The revered DJ and producer has a chat with us about his sonic excursions, his latest release, plans for the rest of the year, and lots more.
A true pioneer in the Bristol drum & bass scene, Markee Ledge is one of the finest purveyors of the deeper side of the genre. Born in Glasgow and then moving to the mecca of DnB in Bristol, Markee Ledge has made a significant contribution to the city’s musical landscape. With his visionary approach, he founded the legendary club night “Ruffneck Ting,” which became a cornerstone of the local drum & bass community.
Along with his exploits in drum & bass, Markee Ledge’s dedication to quality music, unwavering passion, and innovative spirit led him to being the founding member of the internationally acclaimed live act Kosheen; which further cemented his influence in the industry.
More recently, Markee Ledge has immersed himself in the 140 BPM scene with a love of deep UK dubstep and has had heavyweight releases on the likes of Tempa, Artikal Music UK, Uprise Audio, Duploc, and his own Zonal label.
Taking his penchant for converging the intricate connection between sound and emotion, Markee Ledge released “Laws of Emotion: Equinox II;” a collection of sounds that showcase Markee Ledge’s signature style while pushing the boundaries of electronic music.
Following the release, we were keen to know Markee Ledge’s thoughts on his latest record; so we sat down with him for a chat about ‘Laws of Emotion,’ his journey so far, his style of music, plans for the future, and here is what he had to say:
TFword: Right from the time you set up Ruffneck Ting to your modern-day sonic excursions, how has the journey been for you?
Markee Ledge: The journey has been nothing short of extraordinary, setting up Ruffneck Ting was a pivotal moment that allowed me to contribute to the emerging drum and bass scene in Bristol. It was great to showcase emerging local talent and have a sense crew. Then with Kosheen we took drum and bass to the next level all over the world and got to play on some massive stages.
Since then, my sonic excursions have taken me on a transformative path, pushing the boundaries of creativity and exploring new musical territories. It continues to be an amazing ride, filled with inspiration and growth for me personally. Each step has shaped me as an artist and fueled my passion for electronic music. I’m incredibly grateful for the journey and excited for what lies ahead.
TF: You’ve previously mentioned that despite exploring sounds as an individual producer, you wanted to write songs and be a part of a collective; Talk us through the earliest days of Kosheen and how the band evolved as time went by.
Markee Ledge: The earliest days of Kosheen were filled with a rush of creativity and I had a strong vision to make something unique. As a collective, we wanted to blend electronic music with the art of songwriting, fusing soulful vocals with cutting-edge beats. We brought together different musical backgrounds and influences, resulting in a sound that resonated with a diverse audience across the world.
In those early days, Decoder and I spent countless hours experimenting, honing our skills and crafting our sound. We embraced the energy of drum and bass while exploring other genres, so we evolved as writers and producers organically. The release of our debut album, “Resist,” was a real high point on the journey and being awarded ‘Record of the Year’ at dance star awards in 2001, propelled us into the global spotlight.
As time went by, our music continued to evolve, incorporating new elements and pushing boundaries, I got to introduce my production skills as well as develop my guitar and piano skills and incorporate them into the sound of Kosheen. The success of tracks like “Hide U” and “Catch” took us up a level, expanding our reach in the music industry. We grew as artists and performers, captivating audiences with our electrifying live shows. While the band no longer exists, the essence of Kosheen remains intact with my new works. I still have continued with my original ethos and now I can express myself more independently. I have embraced the evolution of electronic music while staying true to the core.
TF: Both the ‘Laws of Emotion’ releases have been incredibly fascinating to tune into. The wide spectrum of styles incorporated while offering a journey at the same time makes it an intriguing experience. What are your thoughts on the releases?
Markee Ledge: Thank you for your kind words. I’m really happy that the ‘Laws of Emotion’ releases have resonated with people. These projects have allowed me to delve deep into my creative process, exploring styles and emotions. I wanted to create a sonic experience that takes listeners on a journey, guiding them through different moods and musical landscapes.
For me, music is about evoking emotions and connecting with people on a profound level. With ‘Laws of Emotion,’ I aimed to capture the essence of human emotions and translate them into sonic expressions. Each track represents a different facet of the human experience, from love and joy to pain and introspection.
The wide spectrum of styles incorporated in these releases reflects my own diverse musical influences. Drawing inspiration from genres like drum and bass, downtempo, and electronica, I wanted to create a cohesive yet eclectic body of work. It’s about pushing boundaries and embracing the limitless possibilities of sound.
I’m grateful to share my music with my listeners and invite them to embark on an immersive experience. ‘Laws Of Emotion’ has been a personal and rewarding project, and I’m excited to continue exploring new sonic territories with future releases and hope to continue to resonate and captivate audiences.
TF: Could you tell us the reason behind naming the releases ‘Laws of Emotion’?
Markee Ledge: Certainly! The name ‘Laws of Emotion’ holds a significant meaning for me. Emotions are a fundamental part of the human experience, shaping our thoughts, actions and connections with others. Music has a unique power to evoke emotions, allowing us to express and process our innermost feelings.
The concept behind ‘Laws of Emotion’ is to explore the spectrum of emotions we encounter in life and translate them into sonic experiences. Each track within the releases represents a unique facet of the human emotional landscape, capturing the essence of joy, love, pain, and everything in between.
