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Name: Mark Rae
Music Style: Hip-Hop, Jazz, Soul, Funk
Outlar-Listed Events: 4
Outlar Cross-references: Mr Scruff, Fingathing, Jon Dasilva, Phonique, Aim, Riton
Mark Rae Intro:
Boss of Grand Central records and part time DJ/music maker extraordinaire, Mark Rae
has achieved a lot more in his tender years than most ordinary superheroes put together. Here, in part, is his story. It might sound improbable, but Grand Central blossomed from a mere fleeting thought concocted whilst he strode one day down Oldham St, in Manchester's uber-trendy East side.
Tired of the music he was hearing and keen to harness the obvious talent around him, Fat City Records co-owner Mark Rae
wanted to make music to bridge the gap between soulful hip-hop and funk-jazz. The result was a label, Gone Clear, and a much sought after 6-track funk break by Tony D called 'Central J Parley EP'. The GC of Gone Clear soon became that of Grand Central, with Rae still behind the desk of Fat City and making notes about specific customers who came in to shop for samples. These customers later became such GC luminaries as Aim, Only Child, Andy Votel and Funky Fresh Few. Rae had recruited talented DJs and music makers through word of mouth and the personal touch, a thread of ideal he would continue as the label expanded in size and reputation.
'Rae Road' visits deep house, funk, classic breaks, sultry vocals and acid jazz; the colonel's special ingredients make this release a shoe-in for summer house parties nationwide. "I managed to recapture all the energy of what made me start off grand Central in the first place," he says. "Basically for me this record is a sort of entrance into my world. Having been part of a duo, which has its ups and downs, it was just laying down in the title that this was my territory." Mark continues, "Central to my whole concept and idea of working in the music industry was to create a business based on family values, on respecting each other and nurture. I'd not really explored my own musicality before". It's this sense of community that hangs Rae Road together; its scattered, almost haphazard approach to the mix strung together by a detectable coherence exhibited by each individual track.
Born in Ashington in the North East, home of Jack and Bobby Charlton he's keen to add, Mark grew up in various places around the locale before moving to Manchester in '87. He immediately sensed "something in the air" and set about trying to capture it. Mark's interest in the scene was piqued initially by the acquisition of records and records full of old skool breaks on which he ostensibly blew his entire university grant. "When house and techno exploded it was a club experience that was really novel. Not many people went clubbing, or were in on this, so it has a really special place that won't exist again. It was a time that went on to define hip-hop, house, techno and all things that have come from it". A time cited as influential in so many spheres by so many DJs and artists; one that became core to Mark Rae
's musical identity.
Having written and released records as part of the Rae & Christian double act, namely 1998's Northern Sulphuric Soul and last year's acclaimed Sleepwalking, Mark's next ambition was to get on with his own offering. "I took one month off work to write and record, and another month to mix. I've always been able to work on my music after work and weekends anyway and the great work ethic around me helped. I might cut corners with simplicity but some of my favourite records are made in that way. I didn't spend a long time with the tracks, I wanted it to be like a Jackson Pollock in a way. I wanted to make it really musical, I wanted it to sort of sit beside you and be there – `this is how I am' ". But how did the experience of working solo compare to his usual routine? "The biggest difference was that I was entirely responsible, whereas Steve and I cover for each others' weaknesses. It's not that well crafted – I've sort of thrown things into the mix – but that's totally the vibe I wanted to work from. Close and honest, saying "this is me". Still, the experience of working alongside other talented acts proved beneficial when it came to mastering his own oeuvre, as Mark admits. "One thing I have learnt is to create a vibe and then let the musicians loose, and once they've done that treat them as a sample. Now I've had a chance to sit back before making this record I've used all the techniques I've seen people do. I think it's quite a homogenous album, which is a massive excitement for me". Mark Rae
's lassaiz-faire approach to making music translates perfectly through his debut solo release and letting providence take shape over his creation; letting the music speak for itself without the clutter of human interference. "I'm a great believer in happenstance," he says. "In some instances I programmed the drums, pressed record, let it loop, liked it and left it. Other people might start with a sample and loop. You can try and understand too much sometimes. If it makes me wanna dance, I don't want to know anything else."
Past Mark Rae Events ( 4 Listed )
Mark Rae in 2005...
Mark Rae in 2004...
Mark Rae in 2001...
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