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Mark Knight: “Baku’s clubbers are incredibly active and well up on good quality music”

They say that Mark Knight is the most industrious DJ in the world. And over the past few years he has earned a reputation as the "leader of a new school", prolific in both the quantity and quality of his releases. Mark's rise to the top began when he took up residency at the Ministry of Sound in 2003. A year later, when the number of Knight's fans had increased considerably, he created Toolroom Records, a label for the release of his own music. The productions of this company are noted for their unique sound, known as the Toolroom Sound. All the tracks are of high quality and have their own flavour, something the industry is short of right now. Mark succeeded in bringing the characteristic "night" sound from the underground "into the light", holding a series of gigs in leading towns in Britain and the rest of Europe.

In October 2006, at the Amsterdam Dance Event, Mark officially released his club project Toolroom Knights. And since then he has appeared at the leading clubs in the world - from Ibiza to Hong Kong. His bank of remixes includes the most varied performers - from the London toothy hip-hoppers The Streets to the French visionary Sebastien Leger. Mark underpinned his new concept with a collection published in 2007. Having taken the DJ Mag Top-100 by storm as the breakthrough of the year, Mark was officially declared the 51st DJ in the world. He was also awarded the Grand Prix of the DJ competition at the Kiss 100 Awards. And recently the critics recognized Mark as a DJ-producer on a world scale. Mark himself doesn't think he is a star. "I'm just doing my job and I do it well," he says modestly. At the beginning of December one of Europe's best known DJs appeared at one of Baku's top night clubs where R+ was able to stop him in his tracks!

Mark, this is not your first visit to Baku. What are your impressions of our city?

- That's right. I performed in your city last year and I was very pleased with everything. Naturally, when they got in touch with me again from Azerbaijan and suggested I come back again I agreed straightaway. Unfortunately, this time I arrived a few hours before the concert and I didn't get the chance to wander around your capital city. But there was a fantastic view from the balcony of my hotel! I was able to see how the city is growing and how it has changed. I hope that next time I will have time to get to know Baku better, wander through its streets and see the local sights.

What do you think of our clubbers?

- They're the smartest in the world! They are incredibly active and well up on good quality music.

You've travelled all over the world. Where do you like performing best?

- It doesn't matter where I'm appearing. I find it interesting wherever I am. I can see how your dance culture has expanded, and that's really cool! Dance music continues to develop around the world and is going way beyond the recognized clubs in the capital cities. People like to move about and dance whatever their ethnic origin or religion.

Mike, what do the listeners not know about you? What are you like in your everyday life?

- I'm the most ordinary person you could come across. I spend all my spare time with my family. My son is one year and seven months old. Incidentally, he was born two weeks before my first concert in Baku. He's a very spry chap! The night before I came here I couldn't sleep a wink. The little chap didn't want to go to sleep until morning and he wouldn't let me and my wife sleep. I had to drop off in the plane…

Do you like extreme sports? Have you done any parachuting?

- Three times. This was in Australia and Britain. The last time I jumped with a parachute from a height of 5,000 metres. A fantastic feeling! At the time I couldn't think of anything; all I dreamt of was the parachute opening. I remember shouting and swearing all the time during the jump.

What's the most stupid thing you have done in your life?

- Legal or illegal?


- When I was quite young, some friends and I hired an electric car and decided to drive around near a dairy. Then we decided to go through the woods. We counted all the trees as we went along… Naturally, we smashed up the poor car, left it there and ran off…

What can you do best of all, apart from music, of course?

- I am very good at cooking steaks. They turn out great. I'm not bad at football. I also have an excellent photographic memory. I can remember all the places I have been. But I have a poor memory for names. I forget the names of new people as soon as I have met them.

Tell us about your family. I suppose the wife of Europe's most popular DJ is a model?

- No, she isn't. But to me she is the most beautiful woman in the world! My wife works for our label, Toolroom Records and does the PR. At the moment she is temporarily off work looking after our son.

How are things on your label Toolroom Records?

- Fine! I have been able to do a great deal these last few years. I remember how my studio began in a shed near my parents' house (that's why the label is called Toolroom Records), and look how it's grown! With the level of artistes we have and the number of people that are linked with Toolroom Knights the label is moving on and on and our future looks rosy. I recently opened two new residences for the label - one in Pacha in New York, and the other at Van Guard in Los Angeles, and I am very pleased that I brought Toolroom Knights to the US. I also have Toolroom TV. There have been various shoots in all kinds of musical hotspots in the world - from Ibiza and Miami to Berlin and London. Add to that fresh music and various interviews with leading representatives of the current electronic scene.

Next year your label Toolroom Records will be ten years old. How are you planning to celebrate this anniversary?

- Next year will be a very important one for us. We are planning a huge number of concerts and tours around the world, and we shall also be looking for and discovering new talent. We want to project new names on to the musical horizon.

What's your favourite film?

- All the James Bond films. I go to the cinema whenever I have the time.

Did you like the last James Bond? What do you think of Daniel Craig?

- No, I didn't like the last lot of Bonds. I don't think Daniel Craig is right for this part. Piers Brosnan was a much better Bond. What should James Bond be like? He is a complete gentleman through and through. He's handsome, sexy, beautifully turned out, he smells nice and he has a remarkable intellect and sense of humour. He can do anything. He is fearless and cool towards his enemies. Men like him, women adore him. He's a superhero!

You speak with such pleasure about Bond. What if they offered you this part?

- I'd agree straightaway! Without hesitation! I think every man dreams of playing on screen and in life the part of a secret agent who is prepared to save the whole world.

Some kind of modern knight…

- Yes, a knight in a black dinner jacket.

You know a great deal about modern music and you monitor all that is new on the music scene. I was wondering what kind of music annoys you most of all?

-The "Gangnam Style".

You are holding a third-generation iPhone. Why don't you follow the fashion and get a new one?

- No way! All my friends are waiting for me to buy an iPhone 5, but I tell them I go the other way. I'm preparing to go retro and get an iPhone 1. That's how unpredictable I am…

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