Niko Marks Biography
Teleported to the inner city of Detroit, Niko Marks teamed up with "Mad" Mike Banks of Submerge to formulate a production team called Members of the House. Moving through underground tunnels they dropped plates such as, "Summer Nites" (originally titled "Summer Daze, Summer Nites") written by Niko and featuring him on lead vocals and piano. The track "Somethin’ About You" was written by Members of the House and featured Yolanda Reynolds on vocals. Niko, continued to collaborate with Michael Banks of Submerge under the group name, Unit 2. This mission stemmed forth the high-spirited groove, "Sunshine", released on Happy Records and "Keep Your Head Up" written by Niko and featuring him on lead vocals and keyboards and was released on 430 West Records. [mission...MB003 complete].
Taking a leap forward in time, Niko was chosen by members of the Elohim to spearhead an experiment aimed at tearing down the stronghold of the categorization of music. The second component needed to complete this mission would be the skills of long time cohort, Eddie "Flashin’ Fowlkes. The outcome: "Niko Marks and the City Boy Players featuring Mr. Eddie Fowlkes” which was a collage of artistic expression that housed an array of Detroit vocalist and musicians. Also amongst their collaborative works are: "The Detroit Soul Project" and the "Pre-Amp Brothers" [mission ..MF-3000 complete].
Niko is a skilled vocalist and musician with the ability to play a variety of synthesizers and keyboards as well as piano, drums, percussions and harmonica. When performing live, he is usually accompanied by his band, "Cosmology" (formerly known as Ujuzi). Their first release debuted on Pan Records entitled, "Sonny Daye". Nikos latest works and compositions include: "Carnal" a 12-inch which contains the funky track "Zombia" and the french-styled broken beat track "Moon Cycles" Released on U2XProductions and licensed to New Religion/EMI. "Chune" and "Truly Something" – Released on Planet E "House People Know" and "Major Arterie" Tracks released on U2XProductions, licensed by Subject Detroit "House Music Celebration" is Nikos latest release. It satisfies the appetite for those who appreciate hard and edgy, melodic and jazzy to subtle then smooth groove dance tracks. This music gives the expression of both letting go and complete control. It sends sound waves that move its listeners through the musical gratification that each track brings. THEME: To continue to be an active force in resurrecting the soul of what is commonly known as techno/house music.
Interview with Niko Marks by Kazuumi Ishii
Talking about your background, you’ve played a keyboard in a band, produced music as Niko Marks, now your moving into the soul music area and you’ve also played in a backup band for Stevie Wonder. How would you explain your music ?
I will share that my music is truly an art form that is forever expanding and leaving room for new possibilities as it relates to sound and collaboration with others.
So your album is called Electric Profile. How did you come up with this name ?
The album title, "Electric Profile" came about as a description of one aspect of myself which is electric or energy. This energy is translated into the physical through electronic music.
What would you say are the main themes on the album ?
The main themes on the album are: "A Work Of Art", "Aura" and "Browser".
When listening to your music there is a certain width and depth in terms of soundscape which is something many producers fail to achieve. How important do you think this is in electronic music ?
Well, width and depth are important in all forms of music if the artist wishes to reach the inner part of the listener. I feel it is better to capture ones full attention rather than partially.
Some tracks, like "West 8 Mile", have this epic sound, this kind of real hi-tech soul and jazz sound. How did you achieve that ?
Hmm ! Good question. For this one I took some parts from some material that I had played a few years back when I lived on west 8 mile in Detroit and added new things to bring out what I had originally intended. It worked out for me.
Are you going on tour to support the new album ?
Yes, I plan to do quite a bit of touring to support this one. As a matter of fact, there will be a great line-up of other artist on the tour that will be announced at a later date.
In 5 years you released 6 albums. You are a tailor of your music… How do you explain such productivity ?
I have been called a work-aholic when I’m in the studio or band rehearsal. I’m usually recording everything most of the time. This way I can pull from live recordings as well as sequenced ideas that can later be edited and arranged to complete entire albums.
