Mark Dynamix: Reaching out across long distances

There’s only days to go before voting closes for this year’s inthemix50, so ITM thought it would be the perfect time to talk to Mark Dynamix. Not only has he consistently ranked high in the poll since the very beginning (recently placing #9 and #11 in ‘06 and ‘07 respectively and placing second in both ‘03 and ‘04), but he’s also played a pivotal role in the Australian dance music since long before the current crop of fleuro kiddies were breaking out their hip-thrusting moves on the dancefloor. Nearly 30 mix CDs completed and close to 2 million units shifted, countless tours both in Australia and internationally as well as holding down a simply ridiculous number of residencies. Couldn’t be much more to say, yeah?

Are you kidding me? 2008 marks the beginning of a new chapter for Dynamix. He’s changed his name to MDX for all future productions and most importantly, only just this week he’s launched his new record label Long Distance Recordings, with the first single Salt going out to digital stores this week. ITM finds out what he’s got in store.

You’re now known as MDX, what made you decide to switch your name?

It was actually my web designer’s idea! He starting building a new site for markdynamix.com and just used the letters MDX as a logo for the new site; and with the new label starting up and a seemingly new direction musically it seemed to make sense to have a name change. The idea was to differentiate between what the name Mark Dynamix brings to mind as opposed to a starting a clean slate with new ideas and musical output; so the name MDX. No it’s wasn’t a rip off from a Behringer Compressor! Haha, amazing what people come up with.

I don’t think what I was doing or playing last year compared to now are worlds apart actually; it’s all a matter of perception and trying to change that takes a long, long time. It is surprising to see what a contentious issue it seems to have become though; after all, many producers use their initials as their artist name. Boredom breeds contempt it seems.

You have now launched your own record label, Long Distance Recordings. When and how did this happen?

The idea had been swimming around for at least 5 years, but really stepped into gear last year whilst living and working in Berlin. I had about 4 different production projects running parallel to each other with different people involved, and I thought the best way to get exposure for these artists and get the music out there would be to release it myself. I finished up production work in Berlin at the end of 2008, so came back to Australia to put the jigsaw together and get my head around the administrative site of digital distribution (there will also be vinyl of each release available as well).

People have said it’s crazy to start a record label up in this day and age with P2P file sharing rampant, but I think the exact opposite. There are many more opportunities within reach & budget now, to get the music into new territories and promote artists from the label; gaining them international DJ gigs and worldwide recognition whilst hopefully pleasantly surprising a few listeners.

Tell us about the first tune you will be releasing through LDR.

The first single LDR001 is a collaboration between myself and Namito, one of Germany’s original techno warriors. He’s been kicking it in Berlin since the early 90s, but his latest singles on Great Stuff have been enormous and he’s got another couple coming out on Blu Fin and Systematic shortly. The one on LDR is called Salt, which started out as an epic chord progression I was playing whilst Namito took 5 minutes out from the studio to visit the porcelain throne. I was just trying some chords out on a synth called DaHornet. He came back in whilst I was tinkering away playing the basic string section of the song and exclaimed “That’z it! Ve must stop vat ve are doing and record this now!” So we pushed the minimal bleeps we were creating on Reaktor to one side so we could start recording a prog tune! Totally against our initial ideas for musical direction, but there you have it; it’s true what they say about songs writing themselves. You really have no control over where it’s going to go; I guess you just have to do what feels right. I actually thought the idea was a bit crap, wanting to concentrate more of percussive elements that chordal based structures, but after a while, the song took shape combining elements from quite a few genres.

We both liked Salt enough to be the first single with Road Rage as the B-side, which was a tribal-esque thing we started first but weren’t so sure about. We both ate dodgy curry that day so we were trying to re-create the sounds of our stomach’s ticking over and what it should like if you were trapped in your own stomach. I don’t know if what you hear accurately reflects that though! As for Salt, Deepchild was my first choice for a remix; I really wanted a mix which took the key elements from the original but warped them into a completely different genre. I love what he did with it, it’s really fucking groovy, quirky and highly addictive yet strangely confusing at the same time! I hear something new every time I listen to his mix.

What artists/tracks have you currently signed up?

There’s a bundle of tracks ready to go from Danny Bonnici (Nu Breed), Dave Basek, Chopstick & Johnjon, Jaytech plus there’s more from Namito and MDX, with the followup single Hot & Spicy coming soon. Some other international licensing in the pipeline, but can’t give everything away. Remix wise, really look forward to the remixes on Dave Basek’s track First Rain with a mix from someone massive from Germany, that is going to kick serious ass. All will be revealed soon…

What can we expect to hear in the near future from Long Distance Recordings?

Just deciding on what order to release things at the moment, but it all depends on how quickly remixes come back for particular singles. I’d like to get Dave’s track out next but we’ll see….the LDR site will have all that information uploaded with previews of the tracks and mixes anyway.

You’ve done a lot of memorable compilations for Ministry of Sound, will you continue to have a relationship with the label?

Compilation wise, I’ve put it on hold for now, just because the LDR label has taken up all my time, plus I was away overseas for 9 out of the last 12 months; but it’s possible there may be another compilation in the future. It would be more along the lines of the Discotech compilation I mixed for them though, rather than the Annual or Sessions. I am running a little side project called Lost In Nova Scotia though, which has been signed to Hussle/Ministry and is more of a straight-up house project rather than tech or minimal. The first single What U Do To Me has already been promoted to DJs, so proper release date to stores is probably about now.

So what’s featuring in your sets mostly at the moment, is the minimal sound still doing it for you?

Actually, the techy rolling basslines seem to have made their way back into my sets, but whereas the techno I was playing in 2002 was more solid, in your face nastiness; the percussions now is much more intricate, shifting more around the sound spectrum tonally than melodically. In other words, I don’t find big synth riffs all that appealing and a lot of the tracks are club grooves rather than song-based.

You’ve also been a DJ who’s been very willing to shift and change your styles over the years, and pick trends before they blow up big. Do you ever face resistance from either existing fans, or from the scene you might be joining because of this?

All the time, but it doesn’t faze me. I know that what I play in my DJ sets is the music that I listen to and enjoy myself at that particular time. If I sat and listened to bloody techno records and nothing else all week I’d lose my fucking mind. It’s quite amazing how certain genre purists can make judgment about me when they haven’t bothered to listen to any of my sets in at least the last 5 years! My thoughts are that if these people can’t appreciate other types of music as well as techno or house or whatever; then they’re the ones living with the aural equivalent of tunnel vision and that can’t be healthy. In the end, what matters are the people on the dancefloor in front of me. They will tell me within the space of four and a half minutes whether what I’m playing is shite or waaay off course.

What are some of your highlights from 2008 so far?

To be honest, having the label up and running is probably one of the most challenging yet exciting things I’ve done; other highlights include the tour across Canada in February and some amazing powder in Niseko, Japan back in January!

When and where can we get our hands on your EP?

Grab it from Beatport or Dance Music Hub Plus info about the vinyl release will be on the website.

What do you have instore for the next 6 months?

Staying squarely within our shores, hopefully having a handful of singles and the forthcoming LDR CD compilation out before Christmas, then a trip over to Europe early next.

Has your production been pushed in different directions as a result of your time overseas?

Maybe… have a look at www.longdistancerecordings.com and judge for yourself!

Is Mark Dynamix your favourite Australian DJ? Check out his mix in ITM-FM and remember to vote in the 2007 inthemix50! Voting closes midnight this Sunday August 3rd, so head straight to inthemix.com.au/50 to cast your vote…