Beatport names Mark Mendes one of the top producers 25 and under, along with Avicii, Afrojack, Skrillex, Arty, and Zedd. His tracks have been featured on a number of BBC Radio 1 shows, including Pete Tong’s Essential Mix. Mark chooses to keep remix work to a minimal, only remixing a select few to maintain quality. Mark Mendes has done remixes for Fedde Le Grand, and has also become a friend of Mark Knight's Toolroom label, remixing and releasing with them frequently. He has also done remixes for Cr2 and Ultra Records.
1. Hello, Mark Mendes! How was the last year for you, do you believe that it was a good year for the development of your career?
Hi! My year has been great! I think that I’ve learned a lot this year and have grown as an individual and an artist!
Yes! I have been a DJ since I was about 15 years old; I used to mix on turntables and I bought vinyl all the time! I didn't really decide to get into the music business, it sort of happened naturally. My uncle was a classic house producer, which is cool because that sound is coming back strong now through trendy ‘deep house’. Anyhow, he suggested I try producing. It made sense since I was already a DJ and loved music so much. Once I started I really became hooked. I always wanted to have my own business, I like the idea of creating things from nothing, so I try do that through music and my record label. I even do a lot of the artwork and branding for my label ‘Starter’. The first house track I ever heard was Benny B - Satisfaction and it blew me away. I remember it being so bassy. Back then fat synths like that were unheard of, at least on the radio. It opened me up to an infectious sound that I couldn’t get enough of. Two artists that really played a role in motivating me were Axwell and Antoine Clamaran, although they probably don’t know it haha. Anyways, I find it really awesome that both of them have played my own records now, because I really didn’t imagine that happening!
My first release was on my uncle’s label, so I didn't necessarily need to attract his attention haha. For my first releases, he gave me total creative freedom to make as I wished. I found it a challenge to make something that was of release quality from start to finish. I really appreciate the way things happened for me because I do not think I would have been the same artist that I am today. I started my own label really young when I was about 19 years old, right after my 1st or 2nd single release. My first single went number 1 overall on Beatport, it was so unexpected, it felt so amazing. The #1 gave me the credibility I needed to start my own label, so from there I started releasing on my own. I had no idea what goes on with label A&R’s, how they ask you to change your song, or outright reject it completely. I am so happy I didn't know of this world because putting out all of my music myself allowed me to make anything I wanted, and naturally other people gravitated towards what I was doing, so that was nice.
You know, right now I am going through a stage where I am thinking so much about what I want to make. I like a lot of different types of music. I am very song-based. I genuinely don’t agree with the idea of limiting myself to one genre, because I have so many different ideas. I am trying to be true to each individual track I make, in the sense that it’s what I myself would want to listen to. Beautiful melodies and lots of different layers that sound natural and less synthy is the way I’m going. Using vocals as instruments, chopping up bits of them, and lots of little samples to really add something a little more to songs. With all that, I am still doing my best to figure out how I can turn all of this into a show that makes sense (to me at least) and is cohesive.
As I was saying above, song based, lots of pretty vocals, beautiful melodies, clear crisp drums, slow and fast BPMs. I really love slower electronic music like What So Not, their style has such a big impact on me recently.
I started out on some really low quality CD players, I forget the model haha. I also had technique 1200s turntables which was fun. Now I am traveling with USB sticks on the Pioneer CDJs. Honestly, I don’t really care what I (or other DJs) play on. As long as I am able to connect with the crowd it’s all good!
7. What’s your most treasured tool in the studio and what’s so good about it?
It’s a secret! ;) No really, it doesn't matter all that much. It all comes down to technique. I can make good music with built in DAW synths haha I’ll just process it like crazy. Good quality EQs and a good sounding compressor are always nice to have on hand.
Deep House or EDM? :P (troll face lol). There is a lot of good music you just need to look for it. I spend hours on Soundcloud every day searching to discover new music! People like to focus on how much ‘bad’ music there is. I choose to look for music that I actually like!
Yes, I do, but I mean, again, its just like the same thing about quality. You can choose to pay attention to the hyper machine or you can spend some time on Soundcloud trying to find new and undiscovered artists. I message people all the time when I like their music. Hearing fresh music is a good way to stay motivated. A lot of young peeps just listen to the main popular stuff, and honestly to me that’s okay too. I like quite a bit of the main stuff too, and it’s easily accessible, so I get it. I find it exciting that so many people are super interested in electronic music now. Situations will always change and best you adapt as times change without losing yourself in the process.
Well, that depends if you want to DJ around the world. If you do, obviously producing is somewhat a must, at least right now in our world it is.
Oh, wow! I must give you more than one! One second, let me check my secret Soundcloud account where I listen 24/7 haha (I’m actually serious lol)…. Okay I’m back, I just went through all of my hundreds of favorites haha (really serious!!) Felix Jaehn, RL Grime, What So Not, Kaskade, Must Die!, and Dubvision. I can’t choose just one. This is my dilemma haha!
Honestly, I think I would prefer it if it stays original. I really put so much effort into thinking what direction I want to go with a song, and a remix just takes away from that original intent. Mind you, I don't think I’ve ever heard a remix of my own song that has blown me away, so maybe that’s why. If someone makes an amazing remix of my song, it’s no longer my own sole creation. I felt really weird in the past when labels get someone to remix my song and my name is on the track since it’s my original, but the remix sounds nothing like me. It doesn’t feel appropriate. Or maybe, they’ll do it better than my original and I’ll just think ‘why didn't I think of that’ lol.
Axwell - Watch The Sunrise
Till West - Same Man
A-Studio ft. Polina - S.O.S. (Skylark Vocal Remix)
Haha, do I have to? I’d prefer to just show up :P. Um, I don't know, something for girls because they are more attentive so they deserve all my attention lol.
Do they now haha? I don't know, I’d say really try to find your own sound so that you stand out from the thousands of producers. There are so many producers, you need to stand out, so have your own style but make sure people like it. Don’t get stuck in a sound if nobody is digging it. Don’t be afraid of failing. Make a lot of music. Send out your good material to as many people as possible. Focus on getting your music out and not so much about what label it’s on. Give away free tracks. Go out and network with other DJs. There is literally a DJ network LOL, everybody knows everybody and is super friendly. If you want to be in this business you need to really work hard and meet people that can work with you towards your goals. Most importantly, when you do make a song you believe in, promote it yourself as much as you can because you can accomplish so much on your own if you just work at it.
I want to achieve so much, I don’t know where to start. I want so many people all over the world to know my music and actually really love it and feel like they know me through it. Music can reach so far, its really amazing. I feel like if someone knows my song, they kind of know me. They know what I was trying to create in that moment of time.
Thank you! Yeah, of course! Search for more of it! You may find your new favorite artist. :)