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Test Pressing
INTERVIEWS / READ

20 QUESTIONS / 002 / MARK B / INTERNATIONAL FEEL

INTERNATIONAL FEEL, MARK B, INTERVIEW, 20 QUESTIONS, TEST PRESSING, DR ROB

Where are you based?That`s a very timely question. For the next few weeks in Uruguay, but everything is either up for sale or been given away, so by the end of May my entire life, including the studio, will be one big suitcase, one small suitcase and a Laptop bag, which is liberating, frightening and exciting all at the same time. I’m at the point where I don’t want to be surrounded by ‘stuff’, I want to travel for a while, write a book and lead a much simpler life, so we’re off to Ibiza, UK, Germany, Scotland, back to Uruguay, then Australia for a while.

INTERNATIONAL FEEL, MARK B, INTERVIEW, 20 QUESTIONS, TEST PRESSING, DR ROB

Looking back on the past 12 years or so, everything has pretty much worked in 3-4 year cycles and we’re now at that point in Uruguay and ready for a big change, certainly from living all year round in Uruguay. Concurrent to this, as time goes by, I realise more and more that ‘stuff’, or possessions or whatever you care to call them, is actually a trap and the liberation comes in letting it all go and walking off the edge of the cliff with next to nothing, trusting that whatever is next will be perfect for you in that moment. I feel very strongly that if we stay permanently in Uruguay from this point forward, then atrophy on all levels will set in. A comfort zone is probably the most dangerous thing a person can settle into. We came here originally, simply because the lease on our house in Berlin expired and we thought lets try somewhere completely different. All we need is good internet, so lets cast our net further afield than Europe and see what happens. Uruguay pretty much was ‘stick a pin’. I’m very decisive most of the time. What`s the point in procrastinating? We came, we stayed for a week, we bought a house, we went back to Germany, grabbed the cat and a shipping container and 4 years later we are still here!

INTERNATIONAL FEEL, MARK B, INTERVIEW, 20 QUESTIONS, TEST PRESSING, DR ROB

Is this your home town?No, Sheffield, home to all things synthy. I wouldn’t say that I love all things synthy from Sheffield, just most things! Human League up to and including Dare, Warp, the Cabs.

What is your first musical memory?Mmmmm, I honestly can’t remember, but maybe been forced inside to practise piano on a lovely sunny day.

What was the first record you bought?“I Taw I Taw a Putty Cat”.

What was the last record you bought?I haven’t bought one for ages, I’m Mr Audiobook these days.

INTERNATIONAL FEEL, MARK B, INTERVIEW, 20 QUESTIONS, TEST PRESSING, DR ROB

What inspired you to start the label?Best explained by this excerpt from the forthcoming label compilation(released in early Oct).

“Three Years ago, before signing Harvey, before those ultra limited white labels, before anything, there was just one track that I couldn’t find a deal for. International Feel was born out of this frustration and the determination to do things in a certain way, with a certain aesthetic, to create real, tactile ‘things’ of lasting quality in a binary world.”

What inspired the IFeel Studio project?Well, another main inspiration behind starting the label was as a channel for my own music, but that got waylaid by other people`s music, so IFEEL Studio was a way to re-address the balance and to try and cure myself of my 70’s Library Music addiction.

Had you made music prior to that?Yes. I had, and have, a ‘professional’ music career before International Feel for around 15 years and that has encompassed everything from TV Music, Film Music, Remixes, 6 artist albums and writing a couple of ‘pop’ hits. I’ve had a very lovely, fulfilling musical life.

INTERNATIONAL FEEL, MARK B, INTERVIEW, 20 QUESTIONS, TEST PRESSING, DR ROB

What are your favourite places to hang out in?These days, after a lifetime of noise, I’m more drawn to places that have clean air, a view and silence. Bars, clubs and record shops are probably 3 of my least favourite places to hang out.

How would you describe the label`s sound?Come on……Balearic!

Do you see yourself as part of any scene?Nope. It’s impossible in Uruguay and that, I think, has been one of the main advantages, from a label perspective, of being down here. No hanging out in the right bar / club / city, etc. All the label is, is simply a bank and a curator, so the only scene is the one in my head.

What release are you most proud of?All of them. To have done 36 releases in 3 years and to have kept the quality in terms of music and design is something to be proud of.

What release would have most like to have done?Sometimes I see a release on another label and think, wow, what a great track, why didn’t we get sent that, we’d have executed it so much better,… but what’s the point of thinking about what could have been? Regrets, and guilt, just lead to major illness. Everything I am is the sum total of my life’s experience up to this very point, so it’s silly to think about ‘what could have been’.

INTERNATIONAL FEEL, MARK B, INTERVIEW, 20 QUESTIONS, TEST PRESSING, DR ROB

Who does the artwork for the label?Phantom. I met Phantom through Williams (Willie Threfall (Love Triangle Music), probably best know for his ‘Love on a Real Train’ cover and being Mylo’s main musical sidekick on his one and only album) and then Yuko through Phantom.

Do you see the label as having a visual identity?Lets hope so, otherwise I wouldn’t have engaged artists like Yuko Kondo to spend a month of his life hand drawing a vintage map for the first Rocha single! For me, from the start, a visual identity was vital. I wanted to create timeless pieces of music & art, so in many ways, the visual aspect of the label, the logo, the fonts, the front covers, the vinyl labels, were nearly as important as the music itself. I see it all as part of a greater, integrated, whole, which is why I had to make sure that the label had a ‘visual director’ to take care of all these things. Factory had Saville, we have Phantom and actually, to celebrate 3 years, we’re going to be doing a series of limited prints of some of our favourite covers, which will make really nice collectors items.

INTERNATIONAL FEEL, MARK B, INTERVIEW, 20 QUESTIONS, TEST PRESSING, DR ROB

Which artists are you currently working with?Well the ‘core’ of the label as it’s developed seems to be Harvey, as Locussolus, and Gatto Fritto. Those are the guys we’ve done the albums with, but as you’ll see with the label compilation we’ve worked and are working with lots of great artists, Bubble Club, Rocha, Hungry Ghost, etc, etc, and that`s one of the best things. To see people’s ideas go from germination to conclusion. At the end of the day thats all, as humans, we are, creators, everything else is just bullshit.

Who would you most like to work with?Steve Reich has hypnotised and mesmerised me for 25 years and whilst I would love to sit down and compose something with him, purely for the experience, I think it’s more likely that I’ll end up in the water with a Great White, another ambition.

Does music pay the rent?Yes

What sites, if any, do you regularly check on-line?BBC News, 321 Gold, David Icke, Daily Mail, Create Digital Music, BBC Cricket, Synthopia and of course Test Pressing.

What is you favourite book?My favourite book would be anything by James Clavell, probably “Shogun”. The last book I read was “The Man Who Quit money”.

What was is your favourite film?My favourite film? Off the top of my head, “Day Of The Jackal”. I can’t remember the last film I saw. It’s been a long time.

What is your current favourite piece of music?“Discreet Music” by Eno.

INTERNATIONAL FEEL, MARK B, INTERVIEW, 20 QUESTIONS, TEST PRESSING, DR ROB

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