You seem to have developed a strong ego and also a wisdom of the guy from the street. Do you think that a big ego is necessary to be successful in music nowadays ?
No sir, I don’t think that having a big ego is necessary to be sucessful because someone else will always have a bigger ego than yours which causes one to become superfictial. Instead it is better to create positive vibrations through the art of music and joyful sounds which can dismiss even the biggest ego.
Did you grow this ego in repulsion at the music scene or the Detroit underground scene where you’ve been one of the leading activists for many years ?
Forgive me if I seem a bit perplexed with this question. However, I think that your definition of ego differs from mine.
Has your creativity been more driven by your ego and your will to succeed recently or by your many musical influences ?
My creativity is mainly driven by what’s naturally in me having many influences to draw from. Even this interview via email is being stored in my data bank to be a source that can be utilized if the need presents itself.
When you’re creating music do you feel a sense that you’re tuning into some source of energy ?
Are you still in touch with Mike Banks, and Jeff Mills ?
Yes, I am in touch with Mike. However, I have not spoken to Jeff in years ! Do you have his info ?
Jeff Mills said recently that he sees techno’s audience as ageing and said he is now actively making music for older people, what’s your stance on that attitude ?
He is free to cater his music to whatever audience he feels. As for me, I like to make music with the thought in mind that it can reach any one who is willing to take a listen.
What are your big expectations for this year and next year ?
For the remainder of this year and next year I plan to promote the new material, collaborate with other music makers and vocalist, lauch new material on Detroit Wax, a label started by Eddie Fowlkes and maybe tour with Stevie Wonder as one of his keyboard players and background vocalist.
So now you got through all those questions, would you like to play a little word association game ? ;-) You just have to tell me what first comes into your mind when I tell you the following key words. Ready ? Let’s go…
- George Bush
- Undergroud Resistance
Electric Profile out now
Niko Marks – Electric Profile [U2X Productions]
- 01. X Star Intro
- 02. A Work Of Art
- 03. West 8 Mile
- 04. Hueman
- 05. Jennifer
- 06. Good-Bye
- 07. Planet Plan It
- 08. Epidermic Needle
- 09. Radiated Street Flower Pt 2
- 10. Space Bubbles
- 11. Big Space Gun Dialogue
- 12. Aura
- 13. Somebody’s Nobody
- 14. Browser
- 15. Losing Contact
Niko Marks Discography
as Niko Marks
- Quan / Nikae, 12"
City Boy (1998)
- Musicology EP, 12"
Maffia Music (1999)
- Cosmology, CD
U2X Productions (2002)
- Chune / Truly Something, 12"
Planet E (2003)
- Carnal, 12"
New Religion (2004)
- Metaphysical Dance, CD
U2X Productions (2004)
- In The Unseen, CD
U2X Productions (2005)
- House Music Celebration, CD
U2X Productions (2006)
- Music For Life, CD
U2X Productions (2004)
- Electric Profile, CD
U2X Productions (2007)
as Unit 2 (with Raphael Merriweathers Jr.)
- Sunshine, 12"
- Keep Your Head Up, 12"
430 West (1994)
- Oscillator 01 / Hillary Clinton, 12"
Ideal Trax (1996)
as 365 Black (with Raphael Merriweathers Jr)
- Home Land, 12"
430 West (1994)
as City Boy Players (with Eddie Fowlkes)
- The Love Love Love EP, 12"
- City Boy Players, CD
as Members Of The House
- Don’t Do It Like Dat, 12"
- Something About You, 12"
- Summer Daze & Summer Nights, 12"
- Keep Believin’, 12"
Vibe Records (1987)
- Share This House, 12"
Ten Records (1988)
- Reach Out For The Love, 12"
- These Are My People, 12"
Truelove Electronic Communications (1991)
- UR My People, 12"
Truelove Electronic Communications (1999)
- These Are My People / Feel The Fire, 12"
- Party Of The Year, 12"
- Keep Pushin’ (Hold On), 12"
Happy Soul (1995)
- People Hold On, 12"
Happy Soul (1995)
- Reach Out For The Love, 12"
Underground Resistance (2003)