Photo: Guillermo (Mark Broom)
Mark Broom fell in love with techno and house during the second summer of love and has been a driving force in the British scene ever since. Across more than 170 solo releases under his real name and countless collaborations with others, the Beard Man founder is also one of the most prolific producers of his generation. Having recently released a new album by The Fear Ratio, his project with fellow artist James Ruskin, and a new EP on Rekids, his mix for our Groove podcast also includes previously unreleased material. Broom is definitely making the best out of the UK wide lockdown.
First off, how are you doing and how do you spend your time these days?
I’m doing good, thanks. Due to the lockdown most of my time is spent in my home studio working on new tracks, remixes, live stream sessions and mixes. So, I’m managing to fill my time productively whilst DJ gigs are off the cards.
As The Fear Ratio, you’ve just released the third LP together with James Ruskin since 2011. Your music is stylistically quite varied and often very experimental. What does your working process look like and how would you characterise your collaboration in general?
We work together really well, James and I are really pleased with the way The Fear Ratio is progressing and developing its unique sound. Our working process involves creating raw audio footage via modular or hardware equipment then editing and re-editing – quite a few times! – into something useable. We continually bounce stems back and forth online until we are both in agreement. Usually we would also spend a few days together in the studio once the tracks are near completion to perfect them, before involving Andy at Skam Records, who provides essential feedback to James and I before the tracks are completed.
Just last year, another group effort that you had been involved in was reissued by Delsin: the 1995 debut LP by Repeat with Dave Hill, Andy Turner and Ed Handley. How was it for you to revisit this album, which nowadays is considered somewhat of a milestone in the history of UK techno?
It was an amazing experience working with Marsel at Delsin on this reissue, we both still love this album and I have fond memories of the recording process in my old flat in Bethnal Green in East London. I’m happy that it’s still revered today and working with the guys from Plaid is always a joy.
As a solo producer, you have been consistently prolific, however have so far only released two albums in your career, the last of which came out ten years ago. What role do albums play in your life as a solo producer? Do you simply prefer the 12″ format?
The simple answer is yes, I prefer the 12″ format, making an album for me personally is quite difficult, the majority of my music is club tool techno which is not worthy of an album format. Though a third album is never out of the question.
Your last EP was Raver for Radio Slave’s Rekids, a stylistically multi-faceted record. The title track harkens back to the early 90s UK hardcore sound. How did the release come together and what provided the inspiration for this particular track?
I found the rave stab in my sample library and the “Raver” track developed around this one sound. Sometimes it’s the most simple of things that work out the best. I enjoy working with Matt and Leon at Rekids and i’m hoping they’ll be some more EP’s coming in the future.
You’ve been taking it relatively slowly with your label Beard Man in the past two years, having recently put a focus on other producers’ music. How would you sum up the philosophy behind Bear Man these days?
The beauty of having your own label is you can really do whatever want, I can release stuff from up and coming names as well as my own productions. There was no conscious decision to slow down on the Beard Man releases, I just got busier on other projects, but also look forward to focusing on my own label when I can.
In early April, you released a mix dedicated to your long-time friend Robert Hood on SoundCloud. Can you still remember the first time you came in touch with his music?
As you can tell from the mix i’m a massive fan of Robert and his music, I’ve following his career from the beginning, for me he’s one of my main inspirations in techno music. I’m still very proud that I was able to represent my sound on his M-Plant label with my Re-edits and Stunned EP.
What was the idea behind your contribution to our Groove podcast?
The idea was to present exactly what I should be playing if my DJ gigs were happening right now. The podcast is a no fluff techno mix featuring some exclusive music from the likes of Absent, Josh Reeves and a new track from myself called “Gunna”
Last but not least: what are your plans for the future?
Continuing with more solo EPs plus working with James Ruskin on our fourth The Fear Ratio album. Hopefully there will some kind of normality of the DJ circuit soon.
Stream: Mark Broom – Groove Podcast 255
01. The Fear Ratio – A406 – Skam
02. Troy Gunner – Get Loud (Mark Broom Remix) (Dext Recordings)
03. Alden Tyrell – Sherman Paradox (Clone Basement Series)
04. Roman Lindu & Roberto – Transatlantic (Fossil Archive)
05. Alden Tyrell – Interceptor (Clone Basement Series)
06. Nikk – Slurricane (Dance Trax)
07. Kr!z – Scorpian’s Tail (Voltage)
08. Patrik Skoog – Echophenomena (Counterchange)
09. Planetary Assault Systems – Spiel (Ostgut Ton)
10. TWR72 – Knight (Float Records)
11. TWR72 – Mouse (Float Records)
12. Oliver Kapp – Bella Figura (Indulge)
13. Subradeon – A New Sun Is Rising (Hardgroove)
14. Najel Monteiro – Hot Box (Motech)
15. Schatrax – Dizzy (Schatrax)
16. TWR72 – Easy (Float Records)
17. Flaws – Anecdote (Mark Broom Edit) (Unreleased)
18. Patrik Carrera – All The Light (Unreleased)
19. Schatrax – Giddy Up (Schatrax)
20. Girls Of The Internet – Humble (Mark Broom Mix 2) (Drab Queen)
21. TWR72 – Beertje (Float Records)
22. Mark Broom – Gunna (Unreleased)
23. Mark Broom – AR-4 (Token Records)
24. Mark Broom – Satellite (Absent Remix) (Unreleased)
25. S-File – Stripped (GND Records)
26. Josh Reeves – XTC (Mark Broom Remix) (Unreleased)