Marc Kinchen and the Mk Dub - The legendary House music producer - From Detroit, Usa. Yes Detroit!
American House and Garage music did set the standard for the rest of us to follow at the time. And still does in some respects. Hard to accept but it is the truth However, if you were to set yourself the task of writing about the music in general; and not too mention Marc Kinchen. Then do not be surprised if you see people smirking or even laughing out loud at you.
I was lucky to purchase my first ever Marc Kinchen House tune called “Burning” from a Independent Record shop here in Ipswich Town, England called “Red Eye” records.
Red Eye records specialised within the music of Drum and Bass and Techno music. However, they did cater for people like me (in a limited format) that were into House and Garage music. It was by going through the piles of records that they had got in that week for House and Garage music. They gave me the whole lot to go through them that I had stock piled for me to listen through. I eventually I came across into listening to the track that changed my attitude to Marc Kinchen.
The records that I liked I had put to one side as they were the ones that I wanted to buy from that store that day.
At the end of the record listening day I purchased the whole lot of them and ran home gleeful in the knowledge that the people in the shop didn’t realise how good these tracks were. Most of the people in that store that day were totally into Drum and Bass; the music of Techno.
MK - "Burning" (Original Vibe mix) - 1992
Marc Kinchen by the way was born (3rdAugust, 1972) and raised within the city of Detriot, Usa. His own sound grew out from the cities musical craze at that time which was Techno.
However before all of that he had takenmusic at school seriously and had started to produce his own stuff at home by the age of fourteen. He had made home versions of the music he was into at that point – which was Depeche Mode and European electro pop which Kinchen says was popular in the Detriot at the time. (The 2nd British Music Invasion of the Usa 1983)
In 1988, age sixteen, he hooked up with a couple of friends who also produced music and the group released a track called “First Base” under the name Separate Minds, which came out on the small Detroit independent label.
Legend has it that Kinchen sampled the sounds of the computer game called Metal Gear on “First Base”. It comes off sounding like some demonic sounding techno hybrid.
This caught the ear of Kevin Saunderson who licensed “First Base” to a compilation he put out on his KMS label showcasing the current sound of Detroit Techno.
Saunderson helped nurture MK (Marc Kinchen) talent by giving him 24 hour access to his own home studio, with use of top of the range samplers, sequencers, synths and drum machines.
Under his own dj name that is MK (Marc Kinchen) he fell under the influence of fellow Detriot Techno musician that is Kevin Saunderson (KMS). Kinchen quickly made a name for himself with Techno tracks like Somebody New and Decay within the Detriot Techno music.
By the start of the nineties Kinchen was making music under the name MK and had begun working with the vocalist Alana Simon. Marc’s ears however ears were now open to accept the other sounds coming from cities such as Chicago and more so New York in regards to their take on House music.
In 1991, still working within Kevin Saunderson studio; MK cut the track called Burning and Always with the singer (Alana Simon) and released it on an imprint he had set up himself, Area 10 record label.
Burning was a slice of moody, Detroit deep House and set the clubs of the East Coast, as well as the UK, alight.
Mk wasn’t at the time a club DJ or particularly into clubbing. So he was unaware to an extent of the records effect on the dance floor. Kinchen relied on the numbers of copies being requested by distributors to measure the tune’s success.
Without any fanfare or real promotion, the 12” eventually shifted 20,000 copies, and with it, MK was catapulted into a new world of high demand and big money.
“I was working mostly with Kevin, Kevin taught me a lot. I saw that Kevin and Derrick May all had their own labels and I watched what they were doing and in my spare time I made music. I pressed 'Burning' for fun and the next thing I knew my phone was ringing off the hook. One of the calls was from a guy at Cardiac Records called Ramon Wells about licensing the record.
I had a girlfriend in NY, Kevin Saunderson’s management MCT was there and I thought that if I moved I could get hooked up with them. So I just moved and gave it a shot.”- Marc Kinchen talks about Ramon wells from Cardiac records wanting to liscense the track
So that explains how he was tempted in to making the two brilliant opening House tracks of his career via tracks which were Burning (as mentioned above) or Always on his own Area 10 label.
His deep bass lines combined with chopped up vocals are then added to the musical pot which are musical hooks that make an MK production instantly recognizable during his career from the early to middle 1990’s; and a blueprint for the sound of New Jersey’s Todd Edwards.
