Marc 'MK' Kinchen: 5 things I’ve learned about music production

MusicRadar's best of 2018: You’ll know MK (Marc Kinchen) from his 2017 mega-hit 17, which has been streamed more than 100 million times on Spotify alone. He’s also the owner of record label and event brand Area10, which has hosted parties around the world.

MK’s house-piano style has become a familiar fixture on playlists, and it’s in evidence once again on Back & Forth, his recent collaboration with Becky Hill - who previously lent her vocal expertise to MK’s 2016 hit Piece Of Me - and Jonas Blue.

Having hit on a winning formula, we wanted to know how Marc has become the electronic music luminary that he is, so we asked him for the five most important things he’s learned about production.

1. Find the things that you are good at and then figure out where you need some help or support

“There is no rule anywhere that says you have to be the greatest songwriter, producer, singer, DJ, engineer or mixer, etc. For instance, I love producing and I am really good on the recording side, but sometimes I don’t take the time to focus on my engineering skills, so instead of spending hours trying to fix a level here or there, I might turn around and ask one of my engineer friends to help. I think the lesson is you don’t have to do it alone.”

2. Look for people you like to collaborate with

“It is a great thing when you can find a collaborator you have chemistry with. I worked alone in my studio for so many years, and then I was lucky enough to be put into a situation where I had to collaborate with someone else and make it work. It was one of the best experiences in my life and it really helped me be more open to collaborating on many other things.”

3. Get to know your equipment

“It’s taken me years and I am still learning, but for every hour I put in, I end up with a deeper knowledge of the equipment and how to find ways to get the sounds and rhythms that I want. This kind of time consumption can get pretty boring sometimes but when you end up with something you really like every moment of solitude will be worth it.”

4. Embrace new technology - don’t let it intimidate you

“I have always been kind of a techy nerd, even before it was just part of being normal. I grew up always wanting to learn and conquer the newest gadget or piece of equipment, but the crazy thing is that not everyone is like that. I know people who are literally afraid to learn how to master new equipment and have trouble adapting to the changes in recording, computers, interfaces, etc. I look at new gear and breakthroughs and literally can’t wait to get my hands on it so I can manipulate it to make new sounds or record or perform differently.”

5. Road-test your material

“Once you’ve recorded and just about finalised what you are doing, if you are a DJ or performer and can test it out before mastering and finalising, it’s the best. I never used to DJ so I never had this perk available to me, but now I just about finish something and then I play it out until I get it right. It’s an amazing way to get an instant answer - I swear by it.

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.