“Contrary to popular belief, my name is not pronounced Muh-neck. Or M-neck. Or Mm-bop. It’s M-N-E-K. Just thought I’d point that out.”
For some it may seem that MNEK does not receive the recognition he deserves. Hailing from London’s East End, the high top fade rocking 18-year-old doesn’t shy away from what he loves. Toe dipping in the production waters at the early age of five, yes five, he has now dived in to tracks with the likes of Rudimental, Misha B and Tinie Tempah along with a wealth of remix work under his belt. Now the highly artistic DJ/producer/singer/ songwriter has more forthcoming collaborations in the pipeline and has his sights set on a solo project of his own.
After the success of his most recent project on Duke Dumont’s ‘Need U (100%)’, MNEK will be putting one tune into another this Thursday at the i-D x Blasé Boys Club Mix event (RSVP here). New Jack Swing style. Distracting him from preparing for his set, i-D chat production, prized possessions and pleasures with the musical multi-tasker.
Where are you in the world right now? Shoreditch.
When did you first get into production? I asked my dad for this little eJay production software when I was 5 and it just had royalty free loops, but then after that, when I was about 8 or 9, I started experimenting, sampling and coming up with my own melody lines and effectively making my own compositions.
Was singing and songwriting the natural next step? Yes. As far as songwriting, I enjoyed English in school, so I loved creative writing and I’d always loved the melody. I’d always known how to sing as a kid but was very shy about it, and only started singing in public when I was about 11/12.
How did your relationship with Rudimental come about? I shared a studio with Amir Amor from right before he joined Rudimental. And we built a friendship and I came into one of their sessions, and 30 minutes later, “Spoons” was born. And from then on, we wrote a few more songs together and some of it is on their new album ‘Home’ (out April 29th), which I’m so excited about. It’s great working with them and performing with them, they’re like family.
You’re playing at the i-D x Blasé Boys Club mix night at the Shoreditch Butchery. For those unknowing, what can we expect from an MNEK dj set? New Jack Swing. Twerking. Poorly taken instagram photos. And a high top fade.
Tell us about some of your upcoming projects? Well, as well as the Rudimental album, I’ve been working with Duke Dumont, Javeon, Syron, Tanika, Amelia Lily, I have two cuts on her new album, Hobbie Stuart, of course A*M*E, Becky Hill from the Voice…. *raspberries*…. So a lot of people. AND my own artist project.
What is your most prized possession? My hard drive, I know I’m a loser.
What are you wearing head to toe? Samuel L Jackson leather hat. Denim jacket/hoodie thing. Jeans. Shitty Reeboks.
What is your most recent guilty pleasure? I have no guilt in my pleasures.
What are you going to do after this interview? Continue with my session and… ermmm prepare for my set tomorrow night, I don’t wanna fuck up, so….
Text: James Hutchins
Photography: Courtesy of MNEK