“MK's use of vocals became the cornerstone of my musical style. I can say with 100% certainty, without MK's influence, there would be no Todd Edwards. The musical elements of MK's work were very different from other producers at the time. His tracks were soulful but had something more... perhaps they were more futuristic.” Todd Edwards- Todd Edwards speaking about Marc Kinchen
However it must be said that Mk(Marc Kinchen sound) was not built on one particular sounding bassline.. In fact he has produced more than 200 remixes and countless remixes on other peoples music – that made him and his sound legendary.
Below is just another classic sounding remix work achieved by Marc Kinchen during the early 1990's that still stands the test of time today, and put him in the position at the time as one of the worlds best House remixers!! Listen to the tune below.
4th Measure Man - Given - MK Dub - 1993
By 1993 MK had moved from the city of Detroit to the city of New York and was soaking up the New York city House and Garage sound, hanging out with artists such as Kerri Chandler, Todd Terry and Masters at Work, and remixing 3 or 4 tracks a month, for $20, 000 dollars.
Soon pop acts had gotten to hear about he and they wanted the MK trademark dub mix to push their song into the thriving club world.
Kinchen had now perfected his trademark sound by stripping out the vocal melody and instead using the vocal as a sampled instrument in short, cut up bursts, against a landscape of shuffled hi hats, stuttering drums and organ bass stabs.
These mixes that were handed to the label came with additional conventional mix that kept the original vocal part more in tact with the track. This acted as the safe mix. Whilst the MK dub was more abstract mix and this is what Mk actually wanted the track actually sound like.
These mixes were always called some variation of ‘MK dub’: The MK Dumb Dub, MK NY Dub, MK Deep Dub etc, and for a while, during the mid nineties peak, these mixes were ever where. The biggest of them all was of course the ‘Dub of Doom’ mix known as - Push the Feeling On, by the Scottish house music group Nightcrawlers 1991
Legend has it that MK (Marc Kinchen) produced a mix that he felt had changed the focus of the track to something that the group (Nightcrawlers) would like. He was happy with the mix that he had created and he submitted it to the powers that be only for it to be turned down by the label.
MK (Marc Kinchen) was then told by his manager to do another mix quickly, which he did as the one that he presented didn’t cut it. Within half an hour and on 1 x take only; and occupying one speaker. He created the legendary mix (which is the Dub of doom) and handied over to the Fed Ex man. He then rushed out of his New York apartment to catch a flight back to Detroit.
On his return to New York city a fortnight later together with his brother (the producer Scotti Deep) the pair knew instinctively that the track would be massive, which it absolutely was.
“The original was a really not-so-great R&B track – that’s what I thought, anyway – but the vocals were great. I had an hour to work on it in studio before I had to fly to Detroit, and I did it really fast. But then my manager called and said the label wanted a few things changing, which got me mad because I was rushing to catch a flight [laughs]. All-in-all, though, I made the “Dub Of Doom” remix in about twenty minutes, I still made the flight, and the it’s still being played today, so I’m happy.”- Marc Kinchen talks about how he did that Dub of voom mix
Here below is the track that truly made MK Famous all over the world. Have a listen to it.
Nightcrawlers - Push the Feeling On - (The Dub of Doom mix) 1991
Mk was later to go to produce mixes for the Masters At Work, D-Influence, Jodeci and many more. He also got to work with Quincy Jones and Will Smith as well.
However in my opinion his remix of a Masters at Work classic – I can’t get no sleep and the Jodeci standard that is Freekin Night shows what a talent he had (and still has) for remixing tracks.
The remix for the House and Garage Dj team that is The Masters at Work remix for was outstanding. The Masters at Work (Louie Vega and Kenny Dope Gonzales), are legendary in the world of House and Garage music. However, even they got out done when Mk produced a mix that they asked him to do.
The remix that was given to Mk (Marc Kinchen) to do something with was called “I can’t get no sleep”. It is here that I believe that Mk produced in my opinion his best ever remix. Even better then the “Push the feeling” on in my opinion. And that remix is this one - Masters At Work Featuring India– I Can't Get No Sleep / MK MIX – 1993
Listening to it just makes you smile. In fact the other mix that he does on the same single is just as good. Brilliant in fact. (Masters At Work Featuring India – I Can't Get No Sleep / MK dub – 1993). But some reason. I don’t know why I just prefer this remix.
‘I Can’t Get No Sleep’ is close to being my favourite house tune of all time. Marc Kinchen achieved something with this remix that takes it beyond a normal House music tune. He completely transformed a brilliant record in its own right into something even bettter, laid-back, euphoric and emotional all at the same time.
The chords progression and the groove are sensational. And, like everything MK seems to touch, the vocals are expertly stripped and repositioned prefectly. And it smooth all at the same time. Have a listen to it yourself. You will see what I mean.
