Friday, 24 June 2016

Feature: Mark Elliott (24/06/16)

Mark Elliott is an alternative pop artist from England. He's shared stages with Gabrielle Aplin and Rob Green, and has played for Sofar Sounds. BBC Introducing have supported his latest release 'Drink To Thunk', the second track from his 'China Doll EP', Mark is also set to play Kensington Roof Gardens on 16th July alongside some other incredible names, we caught up with him for a Q&A to talk all things music! 

General Questions:

1. How old were you when you started getting involved in music and how?
I started playing guitar when I was 15 - mainly because I thought it might get me a girlfriend (it didn't) but then I fell in love with music and have been full time for the last couple of years. 

2. What is the most inspiring musical performance you've ever seen?
Seeing John Mayer at the O2 was a performance that really stuck with me - he just seems like someone who is totally absorbed in the process of creating music and playing it live. He lives it and it shows. 

3. Who have you been listening to lately?
Recently I've been listening to Oh Wonder, Nao, Half Moon Run and Jack Garratt along with Jamiroquai - I'm constantly buying CDs from charity shops to listen to in my car cause I've not got an aux in ha. 

3 Qs for Mark:

1. Where do you usually gather inspiration and influences for your songs?
It's a bit cliche but I try and gather inspiration from everything - it becomes a bit of an obsession and it's easy to stop enjoying films/books/music/live gigs because you're forever thinking 'how can I use this?'. My main lyrically inspiration comes from books and I find the more I'm reading the greater the variation in my lyrics - when I wrote 'Drink To Thunk' I was reading 'Bonjour Tristesse' by Francoise Sagan and I think looking back the mood of the book definitely permeates the lyrical content. Then music wise the people I'm working with - Producer Dave Tidmarsh and Matt Zara have both had a huge impact on how the final song turned out. 

2. Who would you most like to write / collaborate with and why?
I'd love to work with Oh Wonder because I feel as though they're real innovators and I've followed Jose for years and years - also Frank Ocean lyrically is on another level. Labrinth, Jamie Cullum, John Mayer, Robert Glasper, Pharrell waayy too many to mention. Really anyone who can write the kind of songs that it would never occur to me to write are the kind of people I'd love to work with. 

3. What process did you go through creating 'Drink To Thunk' and how did it differ from the other tracks on your EP 'China Doll'?
'Drink To Thunk' was equally the most frustrating song and the most fun to work on. I think in total we recorded it three times in full before finding this feel. The chorus lyrics along changed three or four times. It's got loads of really interesting stuff that probably goes unnoticed - the shaker in the chorus is a packet of PG Tips playing cards, there's a snare sound in the breakdown that was me accidentally dropping (and breaking... sorry Dave) a box of percussion and a piano that sounds like a car from 'The Jetsons'. I think the fun we had making it really comes across in the final product. 

Random Q:

All time favourite album?
That's a difficult and potentially embarrassing question - either 'Songs About Jane' - Maroon 5 - it's an album I keep coming back to and it never disappoints OR Michael Jackson - 'Thriller' OR 'Justified' - JT for the same reason. Or maybe Frank Ocean - 'Channel ORANGE' for lyrics, Nitin Sawhney - 'Broken Skin' grabbed me from the first listen. Sorry I've cheated massively... just way way too many to pick from and all for different reasons! I'll stick with 'Songs About Jane' hahah. 

'Drink To Thunk' Review:
'Drink To Thunk' is a brilliant pop track, a perfect tune for your summer playlists. With a soulful and slightly jazzy touch, great bass lines running neatly alongside a rhythm that's impossible not to tap along to. The catchy chorus and infectious melodies lead to the song being stuck in the listener's head for a good couple hours to days... 

Mark's Links:

Thanks for reading!
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