With nearly 20 years worth of experience in the industry, in-particularly in the Trace scene, we thought we'd catch up with Mark Sherry to find out what he thinks about these evolving times and to see if he had any studio tips for us.
It’s great to be speaking with you. Can you tell the readers where you are in the world today and what you’ve been up to over the last 7 days?
Alright folks, thanks a lot for getting me to do this featured interview! I’m at home at the minute but literally just back from Mexico. I was playing at Dreamland over there, what an incredible gig! Before I went away I was finishing off a brand new remix in the studio that I’ve done for Aly & Fila, a track taken from their new artist album ‘Quiet Storm’ but I can’t announce which track yet I’m afraid!
You recently performed back on your home turf for Colours as part of Paul van Dyk’s ‘Politics Of Dancing’ Tour in Glasgow, how was you’re return to Scotland at this massive event?
If you’ve never been to the Arches in Glasgow then you’ve never been clubbing, FACT! The atmosphere is one of the best in the world, and no I’m not just saying that because I’m Scottish haha. It was great supporting PVD on my home turf! I supported him on his ‘Vandit’ tour in Kiev, Ukraine, 3 years ago and that was amazing too, but it was great being able to do the same here in Scotland this time. The whole venue was packed out and as always Colours did a sterling job!
You’ve been a major influence in the Tech Trance scene for over a decade, how do you feel the scene has changed on a whole since you began your career?
As of next year I’ll have been Djing for 20 years, so I’ve seen a lot of changes over the years. The changeover from vinyl to CD and most recently to USB has been the biggest personal change for me, but as for the scene I think the whole online thing has changed things massively. Online events, tagging, live videos, song previews, polls etc etc…it’s all a very interactive thing now which is amazing! I suppose on the downside though you do now have all your keyboard warriors ranting and dissing the scene and it’s DJ’s/artists, especially the ones that are trying to do something new in the studio, which to me is sad and a big negative. Luckily this doesn’t apply to me just now because I’m actually going back to my roots and really teching things back up again haha. No genre changing for me on the cards! On the plus side it’s great to get more or less instant feedback from your fans and followers when I make a new track or remix. I read every single comment I get when I post a clip of a new song on my portals, and this is a huge help to me in the studio! Back in the day you had to rely on club play reactions on the night, after you’d finished making your latest track.
What’s currently influencing you as a producer and DJ?
Hmmm, that’s a tough one to be honest, as there aren’t that many producers making tech-trance just now but I am going back to my roots as I’ve said and my biggest influence in the late 90’s/early 00’s was Mauro Picotto and Riccardo Ferri. I’ve been making some ‘BXR’ flavoured productions recently so that’s been a lot of fun! More recently Sander van Doorn has been a big inspiration until he changed his musical direction (sadly). Guys like Ummet Ozcan, Orjan Nilsen, KhoMha, Neelix, Simon Patterson, Jordan Suckley, Will Atkinson, Nick Callaghan, Darren Porter & James Dymond are all very consistent and shaking things up by trying new things in the studio, so that’s great for the scene! I’m a big supporter of all these guys.
Lot’s of artists dip in and out and move away from certain genres but you’ve stuck with Tech-Trance, why is that?
It’s what I do best and it’s what I really enjoy making! A lot of trance names are selling out and going down the house route to make the big bucks, aiming for the US market, but I love trance/tech-trance and have a real passion for what I do and the style that I produce and play. I’d be miserable playing music just to get gigs at certain shows, I just want to be myself and not be a fake!
Many of our young readers are producers who love advice or tips from the top. Are there any studio tricks you can share with us that you’ve found helpful when creating your trademark tracks?
One of the best and cheapest most effective plugins I’ve bought recently (£30) was ‘LFO Tool’. I’ve never really liked doing the traditional side-chain compression method and this plugin does it all for you 10 times as fast, well the exact same effect at least. It’s much easier to use and you have a lot more control over the desired effect, and also with a completely clean sound. It should definitely be checked out!
We understand you built yourself a brand new recording studio earlier this year. I’m sure all the aspiring producers reading this are dying to know what lies within?
Haha yeah, it was a big job and is still an ongoing project to be honest, but was one of the best things I’ve ever done! I still have my hardware synths like the Roland JP8000, Korg MS2000, Novation Supernova, Roland TB-303 etc in the studio but sadly, like most producers these days they’re not switched on much lol. It’s all about the soft synths these days like Sylenth and Massive for instance and newer ones like Spire etc.
You’ve also started your very own mastering service. This is an extremely important stage in the production process. Have you got any tips on how we can add that professional touch to our own tracks?
