MUSIC MASTERS – MARK BROADBENT

We’re flipping the fader this week as your favourite residents The Brothers Grim do all the talking for the Music Masters series as Andrew Livesey interviews his brother Mark Broadbent.

ANDREW LIVESEY – Mark is the reason I live in Ibiza, he is the reason I work in music, he is the reason I have the friends that I have and he is the reason I listen to the music that I listen to. All of these influences he has had on my life in some way, shape or form stem from his own life in music and the path his career within music has taken him on. I don’t know anyone with as varied and diverse musical taste as brother Mark, he has introduced me to more interesting sounds than anyone else and now as he enters his third year DJing he’s out there introducing more and more people to the many wonders of the sonic universe. For these reasons and many more he is this week’s Music Master.

AL – Along with our mother and my father you have been the biggest influence on the music that I listen to. Who are the three people who influence you the most when it comes to the music you listen to?

MARK BROADBENT – Really difficult to answer fully as I’ve been so lucky in meeting many musical mentors over the years but I’ll try and keep to the ones that set the tone so to speak.

I suppose the first time that music made it’s mark on me would have been in the long car journeys to Cornwall during the summer holidays with my parents, laid down in the back of an old Ford Escort listening to Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles, or Meatloaf’ Bat Out of Hell. Albums anybody my age will probably know inside out.  A life long love affair with music was started right there in the back of that car and although I outgrew my parents tastes they were responsible for the journey’s start.

Simon Haig or Haggis as he was known to me was a guy who used to babysit for me. I must have been about seven or eight years old thinking back to the music he brought round to our house. He was probably the biggest influence on me and shaped my musical landscape for the next ten years, he brought round The Sex Pistols, Buzzcocks, Stiff Little Fingers, Cockney Rejects, The Jam, UK Subs, Motorhead, Angelic Upstarts…all the good stuff that a young mind needs to hear in order to find it’s own place in the world. He showed me something incredible with this introduction to independent non chart based music that shaped the way I began to look at life in general. Don’t follow the heard, follow your babysitter and be a Punk Rocker.

Then there was a slight fallow period when I left school and started work, I listened to BBC Radio 1 all day every day in a factory with work colleagues who didn’t give a fuck about music, I started going out with them on a weekend – I was 16 years old at this point – to what were then called ‘fun pubs’ primarily to meet girls. The soundtrack was abysmal. Luckily for me I met Sarah when I was 17 and she had this childhood friend called Dave who was away at Manchester Uni, he used to come home some weekends and we’d go to the pub with him and listen to his stories of going to the Student Uni to watch all these bands i’d never heard of with exotic sounding names. We started going over to Manchester on a Saturday night to stay with him and his mates and he had the most amazing record collection I had ever seen, he introduced me to bands that reminded me of the music I’d listened to as a child / youth. Big Black, The Pixies, Sonic Youth, Flipper, Minuit Men, Naked Raygun, Husker Du, Wire, The Fall but also great African stuff like The Bundu Boys or really off the wall music hall and fairground music à la Tom Waits odd and slightly novelty punk like Campervan Beethoven and most importantly Dave introduced me to The Butthole Surfers who remain to this day one of the finest musical discoveries i’ve ever had. Dave now lives in Thailand but continues to influence my musical meanderings via his yearly round-up of whats worth listening to  pretty much the only end of year round up I bother reading in any great depth. 

During the last 40 years radio has been a massive influence, listening to Janice Long, Peel, Annie Nightingale at night as I was growing up showed me that I was not alone in my tastes and that there were other minded people with whom one day I’d be able to communicate and share my love of this music with. I suppose this brings me round to my next major influence. The internet, and more importantly, internet radio or podcasts. The internet made it possible for anybody who had something to say to shout it loud from on high, this is where I have probably discovered the most interesting music in recent years. Bernie Connors show This Is The Sound Of Music, Phil Coopers Nu Northern Soul shows, crazy shit on WFMU coming out from New York, New York, archived late night radio on web only stations playing the most out there sounds from another dimension. Gilles Peterson continues to inform, his is a show I listen to religiously at least twice a week. I can also get lost for days rooting around Bandcamp or Dj History. Makes your body tingle thinking about all the new music still to be discovered.

AL – You only started DJing a few years ago, did you have any inclination to do so at an earlier time in your life? What was the change that made you start doing it and do you enjoy doing it?

MB – I was asked a few times during my time promoting other DJs to get involved but I never liked the idea, I thought that if I were to lay myself naked by playing strangers music that meant something to me personally and they didn’t like it it would just kill me! It took walking away from the job to make me realise that if I was no longer booking people to play the music I wanted to hear whilst I was out on the town enjoying myself there would be nobody to do that and I’d have to listen to badly programmed and inappropriate music everywhere I went. And this was indeed the case for the most part.

