In the Moment – with Mike Skinner and Murkage Dave


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In the Moment – with Mike Skinner and Murkage Dave

We sat down with the two nightlife icons to talk about clubbing in the UK, taking risks, and the new video for their track ‘Tied To You”.

Kopparberg believes that life is what you make it. That opportunity lives in every moment and all we have to do is be open to it. To see, do, feel and experience life to the fullest and share it with the people we love. There's even a saying for it in Swedish, Fånga Dagen. 'In The Moment' is a celebration of the artists who do it to the fullest, those who have risen to where they are through creativity and ingenuity. Those who do it for the love of doing it. For our sixth and last instalment, Noisey sat down with Mike Skinner and Murkage Dave to talk about clubbing in the UK, taking risks, and the new video for their track "Tied To You".


Murkage Dave and Mike Skinner are two musicians who mean a lot to a lot of people. If you ever went out in Manchester over the past five years or so, some of the best times you had were probably thanks to Dave and Murkage Cartel. Their club night became a staple in the city, eventually growing beyond the borders of the M60 and out into Europe. And even if you weren't an obsessive fan of The Streets, Skinner's probably written a song that reflects one of those formative nights out that you've remembered ever since. After Skinner finished The Streets and Murkage evolved into a different beast, Mike and Dave teamed up to form Tonga - a London club night that's quickly transforming into a much bigger movement.

We recently caught up with the pair to talk clubbing in the UK, taking risks, and their new 'Tied To You', which they made specifically for this Kopparberg collaboration and is out on the 27th of October. With the spirit of 'Fånga Dagen' in mind, the video was made from scratch in 24 hours and will be premiering on Noisey later this month – we spoke about that too. But first, we needed to know how the idea for Tonga came about.

Hi Mike, hi Dave. First and foremost, why did you decide to start the Tonga club night?
Mike: ​Dave used to do Murkage and one night I went to it. I was DJing a lot at the time and I already wanted to start a club night, and when I went to Murkage it was kind of everything I dreamed of doing before that. So I said to Dave, "Can we do this together?" Tonga is really just Murkage, but with me as well.


Dave, can you tell me more about your time in Manchester and the origins of Murkage?
Dave: ​I went to Manchester to go to uni. But then I got kicked out, because I wasn't doing my course, I was just doing music and raves and stuff. Murkage was a thing that naturally occurred over time. When I started Murkage club it was Monday Murkage… it just started as a bit of laugh because I liked the alliteration of the name. But then it ended up having this cult following. The collective around it emerged naturally, they were mates who came and started DJing.

And when you started Tonga how did you feel about the state of clubbing - was nightlife in the UK missing something?
Mike: ​I think kids are always gonna go out. Obviously Fabric's just closed. I think one of the issues with Fabric is the price of property in London. Unfortunately, having massive rooms that are only being used by ravers at the weekend is not really on these days. But the festival season seems to be going on forever now.

So was Tonga at Festivals something you always wanted to do?
Mike: ​It's just part of the landscape now. We don't do anything different from anyone else, we just play the music wherever the people are and that seems to be festivals quite a bit of the time. But obviously we have our nights in London, Berlin and Birmingham. Tonga is about having a really crazy party and trying to…it's not very complicated, it can be more complicated than it sounds…play as many bangers in a row as possible and trying to keep the energy up. It's very hard to do I think, to get everyone going crazy all night.


Could you give us a glimpse into the creative process for your new song 'Tied To You', which was made in collaboration with Kopparberg: what tends to come first when you're working, the production or the lyrics?
Dave: ​I think we have different theories about how ideas come to us. Mike is scientific and I'm spiritual. But, in this case, I just caught a wave and wrote a love song to one of Mike's beats.
Mike: ​We went through a few different beats first. I like to keep things super loose, but sometimes we spend ages with a chorus or an idea for a chorus and then fit verses around that.

Tell me about the new video for "Tied To You" – it seems to have a lot to do with making tough choices, picking the right options…
Mike: ​The video is very surreal. It's really about Dave and his girlfriend walking through a maze, and every time they get to a junction there's a different choice that they have to take - they represent life choices large and small. I guess it's kind of a parable. It must have been quite a challenge putting a video together from scratch in 24 hours. You guys really seized the day though…
Mike: ​I was definitely inexperienced in terms of shooting a music video on a proper,purpose-built studio set. I'm grateful that I learned so much, and the short turnaround meant the decisions became were really honed. The video reads like a fairytale; it's simple and falls on the right line of sophisticated storytelling. I've always dreamed of doing something like this but never had the circumstances to try! Lastly, how do you see Tonga growing?
Mike:​ Tonga will always be about putting on really interesting events and making music to go with them.
Dave:​ Every show we do has been going off. It's a really amazing feeling. It sounds really simple, but it's one of the hardest things to do.

Read more 'In The Moment' articles here​ and head to Noisey on October 27th to see the new "Tied to you'" video.