G Force(G): Congratulations on the new album Mark. The themes and subjects addressed are quite varied, where do you draw your inspiration for writing songs from?
Mark 1(M): Thanks mate, much appreciated. My inspiration is just my life and observations. What I’ve been through or seen friends go through, the things I see, my family, as well as the things I enjoy, fun times with friends, it all influences me and hence my writing in some way.
G: How does this solo album differ to what you will be bringing with the soon to be released Mindfield album?
M: This album is quite different to the Mindfield album. With this album I was able to choose topics that were personal to me, experiment with things stylistically, express some things I’d wanted to, and do it in a way the meant a lot to me.
The similarity to the Mindfield album is that both Bdeps and Biz gave a lot of valuable input to my album. If you think the Bdeps beats on my album are bangers, or their guest verses were ill, well we have a whole album of them coming soon. Mindfield is just straight up hiphop, it allows me to unleash the other side of my emceeing ability, the battle, punchline, straight up flow side.
Banging beats, dope raps. The Mindfield album is gonna be heat, trust me.
G: The track “Spotless Crucifixion” stood out to me as a powerful religious tale. How did this track come about, was it something you felt you wanted to do for yourself as a religious man or other reasons?
M: I actually wrote this track a couple of years ago. A friend I went to high school with became a pastor and I went to hear him do a service one time. He spoke about how the whole crucifixion has been watered down over the years, to the point it’s almost like a kids fairytale. People wear crosses and have paintings of a calm looking Christ gazing up at the heavens from the cross, when the reality was nothing like that. It was brutal torture. Anyway, this kind of caught in my mind so I ended up doing a bit of research on crucifixion and punishment at the time, and Christ in particular and tried to paint the story with words.
When “Passion” came out, I felt it kind of displayed the same images I saw in my mind years before, writing the song. Even if you don’t believe, it’s a powerful story and image, and that’s what I was trying to show.
G: Being a religious man, I am unsure of how devout you are, does hip hop for you contradict some teachings and does it conflict with your involvement, song writing, activities in anyway?
M: Sure, good question. I don’t really consider myself a “religious man”. To me “religion”, as most perceive it, is hollow, outdated, man made rules and regulations that bear little resemblance to the Christianity of the Bible. I’m a Christian, and maybe by many religious peoples standards not a very good one. But I believe that it’s all about my personal beliefs and walk with God, and I’ll let him judge me.
I don’t find that my involvement in hiphop has conflicted with my personal beliefs. I don’t judge my friends, they respect my choices, and I theirs. I’m down to have a beer and hang out and have fun with the boys. The only difference is probably that there’s some subject matter I wouldn’t broach on record, things I wouldn’t personally say or do, but others will. That’s what makes hiphop dope.
One thing that might stand out to some listeners is a lack of profanity. Being a parent of four I made a conscious effort to have a clean album that they could listen to.
G: Back to the album, the decision to collaborate with American artists, how did it come about and how did it go from this idea to reality?
M: I was chatting often to a good friend of mine Elected Official, years ago when I was DJing and he was just starting to make beats.
He lives in the US and we would chat online or over the phone. He read some of my verses, old ones, or new ones I’d write for my own interest and really liked them and encouraged me to record them. We started working on stuff together, and shortly after he got a job interning at Uprok Records when artists like Mars ill, Deepspace 5, Playdough etc where on the label. His beats improved leaps and bounds and he found himself producing beats for these guys. We played our stuff to them and was telling me they dug it and I should hit them up. So I owe a lot to E. I would bounce emails back and forth and run up huge phone bills working out tracks with these guys but its been worth it. Theyre all great, really supportive guys. I wanted to do some work with like-minded artists and at the time I wasn’t really aware of anyone in ozhiphop who were on the same kind of page. I’m equally glad since that point that I have. Shorty was a different story. When he was down here, I picked him up from the airport and as we were driving around he went thru my CD’s in the car, pulled out mine and asked to listen to it. He really dug Myths, and it had no cuts on it and he offered to cut on it. No way I was turning that down, so we went down to my place the next day and layed it all down.
