my first club

"Can you imagine growing up somewhere where your local DJ was Derrick May?" MK's First Club

From backseat cuddles to the big rooms, MK goes way back when

by Marc Kinchen
03 March 2015, 6:20pm

My First Club takes us back to the beginning, transporting DJs and producers back into the depths of their memory, asking them to take us on a trip to those pivotal first nights in clubland. Following entries from the likes of Bristol's hungriest house head Eats Everything, Southsea son Shadow Child, and fidget house maestro Herve, this time we hopped way back when with Marc "MK" Kinchen.

The eternally spinning wheels of dance music mean that we've been given ample proof to debunk F Scott Fitzgerald's idea that there are no second acts in American Lives - MK is living one as we speak. A prolific producer and remixer, that signature bouncy, Korg M1 heavy MK sound has been in demand since the early 90s. Your dad might know him from the MK and Alana days, your older brother used to rinse his Nightcrawler's remix every Friday night and you've probably pulled some regrettable shapes to his UK chart topping version of Storm Queen's "Look Right Through" - in short, MK is synonymous with the story of post-80s American house music. What better man to wheel us back to where it all began?

The first club I ever went to was a club in Pontiac, Michigan. It was called Isis, an alternative club with a mixed crowd - gay, straight and everyone there dressed really cool. I was around 14 or 15 at the time and there wasn't a long queue to get in clubs like you get now. My girlfriend's older sister used to drive us. I have to say that I definitely wasn't drinking or even driving at that time! It was a lot of fun, especially because my girlfriend and I would be cuddled up the whole way there and back ;)

After Isis, I got more seriously into club culture and the major place that aided with that was the infamous Music Institute in Detroit. My brother, Scottie Deep, used to play there and I'd watch him alongside the likes of Kevin Saunderson and Derrick May who also played there all the time. That was amazing. It wasn't too big, there were no fancy lights and the whole place was pretty much pitch black or at least really dark. The DJ booth looked like some guy in the street had built it, but that didn't matter because it was all about the music and the vibes. That booth was super high up, so it ended up that the space where you found best view of the DJ was from the back of the club, rather than the front. That meant people focused more on the music than who was playing it. Luckily people were playing some of the best music you could ever imagine. Even back then when I was a young producer starting out, my mind was always on making good music and I'd quickly analyze each song I heard on the dancefloor to try and figure out how it was made and what made it so special.

Can you imagine growing up somewhere where your local DJ was Derrick May? I don't think there's any need to really explain how amazing that was and is. It wasn't just May that inspired me though, and I looked beyond Detroit for the good stuff. Masters at Work were huge for me. They - "Little" Louie Vega and Kenny "Dope" Gonzalez - weren't just incredible DJs. Their production skills and recorded output were just as good. It's rare to find a DJ who can do both, especially with the sort of musicality they posses.

Back then we were still buying records and Buy-Rite was a ghetto store in the hood that had the dopest house records in the world. At that time only the black DJs from Detroit shopped there. I'm not really sure why that was but I always suspected that it may have been because it was in the middle of 'da hood.' The owner and proprietor also used to run a label called Express. They put out my first ever release, "Separate Minds" so I guess Buy-Rite is pivotal to the MK story!

MK plays our stage at Lovebox this year — head here for more information.

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Tagged:
Detroit
lovebox
MK
Derrick May
Clubbing
Kevin Saunderson