The British producer and DJ, Mark Wilkinson proclaims “Life is the influence.” Becoming one of the most respected names in dance music, Wilkinson gets inspired by both the good and by the bad moments in life. Since his 2013 smash hit ‘Afterglow’ featuring Becky Hill, Wilkinson still focused on making music he loves despite the increasing pressure. Wilkinson returns with ‘All For You’ side by side with Karen Harding that is topping the UK and world charts as we speak.
“I used to be a gardener before this,” Wilkinson casually states, but besides his gardening career, music always played a role in his life: “I’ve just always loved music. I used to play drums in bands at school and mess about writing songs with friends. And then I got into drum and bass in my teens”.
We are all different. We all have different passions and what makes us tick. For musicians, it is that much more fascinating to understand what inspires them to translate emotions and situations into music. “Everything really. Traveling is a big influence and generally the good and bad of everyday life. Other producers, classic records, you name it. Life is the influence”, Wilkinson answers.
Wilkinson is no rookie, as his collaboration from 2013 with Becky Hill on ‘Afterglow’ got him onto every DJ setlist around the world. The track created immense traction, and Wilkinson’s dealt with it as follows: “I just ran with it. I never made that record to be a hit; it’s was just a rolling vibe with a great song. But when it blew up, it did take me back, and it was tricky sometimes trying to deal with the hype and pressure around it. But I’ve always just focused on music and making music that I love. And I’ve kept good people around me, the same friends, a solid team and my family. Life is bigger than music”, he humbly replies.
The life of a DJ as the one Wilkinson is living is spent on the road pretty much most of the time. Touring can be exhausting and consuming, Wilkinson shares how he stays sane when traveling: “I read, sleep, trying to not get too obsessed with social media helps! But it’s tricky. Touring is amazing, but it takes its toll for sure. I travel with my MC Ad-Apt and our tour manager Ollie. So I guess they both help keep me entertained and ‘sane'”.
Throughout the years, Wilkinson joined forces with names like Tom Cane, Watch 32, Becky Hill, Detour City, Hayla and Karen Harding. “Sometimes it’s a natural juncture online or a random chat backstage at a festival. Sometimes it’s via my management or label. But whoever I work with – I have to respect and be a fan of”, he responds to the process of collaborating.
Speaking of collaborations, Wilkinson’s song with Hayla ‘I Need’ reached millions of streams on Spotify. “I just wanted to make something different and push my own boundaries, still with big bass and soul in the song,” he describes the record.
Before the festival season properly kicks off, Wilkinson releases a new single with Karen Harding ‘All For You’ that is already topping charts. He elaborates on the backstory: “I wrote it a while back, and I’ve been playing it in my sets for the last few months. The reaction to it has been overwhelming really. I’m actually pretty taken back by all the feedback! The song was written with Celeste and then Karen Harding jumped on to vocal it and just did what she does best… smashed it! I’m so happy with how it’s turned out”.
At the shows is where you get to witness the tangible impact your music has on people and fans around the globe. Hence why Wilkinson is excited for the festival season to begin: “You cannot beat Glastonbury. And I do love playing across the summer in Ibiza. Summer is always a special time, and it’s rewarding seeing all the crowds sing back the records we make in the depths of the British winter”.
This summer, Wilkinson will perform live with his band at SW4 and will have special guests and surprises while he is also encouraging his fans ‘to expect the unexpected’ from his Creamfields set.
Not to worry, Wilkinson has a little special something for after summer festivals are done. “I started my own club night called ‘Sleepless’ a while back, and we’ve just completed our first sold out Sleepless UK tour back in March. So the Autumn will see the Sleepless European tour happen and a lot more music being released. It never stops”.
Check out Wilkinson’s most recent record ‘All For You’ or catch him at one of your favorite dance music festivals.
Karolina Kramplova | WRITER