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Mark Norman: The dynamic duo of tech-trance

Author: Mark Burton
Friday, February 4, 2005
Mark de Jong and Norman Lenden, better known collectively as Mark Norman, are the latest trance phenomena to emerge from Holland. Their trademark tough-trance productions, including Overkill, Shine and most recently the spooky Phantom Manor, have helped define the bourgeoning tech-trance sound and are consistently found in the play-lists of the likes of Marco V and Tiesto. 2004 was a great year for them with recognition coming at home and abroad, where the duo increased their profile from behind the decks through a host of gigs across Europe and North America.

How did you get together-

We met each other at High School as teenagers where we shared the same interest: music. We spent all our spare time making music together. At that time people couldn't understand what we were doing all the time behind our computers....haha now they understand :)

Who were you into musically when you were younger-

Enigma and Duran Duran. But we listened to a lot of music. Norman was as a teenager into the hip hop music and dance and Mark listened to lots of different styles of music.

In 2003 you moved from BPM to Black Hole and haven't looked back since. How important has this move been in launching your careers to the next level-

I think this was a very important move for our career because Blackhole is still a big player in the market nowadays and they have the possibilities to work and support the artist as best they can. With the support of Tiesto and Blackhole we feel strong and we hope we can continue in future!

You're quoted as saying that you'd like to follow in the footsteps of Tiesto-

Well we hope so :) but to be honest we have to work hard and go our own way! I think that is the best you can do! We still make music which we like and u never know what can happen in the future.

All Mark Norman tracks are underpinned by a chunky, driving bass line. How do you create this trademark sound-

When we start to produce a track we always begin to make the 'drive' (= beat).Then we put in a bass line and we try just as long till we finally think this is great! This can take hours and hours :)

What other elements are crucial to the unique sound of Mark Norman-

The drive is one of the most important characteristic of the Mark Norman sound but also the break is really important. We try to make a break with a nice and long build up to create an atmosphere that the people go crazy....

Change, your next release as Mark Norman features Esmay. This will be the first MN release that has a vocal- What's behind this change in direction-

As you might know Esmay has won the 'Tiesto in search of talent' price. When she was busy with their album she needed a dance remix from one track of the album. Because she liked our style and Tiesto was very busy at that moment we had the chance to remix the track 'A change is coming'.

How does the track sound-

Like a Mark Norman production :) Pumping bassline and a nice break with lovely vocals.

You also release as Starr, Silk & Alexander Gustaff. How do releases under each name differ from the other-

We try to make different kind of styles under our aliases. Starr is more trance related, a little bit downtempo and relaxing while our guise Alexander Gustaff is more techno orientated.

I've heard a rumour that Norman has concentrated on the DJing & Mark the production-

We started deejaying together but it was not working because we were not used to play together. So we decided that Norman would be the deejay of us two. But we still produce together because it is a sort of magic when we are together. Real strange but it works. That is why we also want to create a live act together in future.... That would be awesome!

Do you still write the music together-

Yes, only when Norman is overseas for deejaying, Mark is working in the studio alone.

When your DJing overse