April 17, 2014

In The Studio With MK: House Master

Loved as much by underground garage heads as he is major-label pop stars, Marc “MK” Kinchen remains one of U.S. house music’s living legends.

Raised in Detroit, MK earned his production stripes under the tutelage of Kevin Saunderson, went on to DJ around the globe and release a slew of seminal ’90s club classics, like his mid-decade mix of Nightcrawlers’ “Push the Feeling On.” His era-defining dance-dub remakes have, arguably, been even more influential than the artists he’s helped along the way.

Since his original blowup in clubland, he’s worked as an in-house producer for the likes of Pitbull and Will Smith, but his influence on deep-house lovers has never waned. Indeed, with recent gigs across the European continent—including the Defected Party at Amsterdam Dance Event— MK has returned to the DJ booth, dropping his classic sounds and tunes from producers of the moment.

As Defected was dropping a mouth-watering new collection of DJ-friendly cuts—Defected Presents House Masters: MK—we caught up with the L.A.-based Kinchen to discuss older tunes and newer gear.

DJ Times: Your production sound has always been closer to NYC garage than Detroit techno, but why do you think it is that so much talent has emerged from the Motor City?

MK: You might be better asking a sociologist! That’s a big question that deserves a big answer but, in brief, I think when you have what used to be a very healthy industrial city, people from everywhere end up migrating there for work and that creates a cultural melting pot. Everyone needs their social outlets, music is the universal language and dancing is a great way to let off steam. Maybe the proximity to Chicago is a factor, too, with so much music coming from there, but Detroit already had Motown, so it was natural for it to become a musical hub for R&B, soul, pop, roots and eventually more dance-orientated stuff. Industrial and alternative-leaning dance slowly became the sound of techno and it’s just kept on morphing from there. Detroit music always sounds fresh.

DJ Times: Where do you think the U.S. dance scene is at right now anyway?

MK: In America, dance culture is a lifestyle for some, but more of a leisure-time activity for most. I do think we are catching up with Europe on that, though, and things always go round in cycles. With great EDM festivals and clubs like EDC, Electric Zoo and Ultrafest leading the way, it can only get more and more popular here and the lines are definitely blurring. House is dance, dance is now pop, hip-hop has dance elements, and so on.

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