You can always count on Canadian producer and DJ Mark Penner, better known as Cyclist, for some solid dancefloor heat. He loves disco (even his cat does), he likes to boogie (just like us), and always manages to impress with his original tracks, his remixes and his funky edits. Not to mention, his classy rendition with his friend Pat Lok of The Rapture’s “How Deep is Your Love” that has been selected by the band itself as the winner of the DFA Records remix competition in 2011.
Cyclist has quickly became one of our favorite producers. That’s why we’re so excited to premiere his new single “Shine” on Jerry Bouthier’s ever-growing Continental Records. It’s a really great track with a serious ’80s funk vibe and soulful vocals from fellow Canadian singer/songwriter Maiko Watson. The single comes complete with an impressive remix package, including fine reworks of “Shine” by Swedish disco duo Drop Out Orchestra, Brooklyn’s Lou Teti, and Chicago’s jackin’ & swingin’ producer Rogue Vogue. Can we ask for more?
Before its release on July 29th, you can now download Cyclist’s new single “Shine” for free, and preview the full release, exclusively on La.Ga.Sta. Also, we caught up with the talented producer to talk about “Shine”, his musical influences, and disco rides. Read our interview below and ride with us.
La.Ga.Sta.: Why Cyclist? Is there any story behind your moniker?
Cyclist: I just happened to be on my bike while I was trying to think of a name for my new solo project. Looked it up when I got home and surprisingly, it wasn’t taken. Really need to make up a better story.
What made you decide to turn to music in the first place?
In my family, music is extremely important. I started playing cello when I was 3 and switched to guitar when I was 14. From then on I was obsessed with playing music and recording.
How did you come to be releasing music on Continental Records? Can you tell us a few things about your new single “Shine”?
“Shine” is an ’80s disco-funk inspired track I co-wrote with my good friend and amazing vocalist Maiko Watson. I played it out as an instrumental for a while but really wanted vocals. Maiko was the perfect fit and really dug the track so we finished a demo. This was just after I had done a remix for Shindu that was released on Continental Records. I sent the demo to Jerry Bouthier and he loved it! I’m a big fan of the label so I’m stoked to be releasing with them.
What inspired you to start DJing and making music?
I played in bands for so long. It can get a bit frustrating having to please everyone’s preferences. So I started making music solo and found that I liked the control over every aspect. I started DJing around the same time and got so addicted to it right away. It’s the best. I use to do a live set of all my own material but I got bored with it pretty quick. I may try that again in the future but not until I figure out a way to keep it fresh and interesting every show.
What was the first record you bought?
I actually don’t remember the specific record. I heard a tape of Herbie Hancock’s “Thrust” and “Secrets” albums and went on a mission to find those records. At the record store, I started listening to anything from the ’70s that looked cool. I really got in to jazz fusion, funk and soul and eventually disco.
Which is your favorite sound?
Wah, wah, clavinet probably. But it has to be a real clav, a good wah and someone who knows what to do with the combination.
What is a piece of equipment you can’t live without and why?
I’m actually not really attached to any gear other than my guitar (’73 custom Tele). Mostly sentimental reasons but it is also a really great guitar.
Which are your five favorite tracks of 2013 so far?
I could spend an hour deciding this, so without thinking about it too much:
Three things we should know about Cyclist…
1. I’m a big fan of old-school disco and I have a monthly disco party in Toronto, called “Beam Me Up” with A Digital Needle. These days it’s almost impossible for me to play a set without at least a few old-school disco tracks in there.
2. I recently adopted a 13-year-old cat that also loves disco. Follow me on Instagram for pics!
3. I loooove Roti. And beer!
What are your plans for the rest of 2013?
I’m planning a tour in Mexico in September and a tour in Europe in November. I have a couple remixes in the works and I’m hoping to pump out a couple more originals before the end of the year.
Download Cyclist’s new single “Shine” here