Digging Deeper with Mark Fanciulli

Author : Marco Sgalbazzini
April 16, 2018

Digging Deeper with Mark Fanciulli

This year is looking to be a busy one for Mark Fanciulli. He recently released the club-ready Moving On EP on Solardo’s Solä label and an EP on  Berlin label Mobilee Records under his more underground Test Tone alias, which he produces under with Zoo Brazil.
Mark also has music coming out with his brother Nic, Josh Wink as well as a release on Joris Voorn’s label. On the tour front, Mark ended 2017 with a tour of Asia, and this year has played across the UK, Germany, Switzerland and Malta, with a South America tour in May to come.
The producer last year enjoyed releases on Seth Troxler’s Play It Say It, Stereo, Moda Black and his own Between 2 Points record label, which is also a successful radio series.

We had an in-depth chat with Mark ahead of what’s about to be a very busy end of spring for him

Hi Mark, thanks for the chat mate! How is the year going for you so far?

It’s going perfect thanks. The shows have been exciting with stand out ones including Hive in Zurich, Distant Dimension Festival in Florida and playing alongside Fatboy Slim in my hometown. The releases have been getting some great feedback including an EP on Solardo’s label Sola and the second EP from mine and Zoo Brazil’s “Test Tone” project hitting the top 10 on Beatport, via Mobilee records.

I saw you’ve already had some exciting gigs throughout Europe. Any highlights in particular?

One of the biggest highlights in particular was going to play at Hive Club in Zurich. I’m a massive fan of Switzerland and have been playing in Zurich for years and knew all about Hive Club. My friend Dario D’Attis puts on parties there and he invited me over to play and the place definitely lived up to its reputation. I got on the decks at 5am on the Tanzstube floor and played to an amazing crowd as the sun rose up.

I stuck around to listen to more music and then jumped on the decks with Dario and David Aurel, finishing up just before 10am. What I really liked about the club was that it has such an amazing crowd in there, and to make it better the staff and club were amazing too. I will definitely be returning.

Here’s some of my set from that gig:

Thank you! You’re off to South America next month. What are you looking forward to the most there?

One of the great things about playing in South America is the passion that people have when you play.

The crowd are not scared to express how they feel and as a DJ, it’s the best environment to be in. I’ve seen a lot of the continent but this will be the very first time I visit Curitiba in Brazil, so I’m really excited about that, especially as I’ll be playing a daytime event alongside Honey Dijon.

Let’s talk music, last year was a busy one for you with a ton of releases. What have you got on the pipeline for the months to come?

Yes, last year was perhaps the biggest output I’ve done production-wise and I am aiming to continue that this year.

The next release I have is on a new label run by a friend I work with in Asia called “Sweatbox” and is out on April 23rd. I played their party in Kuala Lumpur last year and it’s nice to keep the relationship going away from the decks.

I have also worked on a remix for Toni Varga which will be arriving on Avotre records in May. My Test Tone project with Zoo Brail has been going from strength to strength this year and we will put our next release out on Joris Voorn’s Green imprint in the summer.

How do you keep balanced between studio, tour and private life? Any hacks or specific tricks that work for you to remain focused?

When I was younger my time management was never the best, but it’s an essential skill to have regardless of your job especially when you’re in and out of the country. The weekdays are when I usually spend time working in my home studio so I’ll block off the day and make sure I keep my phone out of reach and turn off the internet.

During flights and car journeys I spend a lot of time on my laptop working on productions as I find that those are my most creative periods. However, it’s always handy to download some TV shows from Netflix so I can occupy my time when there’s delays and I want a break from music.

With regards to private life, people are so quick to share every aspect of their life online and that is something I don’t do as much. Sure I’ll share something like a special moment having dinner or watching a football match with family, but I don’t want to go overboard like some people do. That’s their choice but I like to keep my private life exactly that, private.

What are some of the things you enjoy doing when you’re not working on music?

I enjoy spending as much time with friends and family as possible whether it’s going to my parents’ place by the beach or out in town for dinner. I’ve got an amazing family and group of friends so it doesn’t matter what we’re doing, as long as we’re all together.

I started working out a lot last year and feel so much better for it. Where I live it’s really chilled and by a lake so I have no excuse but to get out there.

Your brother and yourself have been involved in this industry for many, many years. Did your family always support your endeavors in music?

We have the most supportive parents in the world who encourage us to do what makes us happy. Growing up we were exposed to a lot of cool music in the house so it was no surprise when we decided to pursue a career in the industry.

Since we started playing out they have come to our gigs from local bars to clubs across the world and still do, we are so lucky.

How involved are you with Nic’s career and how involved is he with yours?

My brother is the one who introduced me to DJing and I have always and still do look up to him for inspiration.

We aren’t really involved in each other’s careers other than to give each other feedback on the other’s ideas and to occasionally collaborate in the studio or the club. We actually just went back into the studio and have some exciting creations that we’ll share more info on soon. I’ve sent a few teasers out already.