G: Through these overseas collaborations are you hoping or planning to shift some units overseas?
M: Not really. Its not an issue to me. I didn’t collab with those guys with any intention of ever moving units. When I first started working with them I didn’t even have a set plan to do album. I just wanted to make some dope hiphop with dudes that had the same kind of mindset as I did and it all kind of progressed from there.
G: Your own delivery is quite unique, is it a style you have knowingly developed or is it all natural?
M: Its all natural. I don’t even consciously have a style, I just jump in the booth and rap my verse. I wasn’t even really aware that I had a particular style until people listened to the album and have started saying that. Hopefully it’s a good thing, but its not something I’m going to try and actively develop. I just spit verses.
G: The production on the album is high quality and very diverse. How did you hook up with the producers and what did you take into mind when choosing the beats?
M: Well E.O. I’ve explained, the rest is produced by Bdeps and SammyB. They’re both local Adelaide dudes, great mates and very talented. Muneshine from Lightheaded laced me a beat I think before Lightheaded existed. It was one of those things where I would talk to Braille, Ohmega and Othello often and I think Braille told me about Muneshines beats. I hit him up, he liked my stuff, I liked his, so we did a track.
When I chose beats it was simply a case of “is the beat dope?” If I felt like it was something I’d consider really hot if I heard it on someone else’s album, then it made the cut for mine. From there I selected beats that I felt really fit the vibe of the lyrics and what I was trying to express. I feel really lucky to work with EO and Bdeps. There both sick with the beats and Bdeps new stuff is off tap.
G: You also contributed cuts to a couple of tracks, any other plans to delve into this further or perhaps try your hand at production?
M: Word, yeah I been DJing for a long while now and I love it. I layed the scratches on the collab with Inf too, I do all the cuts for Mindfield, and I’m slated to cut on a some stuff from Adelaide dudes in progress. I also layed some scratches down for US artists Elias, and Kaboose on their new albums. Its definitely something I’ll keep doing for anyone I dig, who wants me to.
As for production, I would love to get into it in the future, I might sit and learn off Bdeps for a while and see how things pan out.
G: Through your lyrics, what do you try to express and hope that the listener will take away from the album?
M: I don’t even really think of it like that. I didn’t try and make the listener take a specific from listening. I just hope they listen to it, enjoy it and rate it as a dope album, feel the honesty, appreciate the skills, and then take away whatever it means to them. I know that some songs have taken on a new meaning for a couple guys, as there experiences may reflect my own in some way, but it takes on its own significance for them.
I just want cats to enjoy it.
G: Throughout the album we learn that you are a married man with four children, how did you find time to make the album in the first place!?
M: Hahaha word! Yeah I’m lucky that I have a very supportive wife and family who know how much making hiphop means to me and understand the time needed to do it. It’s a struggle at times and it’s a constant juggling of priorities, but I try and make sure they always come first and in return they try and understand the time I need.
G: How did your distribution hook up with Obese Records come about?
M: Pegz. He is a king. I was looking for someone to distro it, looked at a few opportunities but Pegz had a listen, really liked it and was really supportive and positive.
He offered to distro it, and really went above and beyond in some of the help he gave me to get it out. He’s a champ and I appreciate his support.
G: Future plans for Mark 1? Album launches, releasing Audiosyncracies on wax? What should we look out for?
M: Both. Album launch in Adelaide, August 20 at Traffic Nightclub with Mindfield, Funkoars, Reflux, DavidL and hosted by Headlock, with other states to be announced.
Hopefully the CD gets enough support to warrant putting wax out, its definitely something we have planned for the near future.
Definitely don’t sleep on Mindfield either. We got stuff in the pipeline that will be ill.
G: Well, thank you for your time Mark, I wish you all the best with the album and good luck in the future. Any one you would like to thank or anything else you would like to add?
M: No problem boss, thanks. Quick shout to Bdeps, Biz, all the Crackhouse and Certified boys, and you heads around the country that have been supportive and picked up copy of the album. Hope you feel it. Peace.
Audiosyncracies Review – http://www.ozhiphop.com/forum/viewthread.php?tid=27245&page=#pid418524
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