Mark Knight talks 10 years of Toolroom Records & more
Toolroom Records is celebrated worldwide as one of the best innovative major brands in the dance music industry. Now in its tenth year, label boss Mark Knight presents
‘Toolroom Ten’ – a ‘best of’ collection that celebrates the labels crucial role over the last decade and unearths some of the many classics that have secured Toolroom as a well respected and trusted record label the world over.
With Toolroom Records ‘best of’ album project ‘Toolroom Ten’ just landing on Traxsource. Label honcho Mark Knight took time out of his busy DJ/Production schedule to chat about the album, 10 years of Toolroom & much more.
1) Mark, firstly, thanks for taking the time out of your busy DJ/Production schedule to chat with us. Looking at the press release for the Toolroom Ten‚ Compilation, this is certainly a mammoth collection. Apart from the Obvious (that being 10 years of the label) what other statements did you want to make with this compilation?
It was only the other day that a producer came into the office and said he had some of our records on compilations and didn’t realize they were on Toolroom so this is a great opportunity to highlight hidden gems as well as re-enforcing what the classics have been over the last 10 years.
2) No doubt compiling the album was a lengthy process with the labels colossal catalogue. How did you go about selecting the music to be featured?
Actually it was a lot of fun to do. It was a good way to take on board the whole breadth of what we have done and a good way of also looking at how we are going to move forward. We obviously looked as far back as the beginning and found the ones that meant something to us personally and jumped out at the various shows we have done all over the world. We had in the region of 200 to start with and gradually whittled it down but more than anything it came from the heart.
3) Which productions featured on Toolroom Ten are you most proud of signing & why?
The record I am most proud of is ‘Downpipe’ It’s my favourite record I have ever produced. This still sounds as good now as the day we made it. It took a while to make but to get Underworld and one of my best friends Dean on it, that was a big deal for us.
4) 10 years is an amazing accomplishment for the label. What do you attribute the longevity & success too? Also do you have any pointers for labels starting in this current climate?
Success is 100% down to your team. We couldn’t have done it without the team and we are lucky enough to have an amazing set of people here. I’ve probably said it before but if you were to cut them in half it will probably say Toolroom in the middle of them. We all sing from the same hymn sheet and that’s collectively why we are where we are. That’s right across the board from my dad to my brother to all the guys in the office. I might be at the front end of things but it’s not about one person and it’s the backend that really makes it tick.
5) Obviously you enjoyed every release signed to Toolroom, but you must have many that have brought great memories in clubland over the years. Can you share any stories?
Talking about ‘Downpipe’…the first time I ever played it was at Cream in Ibiza and it literally cleared the dance floor! Not good but I knew the record was right….I put that down to it being different for the time so I kept with it and kept pushing and pushing the record and luckily it just grew. These are the records that go onto be classics, especially these days the big number ones are purely off the back of hype and drop out of the top 10. All hype and no substance you know. It’s a bit scary at first if you spend a whole year making a record and the first time you play it bombs but with persistence it got there!
6) After 10 years, what keeps you motivated & energized with the label, music production & DJing?
The excitement of being involved in music. If you have a passion, that never dies. If something lands in your inbox from a producer which is amazing it sparks a whole creative process. With all the people I have in the office there is constantly new ideas, concepts and a real good environment to be in and I could not imagine myself not being in here.
7) From the labels inception (in 2003) till the present day, when did you feel all the hard graft put into Toolroom really started to payoff? Was there a specific time or moment that you feel really pushed the label to the forefront as one of the most respected and trusted record labels in the industry?
I think the record that really put us on the map is Hool & Brukheimer ‘In The Beginning’. Myself and Martijn signed the record with the idea of remixing it because we knew the parts were fantastic but we knew that it needed to be translated in the right way. I remember when I finished it and it felt special. Everyone in Ibiza was playing it that summer and it just blew up everywhere from Steve Lawler to Pete Tong. That was the real moment it took off…
8) What clubs & festivals around the world will the Toolroom Ten tour by touching down at?
We have already done both weekends in Ultra which is the first time they have done label branded arenas. First stop in the UK is all of the dance festivals including Global, SW4 and Cream. Then we travel across Europe to some beach parties and underground clubs with a big US tour in the middle. We bring it all to a close at Ministry of Sound over two nights which felt like the most natural thing to do.
9) Toolroom hit the #1 spot on our top100 downloads chart with ‘Do You Want Me Baby’ (Dusky Dub)‚ no so long ago. In your mind, where does Traxsource fit into Toolrooms musical Agenda?
We really enjoying working with Traxsource and they completely understand what we are about. It’s almost like the old days of record shops when you go to a certain shop for a certain style of music. Traxsource is perfect for a more soulful type dance record and when we get the right record there is no doubt that it translates perfectly on their platform.
10) One world to describe the Toolroom Ten compilation?
11) What is next for you & the label?
Post T10, I have more singles to come (once I have finished them!), which will hopefully lead to an album at some point in 2014.