Interview with Mark Mackenzie.
Joining with Jordan Cooper as Fugazy , Mark took to the stage of the first Groove Festival on the 22nd of August.In the second of a series of features on the local acts playing the event (the first being with Ally Ridgers), we were pleased when Mark answered a few questions.
How did you prepare for the Groove slot?
We don’t usually prepare much in advance as DJing is about working the crowd but on this occasion myself and Jordan (Cooper) sat down and talked about the kind of vibe we wanted to start the day on. Mirroring the name of the festival we knew we had to build a set around pure grooves funnily enough! A side from that it was mostly about gaining what exposure we could from the opportunity, so most of our time was spent making people aware of our slot at the festival and for me, putting together demos to give to hassle the acts with back stage.
Taking to such a unique rig, what were your feelings about how the set went?
It’s an amazing stage and the organisers did such a great job at suiting it to DJs. I’m never 100% happy with my sets afterwards, in fact the other DJs always say I’m my harshest critic but although I know I made some small mistakes we had a brilliant time and it was great to see people coming down to the stage so early on in the day to show their support and dance. It’s always overwhelming for me to have so many people get behind you, whether you play a good or bad set they’re always supportive afterwards and that’s a real blessing for us.
What were your highlights from the festival?
So many, apart from our own set of course! I managed to squeeze into the booth when 2ManyDJs were playing (they’ve been a huge influence on my music since I started), there performance was a real eye opener for me. Looking over their shoulders you could see nearly 5000 people just going mad and they were almost completely immersed in the music – it’s like they had a telepathic connection with both of them mixing tracks flawlessly almost every 20 seconds across four CDJs without saying a word to each other. I was lost for words.
From the other side, myself and my girlfriend ended our night relaxing on the hill facing the stage. It was a real euphoric moment as you could see the whole crowd with their hands in the air amongst the smoke, visuals and strobes. We both agreed it felt like no other festival we’ve been to, there was a real sense of togetherness and passion for the music.
You’ve had the opportunity of playing Rockness in the past, how did the two festivals compare?
I liked Rockness. However I think the organisers are on to a real winner with Groove now. Speaking to many people there is a common understanding that Rockness grew too big too fast, too many genres out with its field and so I think it lost any committed relationships with its goers. Groove has stripped everything back, the music is on focus and quiet rightly so. I think a real sign of that was there was barely anyone in the campsite because you didn’t want to miss the atmosphere at the main stage.
Eyes are looking towards Groove 2016; which acts would you like to see playing?
I’d like to see similar acts to this year, although it’s important to keep the bookings original and forward thinking. The likes of Jackmaster, Carl Cox, Sven Vath and Eats Everything are good shouts but so much can change in a year. I think we have to keep local interests at heart, a good combination of upcoming local acts and established acts is great for everyone.
What’s next on your agenda?
Next I have a couple of releases coming out – Earworm comes out on Friday 28th August on Concrete Music. I’ve also got a couple of performances to look forward to including Soundclash/Thuture back at Loch Ness, EH1 festival in Edinburgh and Aztec in Stirling.
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