Category: Production

Knew Knowledge meets – Tre Jean-Marie

I’ve been a big fan of London songwriter, producer and all-round good guy Tre Jean-Marie, 20, for a long time now. His potential as a hit writer has been evident for a while and at last it seems his talents are getting the recognition they deserve as he’s about to put pen to paper on his first publishing deal. So I thought there’s no time like the present to ask him a few questions and spread love and awareness of this exciting, young UK talent.

Knew Knowledge Interview


Tre Jean-Marie, songwriter/producer


  • Twitter: @trejeanmarie
  • Soundcloud: /trejeanmarie
  • Management: Jordan Jay & Ross Gautreau at Karma Artists
  • Lawyer: Simon Long at Collins Long

Hi Tre. So how did you start out in music?

I come from a musical family. Both my parents and some of my cousins are deep in the industry, so I’ve always been exposed to it. I remember being 9 or 10 years old and sneaking on my Dad’s computer in the middle of the night to teach myself Logic 5, and I haven’t turned back since.


Where do you prefer to write your songs?

Studio, home…The tube! Literally wherever I feel comfortable and catch a vibe!


What equipment do you use to write and record with? 

I used to be obsessed with outboard gear, but it’s not really practical, so now my set up is really simple. I have a travel bag that fits my laptop plus all its accessories, and that’s pretty much it – I can plug in to wherever I’m working from around the world.


What do you like to write about lyrically? Do you follow any themes or concepts?

However the music makes me feel. If I’m writing with an artist I try to pull from their own experiences rather than mine, after all, I’m there to enhance them.


What is in the pipeline for you over the next 6-12months? 

There’s lots I can’t mention or go into detail on, but there’s a MNEK single I’m really excited about that I’ve co-written/produced. I’ve been working quite heavily on Jacob Banks’ record too, and Emeli Sandé and Jojo are also amongst my favourites of recent work…The next 12 months should be fun!


What has been the highlight of your song-writing career so far?

This interview with Knew Knowledge 😉


How do you find with the artists you work with?

Mainly through the usual channels of managers, record labels and publishers. But every so often I’ll hear something fresh through social networks or at a showcase and reach out to the artists directly.


You’re close to signing your own first publishing deal. How has this has come about and how it is to be the subject of a signing frenzy?! 

I’ve actually done one [publishing deal] before but things went wrong quite early and I was fortunate enough to be able to get out. I’ve been working my arse off for a long time now, so to have material finally being released and to see it paying off by so many publishers – and even some of my idols putting in offers – is an overwhelming feeling. But that said, I know how important it is to not get complacent and stay focused. I’m pretty close to closing a deal with one of them at the moment.


You recently set up your own publishing company too. How easy was this and why did you decide to start your own operation?

Starting my own publishing company was quite difficult at first. I had a lot of meetings with people who were impressed to hear the ideas I had coming from the mouth of a 20 year old, but were too scared to make the commitment – perhaps because of my age, or because I don’t have a history in the publishing world. But I have a lot of talented unpublished friends, and I really wanted to create a model where, when possible, I could source opportunities for them. To me, doing a joint venture with a bigger publisher who was as excited about my vision as I was and saw the long-term potential was more important than finding somebody that was just going to throw some money about. It has started to grow quicker than I could have ever imagined.


It sounds like your business empire is growing nicely. Are you interested in doing your own artist project in future too?

I’ve started and scrapped my own project so many times that I think my friends are getting tired of me saying it lol. The trouble is that I don’t want to do it purely because everybody else is – and that’s no discredit to all the producer-artists out there, because there’s some amazing ones – but if I do end up having my own artist project it would have to be completely left, and that would have to come naturally.


Describe your experience of the music business in 3 words;

  1. Magical
  2. Cut-throat
  3. Confused


If you could be in a writing session with any songwriter dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Pharrell Williams. He’s had hits from before I was born and has managed to stay relevant up to this day. The Neptunes [his production team] have produced and/or written a lot of my favourite records of all time.

10 Best Neptunes Productions – article

Pharrell – Frontin’ ft. Jay Z


Name 3 great new artists you have recently discovered…

  1. I’ve been working with this guys called JP Cooper recently, and every time I hear him sing I’m mind blown.


  1. Grades is hands down my favourite producer-artist house project right now.


  1. There’s this UK rapper called Little Simz I’ve only just discovered. She’s great!


What was the first record you bought?

If I said S Club 7, do you promise not to judge me?


When was the last time you bought a CD or vinyl? What was it?

I can’t remember the last time! Digital is so much more convenient.


What will you be doing/where will you be in 10 years time?

I hope to be be doing exactly what I’m doing now but with a long discography and success that will inspire the next generation of writers and young entrepreneurs!


