The ladies love cool Mark
49 Questions for Mark Ronson
Best known for his production work on Amy Winehouse's multi-Grammy winning album Back to Black, Mark Ronson has more production credits than there are questions in this interview. Having signed Saigon, Wale and Rhymefest to his own label Allido Records and worked with Ghostface, Mos Def, Nate Dogg and D’Angelo to name a few, Mark might look like a Williamsburg hipster, but he's a bonafide hip-hop head.
Check out Pound's 49 Questions for Mark Ronson and listen to his charming (albeit, groggy) trans-Atlantic accent.
Interview: Makaya Kelday
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Pound: Hey Mark. How you feeling today?
MR: I’m alright thanks.
Pound: Are you ready? I have 49 questions for Mark Ronson here…
MR: Ok go ahead, I’ll try and be as quick as possible.
Pound: Where in the world are you at the moment?
MR: I am in New York. Just here for a few days, back off tour and working on an album.
Pound: What’s the weather like in New York?
MR: It’s cold but it can’t be as cold as Toronto.
Pound: What are you wearing right now?
MR: I’m wearing a white t-shirt and some trousers cause I’m just in the middle of getting dressed. I’m in the middle of two outfits and haven’t committed to one of them yet.
Pound: What’s your single most important garment?
MR: I don’t know if I have one in particular that I’m attached to but shoes are pretty important.
Pound: Or maybe that white t-shirt?
MR: Yeah, maybe the white t-shirt. For now let’s just say the white t-shirt.
Pound: Favorite food?
MR: Aaah! So many things are making my brain have to work right now! What did I have for last night? Ummm, if we’re going with a cuisine, I’d say Japanese food.
Pound: Favorite drink?
Pound: Favorite city?
MR: I guess New York.
Pound: New York over London?
MR: Today, yes.
Pound: Do you have a favorite New York neighborhood?
MR: Actually my favorite part of New York is this little town out in Long Island called Amagansett, which is where I’ve been spending a lot of time lately. It’s very isolated by the beach and gets very cold this time of year.
Pound: Do you have a favorite movie?
MR: Annie Hall.
Pound: Favorite living artist?
MR: Stevie Wonder.
Pound: Favorite dead artist?
Pound: I was gonna ask you Biggie or 2Pac, so I guess I know the answer…
MR: Definitely Biggie.
Pound: Favorite band?
MR: Right now or forever?
MR: The Beatles.
Pound: Favorite producer?
Pound: Top five songs of all-time, without thinking too much, off the top of your head…
MR: Pete Rock & CL Smooth, "They Reminisce over You"; Led Zeppelin, "Ramble On"; Arcade Fire, "The Suburbs"; Jay-Z, "Public Service Announcement"; and A Tribe Called Quest…. It could be any one but let’s just say "Lyrics to Go."
Pound: If you had to choose one artist to write a song about your life, who would it be?
MR: Katy Perry. At least it would be a hit even if it wasn’t very good!
Pound: If you could listen to any one person’s iPod who would it be? Even if there weren’t iPods in their lifetime.
Pound: What’s new on your iPod? Is there anything that you can’t stop listening to lately?
MR: Yeah, give me two seconds and I’ll look at my iPod. I’ve been listening to an album by a band named the Electric Prunes. The album is called Release of a Dove.
Pound: Name some up-and-coming artists that we should keep an eye out for?
MR: Have you heard of this rapper from New York named Homeboy Sandman? He’s really good.
Pound: How do you feel that you’re constantly being labeled as a trendsetter?
MR: I don’t mind. I mean, I think it’s just because I work with new artists who are really talented and they end up becoming quite successful, but I’m not responsible for their success, I think we just work well together. But Amy Winehouse, Daniel Merriweather and people like that have, I guess they’ve come and helped change the course of music a little bit.
Pound: I’m going to name off a bunch of artists that you have worked with and I just want you to say the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear their name.
Pound: Nate Dogg.
MR: West Coast.
Pound: Ghostface Killah.