What lessons have you learned watching Nic’s ascent in this industry?

One thing that makes Nic stand out (apart from his talents) is his energy and positive work mentality. He is very hardworking and always looks to push himself further.

You both grew up in Kent. I used to live very near… in East Grinstead actually. How was it growing up there?

I believe we had the perfect childhood. Our parents are just amazing and I look up to them so much and try to be the people that they are. There would always be something fun to do but I would also actively look out to make opportunities for myself.

It’s a big county with so many things going on and is better in that it’s close to London but far away enough for a good balance.

Do you still call it home?

Yes I do. I have moved away from the edge of town to a quieter part, but am not far away. I still go into the town to hang out and do stuff with friends, you can’t forget your roots.

What about that local scene there was an important and deciding factor in you and your brother getting so involved with electronic music?

When I describe Maidstone to people, I tell them that it is a typical English town, but it surpasses any similar town in respect to the underground scene it has. That part has been going on for a long long time, even before I was old enough to go out and still does now.

When I was going out at 18, there were a lot of fresh faces into it, the same when I was 25 and so on. I played the Ants party last month at my local and it was refreshing to see so many excited kids just into it. People from all corners of the UK and even Europe fly in to party with us.

A lot has changed throughout the years you’ve been involved with music. What do you think is the most positive change you have seen in this industry and what is the most negative?

The most positive change that I have seen is the fact that more people are being introduced to dance music.

If there’s more people enjoying it that is a great thing, no brainer. People can get snooty about these things but that’s just silly.
Something negative that I can pick is the fact that a lot of quality music is getting missed. 20 years ago we had less producers
and a lot more quality control on what was coming out as you had to have the balls and cash to press to vinyl, I learned this
through my dissertation on the future of vinyl in dance music. With the market being flooded with more music there is a lot more content to sift through which means that we’re all missing out on great music, some more than others.

What is your selection process when going through demos and new tracks? What makes you decide you’ll play one out?

If I’m going through new tracks to play in my sets I will start by going through my promos. There’s a lot that come from promo companies and direct so a lot to listen to, but my best promos come from three main agencies who usually deliver stuff that I’m into.

I will also sift through Beatport where I’ll be listening out for new music from my favorite artists and even look at charts that my friends and inspirations have compiled. This process usually takes place on aThursday/Friday morning before I go away on the road. When listening to demos I will attempt to make a shortlist of the strongest ones and then listen to them some more to see if I think they make the cut. I’ll also get other people to give their opinion and will even test them in the clubs.

Who are some of your top artists to watch as we progress through the years?

One that stands out for me is Boxia, he is a cool guy and has such a great passion and taste in music. I first met him when he came down to play my very first Between 2 Points party in London in 2016 and got on really well with him. His set was quality and I find his productions very unique and command attention.

By the way do you like football? If so which team?

I’m an Arsenal fan and try to go to the Emirates to watch them play a couple of times a year. My father is from Rome and through him I’m a Lazio fan as well, I was hoping they were going to draw each other in this season’s Europa league but that unfortunately didn’t happen.

I’m also a supporter of Maidstone FC, it’s always nice to go down to the ground with old friends have a few beers and a laugh whilst watching them play.

How do you fancy England’s chances in the World Cup this summer?

I believe that England will go far this tournament but I can’t see them getting past the semi-finals. I do hope I’m wrong of course but the competition out there is very strong with the biggest threat coming from the Germans.

What’s one wrong stereotype about the English that non-English people may have?

That we all act like the posh characters from “The Crown” or “Downton Abbey”. However on the other end of the spectrum, some people abroad think that everyone here is a complete piss-head and always on it. There’s a fair amount of people like that but not all of us.

What’s your favorite English meal?

I do enjoy fish and chips and will occasionally have that on a Friday with some mushy peas. If I can pick one more I would say a Sunday roast dinner.

We are based in LA. What are your thoughts about the United States as a country and the current music scene here?

I have long been a fan of the U.S. as a country and could happily live over there. I think it has a lot of cool things going on for people and that you can have a great lifestyle over there. Sure, there are some problems but don’t all countries, developed or not have their own problems?

I find the current music scene very healthy and always look forward to every trip I have, whether it’s to a major city such
as NYC or somewhere smaller like El Paso.

Do you have a favorite city here?

If I had to pick one city it would be Los Angeles. I could happily base myself there as I think it’s got the right things for a nice lifestyle and great clubs too. NYC is another place I’m a massive fan of. During my last visit there I played the Panther Room at Output and then celebrated my birthday the next day going to some cool clubs and bars around Brooklyn, there is such a nice buzz there.

When can we expect you back in the States?

I will be back in the U.S. in June and as a part of the tour will be visiting Dallas for the very first time playing at “The Secret Factory.”

Photo Credit: Ryan Dinham