Finally, choose one from each;

Sam Cooke or Marvin Gaye? Marvin Gaye

New Jack Swing or Neo-soul? Neo-soul

Jean Michel Jarre or Herbie Hancock? Herbie Hancock

‘Thriller’ Michael Jackson or ‘Bad’ Michael Jackson? Thriller, but only fractionally

Kanye or Jay Z? Yeezy!

Beyonce or Katy Perry? Queen B

George Martin or Quincy Jones? Quincy Jones

Tom Misch – Memory

Hear this!

It’s already hit #1 on Hype Machine this past week. It’s lush and wonderful and chilled and evolving and I love it. Tom is a very exciting young producer & composer from London. Go to his Soundcloud page now and explore the many gems that await you. 



Icarus – Champagne Kiss (BBC 1Xtra rip)

Well, this sounds pretty fucking exciting!

Bristol-based brothers Tom & Ian aka Icarus, have been dropping nuggets for a while now, but their Icarus project really came to life 8 months ago. But it was just over a week ago that they picked up support from 1Xtra’s DJ Cameo who, as you’ll hear from this radio rip, gave the track some serious hype and a cheeky reload.  Trevor Nelson has also got involved too.

I’m sure you’ll be seeing Tom & Ian on a High Street in Kensington very soon…

Disciples – Mercy

This latest gem from London House trio Disciples gives a fresh reworking to Mr.Gaye’s 1971 beauty, ‘Mercy Mercy Me’. They recently signed to Elias Christidis at FFRR/Parlophone and this continues the impressive build toward their debut record, due in early 2015.


Knew Knowledge meets….Mark Tieku aka TIEKS

I recently had a chance to catch up with writer/producer Mark Tieku for a chat about his career so far and his fast-rising artist project, TIEKS.
“I grew up listening to house and dance in the days when it wasn’t called EDM. This music, to me, isn’t just a cool fad.”

Knew Knowledge Meets…

TIEKS – Songwriter/Producer/Artist


Twitter: @tieksmusic
Facebook: @tieksmusic

Mgmt: Dan Stacey –

KK: How does the story begin between you and music?

MT: I think music, especially when you’re a music professional, is something where there is no beginning or end in the story, if you know what I mean. My first musical memory though is quite clear; I remember being two years old and hearing Joe Jackson “Steppin’ Out”. Even though I was two that song sounded like the future to me. It still does. Growing up in the 80s I was massively influenced by the pop of the time. Michael Jackson, Madonna, Prince… Great records from great artists, the likes of which I doubt we will see again, but being a teen in the 90s really informed what I do now.

Joe Jackson – ‘Steppin’ Out’ (1982)


When did you start writing songs and why?

I wrote my first song when was about 14. Probably trying to emulate Wu-Tang.


Where do you prefer to write your songs?

On my couch.


What equipment do you use to write/record with? 

A laptop. I used to have the whole shebang. A Neve mixer, thousands of pounds worth of mic pres… Even the cabling I had in my old studio cost thousands, but the music I made in that room was terrible. I sold it all and now literally work from a laptop. I even mixed a record for new artist Ben Khan on my laptop.

What do you like to write about lyrically? Do you follow any themes or concepts?

I have a rule when I write which is never to draw from my own experiences. A lot of people get great material through things they have been through, but I tend to not enjoy that process. When I’m writing on my own I create an idea or scenario… However when I’m writing for others I do try and draw from what’s happening in their lives.

What influences your music? What do you look to for inspiration?

The movies covers both questions. Films like Suspiria, Man Hunter, and Blade Runner have great sound tracks and unforgettable visuals. It’s not uncommon for me to play these movies on silent during a session. I’m very synesthetic, so the colours in movies are important to my creative process. On a musical side of things, Wu-Tang, Daft Punk, Bowie, Nile Rodgers and Brian Eno are all massive inspirations which I draw from regularly. Cheers guys.

Blade Runner trailer (1982)

Suspiria trailer (1977)


What has been the highlight of your song-writing career so far?

Signing my first solo deal as an artist. Something I never thought I would do.

You have a reputation for working with diverse, new artists and finding new talent early. How do you find the artists you work with?

Luck, and having a good support network of loyal young producers and budding A&Rs that, for some reason, come to me first with a lot of stuff. To be in this line of work you have to have a good ear. But that only takes one so far. I’m lucky in the fact that I have some good people who trust me enough to come to me early with things they have found, so on an industry tip it looks like I am discovering all these new young acts but in truth its always a collective credit.

You were one of the first people to recognise the talents of a 14 yr old MNEK. What’s it been like seeing him progress and be nominated for a Grammy this year alongside Duke Dumont?

Well he is like a little brother to me and I love him a lot so it fills my heart with so much joy to see where he is now and to think where he will be in the future. I remember talking to him on the phone when he was still at school and he was such a shy kid. Now he’s totally come out of his shell. I think it’s safe to say he’s one of the UK’s top writers, and with regard to my own career as an artist, his talents are very much a part of the TIEKS sound.

