We caught up with DJ Duo MRK1 & James Eliot, also known as Solardo, to catch up on all things music, fashion & festivals. On Saturday Solardo will be brining their brand of infectious house music to the MOODS event series, hosted at The Perception Bar of the W London in Leicester Square.
How did you guys meet & how did Solardo start?
James: We’ve known each other for years, probably 15+, since the early party scene back in Manchester in the 90s. In 2015, Mark had just moved back to Manchester from London after working as an engineer for a bit when I randomly bumped into him. I’d just invested in some new studio gear and Mark was looking for a new project to get stuck into, so I said we should work on some bits! The rest, as they say, is history.
When and where was your first ever set?
The Whiskey Jar in Manchester, back in May 2016. Crazy to think how far we’ve come since then!
Name three artists you had on your playlists growing up?
The Prodigy, Guns N Roses and Wu Tang Clan.
What’s your guilty pleasure track?
The Cardigans – My Favourite Game. Bit of a belter that.
If you could work with another artist, past or present, who would it be?
It would be a toss up between The Chemical Brothers and The Prodigy, but think we would have to go with the latter. Was devastating to hear the news about Keith Flint the other month, have seen them quite a few times over the last 20 years and they’ve been incredible every time.
What’s been your career highlight so far?
Parklife last year was pretty monumental for us, with it being our hometown and all. We played both days: Saturday for Circoloco stage, then Sunday in front of 15,000 people in the Hangar.
Best DJ you’ve ever seen live?
We’d probably have to say Green Velvet. He’s class and we’ve had the honour of playing with him on numerous occasions.
Favourite set you’ve played to date?
It would be unfair to pick one, there’s been so many and each is different! Instead of favourite, we’re gonna say memorable – making our debut at Glastonbury. I think we’d both agree that was a pretty special moment.
Festival season is coming… what’s your favourite thing about playing at festivals?
I think it’s the fact that every one is just in a mint mood whatever the weather, they all just wanna have a good time and party and I think that resonates across all festivals, as well as when we play.
If you could headline a festival, which would it be?
Being born & bred in Manchester, Parklife would have to be up there! We kind of had a taste of it last year, playing to 15,000 people in The Hangar on the Sunday. Unforgettable that.
What festivals have you got lined up this year?
2019 is the busiest year we’ve had for festivals, I think we worked out the other day that we’re playing over 30! We made our debut at Ultra Music Festival in Miami in March and that was incredible. Other notable appearances still to come include EDC Vegas, Glastonbury, Parklife, Marvellous Island, Tomorrowland, Creamfields, Verknipt, Hideout, Mysteryland & many many more.
How do you spend your time away from Solardo?
We’ve both got kids, so when we’re not touring we try and spend as much time with our families as possible. Certainly keeps you grounded.
Do you have any new music you can tell us about?
We’ve been working on a few bits, most recently a collab with Eli Brown which we’re pretty excited about so keep your eyes out for that.
Who’s going to win the premier league?
This is a tough one… We’re both United fans, so it’s a killer to see either City or Liverpool win it! But City are ruthless and have an amazing squad so I reckon they’ll just have enough.
Drink of choice on a night out?
You can never beat an ice cold pint of lager.
Describe Solardo in three words?
Lively, loud and lovely.
If you guys weren’t DJs, you’d be?
Mark: I’ve worked in and produced music all my life, so if I wasn’t doing it for myself, I’d probably be engineering for other artists.
James: I’ve been clubbing for the past 20 years so I’d imagine something to do with events.