The UK’s Mark Henning, these days based in Berlin, is one of the finest beat-makers around. On the eve of his Australian tour, we caught up on his current musical crushes and the state of techno in his adopted city.
You’re based in Berlin, is that right? It has a reputation as an exciting and vital place for electronic musicians – is that still the case?
I think so, yes – more and more artists seem to move here each year. And as everyone knows, some of the most famous clubs in the world are based here. But I’m not really the best person to ask – due to family commitments and a busy gig schedule I don’t get out that much these days! It’s certainly networking heaven for those musicians who want to meet other like-minded artists.
I’m curious to ask, as someone who both produces and DJs, do you see yourself affiliated more with one ‘side’ than the other, or are they both equally important?
To me they are both equally important. Without decent productions, getting gigs is very hard. On the other hand, I have to be a decent DJ otherwise my gigs would equally dry up!
You quit a city job to pursue music full-time – what’s the full story there? Was that an easy decision to make, and how has it paid off?
It certainly wasn’t an easy decision. It took a long time to get my head ’round it. I was a management consultant specialising in finance and I.T. for six years after university, in an area called business intelligence. At the same time I was producing and DJing as a hobby, but eventually I decided to give it a go full-time. Moving to Berlin at this point helped as it took some of the pressure off, money-wise. It’s much cheaper to live here now, compared with the UK. For the first few years it was a struggle, but it has paid off now I’d say. I still don’t earn anywhere near what I used to but I don’t regret the career move one bit.
Do you have any new releases coming out in the next little while, anything we can look forward to?
Yes, in April the second release on my own new label Swing Recordings will be out, featuring two new tracks of mine. After that, the next EP will be out on Soma Records in June. This one is under a new name and is more techno-based – me and my TR-909. Watch this space.
Soma is one of those iconic and well-loved dance music labels, and you’ve been associated with them for a while now – what is it like to work with them?
It’s great. They are super professional to work with and always fun to hang out with. I’m very lucky to be part of the family.
Just in general, I’m keen to ask about some of the new music you’ve been listening to lately – are there any labels or artists or tracks you’re really getting into?
Three of my current favourites would be ‘B-B-Bottle’ by Romansoff, on Raw Tools, ‘Acid Snow Fall’ by Marquis Hawkes, on Dixon Avenue, and Breaker 1 2’s ‘2’, on Forbidden Planet.
You’re heading to Australia very soon for some shows – what can we expect from you at the Spice Cellar?
I’ll be playing some good old-fashioned house and techno. My sets are strictly ‘no cheese’!