DMNDR first heard Brooklyn native Mark U’s music in December. We immediately invited him to the office to discuss his debut project “Step Into The Grey”. Mark had never met any of us at DMNDR, we had no friends in common, and our note to him on twitter simply said “We want to talk to you about your music, can you meet at our office?”. When we wrote him, this blog didn’t exist. There was simply no reason for him to sit down with us. He responded immediately with a few dates both he and one of his trusted collaborator Tari Wariebi were available to chat.
The day we met, NYC was enveloped in police brutality protests — helicopters swirled above our offices as the voices of thousands could be heard chanting “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” from the street below. We sat in our office on the 17th floor, sandwiched between the helicopters and protesters, considering Mark’s subtle message- “Step Into The Grey”. The directive was crystal clear; consider the plurality of truth, reject binary and polarizing ideology, understand compassion and empathy as prerequisites for peace. Mark’s mission, we learned, is to spread love. His tireless work with Tari and co-producer Don Heru was not in the name of vanity. This guy is serious about making art that matters, and we pledged to help in any and every way we could. Mark U and Tari thanked us, leaving the office with a nod and asking us for precisely nothing.
Days, weeks and months passed. We sat with the music. We listened to countless mixes, each with some nearly inaudible change. We discussed. Nearly seven months since our fist meeting, we are pleased to premiere the music video for “Step Into The Grey”. The entire Step Into The Grey EP, whose four songs form a singular experience, will be privately released July 17th at DMNDR Studios. This release also marks the birth of DMNDR’s not-yet-named record label, which features but one artist- Mark U. We never wanted to launch a label, but the friendship we developed with Mark U and our dogged determination to get his work heard obviated the decision to do so. We can personally attest to the transformative power of Mark U’s music.
Today, we proudly invite you to “Step Into The Grey”.