After some time of going out and complaining to anybody that would listen about the terrible music being played everywhere a couple of people took pity on me – or simply got fed up with listening to me waffling on about it – and suggested that maybe I should put my money where my mouth was and soundtrack their venues on occasion. Starting out at BHS on a Friday afternoon with you and the occasional other like minded friend was a road to Damascus moment for me, those days playing music to our mates gave me the courage and belief in my own taste in music to be able to share it with a wider audience. I absolutely love doing it now and my confidence grows from week to week. Music’s a very subjective thing but i hope that with careful programming I’m able to introduce people to music they might not have heard before that they then go on to love.

AL – What was the first record you ever bought and what was the last record you bought?

MB – The first record that I bought with my own money was Siouxsie And The Banshees / Hong Kong Garden  from Bradleys in Huddersfield town centre. I was nine years old and I still stand by this being one of the greatest records ever made, sadly I no longer have it and have no idea why. One too many parties with one too many randoms round ours at some point down the line I suspect. People will read this and say “Yeah, thats a rather cool record for the first record you ever owned Mark, are you sure it was that and not The Birdy Song or something by the Muppets ?!?” and the thing is I do have to admit that this is not the first record I owned, simply the first record I bought on my own with my own money. The first record that I owned was the Star Wars soundtrack done by The London Philharmonic that my Gran bought for me one Saturday in 1977 when we were out shopping and I needed to be silenced from going on and on obsessively about Star Wars!

I buy music on a weekly basis so my choices now are not as landmark as they once were to me or to anybody else really, they are generally of a time or for a particular reason. The last thing i bought this week (today) was with this coming Sunday in mind after hearing Jarvis Cocker play it on his wonderful Sunday Service 6 Music show last week. I think it will sound nice placed at the right moment poolside this week. Nancy Sinatra / Bang Bang  it’s rather obvious really but there is certainly something strange about it even though we’ve heard it a thousand times.

AL – We both grew up in Huddersfield but a few generations apart. The music scene that first captured my attention there at an early age was UK Hip Hop which was thriving in the early 2000s; what was the first genre / scene to grab you and how important was Huddersfield’s role in your formative musical years?

MB – PUNK ROCK!  I still fully consider myself a Punk Rocker, it’s not about the clothes you wear or the music you listen to although those were both the entry level aspects for most Punks. Punk Rock and being a Punk Rocker is about being a free thinker, not taking for granted what everybody else is doing or saying as being right, questioning everything and pointing out when you feel that something is wrong. It’s about being an individual. Punk had it’s last stand in Huddersfield and as we were growing up we were surrounded by them, lots of my friends are still Punks whether they know it or not! The first nightclub I ever went to was a Punk club called The Coach House, they used to make you take your Docs off at the door and leave them in the coat check “to avoid any trouble” which was really rather strange as it was the most peaceful fun it was possible to have in Huddersfield town centre during that time period. The Punks used to get attacked on leaving by the beer boys coming out of Johnny’s (classic pickup joint) further down the road. The music was memorable for being an eclectic selection of Rockabilly, old school 70’s Punk, Reggae and the new electro sounds coming from New York… kinda what I play on a Sundays when it gets darker really. It certainly was a major influence on me.

AL – After leaving Huddersfield you stayed up north for a bit and this is where your career in music began. How and where did that happen?

MB – I’d been away in India for a year with my (then) girlfriend Sarah thinking about what we should do and deciding that we’d go home, try make some money to go traveling again, we sent letters home and announced our imminent arrival and found out that Charlotte (Sarah’ sister) had started seeing a guy called Darren Hughes who was running a club night in Liverpool. There was not a lot happening in Huddersfield at this point in time and it proved difficult for me to find any paid work that I really wanted to tie myself down to after experiencing the freedom that travel brings so we decided to go live in Liverpool. Sarah had a previous background in retail so she helped set up the Cream shop on Slater Street next door to the venue and I managed to get myself involved in the flyer and poster distribution for the brand. Working a few days a week dropping stuff off at shops in and around Liverpool, collecting guest lists and generally mooching about the the place making myself useful. Cream at this time was a very big deal, they were literally flying, loads of money about, getting involved is some really interesting things outside of the normal nightclub activities. Sponsoring match balls at both Liverpool and Everton, hosting regular Radio 1 events. This was the peak time era of the Super Club and Cream were leading the charge. We got to know some interesting people, made some money and after six months we’d made enough to enable our return to Asia. This then became a kind of routine, we’d travel for a few months then head back to Europe to work for Cream in Ibiza, get paid and set off traveling again. 

AL – Moving onto Ibiza now; you, Sarah and Darren ran We Love… Space On Sundays for close to 15 years. Which was your favourite year, your favourite booking, your favourite room in the club and who was your favourite resident? Also, you don’t get a mention in Space’s commemorative 25th anniversary book, why do you think that is?

