2001*- Wanna' Make A Million In The Music Business- -Ask The Duke
Saturday, 30 December 2000"I've got the money, I've got a nice house,... fuck it! - I've had enough suffering." Mark Adams, aka Duke, roars with laughter as he describes some of the fruits that have come this former punk rocker's way, since he created just one worldwide dance anthem. But gaining a mansion, Aston Martin DB-6 and a 25 acre "garden" involved far more than some Newcastle kid once branded "musically retarded" simply getting lucky. Instead, it's a story of an individual taking control of his own destiny, then taking on the entire major label record company system on his own terms. "I've probably got more like 60 acres but I rent some of it out to local farmers," he corrects. "I've got all this property through just one song. It shows you how much money the fucking record companies must make out of artists, eh- The sooner we get rid of all that shit, the better."
Mezzmusic spoke to the Duke in November from his country estate (just outside
Newcastle) 6 years after his tune; 'So In Love With You', was first signed to Virgin. Its initial failure to crack the UK charts allowed the Duke to buy back his all-important publishing rights, just as the record started penetrating Dutch gay clubs. Nowadays, a number 1hit in 10 countries and top 10 in a further 22, the track has, even more impressively (and lucratively) been licensed to over 380 compilations (and rising), generating even more money. Most of which, for once, has gone to the tune's creator.
mezzmusic: When you first wrote the song, were you aware of its potential-
Duke:"I definitely knew it had something special as soon as I wrote it, and it only took me about 15 minutes. That was the music *and* the lyrics. I was just jamming in the studio, in the tiny flat I was living in at the time, which was a very peculiar spot, down near Newcastle's Docks, in the really rough part of town. Sometimes you write your best things when you're wanting to escape your surroundings."
mezz: Do you really live in a countryside mansion-
Duke:"Fuckin' right! I've got the money, I've got a nice house,....fuck it! (chuckling). I've had enough suffering."
mezz: How big is your estate, can you see all your land from the house-
Duke:"I can, though I've probably got more like 60 acres; I rent some of it out to local farmers. I've got all this property through just one song. It shows you how much money the fucking record companies must make out of artists, eh- The sooner we get rid of all that shit, the better. As far as I'm concerned, anyway. Why aren't there people actively promoting artists on the net- Artists should be treated in an honest way. Even when I see acts like Texas who've sold many millions of records, I'm sure they don't make as much money as they should."
mezz: You originally signed to Virgin in 1994, did they have the rights to the record at that point-
Duke:"I signed for a normal, simple deal with a £50,000 advance which, since I'd just come off the dole (ie unemployment/welfare benefit) seemed like loads, I thought it was crazy. We did the deal, put the records out and they didn't do anything, beyond a couple of plays on Radio 1. I then met a new manager and he said to me, 'Let's go in and get your rights back'. The record was already starting to happen in the gay clubs in Holland. We got the rights back off Virgin, with me having to pay them back an over-ride. You can imagine how unhappy they were, too."
mezz: When did you realize that the record was going to make you millions-
Duke:"As soon as it was starting to get on compilations in Europe- we did
375 compilations. Then the money started coming in. Then there were commercials, royalty payments and loads of other stuff and then the record started to break in South East Asia. When anybody ever tells you about hard-done-by musicians, look it's a simple as this, if you're willing to get your head down, work and learn about it all, you can have su Tags