Interview: Wall of Sound’s Mark Jones

mark jonesMark Jones is head of legendary UK record label Wall of Sound. Next week sees a pretty-bloody-cool showcase of some of the label’s rising stars at London’s Hoxton Bar & Grill.’s 25ThC caught up with Mark to find out more:

Wall of Sound has been successful for a long time now. When did the label first start, who were the first artists and what was the aim behind it?
The label formed in 1994… Its the 20-year fanniversary next year! Doesn’t time fly when ya havin fun? It’s been a very interesting journey. The label began as a reaction against DDM (Diluted Dance Music) and I wanted to give artists the platform to do what they do, and that has never changed.

The first artists on the label were Mekon , Akasha , Jacques Lu Cont aka Stuart Price, The Wiseguys aka Theo Keating aka Fake Blood, Propellerheads, and many more.

How has the label progressed over the years and has it changed it terms of what it stands for or promotes?
I’ve always stood by my principle of not wanting to change what artists do or who they are. To me there’s only two types of music. Good and Bad. Music that is made with soul and passion because it is real and music that is a copy of something else.

The label is home to some of my favourite ever albums from Royksopp, The Wiseguys, Propellerheads and Les Rhytmes Digitales. Which are your favourite albums from the label?
I’m happy to hear that because thats what it’s about for me. Making and releasing music that people will never forget. It is impossible for me to choose a favourite album, or two, as they all mean so so much to me.

31st July sees the Wall of Sound showcase at London’s Hoxton Bar & Grill. What can people expect from the night and how did you go about choosing the acts performing live?
The night showcases two acts on the label. Sykur and Killaflaw.
Battle Lines are special guests.
All great talent. Get there and you’ll find out ­čÖé

What do you have lined up for your DJ set at the showcase?
Its gonna be a Wall of Sound-only set so ya may hear some tunes you like. Lets go Back to the Phuture!

As a label head, what is your view on the current state of the music industry in terms of downloading and the huge resurgence of vinyl? Does it affect how you approach the running of the label?
It is so, so, so different from what it was when I started the label, but hey. Time moves on. The obvious issue is that there is a generation of people now who have no ‘value’ of what music is and expect everything for free. The internet has definitely created this problem but it also has had its positives in the accessibility to all musical forms and genres people have now. Before you’d have to plod to a ‘record shop’ to see if there was anything there or purchase a track you may have heard on the radio. Its great that vinyl has re-connected again too.┬áLets get Physical Physical!

How involved are you in artists’ releases? Do you get stuck in with advice from the outset and throughout the process or do you just give it your seal of approval once it’s ready?
As I mentioned before, it’s never been about changing what artists do or who they are. I don’t sit in studios and say. “Dont do it like that… Do it like this.” I act as bounceboard and give advice where I can. Every act is totally different and needs different levels of help to do what they do.

Do you actively search out new artists at live shows or online or do you scout through the many submissions you receive?
Planets collide. Stars align. I bump into people in toilets. Then Zen.

What does the label have planned for the rest of the year and are there any artists/releases in particular we should be looking out for?
Hey YES!! Pink Promo hat on…
– Sykur: Amazing Icelandic electroids whose EP is available and the single Curling is out end of August.
– Killaflaw:┬áBroken Idol EP – Rock n Rave here we come. Where Guitars and Electro truly meet .
– Echoes:┬áFight The Feeling single coming later in the year.
– We’ve also done a Monkees tribute EP – for Davy Jones’ daughters charity they’ve set up. The Monkees album was the first record I ever owned as a child.
– BEF: the album Dark and the track┬áEvery Time I See You I Go Wild.┬áCheck out the video feat Kim Wilde stalkin a Vampire too. Vampire Weekend?? Nooooo!! Vampire Month!
– Oh and of course Mekon:┬áPiece of Work. The album featuring Pig, Schooly D, Marco Pironi and more.┬áBack to where it all began.

What advice do you have for artists or anyone wanting to run their own label?
Errrrmmm, how do I put this?? Don’t bother ­čÖé

If you are in London on July 31st, then head to the Hoxton Bar & Kitchen to see SYKUR live with KILLAFLAW, BATTLE LINES and DJ MARK JONES. Tickets are 8 bones on the door and 6 in advance from here.



Interview by 25ThC.