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Mara Interview

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Simon: The latest Mara single 'Coming Down' is featured on Deep Dish's Global Underground Moscow. When is this due for release and who can we expect on remix duties?

Barry: We're already promoing this one from TP at the moment so I think we'll be looking at a late March release. The original mix is on there alongside a Medway dub, which is slightly deeper, and a tad more progressive.

Simon: From early singles such as Falling, One and Fall From Grace, Mara has become one of the most popular artists in the progressive music scene, and has a stunning remix discography. Following on from the recently released Fred Numf Illusion Of The Truth, what other remixes have you been approached to do?

Barry: We've just finished remixing 'I feel Stereo' by Dino Lenny, which is something we were very excited about doing. Because it's one of the stand out tracks on the Deep Dish GU and a Yoshitoshi track we wanted to deliver something really special. We're happy with the final result and are looking forward to moving onto the new Mooogroove track 'Deuce' which will be released on Saw

Simon: Rumour has it that you did a remix of Space Manoeuvres - Stage One that is apparently floating around as a white label? How did this come about, was it an officially commissioned mix by hooj or a cheeky interpretation by yourselves, and will it see a full release?

Barry: It was done initially as a one off for Barry to play out but he let a few people, including John Graham (as it's his tune!), Pappa & Deep Dish have CD's. It's very cool, underground house, perfect for people like Pappa and Sasha (who has acquired a copy from somewhere) but it won't be getting a release on Hooj, they're sticking with the mixes they've commissioned. If there are any whites out there, they must be well dodgy.

Simon: Its been widely mooted that you are working on a Mara artist album, and further gossip would have Phil Oakie from Human League appearing on the album. What else can we expect from the album, and when is it likely to be released?

Barry: Yes Phil is doing a vocal for us in return for the work that Barry did on a Human League track. His studio is just down the road from ours so it seemed like a good idea to get together. At the moment the album is shaping up quite nicely, there's a couple of 'typical' Mara tracks on there one of which was a collaboration with Austin Leeds, some breaks tracks and a couple of down tempo 'proper' songs! We're hoping for a summer release in 2002, it's been a real labour of love due to the fact that we both work constantly on the label and have been continuing doing the remixing. There aren't many albums that are written whilst the artists hold down full time jobs.

Simon: Barry, you are quite a busy person in the studio, be it with Pappa, Andy Jarrod, and Revolt or under the Three Monkeys, Mara or Hyperion guises. Where on earth do you find all the time to bang out such quality productions time after time?

Barry: I haven't got a clue! Junior doctors work fewer hours than me. With Djing as well things have gone really mental!

Simon: Can we expect new productions from Three Monkeys, Jarrod and Gilbey or Hyperion anytime soon?

Barry: Probably not, I'm concentrating on the core names right now Mara, Finger Fest Inc. (with D.Ramirez), Prototype and on my work with Anthony Pappa. It was all getting a bit too confusing…

Simon: The Choo Choo roster is ever growing, incorporating more quality artists like Dark Driver and Finger Fest Inc. What new releases can we expect to see from Choo Choo in the new year and beyond?

Barry: We're starting the New Year with Finger Fest Inc. (Auto Porno) and Mara (Coming Down) before we move on to some new names like Bento with a track called 'The Unity', which is a really superb chugging track with a memorable ethnic horn sound that makes it go right off, there's an Oko Tek and a Mara remix on that. Following that we have a Dutch producer who goes by the name Remark with his first outing for Choo Choo which is called 'So Pure', this is a bit deeper than we often go, cool vocal and a nice groove with the bass line, flip it over for a Finger Fest Inc. remix. Then seeing us almost into the summertime is another track from D.Ramirez which is already finding favour with Deep Dish, that's called 'Bounce Your DJ' we've got a really big name to handle remix duties on that but I can't say yet who it is, just in case his schedule gets fucked up and he can't make it and we end up looking like complete tits. Also look out for a new signing by the name of 'Spartak', his first single 'Swallows and Amazons' is proper no-nonsense techno with superb melodic edge.

Simon: Recently a new sister label to Choo Choo was set up called Akademia Recordings, what can we expect to hear from this brand new breakbeat based label in 2002?

Barry: Well, we've got tracks and remixes coming from DJ Hyper (with Akademia signings Tension), Steven Gerrard (Bedroom Bedlam Winner) & Russel Pearce, Vigi & Flip, Bad Cop, Das & DJ Welten (a couple of right mysterious bods from Germany), Breakneck and label manager DJ Filth so far. Mara will be providing material for the label also! The label is going to represent the sort of breaks stuff we're into basically, from slightly progressive influenced stuff to arse tearing bassline tracks and everything in between. There may also be some seriously twisted house/techno tracks too!

Simon: When Mara are in the studio laying down ideas for a new track, who wears the pants, Barry or Sarah?

Barry: Ever heard of mutual respect? No, neither have we. We argue like mad and if blood doesn't flow at some point then we haven't worked hard enough on the track :

Simon: To Both Barry and Sarah: What would you cite as the biggest influence of your careers, be it musically or in general?

Sarah: In general, Barry.

Barry: Sarah or my father

Simon: Obviously with the amount of collaborations already under your belt, you seem to have found a niche of working with the people who compliment you best, but if there was anyone outside this bunch of people you could work with who would it be and why?

Sarah: Metallica.

Barry: Oh it's got to be Queensryche…I'm an old rocker at heart!

Simon: What is your definition of the term "progressive music"?

Barry:I would say that progressive music is that which constantly grows, develops and evolves. Anything that stays where it is without pushing forward in any way is not truly progressive.

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