House Legend MK Discusses His Production Style and Staying Relevant

MK performing at Dollop’s New Year’s Eve 2014 party in London. (Facebook)
Marc Kinchen aka MK isn’t a household name, but the long-time producer has helped shape house music since the 1990s.
The Detroit native first came to prominence in the early ’90s with the Billboard chart-topping “Always” and “Love Changes,” and spent the rest of the decade producing numerous remixes.
By the 2000s, MK became an in-house producer for Pitbull and Will Smith, all while producing records under his own name. His most recent hit was a remix of Storm Queen’s “Look Right Through,” which reached number one on the UK Singles Chart.
Huffington Post recently caught up with MK before his performance at Detroit’s annual Movement Festival to discuss his production style, how he’s stayed relevant throughout the years, and why he keeps a low profile. Here’s our favorite quotes from the interview:
On why he decided to start DJing later in his career:

“I was producing for Pitbull. He was the last artist I was producing and I was actually one of his in-house producers, and I was working on that all the time. It got to the point where it was like a job. You really can’t be as creative as want when you are making music for other people. DJing was starting to get really big, and I started seeing more DJs being around Pitbull. I was around Afrojack a lot and he started taking off. Then, I thought maybe I should probably start DJing. That’s what did it. I think what sealed the deal was when Jamie Jones and Lee Foss got in touch with me and wanted me to play at one of their parties, and it was right when I was thinking about DJing, so I was like alright, I’m in.”

On having to remix records that aren’t good:

“I’ve done a lot of songs where the song was like garbage. I would like to name a couple but I don’t want offend anybody. There’s some out there. . . . What I try to do is, when I have a bad song, I try to take elements of the song and make a good melody, not so much make a good beat. Just make something that’s really melodic and catchy. You can pretty much do that with any song. If there’s a tone to it, you can do it.”

On influencing other producers:

“. . . The way I [remix] is not something that can be taught or even can’t be copied really. It’s just something I just feel. I’m not worried. I know I influence producers on making stuff and that’s great. I’m not worried about somebody doing what I do and leaving me in the dust.”

On whether he gets the credit that he deserves:

“I’m not the kind of guy who wants to be in the limelight and noticed for all the stuff I do. If anything, it’ll come out eventually if it needs to come out, but I’m not that type of person where I feel I need praise. . . . In any profession, it’s better to be under the radar. You can be excellent but if nobody is really looking for you than you can just do your thing. It’s a little harder now by being in the limelight a little more because now everyone’s kind of looking at me.”

On feeling the pressure to make a hit:

“Right now, the pressure is definitely coming up with a hit. The thing about with me, [Sony Music] wants stuff that can go straight to radio and I’m not always for that. I’m not against the radio, but I like it to happen organically. Like the song I did Storm Queen ‘Look Right Through’, if you heard that the very first time, you wouldn’t think that would be a #1 record on the pop charts, but it turned out being a #1 record because of the way it happened. I played it for two years literally on all my shows and it was the biggest song of the night every single show. Eventually, those thousands of people added up to being a lot of people that knew the record, so by that time, when it went to radio, it was like ‘I love this song. I heard it when MK played it.’ It feels better when songs happen that way.”

On staying relevant throughout the years:

“Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s very hard, but what seems to work every time is when I don’t think about other people or what other people want. You stay in the genre of what you’re doing, but I try to make something that I like. Usually when I like it, 100% of the time I haven’t been wrong, as it being a good record or not. I’ve done remixes where I’ve not been crazy about it, and it hasn’t done that well, but there’s been remixes I’ve made where I knew it was a great record before anyone heard it.”

Related: Watch MK Perform at Native Instruments’ WMC Event