MB – Darren left Cream and started a new venture in London (Home nightclub on Leicester Square), I married Sarah and we moved to Australia to help set up the Home club in Sydney. We stayed in Australia for just over two years during which time the club in the UK had their license rebuked and Darren was once again looking for pastures new. Our time in Australia was coming to an end, home sickness and new management at the club with a tighter grip on the purse strings meant things were not as fun as they once were so we decided to head back to Europe and join Darren in Ibiza.

Arriving back to Ibiza in 2001 after living out of a rucksack for so many years was incredible, we’d found a place we could relax in. Sydney had been a great adventure but it was very hard work towards the end and arriving back to an already established weekly event at Space was inspiring. I’d been feeling a little jaded with the scene in Australia and wondered if we were heading in the right direction but arriving at Space on the first Sunday morning put any doubts I might have had right out of my mind. The first couple of summers at Space were probably the best times in some respects, it was all still fresh to us, we had the energy to fully enjoy what we were doing and you could tell that we were going to have great future there. The music needed some attention as it was – for the most part – incredibly pedestrian handbag house on the terrace and terribly boring prog house on the inside, but this is what the people loved about Space on Sundays so I had to go about changing this very carefully so as to not lose too many of the regular customers that made the Sundays at Space so special. We did this with our choice of resident DJs and we have had so many amazing residents over the years that it’s next to impossible and also unfair on the others to pick one out as a favourite really but if I were forced on pain of death to pick one I’d go with Jason Bye due to his consistency. I know that I can put him into absolutely any situation and know he’d deliver the goods time after time for as long as is needed. 

For me the beauty of Space back when we were really kicking it out the park was the diversity in the programming, it was like going to a mini festival with different styles of music in every room, something for everybody, hidden corners of delight just around the next corner but I would always gravitate towards the darkness of the main room inside. It became my baby, I got to do exactly what I wanted to do in there with the programming and for a time it seemed I could do no wrong, taking the main focus away from the terrace with strange and interesting bookings was for me the highlight of my career with the apex of this being the Grace Jones booking in 2009.

I found it rather strange to not get a mention in the Space book to be honest and at the time it was published I had no idea why they would pointedly do that but thinking about this now I suspect that I never had a very good poker face when dealing with Juan Arenas and he probably knew exactly how I felt about him and what he had done to that once wonderful venue. Fuck em…

AL – There are certain parts of life in Ibiza that both you and I dislike and yet we still continue to live here. For me the good parts of the island far outweigh the bad parts. What are your favourite things about living in Ibiza?

MB – I love the weather here and driving through the countryside, I love the beach life with my wife and I love my old town house. I love sharing food with friends and walking in the winter. I love the fact that everybody seems to take care with how they look but that it does not require pots of cash to look good on Ibiza. I love it when we get the island back from the summer visitors and I love it when they return in Easter signalling the summer ahead… kind of!

AL – What is the best party you have ever been to?

MB – I enjoy parties I’ve put on myself, once you’ve put on a party there’s no going back to other peoples really. I need full access and full control with what’s going on, from the music programming to the drinks tickets. I have been fortunate enough to have been involved in some incredible events and have worked with some amazing people over the years who helped make them memorable so it’s very difficult to pick one event out as being the best but I look back at our time in Australia and the events we put on there with very fond memories. The time and place was perfect, the stars were aligned and we were still relatively young. Home Sydney during the lead up to the millennium was off the hook good and probably the best regular club night I’ve ever been to, the energy there on some Saturday nights was the stuff of legend but if I had to pick one party that stands out as being truly amazing i’d have to say Bondi Beach / Millennium Eve. Back To Basics was also incredible and I’ve had some wonderful nights out in Manchester over the years too! Too many parties…

AL – What would you rather do, never listen to music again for the rest of your life or strangle both of your cats?

MB – I would never kill my cats unless they were in terrible distress and this was the only course of action available for me to take Andrew. I’d rather kill a person than kill my cats.

AL – If you could have one person permanently removed from Ibiza who would it be? They get to go live in Huddersfield instead.

MB – I’m not going to be able to truthfully answer this really am I? It would be hurtful to the person involved, all for cheap laughs. It’s also pretty pointless focusing on one individual when there are so many people I’d like to see removed from the island. Sophie Mac used to play the same game. She called it OFF and we played it a few times round hers after Space some Monday mornings when we got to feeling reflective. It was great and raised some interesting points as you had to justify why you wanted this person OFF and then there would be a vote with everybody playing having to have a say either way in defence or against the person suggested. It generally got pretty heated and we had to stop in the end but for a few weeks it was a rather fun distraction. 

Thanks very much to Mark and Andrew for what we’re sure you’ll agree has been a great read. Catch The Brothers and their friends at Pikes On Sundays this week from 1pm – 2am.

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