Subject Detroit is set to release a compilation, "The Lost Tribe Of Techno", featuring tracks from artists on its roster including Aaron-Carl, Trench, Mister X, DJ Nasty, Niko Marks, Trish Van Eynde, and DJ Bone.
Niko Marks is a heavyweight musically speaking, having played in groups with the likes of Mike Banks and Eddie "Flashin’" Fowlkes, and released records on labels like Planet E, 430 West, City Boy Records and his own label U2X Productions, and a few others as well… He speaks to Electronic Directory about the DEMF, the new album with 365 Blak, and what the future holds for him.
Interview with Niko Marks by Kazuumi Ishii
First off, you played in a band with Carl Craig at DEMF last year. How did that come about ?
Well, I was in the process of recording some new tracks at Planet E when Carl asked if I would be interested in playing with him. Because I always enjoy working with Carl, it was an easy yes ! Carl’s work ethic is similar to mine and that makes things run smooth for the most part :-)
So how do you feel about the festival in general and will you be attending and playing this year ?
The DEMF is simply one of many festivals that take place in Detroit however, it seems to be losing its attraction power. Could possibly be because it is not a festival of or for the people that live in Detroit. No sir, I will not be attending or playing this year.
You produced (exclusive) tracks for DJ Bone’s "Parts Unknown" mix CD a few years back. Then just recently you’ve produced a track for Subject Detroit, "The Lost Tribe Of Techno", which is coming out very soon. How did you hook up with DJ Bone/Subject Detroit ?
DJ Bone and I have been acquaintances for years and always having a mutual respect for each other caused the inevitable. It is also my pleasure to be involved with a label such as Subject Detroit.
‘All Of Me,’ which previously saw release as an album track last year, raises its funky head again on the compilation. Does it have extra special significance ?
Yes, the song, "All Of Me" has major significance to the featured vocalist. She had had it with all her children constantly asking her for shit ! (lol) Really though, this track could have significance to anyone who can relate to giving all of themselves to another.
You’ve just recorded an EP for Subject Detroit, right ?
Yes, tracks have been recorded with an EP in mind and I’m sure DJ Bone will time things right as it relates to the release date. I am indeed very excited about it.
Can you give us an indication of what it will sound like ?
Explosive, Nuclear, Futuristic, Space Teleportive, and more dangerous than the Bush Administration could’ve ever been !… lol
Do you have any other major plans for this year?
- 1. Mike Clark & Niko Marks Project 1.
- 2. U2X Productions presents: Niko Marks & 365 Blak performance to be recorded live in Detroit/summer 2009 (more info to come)
- 3. Prospects to work with Phil Gould, drummer for 80′s group, Level 42.
Ahh Mike Clark & Niko Marks Project sounds like a marriage made in heaven. So how did you guys get into the studio together?
Well, this could actually be a very long story. However, I’ll give you the short version for now… Mike Clark, aka, "Agent X" and Niko Marks were teleported to planet Earth at the same time to perform the same duty of spreading positive vibrations throughout the various regions. They attended most of the same educational centers. After a few years, they reconnected at Submerge Headquarters where they briefly discussed a musical collaboration between the two of them. It was agreed upon by Niko and Mike that this was long overdue. PRESENT YEAR 2009: Mike Clark and Niko Marks are keeping their word- to merge frequencies and share more soul from Detroit to the world !
How much, besides music, do you have in common ? I hear that you’re both into martial arts.
Both Capricorn, genuine love for music and how it can heal one’s mind, body and soul, both use martial arts as a way of life and we both practice having patience enough to look for the good in all human beings and celebrate that part.
Speaking of U2X Productions, tell us about your new album, "It’s About Time", which is a great album btw.
Thank you, for your appreciation of the music. I am honored. It’s About Time CD is a collaborative effort by 365 Blak members and me. U2X Productions was also blessed to obtain the vocal talents of Ujuzi and the Marks’ family who appear on several songs. The works on this album speak to the conscience of anyone who is able to see, hear truth and smell roses through all of the bull-shit. There is a focus on tonality, warmth and lyrical content.
The album artwork features photographs on political, economic and social issues/affairs in the United States.
Yes. This subject matter was chosen to bring to the attention of the people, especially those located in the inner cities across America, the failure of the shitstem (system), the elapsed mentality of some of the youth and the struggles that lie ahead.
The artwork and music as one. Each track has a story, you know ?
I guess you could say that I am still traditional in a way as it relates to composing albums that use pictures on the cover art to reiterate what is being shared in the songs and music.
I know there was a previous group (just) called 365 Black. I wanted to ask you about the original 365 Black situation. Can you tell us a little more about why you split your partnership with Raphael Merriweathers, Jr. ?
The previous group under the name 365 Black consisted of Raphael Merriweathers, Jr. and me. We recorded some really great music and I shall be forever honored to have experienced those years of working with Ray. For the record, it has never at any time been my desire to part ways with one of the best producers that I have ever worked with as well as a very close friend that was once like a brother to me. It is very disappointing for me that we have been unable to re-establish a FRIENDSHIP and a working relationship. Ray knows that I have love for him and that I am always open to receive his gift of friendship whenever he is ready.
"The Lost Tribe Of Techno" coming out soon on Subject Detroit
Subject Detroit welcomes more new artists to the label than ever before with Klaina, Trish Van Eynde (Metro Unit with Sam Ostyn) DJ Nasty, Niko Marks and Orlando Voorn all featured on the compilation. The result is a diversified collection of proper techno music. From Mister X electronic soundscape, Aux 88 real electro, Niko Marks tech-jazz funk and Stephen Brown jackin’ house to DJ Bone A.B.M., all kinds of modern techno music are represented here.
- 01. Mister X – Balance
- 02. Metro Unit – Inner Senses
- 03. Orlando Voorn – Closer
- 04. Aux 88 – We Make Beats
- 05. Trench – Denounment
- 06. DJ Nasty – Groove Junkie
- 07. Klaina – GTC (remix)
- 08. Niko Marks – All Of Me
- 09. Stephen Brown – Like This
- 10. Metro Unit – Journey To Aphelion
- 11. DJ Bone – True2daRoots
- 12. Aaron Carl – Music (remix)
- 13. Trish Van Eynde – Mr. Maher