Artfully Making His Way Back On To The Scene
UK Garage production team The Artful Dodger parted ways after playing a significant part in bringing the genre from the underground dancefloors of London to the forefront of UK music in the late 90s and early noughties. Mark Hill aka ArtfulMark, who was one half of the duo, is releasing music again and is creating a buzz online with his new tracks. Responsible for helping to kick start Craig David’s music career with seminal UKG track ‘Re-Rewind’ and production credits on the singer’s classic album ‘Born To Do It’, Mark has teamed up with burgeoning pop and urban talent, including the likes of Ed Sheeran, once again in preparation for his upcoming 2011 album release. Gone Out spoke to the hit maker just before everyone else catches on.
Gone Out: Could you tell me all about your latest project?
After a long break from making records, I suddenly got the bug back for being in the studio, but decided this time that I really wanted to make music for myself and release the music on my own terms. I decided to set up a new label and really embrace the way the music business has changed nowadays and use social media and the idea of sharing music to full effect.
Gone Out: You’re back after a long time away from the music scene; what have you been up to in that time? What made you want to get back into producing again?
Well it’s been a real mix of things really, after the huge success of Artful Dodger and Craig’s album I created a label and publishing company down near Southampton which I really enjoyed but with limited success due to the huge changes in the music industry. I also spent a lot of the time in Ibiza, where I had a house and was involved in a few things over there. I released an album under the name ‘The stiX’ which I really enjoyed and we helped bring Corinne Bailey Rae into the limelight. Since then I’ve been enjoying a bit of a break and spending time with my wife and kids.
Gone Out: You made a significant impact on popular music and the garage scene with Artful Dodger, are you hoping to replicate the success you achieved this time round?
Honestly, I have no idea what to expect, the business has changed so much and I’m just looking forward to the challenge. The most important thing is that I’m really enjoying making music and performing again and I want to work with people who appreciate what I’m trying to achieve.
Gone Out: You’ve already put out some tracks in the last few months including ‘Could Just Be The Bassline’ featuring singer Ed Sheeran, who seems to be making a name for himself slowly but surely. What made you work with him?
I’ve only really put out some demos and freebies so far, while getting the label sorted. We are hoping to be able to give ‘Could Just Be The Bassline’ a proper release, but it’s complicated now Ed is blowing up and signed. A friend of mine brought him to my attention and I loved what he was doing so we arranged a writing session. He’s an amazing talent and a pleasure to work with.
Gone Out: Who else are/have you worked with for this project?
Although the album isn’t 100% finalised yet, I have worked with some great people on both the vocalist and songwriting front, including Shean Williams, Hannah Evans, Rhianna Kenny, Cydney Marie, Viktoria Hansen and Pete Gordeno to mention a few.
Gone Out: When are you planning to release it; and could you tell me more about your plans for the remixes? It seems to be something you’re really well known for.
There are so many strong songs and vocals on the record I imagine the remixes will be endless. I have had so many offers already for remixes and plan to do a whole stack myself to satisfy my cravings!
Gone Out: Do you believe that 2Step/UK Garage is making a comeback and why? Do you think that dubstep has something to do with this?
I have no idea, it will be great to see a bit of a revival but these days it’s so hard to predict what people will react to on the dance floor, here’s hoping though!
Gone Out: Going back to The Artful Dodger days, which was your favourite track you produced and remixed?
I know it’s a bit of a cheesemonger but I enjoyed doing the ‘Thong Song’ remix and I really enjoyed writing ‘Think About Me’ with Michelle Escoffery too. I can’t deny that making ‘Rewind’ with Craig was a good craic though!
Gone Out: Seen as this is a clubbing blog – what’s the best club night/party you’ve been to and can you tell us about it?
My best clubbing experiences were probably when I was 18 or so and we used to gather at farms in the middle of rural Wales for proper illegal raves. I also remember a great NYE party in London which went on for an entire weekend. We had to exchange buttons for booze, again, totally illegal. In recent years I’ve had some amazing nights at Space Ibiza and Pacha. In December I saw Deadmau5 in Bournemouth which was fabulous!
Could Just Be The Bassline:
Listen to ArtfulMark’s album mini mix here
You can also keep up to date with Mark at facebook.com/theartfulmark