Flashback: Mark Otten – Mushroom TherapySeptember 30th, 2008
He is being described as ‘one of Holland’s best kept secrets’ and a ‘producing genius’. His ‘Mushroom Therapy’ was an instant hit and 5 years after its release, it’s considered to be a real classic. The track was praised for its deep progressive sound with a trancy touch and amazing little details gently toying around with the bass.
‘Mushroom Therapy’, released on the Armind imprint on December 15th 2003, is not even close to dusty. Same goes for Mark, cause there’s a whole lot more to expect from this talented producer. There’s absolutely no restrictions or boundaries for this open minded guy. His sound ranges from progtrance to techy house and addictive rock. As long as it’s emotional and melodic. While some producers think of it as hasty business, Mark takes the time to perfectionize his productions and takes them to an even higher level. Whether it’s under his Rio Addicts or Lightscape guise, he does it all with great passion. It’s time to look back and ahead and ask Mark what’s been going on in the meanwhile. And of course, whether it involves mushrooms!
Armada: Ever thought Mushroom Therapy was going to be such a classic? Do you think it’s ‘worthy’ enough to be called a classic, or do you have a different view on what applies as a classic?
Mark: ‘Haha, well I am honoured you qualify it as a classic! It has done really well, but I think it’s up to other people to decide on this. ‘
Armada: What most people don’t know, is that Mushroom Therapy was made in 1,5 days. How on earth did you manage to do so? Was it mushrooms?
Mark: ‘Actually, it was the original version that was done in 1,5 days, after we were trying our new concept ‘make a track in one day’ and nearly succeeded. But that version never made it onto the release. I wanted to do my own take on the track, which became the version under my Lightscape guise, and that was actually quite a challenge to finish, not in the least because my computer at that time wasn’t able to cope with all the tracks, haha. And er.. were there mushroom involved? Who knows, who knows.’
Armada: For ‘Mushroom Therapy’ you teamed up with Martijn van Oers. Why wasn’t it released under Mark Otten & Martijn van Oers then?
Mark: ‘Well the reason is this: I never intended to use my own name for any project. But when Armin opened his Essential Mix on BBC Radio One with the track, totally surprising me, he put my name on the tracklist as the project name! I figured, with the exposure this Essential Mix gave, it wouldn’t be wise to change names afterwards. Martijn was cool with this because it was just my Lightscape version that was going to be released.’
Armada: How did it end up at Armada?
Mark: ‘Before working with Armada, I already had a few releases with other guys. BlackHole Recordings was already interested in ‘Lightscape – Inner Warmth’, but then I met Armin’s brother, Eller, who had just started studying guitar at the Rock academy in my hometown. I met him at a rehearsal of a friend’s band and he kindly offered to bring some of my music to Armin. Within days, I got a very enthusiastic email from Armin (which had me screaming so loud the whole street must have heard it) saying he wanted to talk about doing releases on his label. All went real fast from there and ‘Mushroom Theraphy’ got released as one of the first tracks on Armin’s own Armind label for Armada. When Armin gets asked why he started Armada, he explains that ‘Mushroom Therapy’ was the last push he needed, because his record company at that time didn’t feel the track at all and Armin thought they were wrong. I felt so blessed!’
Armada: Got any special memories regarding the track?
Mark: ‘I remember that making the Lightscape Remix felt really right, picking up the electric guitar and really doing what I wanted to. I didn’t once think about it getting released, but just going with the flow. That’s the strongest memory I have I think, although I also still get chills when I hear Pete Tong’s voice over it at the start of Armin’s Essential Mix. Oh, and the tons of great, honest reactions I still get on it!’
Armada: What happened in the meanwhile? Did you have any changes in style?
Mark: ‘I’ve always been experimenting with all kinds of styles. I do trance, R’n'B, house, rock, ballads, progressive, etc. I try to keep things fresh and not getting stuck in one genre. But as far as dance releases go I really like that the different styles are coming together more and more and try to do the same thing in my own productions.’
Armada: Why is it that you don’t dj? Too shy to stand in front of the crowd?
Mark: ‘Not at all, haha! No, at the time things started to roll I was studying hard. But I also realized, looking at the careers of some of my friends, that dj’ing kind of forces you into a certain direction, music wise. And that doesn’t sound like me. So I decided not to go for that, even though Armin’s manager asked me several times. But hey, who knows, never say never!’
Armada: What’s to expect from you in the near future?
Mark: ‘I have just delivered a remix for Markus Schulz’s ‘On A Wave’, which will be on the ‘Progression Remixes’ album. Next to that I’ve done a housy track with Fine Taste, on a project called ‘Sidesmokers’, which was really cool to do! We’re planning on doing some more stuff together. Furthermore, I’m working with Raz Nitzan, Adrian Broekhuyse and DJ Julian Vincent, his second release is developing nicely. Next to that, I’ve delivered a new release at the Armada office and we’re currently figuring out onto which project this would suit best. Plus I have finished a track for the debut-album of the super-talented Gia Mellish, which is a slow pop track. Oh, and I got offered to work on another singer’s album… So as you can see, lots and lots to do!’
Mark Otten – Mushroom Therapy