Pound: Macy Gray.
Pound: Amy Winehouse.
MR: Hair, why do I keep saying hair? 'Cause I’m just picturing their faces—i'll say tattoos.
Pound: Q -Tip.
Pound: Boy George.
Pound: Where is Wale?
MR: He’s working on his new record. He’s got this huge hit with Waka Flocka so he’s doing good.
Pound: Can you name me the current artists that are signed to your label Allido?
MR: To be honest, the label has kind of dissipated a bit. We’re still working with all the artists but because I’ve been on the road so much and just producing I’ve realized that I don’t have enough time to try and do a label as well. So my partner Rich and I still work with Wale and Daniel [Merriweather] but not on the label officially.
Pound: Are you still working with Rhymefest?
MR: Rhymefest I am still friends with but he’s running for Alderman in Chicago so he’s started the first phase of his political career which I think is a very smart thing cause he’s a very smart man.
Pound: That was the next question. How do you feel about Rhymefest running for Alderman in Chicago so it’s good to know that you are in full support of his political endeavors. Is there anything we can do to support him?
MR: Just tell all your friends in Chicago to vote for him!
Pound: What’s next for Mark? What’s happening in your life?
MR: I’m just still on tour and working with some different bands and rappers and singers. That’s all I really do. There’s not really a stage of evolution in my career, I just keep working with people I like and enjoy and try to make music that will be around for a little while.
Pound: You have a bunch of shows booked from now 'til March but none in Toronto, any news about coming up here?
MR: I would love to come but the thing is that we’re a really big band with a big set and we’re not very popular in Toronto yet so it would be hard for us to get all our shit up there. I’d basically be paying for it myself 'cause I’m sure we’d be playing at a pretty small place like at Lee’s Palace or something so I’m hoping to at least come up for a gig with MNDR and Spank Rock and do something interesting like that.
Pound: What’s going on with MNDR?
MR: She’s working on her new record and you know she’s someone I discovered from her demos on her MySpace and got really into them and I asked her to come to the studio one day and that’s how we came up with "Bang Bang Bang."
Pound: Authentic Shit. Tell the readers who don’t know what it is.
MR: It’s the radio show that I do. I used to DJ a party with Q-Tip and we couldn’t think of a name for it. We played any kind of music that we liked and thought was good but there was a lot of bullshit commercial hip-hop being played in clubs at the time so we thought it was a good idea. Q-Tip came up the idea to call our party Authentic Shit cause it’s just the real good shit, it doesn’t matter whether it’s funk, hip-hop, afrobeat, reggae, whatever. So when I started my show five or six years ago that’s what I decided to call it. It’s every Friday from 8-10 PM on East Village Radio and I’ve had everyone from Adele to the XX to Amy Winehouse to the Black Lips come in and just perform live and I try to world premier as much interesting music and play demos of stuff that I’m working on as well as other things that I like.
Tonight I’ve got Duran Duran and Holy Ghost coming on the show so it should be a good one.
Pound: How’s your love life Mark?
MR: It’s good. I’ve been with the same girl for about two years and we’re very much in love.
Pound: That’s very nice. Is she in NY, London?
MR: She’s based in Paris but we find a way to be together as much as possible.
Pound: Last question… A Gournal? (In reference to the Mark Ronson interlude on the Santigold mixtape.)
MR: It’s from a movie called Wet Hot American Summer. It’s about ten years old; it’s an amazing movie. It’s kind of a spoof of all those '80s summer camp movies like Porkies and stuff like that and Paul Rudd plays this character who’s this idiot pretty boy character and this girl comes up and she’s like "what are you writing in?" and he’s like, "I’m writing in my gournal." She goes, "Do you mean journal?" and he’s like, "Sorry I’m not smart like you." And since then I just think that the word gournal is the best word ever.
Pound: Thank you very much for taking time to talk to us.
MR: Yeah, nice talking to you. Take care!
Check out Mark every friday night from 8-10pm live on East Village Radio.