Mark Ronson is working with Paul McCartney.
MARK Ronson's fame as a producer and a solo artist has easily outshone his mid-'90s beginnings as a downtown New York hip-hop DJ, so the days of slipping behind the decks and quietly, unobtrusively going about his business are long gone.
Ronson is kind of a big deal now. Nowadays when he plays, there are fans crowding around the decks, phone cameras flashing, tweets being sent out and punters trying to crash the booth. 2012 was the year Ronson rediscovered his love of DJing, but is it as much fun as it used to be?
''It is a little bit more difficult to play for people who are coming to see you play as the headline act in a show environment, as opposed to the club,'' admits the 37-year-old producer from his home in London, ''but I think if you play as if it was [still] that club and you were trying to kill it and you were the same no-name DJ you were when you started, then that's kind of the mentality to have. I try not to swerve my sets too much or make it just festival bangers, because I want to be the kind of DJ that I would want to come see play - not just some guy with headline status banging out hits without any kind of thought behind it.''
Across the northern summer, Ronson undertook a DJ residency with Brit radio DJ Zane Lowe at Ibiza Rocks, spun at festivals in Britain, and staged a back-to-back battle with turntablist extraordinaire A-Trak in October.
Before he helmed albums for Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen, Adele, Robbie Williams, and Melbourne's Daniel Merriweather, before his solo albums Versions and Record Collection, the London-born, New York-raised Ronson was a working jock in the Big Apple with a knack for attracting celebrity fans. Indeed, he spun at Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes' wedding in 2006 (though was reportedly so nervous that he vomited after he finished his set).
''In the beginning,'' he recalls, ''everyone from Biggie [Smalls] to Puffy [Combs], D'Angelo, Mos Def - all these people - would come down and check out my sets, because I played a good mix of hip-hop and a lot of rare groove and funk classics that not a lot of other people were playing. Puffy really liked the way I played, so he took me along when he had gigs going in Paris or London.''
Since wrapping up touring for Record Collection in mid-2011, Ronson has moved back to London, married French actress/singer Josephine de La Baume, produced Black Lips, Lil Wayne, Rufus Wainwright and Bruno Mars (proving, with smash hit, Locked Out of Heaven, that he still has the magic touch), produced a song for Coca-Cola's 2012 Olympics ad campaign, and is currently working with no less than Paul McCartney.
''You don't really ask what it's for,'' deadpans Ronson of his collaboration with McCartney. ''You just keep quiet, do good work and hope he's happy with it. It's just: shut up, sit there and learn.''
Mark Ronson is at Summadayze, Sidney Myer Music Bowl, New Year's Day.