Mark Höffen’s eyes were opened to the world of music at a very young age, starting with piano lessons, playing and composing songs. He slowly moved over to jazz compositions and then went into electronic music production. Walking in the musical footsteps of his German role models, he has been developing an accurate taste and deep sense for cinematic melodies in his productions. Signing on the Parisian label Sweet Melodic in 2016 was the first milestone in the very promising career of the musician, producer & DJ. Jazz influences and dark melodic atmospheres make his sound so unique to the constant community of listeners and dancers attending his powerful sets in France and abroad. Playing alongside major international figures of the electronic music scene such as Oliver Huntemann, Khainz, Oliver Koletzkior Sam Paganini, he enters the booth bringing his communicative sense for partying.
The release of Hidden Gems Part 2 (w/ Lake Avalon, Malandra Jr, Kastis Torrau, Aemes, Mark Höffen) on the prestigious Click records was followed by his debut in Berlin in 2018. The next challenge Mark Höffen sets for himself in 2019 is to focus on his studio work and to prepare major releases to come.
We were lucky enough to get the chance to have a chat with Mark where we found out about his life in music.
Tell us about your earliest musical memory?
My earliest musical memory? Hmmm, I guess it was my dad who would make me listen to Bob Marley before sleeping. I was almost a baby and since that day, I can’t stop listening to Bob!
At what point in your life did you have that moment where you said to yourself “This is it. This is the type of music I want to create?”
I’ve been into music since I was a child, I used to play the drums and piano. When I was around 16 years old I started to get some interest in electronic music, but I only really started to produce electronic music at 20 years old so I’d say four years ago!
Please list some of the most influential albums on your creative outlook and output:
Hmmm difficult to say but if I have to choose only 3 of them:
1) Paul Kalkbrenner – Berlin Calling
2) Extrawelt – Soopetrack Maxi
3) Max Cooper – Human
What key pieces of gear/software are you using to define your sound?
I mainly use a lot of sounds coming from equipment such as the Elektron Analog Rythm, Model D, Neutron… then I try to work on the audio to create some unexpected textures or sounds .
What inspires you outside of music? What do you turn to when the creative well runs a little low?
Hmm, that’s difficult because if I listen to myself, I’ll stay in the studio for 24 hours each day of the week … haha. But travelling, meeting some new open-minded people, reading, having some precious moments and maybe even just having a beer with friends helps me a lot when I’m not connected with music.
What is your opinion on the sub-genre vine? Are there too many? Do you think there’ s perhaps a sub-genre that doesn’t get the attention it deserves?
If you are speaking about musical sub-genres, and especially in the electronic music scene, I have to say that it doesn’t represent a lot for me… I mean music is made from emotions and feelings no matter what you call it, and it’s better (in my opinion) to be yourself more than a “genre “. I hope I’ve answered that correctly? Haha.
Studio work and music creation or performing and interacting with a live audience, what do you prefer?
In the beginning, I was only making music (as a passion) in my room, and I didn’t play in front of thousand people, so for sure since the beginning I preferred to make music, to spend hours in the studio, trying out new synths etc…
But for around a year now, I’ve started to enjoy playing sets in front of people and interacting with them. It’s also a good exercise for your music production! I think a club or an open-air venue that’s not so big with people connected to your sound is also a really, really nice experience!
As a music artist, it becomes apparent that there is a huge difference between the art and the business. Is there anything about the music scene that you would personally change?
Yes, there are a lot of things. When you’re a teenager and you start to make music, you are full of dreams, but when you discover how it works – with social media, ghost producing and all the rest – you know that it’s not only about music! I would love to see some DJ’s earning more than what they need for a gig for example…
Any new or upcoming artists on your radar? Who shouldn’t the world sleep on?
For me, Losless and Kaldera are two really good artist’s that are definitely underrated right now!
What can we expect from you in the near future? Any upcoming projects or gigs in the pipeline that you would like to tell us about?
Yes, I’m actually working a lot on production, and I am hoping to present my new live show at ADE the 17th of October for the Sinners showcase with Konstantin Sibold and Kevin de Vries!
Famous last words?
For me, life is a journey where you learn from your mistakes each day and where you discover who you really are. I’ve decided to live my life according to this principle of perpetual travel, of meetings, joys, happiness and surprises. Music is similar, you don’t know where you will land but the desire for creating is so strong that the destination is not what really matters…