Since launching back in 2003, Mark Knight’s Toolroom Records imprint has served up music from veterans like Underworld, Basement Jaxx and Tiesto as well as new day superstars such as Solardo, CamelPhat and Hot Since 82.
Alongside a wealth of singles and EPs the label has also delivered an equally impressive number of events and mix albums. To celebrate 15 years, the Toolroom crew have prepared Toolroom15, a 70+ track compilation and a special tour that will see them perform in Dublin, London and more.
We got the chance to catch up with label head honcho Mark Knight to discuss the special anniversary album, as well as a few questions for himself on what tune he’s loving in his sets and one quote that’s stuck with him over the years.
Thanks for sitting down with us, how are things in the life of Mark Knight?
It’s been another positive and very busy year so far. Pretty much all of my energy has been going into the anniversary tour and album. Now the album’s out, but the tour’s just ramping up, so there will be plenty of travelling over the next few months. I’ve also committed to putting out a single a month this year, which so far has been going really well.
In April you dropped the release of Toolroom’s 15th anniversary album, how excited were you to put it out there?
It was one of the most exciting projects I’ve been involved in. Getting so many amazing artists to all contribute a new track for a compilation was ambitious as I don’t think that’s really been done before, at least to my knowledge.
So it was a great feeling that so many fantastic artists said yes: basically everyone we asked actually. Toolroom has always been about maintaining long-term relationships with artists, so I’m really proud of how it all came together.
How would you describe the release in one sentence?
The album includes music from Booka Shade, Tube & Berger, Format:B and more, how does it typically work when organising a release of this scale?
It took about six months of pretty relentless work to pull it all together. There was a lot of planning and just the A&R process was massive in scope. We wanted 75 tracks that were all strong enough to release as singles, so it was definitely challenging. But I think the finished album speaks for itself.
And how involved do you like to be when it comes to artwork, social media and promo stuff?
I’m always keen to discuss everything that happens around a release with Toolroom’s Brand Director Miles, but I’m not so much involved in the day-to-day running of the label.
We have a great team of people at the label, and they all know what they need to do in order to deliver on a project. My role is more relationships with artists, and of course making music.
You’re now four shows into the Toolroom15 World Tour, with Tokyo, New York, Amsterdam and Dublin all on the schedule, is there any of the shows you absolutely can’t wait to play?
All of them – that’s the entire idea of the tour: to have 15 shows that are all going to be equally strong. We could have done more shows, but we wanted to make sure that we could keep a level of quality and consistency across them all.
Honestly though I think the tour was harder to pull together and co-ordinate than the album – it was a massively involved process, especially co-ordinating the announcement with all the different venues.
If I had to pick one though, then the London show at Studio 338 is going to be pretty special. It’s a day and night party, which I think is the first time that’s been done there, so definitely get there if you can.
Are there any tunes that have been completely killing it in your recent sets?
Wheats ‘Red Shadow’ is a stone-cold banger and something I’ve been plaing a lot recently.
And before we go, what is something someone said that has stuck with you throughout your career?
“You can’t do that.” It’s like a red flag to a bull! I love a challenge, and someone telling me I can’t do something, or it’s not possible, is all the motivation I need.
Toolroom15 is out now, you can grab it here. Grab tickets for Mark Knight x Erick Morillo at Studio 338, London here.