I’m sure you all know how much I like Mark De Clive-Lowe’s new album Tide’s Arising. I’ve mentioned it often enough :-)
Here’s a detailed interview with Mark about his move to London, his music and future projects. Can’t wait to hear the debut album of Lady Alma (Horton) he’s talking about.
You can catch Mark live in the next weeks:
13 May - Paradiso, Amsterdam
25 May - Jazz Cafe, London
22 July - Boca Boranca, Italy
Also check out his next Freesoul Sessions at Notting Hill Arts Club, London on May, 23rd.
Q: You grew up in New Zealand, traveled most parts of the world and now you’re living in West London. What makes London/the UK so interesting for you that you moved to Europe?
Mark De Clive-Lowe: It’s funny, growing up in NZ, especially playing a lot of acoustic jazz and really loving what people like Kenny Kirkland and Jeff Tain Watts were doing, I always thought I’d end up living in NYC, and aspired to playing with people like Betty Carter, Branford, Kenny Garrett… but then in 1998 I spent a year traveling the world on an award I got in NZ, basically a pilgrimage around the planet checking out music hot spots and places I’d always wanted to go. I started off in San Fran and from there headed down to Cuba. Afro Cuban music had been a real passion of mine since hooking up with Danilo Perez in Boston when I was studying at Berklee there in 94. Cuba blew my mind. The vibe, the people, the culture, the music and most of all, the rhythm and the pulse. It left a pretty indelible mark on me as a person and a musician. After that I went to london - it was only for a month to see a friend en route to spending the summer in NYC - the destination I’d been holding in mind the whole time. London freaked me out at first - I was staying way out of the centre, hardly knew anyone and I couldn’t believe how expensive it was. I wanted to make the most of the opportunity though, so I started reaching out to the people I knew. The first hook up was doing a session for Dave Angel - I met Dave briefly in NZ 5 years earlier and he’d said to look him up if I was ever in London. so I called him up and we did a crazy techno-jazz track that’s still heavily under wraps! After that I caught up with Nathan Haines - we knew each other from NZ and had played together there, so it was great to catch up with him and we renewed our musical collaborating starting with a track for Metalheadz (Sci Clone ‘Hold On’). Nathan introduced me to a DJ/producer he’d started working with who was none other than Phil Asher! It was down at Phil and Patrick Forge’s inspiration information clubnite. Nathan told Phil i was a keys player and I think it was pretty much the next day we went into studio and cut our first collaboration - I dropped keys on the Restless Soul remix of Fini Dolo’s ‘Blow’. From there it was only a few days before I was in studio with Seiji, the Bugz and IG Culture. It was really dope - here were all these DJ/producers making music that was informed and inspired by all the music I’ve ever loved, and they were putting it all together in a way that had never been done before. It was a really special time not just for me, but for the West London scene in general. So that pretty much made the decision for me - it wasnt that I wanted to live in England, or London, it was that I came across a community of inspired individuals and crews making dope music that inspired me and that I knew I could bring my own creativity and flavour to.
Q: Please tell me what has changed for you since your debut album Six Degree (released on major label Universal) and where do you see your progression as an artist with the new Tide’s Arising set?
Mark De Clive-Lowe: Six Degrees was an experiement for me - I’d just bought an MPC2000 on the way back to NZ from my year travelling around the world. Having seen Phil and Orin rocking the MPC in london, I thought I’d give it a go. So I was back in NZ writing music inspired by my experiences from the previous 12 months in Cuba, London, NYC and other spots, and mashing together the live playing and elements with the MPC. It was my first attempt at production in the beat-head sense of the word and conceptually was about jazz blending with the dancefloor and my take on that. Since then so much has happened. I made Six Degrees in early 1999, so that was 6 years ago now. A long time! Where I was experimenting and at the start of my learning curve making Six Degrees, Tide’s Arising though, I know I’m an experienced producer and I know how to get the sound I want. Between the two albums, I’ve had the good fortune to work with so many great producers - all the West London crew for starters, and then people like Kenny Dope, Spinna, Wajeed, Megashira, Lemon D…the list is pretty long if I list everyone. I learnt something from every experience, so now the collaborations number over a hundred tracks, that’s a fair amount of learning! Getting a chance to do some different remixes taught me a lot as well - I got to experiment as a producer on each remix and try different things - the Danilo Perez remix (Pan Africa) and the remix I did for Verve Remixed 1 of Shirley Horn, those were the two that I could feel like a new production concept and style was starting to come out. I think that it was really solidified on Relax Unwind. On that one I knew there was something special going on and something totally fresh. Once Kenny and Louie were bugging out over it and wanted to release it on MAW, I knew it was bonafide. So it’s been a pretty crazy journey, and the logical conclusion was to say what I’ve got to say now through a new album, that’s what Tide’s Arising is. I really went back to a lot of my soul roots as well over the past few years - getting deep into Marvin, Minnie Ripperton, Don Blackman, Bernard Wright - lots of different artists, so I guess the result is that Tide’s is more of a soul album to me where Six Degrees was more of a jazz album.