Masters At Work Featuring India– I Can't Get No Sleep / MK MIX – 1993
The 2ndmix that I have choosen is this one. And this is as close to Funk music, that House music will get to. The track that I have choosen as another one of my firm favourites from Mkis his remix of Jodeci's - Freekin night.
Starts of with a Standard 4 to beat drum pattern - then comes a whispered voices stating with:
"I wanna Freak you", "I wanna Freak you", "I wanna Freak you". Then comes that organ riff, that really gets you interested, then comes the everything all together - the bass, the organ riff, and the sampled and repositioned vocal lyric that is "Every Freeking Night, and Everyday in every Freeking day, I wanna freekin baby in every freekin way, and Every Freeking day and Every Freeking Night I wanna freek you girl cause body so freeking tight.....
Wonderful, wonderful single that does not seems to age. Please have a listen to just get a sample of MK and at the height of his powers as a remixer.
Jodeci's - Freekin night
These are just of the singles that made Mk one of the most dynamic names in House and Garage at the time (from the early to middle 1990's) to go to, to look for a remix if you looking for a club hit.
However after time MK became bored of being asked and expected to produce another Nightcrawlers - Pass the feeling on.
So together with trying to become a fully fledged producer, instead of always being relied upon as a remixer. Marc decided to move away from the House and Garage music scene and try the Rnb and Hip Hop Music scene. He didn't want to become pigeon holed as the House music guy.
So began the process on writing songs and doing tracks that would bring in money forever. He ended up hooking up with Jay Brown, who was with Jay-Z at the time. Jay managed Marc Kinchen for a couple of years and helped him pass in the right directions. This allowed to reach artists such as Quincy Jones, Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z and a bunch of big artists almost straight away.
However, the polictics of Rnb and Hip Hop music meant not that it was not all plain sailing for Mk. There seemed to be more politics within the world of Rnb and Hip Hop music then in House music in regards to making a single - well at that period of time there was.
Also another huge factor as to why Mk (Marc Kinchen) came back to House and Garage music was that he got bored again. And this time it was with R&B which to him was really getting formulaic and the same.
Then, out of blue Simon Dunmore who is the owner of Defected Records; is an old friend of Mr. Kinchen. He then informed Marc that people were still playing his records; and it was around the same time that the artist known as Pitbull sampled his remix of “Push The Feeling On” for his song “Hotel Room.” That he knew that he knew that it time that he should return back to House and Garage music again.
That resulted in the release of House Masters, 2 discs (2011) that featured timeless MK dubs and more to a new generation of House and Garage music fans.
He is even doing djing. Something that he even admits has taken time for him to get used to. As he has always been in the studio making or remixing music, in stead of playing other peoples records.
Marc's love of making House music allowed him to create a Number 1 pop record here in the Uk. During November 2013, the Ministry of Sound record label agreed to re-released the single originally created and produced by STORM QUEEN (during the year of 2010).
STORM QUEEN is the stage name - but the real name of the Dj/Producer is Morgan Geist. Who is a Dj/Producer originating from the area of Wayne, within New Jersey, Usa.
The remixed single even had Morgan Geist lyrics resung by Damon C Scott. It seems as if how Damon C Scott got asked to do the project was unremarkable in its self. He was seen performing on a You Tube video - which lead him being met as a Subway performer on 86 Street IRT LEVINGTON AVENUE LINE EXPRESS STATION - New YORK, USA by a gentleman known as David Levy.
David Levy introduced him to STORM QUEEN (Morgan Geist) \and other various Artists that required vocalists for Hire for their own indiviidual projects.
It was when he was introduced to STORM QUEEN (Morgan Geist) via David Levy. STORM QUEEN (Morgan Geist) asked Damon C Scott to re- sing his lyrics which was placed over the remix provided by MARC KINCHEN.
Marc Kinchen had already agreed to supply new mixes for the re-release of the single within November 2013. And the rest was history so to speak. Here below via a YOU TUBE VIDEO of how Marc Kinchen explaining how he create that MIX...
A music video was created for the single which featured an eye patched man dressed as a White Lion in a Suit. After leaving his Hotel room, he dances to get attention from Women. The video was taken filmed at The Cadogen Hotel, Sloane Sqaure.Knightsbridge, London, England - 2013.
Marc Kinchen is a living legend within House Music. There are others. However, if ever a true book was to be written about House and Garage music. A chapter or two will need to be written about this man.
Well that all folks for me now anyway.
Dj Mistri and the Electric Soul Show © www.electricsoulshow.com