By embracing and exploring these ‘Laws,’ I’m trying to create a connection with listeners, inviting them to immerse themselves in the music and feel a sense of catharsis, introspection, and joy. It’s my way of acknowledging the profound impact that emotions have on our lives and their transformative power through music.
TF: Playing with drum & bass, dubstep, and various other genres can be exhausting because of how they keep evolving. How did you keep yourself motivated through the years?
Markee Ledge: Staying motivated amidst the ever-evolving landscape of music is a challenge, also as you grow as a writer and artist you are evolving, so you are changing and the world is changing around you, we are all navigators out here, It’s about finding my own unique voice within the evolving world. Just like life, nothing stays the same very long, it’s all a continual stream of ‘nows’.
But yes, it is precisely the dynamic nature of genres like drum & bass and dubstep that fuels my passion and keeps me inspired. First and foremost, I embrace change as an opportunity for growth and artistic exploration. I view it as an exciting challenge to adapt and push my creative boundaries. The constant evolution of these genres presents a wealth of possibilities, allowing me to experiment with new sounds, techniques, and production approaches.
You have to find what you like and find ways to turn pure thoughts and feelings into sounds that can trigger emotions. I think it’s some kind of voodoo magic 🙂
Connecting with artists, collaborating on projects, and witnessing the enthusiasm of fans and listeners is inspiring and the vibrant community and culture surrounding these genres and shared passion is always motivational, as we say in the scene ’Big Up’! Finally, the support and feedback from my fans and listeners play a significant role in keeping me motivated. I am excited to continue my musical journey, pushing boundaries and exploring new sonic territories.
TF: As the festival season comes closer, what are you most looking forward to this summer?
Markee Ledge: This summer, I am filled with anticipation and excitement for the festival season ahead. After a challenging period of limited events, I am thrilled to reconnect with the energy and magic that festivals offer. I have festivals lined up in Czech Republic, Poland, and Romania. What I’m most looking forward to this summer is the atmosphere of live performances. I can’t wait to witness the power of music to bring people together and create unforgettable moments.
Moreover, festivals provide an opportunity to connect with fellow artists and industry professionals. The festival circuit is a hub of creativity and inspiration, and I’m excited to immerse myself in that vibrant community once again.
Additionally, I’m eager to showcase my latest music and see the audience’s response firsthand. Performing on big stages, sharing my sonic journey, and connecting with fans through the power of music is an exhilarating experience like no other. Festivals also offer a chance to discover new artists and genres. I always relish the opportunity to witness the incredible variety of talent and innovation within the music scene. It’s a continuous learning experience that fuels my own creative growth.
TF: You have inspired so many generations of producers, but who inspired you to make music?
Markee Ledge: Music has always been in my life, and I’ve been inspired from a variety of places. While there have been many influential artists and genres that have shaped my musical journey, there are a few key figures who have had a profound impact on my decision to make music.
First and foremost, the pioneers of drum & bass and jungle music played a pivotal role in igniting my passion for electronic music production. Artists like LTJ Bukem, 4 Hero, Krust and the early Jungle pioneers had a level of innovation, creativity and sonic exploration that fired my imagination. Their groundbreaking productions and infectious energy inspired me to delve into the world of electronic music and experiment with its possibilities.
In addition to the drum & bass scene, I found inspiration in the realm of dubstep and its early pioneers like Skream, Benga, and Youngsta. Their ability to fuse deep basslines, intricate rhythms, and atmospheric textures resonated deeply with me. It was through their music that I discovered a new sonic landscape and realised the potential for pushing the boundaries of sound.
In the broader spectrum of music, 80’s guitar groups like Cocteau Twins, The Smith, and The Cure have also influenced my artistic development through the great songwriting and melodic productions.
Also, crossover artists like Massive Attack and Kraftwerk opened the endless possibilities of electronic soundscapes and pushed me to explore new genres and styles with my own productions. These artists have been sources of inspiration, but my desire to make music stems from an innate connection to songs and its ability to convey emotions, stories and experiences. The magic of music itself, the way it can transport us to different places and evoke powerful emotions, is what truly motivated me to embark on my creative journey.
TF: What’s coming next for Markee Ledge?
Markee Ledge: I’m excited to share with you what’s on the horizon for my musical journey. Building upon the release of ‘Laws of Emotion: Equinox II,’ I have several exciting projects in the works.
First and foremost, I’m actively exploring new sonic territories and pushing the boundaries of my sound. I’m diving deeper into the studio, experimenting with fresh production techniques, and embracing a fusion of genres to create a unique sonic experience. My aim is to continue evolving as an artist and to offer a captivating musical journey.
I’m also looking forward to collaborating with other talented artists and producers. Collaborations have always been an incredible source of inspiration for me, and I believe they have the power to create something truly magical. I’m excited to join forces with like-minded creatives to push the boundaries of electronic music and create unforgettable sonic experiences.
Additionally, I am actively planning live performances and DJ sets. The energy and interaction of live performances are amazing, from intimate club shows to festival stages, I’m excited to create unforgettable moments and connect with the music community.
Whether it’s through social media, live streams, or exclusive content, I want to offer a more immersive and personal experience. I believe in the power of music to bring people together, and I want to foster a sense of community and connection through my music, there’s much more in store from Markee Ledge.