Shining brightly in the constellation of weekly releases was the latest in Mark E’s already hefty catalogue, this time onto Eugene Whang’s Public Release imprint. The “Sky Horn” EP worked out over two pieces of vinyl, fully exploring the tangibly organic nature of a Mark E production to its fullest. Touching on disco, techno, latin and house – and sometimes within a single track – it is a prime example why his releases have weapon status, box lurkers that are ready to whip out and unleash onto a willing and grinning dance floor.
Mark Everett’s first forays into house music came through the medium of edits. His two Collected Works compilations showed a touch which was both respectful yet mercurial, able to retain the essence of original works while spinning it around onto a completely new path. However it would be disrespectful to focus on this single facet, his standalone productions have been hitting the mark – no pun intended – for a considerable amount of time, with repeated appearances on Spectral Sound and Running Back to great effect over the past few years. More recently, his Merc imprint has shifted into high gear, with the E-Versions series showcasing the best of both Everett’s worlds.
Switching from Birmingham to California, Eugene Wang’s Public Release cites itself as “a label for music, culture and a home to degenerates.” Since 2009 it has been slow burning releases from Tim Sweeney, Jacques Renault and Woolfy, while also hosting parties under the FACE banner featuring names such as DJ Harvey, Waze & Odyssey, 2 Many DJs and LCD Soundsystem’s Pat Mahoney.
With the pair coming together to great effect under the Public Release banner, and generally being good friends, we sat back and let them take control of the questions in this head to head.
"I'm taking a long break from Mark E releases for a bit after this, this will be my last for a good while."
Eugene Whang – My first records I have by you are those amazing edits off Jiscomusic. I remember thinking “Wow who is this guy??!” How did those all come about?
Mark E – Jiscomusic was an edits label that came out of a club night in Birmingham called Jigswmusic. They were doing some really fresh parties and I got introduced to them by my friend Tom, who was working in Massive Records in the city at that time. There was a real sense of something special going on around those parties, and this coincided with me messing around with production and sending a CD full of sample based tracks to Gilles Peterson at BBC Radio 1.
I had just started a new job and on my first day I got a call on my mobile from a number I didn’t recognise while my new boss was briefing me on my first task. I obviously ignored it but listened back to the message on my lunch break. It was Gilles Peterson, telling me he was going to play “Scared” on the radio, mental!
So I posted this news on the Jigsawmusic web forum, and those guys just whipped it up and put everything in to getting it released as quickly as possible. Through their parties they had a solid network of who to send it to, and it just snowballed from there.
Next thing, Phil from Golf Channel is calling me up and telling me about his new label and then Gerd Janson is emailing me telling me about Running Back. Crazy days.
"I had just started a new job and on my first day I got a call on my mobile from a number I didn't recognise...I listened back to the message on my lunch break. It was Gilles Peterson, telling me he was going to play Scared on the radio, mental!"
Eugene – You obviously have a very distinct sound. In your own words, I’d love to hear how you would describe it.
Mark E – Layered loopy hypnotic house music.
Eugene – When we first talked about doing the 12” together, we simply talked about doing a few tracks and that we would organically find some friends to handle the remixes and artwork. What do you think of the final outcome?
Mark E – Well its MEGA, and a double pack too. I can’t remember the last time I even saw a double pack EP, and the artwork [from Tokyo-born Bape lead designer, SK8thing] is something else, seriously.
Also, what a group of remixers, I don’t know if things can get much better to be honest. Its an amazing package.
So much so, I’m taking a long break from Mark E releases after this, this will be my last for a good while, I feel its a good way to finish things for a bit.
"I can't remember the last time I even saw a double pack EP and the artwork [from Tokyo-born Bape lead designer, SK8thing] is something else, seriously."
Eugene – Where haven’t you played yet that you’d really like to?
Mark E – I’ve heard some great things about this party in San Francisco called FACE? that would be pretty cool.
Eugene – Do your kids have a favourite Mark E track?
Mark E – I just asked them. They don’t like music without singing in it they say. They do like the new Jamie Woon album though, which is alright with me.
"Public Release started as a series of free mixes that were online and emailed to a small group of friends. The name came from the idea of a public document, or a press release. Something that was available to everyone."
Mark E – I’m interested to know how Public Release came about. How did you get involved with Tim Sweeney for the first release?
Eugene – Public Release started as a series of free mixes that were online and emailed to a small group of friends. The name came from the idea of a public document, or a press release. Something that was available to everyone. Around 2008, I met Tim Sweeney and later on in that year I heard him play some edits that he had done for the show. I asked him if he’d be into releasing them together, and that’s where we started.
Mark E– I was first introduced to San Francisco when I played at Honey Soundsystem and absolutely loved playing at the Holy Cow, what’s the scene in SF like now?
Eugene – The Honey Soundsystem parties are always great! Love those guys and what all of them are individually up to. The scene here is pretty varied. For instance, we started our FACE parties in 2006, mainly because there were no parties in SF that we 100% aligned with. Half our friends liked hanging out at clubs, half wanted to hang out at dives and bars. We wanted to bridge those two worlds because we knew there was crossover in the music that we were all into.
The SF scene is very strong in regards to all types of dance music and music in general. There’s great stuff happening every week both in SF and Oakland. The warehouse all nighter options are fewer at the moment then a decade ago, but that’s never really bothered me and I’m sure it’ll fill out. SF and the bay area are constantly shifting.
"Half our friends liked hanging out at clubs, half wanted to hang out at dives and bars. We wanted to bridge those two worlds because we knew there was crossover in the music that we were all into."
Mark – One thing that stands out to me with regards to Public Release is the amount of detail that goes into not only the music choice but the artwork and package as a whole. In a world of anonymous white labels & hand stamped 12’s do you think the visual side of music helps to get it out there?
Eugene – I think it definitely helps convey our attitude towards music, aesthetics and culture. Each release is a document in time of what’s going on right now. As you know, I’m trained as a designer and a firm believer in the whole package being treated with the utmost care. I do like the sense of immediacy and urgency white labels and what that whole aesthetic carries, but that’s better suited for other labels. Public Release has never been in any sort of rush to release music.
We like to take our time and enjoy the process with the respective artist, designer, engineer, producer, video director, et cetera. Every artist that we’ve ever worked with has always commented on what an enjoyable and rewarding experience it’s been working together. Ultimately, that’s all we really care about.
Mark – And how the hell does one get SK8thing involved?
Eugene – Yeah, I was really happy when Shin agreed to do it! What a legend. Some close mutual friends in New York and SF helped connect the dots to him and Toby at Cav Empt.
Mark – I have a background in Furniture & Interior Design and like to think I still have an eye for contemporary design. When I realised your involvement with Apple [Eugene is a 14 veteran industrial designer], it really blew me away. What’s it like working at every product designers dream job, and whats Jony Ive like to work with?
Eugene – I didn’t know that Mark! Really cool that you and I have a similar backgrounds. Working with Jony has been absolutely great. It’s like we’re family…
The Sky Horn EP is available now on Public Relations, order a copy from Boomkat.
1. Sky Horn (Original Mix)
2. Sky Horn (Happy Family Remix)
3. Midnight Equatic (Original Mix)
4. Midnight Equatic (Museum of Love Remix)