Where did the TIEKS project originate from? Have you always wanted your own artist project?

The project slowly developed over time, but I never put pressure on myself to come out as an artist. In fact I never wanted to be an artist and my dream was always to be a producer. But times change and I had these songs with no where to go and here we are.

Is there an album in process? When can we expect it?

Yeah. We’re getting there, but I’m taking it one track at a time rather than thinking of a whole record. That was a piece of advice given to me by Duke Dumont (my stable mate) that’s helped me no-end. Sometimes thinking of a record before you have a decent body of work can lead to a dull output with no highlights. I’m trying to bang out some memorable singles then we can go to the mythical place of an album.

Do you think your experience in the studio and working with big artists has helped prepare you for your own artist project & live shows?

On the record making process it has for sure. I know how to make a record and make it relevant just because of learning from the successes and failures of work I have done for other acts. On the live element; no, I’m shitting my self on that front haha! For now I will be mainly DJing around the UK. I’ll get on the live thing once singles are bedded into the minds of the nation!

Your writer/producer material has been quite eclectic going from alt-pop to club to soul & urban, but TIEKS is far more club-orientated. Is club/house/EDM or however you want to term it, where you feel most at home or is it simply more of a reflection of the moment?

Well for me, where my own stuff is concerned it would have to be club music – that’s where I am most comfortable. Although I have worked on band stuff and in the pop arena, I come from the world of club music. The fact it’s relevant now is one of the reasons I’ve taken the chance to do my own record. I wouldn’t have been able to do my own record in the mid 2000’s because the market wasn’t ready. So it’s a bit of both in all honesty. I grew up listening to house and dance in the days when it wasn’t called EDM. The music to me isn’t just a cool fad… Records by Todd Edwards, Felix Da House Cat , Daft Punk and Etienne De Crecy inform the work I do outside of the TIEKS stuff too.

Etienne de Crecy – ‘No Brain’ (2011)


Felix de Housecat – ‘Silver Screen’ (2001)


Daft Punk – ‘Face to Face’ (ft. vocals from Todd Edwards) – 2004


Where did you record your last single, ‘Cake’?

My trusty couch. Again.


Have you co-written any material for TIEKS? 

I’m mainly trying to work with people I am close to and have worked with before, so MNEK, Anita Blay, Karen Poole, Clare Maguire…I could go on forever. 


Describe your experience of the music business in 3 words;

1. Unforgiving
2. Ever-changing
3. Adolescent


Do you have a party trick or any hidden talents?

I can touch my head on my knees keeping my legs straight. I was a pro rugby player for four years.


Who were your role models growing up?

The RZA and Martin Offiah


Mr Offiah in full flight


If you could collaborate with any artist or songwriter dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Marvin Gaye. Because he had the most beautiful voice of all time.

Marvin Gaye – ‘What’s Going On’ full album (1971)


Name 3 great new artists you have recently discovered…

1. Dornik


3. a Girl signed to Columbia in the US named Bettsy. Not sure where to find her stuff online though but watch this space.


What was the first record you bought?

Biggie Smalls Feat. Method Man. I can’t remember the name of the record. I ended up giving it to a girl I fancied and never saw it again, or the girl for that matter.

Biggie Smalls ft. Method Man – ‘The What’ (1994)

When was the last time you bought a CD or vinyl? What was it?

‘Myths of The Near Future’ by Klaxons in 2007 I think.


Outside of the studio or stage, what do you like to get up to?

Take names on FIFA.


What is in the pipeline for you over the next 6-12months? Single releases, tours etc?

There will be another track out into the world this month called “The Number”, then my first single release proper in August.


What will you be doing/where will you be in 10 years time?

Directing movies and running a media empire, thinking of how to diversify into aggregates.


Finally, choose a fav from each pair of heroes;

Sam Cooke or Marvin Gaye? Tough, but gotta go wit Marvin
David Bowie or Marc Bolan? Bowie
Jean Michel Jarre or Herbie Hancock? Herbie
‘Thriller’ Michael Jackson or ‘Bad’ Michael Jackson? Bad
Kanye or Jay Z? Yeezy
Beyonce or Katy Perry? Katy Perry
George Martin or Quincy Jones? Quicey Jones


Nice one, thanks M T! 

Knew Knowledge meets….Madeon

I recently caught up with my good friend & prodigal talent Madeon and asked him some pertinently direct questions about his career so far; from starting out winning remix competitions from his home basement to writing songs in a Parisian hotel penthouse with one of the world’s biggest pop icons & his highly anticipated debut album…

Knew Knowledge meets – Madeon – Artist/Songwriter/Producer



Label: Popcultur/Sony Columbia

Publisher: Warner/Chappell

Management: Marco Ferraro @ Manajamma

Agent: Solomon Parker @ WME (World ex-US)/ Alan & Paul @ AM Only (USA)


1. How did your career in music start?

I won a remix competition for a Pendulum track in late 2010, and that’s when I started making music professionally.


