It’s a long way from the underground club scene of São Paulo to Top of the Pops, but for DJ Marky and XRS that’s exactly what happened in the summer of 2002, as drum ‘n’ bass crossover hit LK stormed the charts.
Sampling Jorge Ben and Toquinho’s Carolina Carol Bela, and originally released as an instrumental (you can find that version on the excellent Favela Chic – Postonove 2 compilation), the addition of Stamina MC, aka Linden Reeves, was a game changer for the track, transforming it into a feel-good summer classic that you just couldn’t help sing along to: “It’s the wayyyy, that we play this sound.”
909originals recently caught up with DJ Marky to chat about his love of funk and soul music, as well as his fantastic ‘Influences’ livestreams [read that here], but given the 20th anniversary of LK was this summer, we couldn’t resist asking him how the track came together.
Over to you, Marky… 🙂
“XRS was a long time friend of mine, and we really wanted to do some tracks together. When I picked up the Wormhole record by Ed Rush and Optical, it blew my mind because it was a fusion of a synthetic sound and abstract jazz. We were trying to make tracks like that, but it wasn’t working at all.
“We couldn’t get the right sound, and we didn’t know the right studio tricks and things like that. He was operating the computer and I was the guy with the samples. I remember saying to him, ‘look man, we need to do something different, because we’re trying to copy the UK guys and it’s just not working’.
“So I go home to look for more samples that we can use – this is like 2 o’clock in the afternoon – and my mother was cleaning the kitchen and listening to music. There was this box of 7-inch records on the table, so I picked out a Jorge Ben record and put it on the turntable.
“The guitar riff came on, and I was like ‘wow, it’s the same tempo as drum ‘n’ bass!’. Plus the guitar sound was so clean, I thought I could do something with it. So I put it on a MiniDisc, took it to the studio, and the rest is history.
“The track started to take off – it was just an instrumental at this stage – and Oliver my manager was looking for an MC to play with me at the time. He called me up one day and said ‘I’ve got this guy and he sounds like Marvin Gaye’. That was Stamina. I was like, ‘give me a f**king break, nobody sings like Marvin!’
“I played Linden the track, and he started freestyling over it – “I like it, you like it…” We had a gig in Newcastle, I’ll never forget, and I played the track with him MCing over the top of it, and absolutely smashed it.
“Around three months later, the same promoter booked me again for the same club in Newcastle, with a different MC this time. When I arrived everyone was asking me “are you going to play ‘It’s the Way’?”
“I was just like, ‘what tune are they talking about? It’s the Way?’ I thought maybe they were talking about DJ Tactix –It’s the Way, a jungle tune from 1994! There was no way I was going to play that, ha ha.
“So it gets to around 2.55am, and the club finishes at 3, and I have the chance to play two more tunes. One of them was LK, the instrumental track, and the crowd went crazy. When it got to the breakdown, the whole crowd starts singing “IT’S THE WAYYYYY”!
“I was thinking ‘hold on a minute’, so I rewound the track and played it again, and the same thing happened. I was just ‘holy shit!‘ I texted my manager straight away, at three in the morning, telling him to wake up. ‘Something amazing is happening, and we need to bring Stamina into the studio right now!’ That’s how we ended up putting it down, and it just blew up.
“Jorge Ben’s son, Gabriel, heard the track in the clubs, it had reached America by that stage, so we had to pay them for the rights. That said, Toquinho didn’t charge us anything. He lives close to me, he’s a gentle soul. Anyway, we got it cleared, which was great – it’s a lot more difficult to get samples cleared these days.
“The thing about it is, though, it’s a sample of a B-side, which nobody even remembers, ha ha. Except maybe the people who lived during the 70s. It’s not like I sampled a massive Jorge Ben tune, it was quite an underground tune… because of us, it became big again, something like 40 years later.
“I remember playing in Manchester recently – it was a three-hour set – and they said to me I could play whatever I wanted for the first hour. I played the original Jorge Ben 7-inch and people were just ‘wow!‘. They lost their minds.”
Read our full interview with DJ Marky here.