with Beverley Knight from HERE