2. When did you start writing songs and why?

I was initially much more interested in the technical, production side and somewhat disregarded the songwriting aspect; I wanted to solve the mystery of how those amazing electronic sounds I’d heard on my favorite records were made – it was an investigation. Discovering The Beatles made me appreciate songs so much more and I now perceive the composition and writing as the substance of music, with production only serving as a frame.


3. Who or what influences your music?

I’m very visual. I collect digital paintings and photographs I find online and organize them in an “Inspiration” folder. I use them as a starting point for songs a lot of the time, trying to translate those visual emotions in a musical form.


4. You shot to fame in 2011 following your brilliant ‘Pop Culture’ mash-up video. How did that change things for you, professionally and personally?

It was a very important moment for me. It really accelerated my introduction to the live performance world. I had never seen a DJ in my life or listened to a full set when I started performing (as a DJ), but ‘Pop Culture’ enabled me to play in front of great crowds early on.


5. Where do you prefer to write your music?

Ever since I started making music, I’ve been writing in the same room, in my basement.


6. What equipment do you use to write/record with? 

I’m extremely software-based. My set-up consists mostly of my computer, a MIDI keyboard and some speakers. I also have a microphone and a couple of guitars.


7. Where did you record your latest release?

The latest song I’ve put out is “Cut The Kid”, but I actually wrote it in 2012. I started it as part of my annual “24 Hours EP” challenge in which I lock myself in the studio for 24 hours straight with no sleep and have to write and complete three songs from scratch. A lot of the songs I’m most proud of started in one of those sessions. It’s a great way to stop overthinking the writing process, forcing you to be confident in your ideas.


8. How is your debut album coming along? 

I’m really happy with how it’s coming together. I won’t say any more though!


9. Have you co-written any material for the album?

I’ve only started co-writing recently. I can’t talk about everything I’ve done but one of my favorite sessions so far was with Jimmy Napes. He’s an immensely talented musician and a brilliant guy.


10.Did the experience of writing and producing for Lady Gaga change anything about your approach to creating music?

Absolutely. She’s a genius – working with her definitely taught me a lot.


11.What do you like to write about lyrically? 

I like lyrics that feel natural and conversational and that tell a specific story while staying vague enough to be relatable. I like to write about emotions more than events.


12.Where do you rehearse?

I don’t really rehearse; the appeal of DJing is the improvisation and interaction with the audience.


13.What does your live set-up consist of?

I use one laptop for the audio and one for the video (which is triggered in real time based on the audio), alongside three Novation Launchpads and two Xone K2 (one of each is dedicated to video effects).


14.Which song of yours is your favourite to perform live?

‘Pop Culture’ is always fun. I’ve played it so many times it’s muscle memory.


15.What do you get up to on tour in between shows?

Air travel takes most of my awake time. I like to wander in the cities I visit when I have the time, which is unfortunately quite rare.


16.Describe the music business in 3 words.

1. Fast

2. Confused

3. Changing


17.Do you have a party trick or any hidden talents? 

I used to invent magic tricks. That was my first job actually.

[Well obviously he used to invent magic tricks(?!?), but this is also quite cool – solving a Rubik’s Cube in under 1 minute…I’ve also seen him do this with his hands behind his back which is quite amazing]


18.Who were your role models growing up?

Daft Punk, Paul McCartney, Stuart Price.


19.If you could collaborate with any artist or songwriter dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Paul McCartney, come on.


20.When was the last time you bought a CD or vinyl? What was it?

I think it was The Glitch Mob’s ‘Love Death Immortality’ vinyl. I liked the artwork.


21.What is in the pipeline for the next 6-12months?

I’m back on tour this summer and I’ll be performing in Las Vegas regularly throughout the year. I can’t announce anything yet but I’ll release more music in the next twelve months than I ever have.


22.What will you be doing/where will you be in 10 years time?

I’d like to spend some time learning as much as I can beyond music.


23. Pick 3 new artists…

1. Chrome Sparks :


2. Glass Animals


3. Tourist



24.Finally, choose your favourite from each pairing;

Sam Cooke or Marvin Gaye?


Rolling Stones or The Beatles?


Pink Floyd or Led Zepplin?

Pink Floyd

Michael Jackson or Janet Jackson?


Shura – Touch

We hear the chequebooks are out in force for Shepherd’s Bush native Shura, from both sides of the Atlantic…Look out for her next single, coming next week.

La Roux – Let Me Down Gently

New music from La Roux! Taken from their next record ‘Trouble In Paradise’, out 7/7/14