Yes, get me to master them for you haha – firstname.lastname@example.org (shameful plug) ;)
No but seriously, try and keep a balanced mix throughout your track and actually have a look at your file once it’s bounced down. If you look at your waveform you’ll be able to physically see all your peaky/loud bits in the track, so you can then go back to the mix and try and control these problem sections a bit better, maybe with some automation or limiters and compression just to stop things getting too intense, especially on bits like build-ups with snares and risers etc etc. These sections always require some extra attention in your mix because they are the first to break up when you start pushing things at the mastering stage!
Your gig schedule has been massive this year, taking you all over the world. How do you find time to get in the studio to produce, master and out put your radio show? It must be very important to find an even balance between each project?
To be honest sometimes I don’t know how I manage it haha. I do take my work very seriously. I treat it like a normal job as in I work in kind of ‘office hours’. I get up at 8am, do my emails and online promo stuff for a couple of hours, then go to studio at 10am and do all of my mastering jobs for the day first with fresh ears, then move onto my own production until around 5pm. I then go to the gym to distress a bit haha. On the nights I’m not seeing my girlfriend I’m prepping and recording my radio show which takes 2 or 3 nights a week. I never stop but I love what I do so it doesn’t feel like work, even though I do get really shattered sometimes, especially if I’ve been travelling a lot!
What does the future hold for Mark Sherry?
There are loads of really cool things in the pipeline but I suppose the biggest thing that I want to do is start my own record label but I know how time consuming it is. I’m scared that my production might suffer if I start one up. Plus I want the music and releases to be absolutely spot-on. There’s no point in me rushing into it if the music isn’t right. I will start one though, I just need the timing to be right and possibly find someone that I really trust to look after the label-side of things for me to take away some of the workload that comes with it. On the gig front over the next few weeks I’m off to Montreal in Canada to play at the amazing ‘Circus Afterhours’, then ‘Pajama Jam’ at the Belasco Theatre in LA and also Essential Vibes pres ‘Mental Asylum’ with Indecent Noise and Jase Thirlwall in Warsaw, Poland!
You heard it right here, hit up Mark Sherry for all your professional mastering needs. A big thanks to Mark for taking the time out to speak with us.
Mark Sherry's Recommended Tracks
Simon Patterson doing what he does best, being Simon Patterson! Another huge release that has been completely destroying my dancefloors all over the globe in my sets, alongside the amazing John Askew remix also! These are both unmissable mixes if you love real tech-trance!
I have to plug my latest remix project for Scot Project ‘U’ on Perfecto! It was a HUGE honour not only to remix for Frank but also to get a release on one of my all-time favourite labels Perfecto (Fluoro)! Oaky has been hammering this acid-fuelled banger! Check out the altenative Outburst mix but fore me the Acidburst mix is the boy for dancefloor shock value at the main drop..old school 90’s REAL acid!
Bryan has been doing some great stuff recently and coupled with Sneijder, another producer who has been doing the damage the result is massive! This has been a big one for me too in recent weeks! Another top release from JOC’s ever consistent ‘Subculture’ label!
Another one of my latest remix projects, this time for the Polish mentalist Indecent Noise & Lebanese new kid on the block Eddie Bitar! This was heavily inspired by the old Picotto/BXR sound. I spent ages on this trying to get it sounding like the vintage BXR tech-trance style! Been a really big one at my gigs and supported by JOC, Aly & Fila, Kearney etc!
KhoMha has had another really great year and thanks to his massive talent and a huge helping hand of exposure from from Markus Schulz his name has really blown up, and deservedly so! Ive supported him from the very beginning and will be for a long time if he keeps making techy monsters like this badboy ‘Hydra’!
Nothing to say about this other than it is Will’s best work to date…absolute HUGENESS. It had me raving in the crowd down the front during my set in Dublin a few weeks ago at ‘Trance Army’, I even lost my earplugs but miraculously managed to find them again lol
Tempo Giusto is one of the most under-rated tech-trance/trance producers out there! His latest artist album has just been released and after me remixing his old ‘Jekku’ track a few years ago, he asked me if I’d like to do the honours again for him on one of these new album tracks ’Blacksmith’. This has done really well for me and was a lot of fun to make! My agency have just taken him on so look out for him playing at a club near you very soon!
Vlind from Mexico is a very young but huge talent that is making a dent in the trance scene just now! For me this is his best release yet! I have been following him closely all year and you can hear him really improving loads with each release. Keep an eye on this young man, he’s making waves! It was great to meet him briefly in Mexico at the weekend!
This guy Marek Hradil aka ‘Destroyer’ from Prague has been making some seriously BANGING ‘BXR style’ techno recently! I knew nothing of him really until only a few months ago when he started bombarding me with promos. Now his music is in every single one of my sets..an amazing producer and one to look out for
Darren Porter and Gareth Weston are doing some great stuff together just now and this techy beast is no exception! This has been heavily supported by me in my sets and it’s great to see the lads getting signed to SeanTyas’s reallyt solid label ‘Tytanium’!