GIVING a voice to the worlds best superstar DJs and producers in The Sun, both in print and online, while positioning alongside them the unsung, up and coming artists whose music helps provide the dance floor fuel in their sets, has always been at the heart of my work over the last decade. This basic concept continues to drive and inspire me as a music journalist.
As a producer, label owner and DJ myself, I know first hand how difficult it is to cut through the noise in the digital realm these days, get your music heard by the top flight DJs and gain recognition from the industry or even just to get DJ gigs. This has become harder now that everyone is trying to be a DJ, made worse with underground venues, which have traditionally nurtured and incubated future talent, closing left, right and centre across the UK. The pandemic definitely didn’t help.
Providing a high profile platform to like minded, passionate up and coming DJs and artists at The Sun and positioning them alongside legends and pioneers of the scene has been really special for me. It’s also been important for so many of those future artists, encouraging their careers and giving their profile and music a boost. Some of these artists have gone on to achieve successful careers and achieved longevity in this cruel music industry where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs! My work doing this has always been very much a labour of love, in much the same way that releasing underground house and techno music on my Cubism label which I run with Saytek has been for both of us over the last 15 years.
It’s not hard to understand then, why today is such a great moment for me as I launch The Night Bazaar as an official weekly column in print every Friday in The Sun’s award winning Something For The Weekend music section, in addition to providing exclusive, dynamic digital content to The Sun’s online music. The Night Bazaar debut (pictured above) featured in The Sun’s SFTW pages for the first time on Friday 15th December 2023 and plugs an exclusive playlist compiled by Rave New World author Kirk Field who talks us through a selection of iconic tracks from the birth of acid house and the rave scene in the UK. Kirk was on the front line witnessing it all first hand and holding it together enough to document it. His book is the best account of the era I have read and he delivers it with wonderful sense of rave humour any head will be able to relate to. Head HERE to listen to the playlist and read what Kirk had to say about it.
The Night Bazaar and the huge body of work archived on this website being officially recognised in this way by The Sun is a big moment for me and the guys I work with. I’m very grateful to the newspaper for giving me their blessing to continue shining a spotlight on talent across the board using The Night Bazaar as my vehicle to do this.
This music mission of mine all started with Clubz, the column I launched in 2012 and which appeared in print every Friday in SFTW from 2012 until 2016. Public opinion was divided from the start on Clubz, with abuse levelled at The Sun and myself for daring to change the narrative and celebrate a culture that was once demonised and sensationalised by the newspaper.
Many assumed Clubz was just The Sun cynically cashing in on dance music and one of the UKs most important, pivotal youth culture movements in UK and global history, not to mention the enduring contribution and influence our home grown talent has had over the last 30 years around the world and continues to have on music across the board from pop to hip-hop. Nothing could be further from the truth and let’s face it, the whole legend of the birth of acid house and the role The Sun and other media played at the time is an important part of the folklore.
While I was expecting a bit of a backlash some of it was quite unfair but thankfully the DJ heroes of my youth got behind it. Clubz was all down to myself and fellow graphic designer, Anthony Kearney rattling cages at the paper. We saw an opportunity to do something not long after I started working there at the start of 2012, this was also an opportunity to indulge my passion for the music alongside with my design work and I relished the chance to positively contribute to the music culture I fell in love with in the 90s and that has been and remains a big part of my life. I pushed hard for it back then, believing dance music deserved to be part of the national conversation on The Sun’s pages. It was noticeably absent back then in the paper. I knew this coverage would be welcomed by the industry and by many Sun readers, even though I knew there would be outrage from odd keyboard warriors and seasoned Sun haters. I am glad The Sun is forward thinking and I am proud to be a part of a team of such talented people.
While there will no doubt still be naysayers who will criticise this next evolution in my decade long effort, I am confident that the industry and global scene will warmly welcome The Night Bazaar in the same way that Clubz was embraced when it first appeared in 2012, launching the column as we did with endorsements via exclusive interviews with the likes of Pete Tong, Danny Rampling, Carl Cox, Bicep, Richie Hawtin, Goldie, David Guetta and Underworld to name but a few. During those four years with Clubz, I interviewed and featured pretty much every big name in dance music. It was a very special time and it’s super exciting to now have the opportunity to continue this evolution at The Sun with The Night Bazaar. I also have grown a much thicker skin!
I replaced Clubz in 2017 with weekly SFTW DJ Playlists, in an attempt to keep the door open for dance music coverage in print while still doing the odd interview for SFTW here and there when I could find time. I needed to achieve a more manageable workload and this drove my decision to ultimately end Clubz. I was burning out and something had to give. My commute to London together with the day job designing pages for the features department as a senior graphic designer and part of a very talented, tight knit team of professionals making the paper sparkle each day was the most important thing, it’s why I am there in the first place so Clubz had to go. Replacing Clubz with the SFTW DJ Playlists turned out to be a masterstroke as they not only turned out to be extremely popular they have been a lot easier to manage. Not to mention the wealth of new music they have yielded for our ears.
After the pandemic forced us to work from home, the seismic transition in working that followed was seamless for us at The Sun, a testament to my colleagues as much as the technology. But it’s heralded a hybrid working system for me ever since, something I had wanted to do for a number of years. Hybrid working affords me the best of both worlds, I can keep in touch with the beating heart of the newsroom and still connect with my colleagues while reclaiming the enormous amount of time stolen by the slog of the daily travel to and from London five days a week. Let’s face it, commuting every day can be a right drag. It was for me anyway, but I’ve achieved a great work life balance now, inspiring my creativity across my design and music work, but more importantly I am also able to spend more quality time with my wife Sarah and our children.
The Night Bazaar, this very website, was initially intended to be a portfolio of my work from Clubz. Since the SFTW DJ Playlists launched in 2017 It’s taken on a life of its own and has grown into a special archive. In addition to this, The Night Bazaar Mixcloud profile, which features heavily in our content and will continue to, has grown a healthy, engaged audience in a very organic, natural way, separate from The Sun. With the extended reach that our weekly column in the newspaper gives this platform, we look forward to many more people discovering the myriad of content and massive and diverse volume of electronic music from the last ten years both on this website and on Mixcloud.
The Night Bazaar already boasts over 300 exclusive mixes on Mixcloud from big names such as Carl Cox, Roger Sanchez, Magda, Pan-Pot and Jay Tripwire to Emanuel Satie, Sasha, DJ Pierre, Bushwacka! and Terry Francis. That’s just a little snapshot of the top level quality sets we host across a broad range of house and techno and of course we regularly invite future heroes who we showcase among them. There’s also a peppering of drum and bass, dub, breakbeat, electro and more. I know there is a bit of a bias towards my beloved house and techno but I do try and cover all facets of electronica working with experts in those genres like my pal Ash Blewer whose passion is very much Drum and Bass. On top of all this, we have a monthly podcast, The Night Bazaar Music Show mixed by myself which features a snapshot of the very best music finding my ears each month. The Night Bazaar Music Show will expand during 2024 with regular live stream specials, featuring showcases from exceptional talent and more exclusive audio only sets on The Night Bazaar Sessions.
With this strong foundation, 2024 is going to be really exciting and we look forward to hearing some amazing music together with our growing audience on The Night Bazaar. We are looking forward to sharing forward thinking, quality dance music content from around the world with you while employing new creative technologies to deliver it as we report back from our encounters with DJs and producers from the front line.
I would like to wish you all a very merry Christmas and leave you with my yuletide mix for the December edition of The Night Bazaar Music Show. The tracklist for the mix is below and it’s a cracker.
Mark Gwinnett x
Find exclusive content from The Night Bazaar at www.thesun.co.uk/music
Mark Gwinnett – The Night Bazaar Music Show – December 2023 – Tracklist
Sam Ball – Locusts
David Calo – Renew
Augusto Gagliardi – Don’t You Know
Ryan Martyn – Awakening Skies (Indie Elephant Remix)
Carlos Barbero featuring Aves Volare – Mysterious Side
Nihil Young – Fallen
Martin Luciuk – Galactic Boost
Masha Vincente – Smooth Ride
Antix – Cavalier (Emok Remix)
Robert Babicz – This Is The Way
Fritz Kalkbrenner – In The Morning (Helsloot Remix)
Antix – The Duck Walk (D-Nox & Gai Barone Remix)