Saturday, 12 September 2015

Interview with Mark Morriss

Originally published May 2013 on Chunk.ie

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It’s been a while since you released Memory Muscle, your debut solo album and this, the follow up, A Flash of Darkness.  Has it been a case of the difficult second album, or did you just fancy some time away from music after the break up of The Bluetones?

It's been 5 years in fact. An inordinately long time between 2 records, I'll give you that, but I haven't been entirely idle in that time. There was the writing/recording/touring of the Bluetones' album 'A New Athens', and then the whole farewell tour thing when we decided that we were going to draw that little story to a close. That said, some of the songs for this album were written in the summer of 2010. So I suppose it has had quite a long gestation.

You decided on funding the recording of A Flash of Darkness using the PledgeMusic service. What was the thinking behind that? Did it offer a lot more freedom to make the album you wanted to make without having a record company hounding you to produce a hit?

It was never a case of doing it for the purposes of artistic freedom. I have never experienced a record company interfering at any stage of the creative process. With The Bluetones we were always allowed to just disappear and get on with things, and that's the way I work now. Just getting on with things. I tend to write songs in clumps of 2 or 3, then have a period where nothing new is started, but the ideas that I'm most drawn to get honed and finished off. Anyway, I'm drifting off the point. Sorry…

The purpose of raising the funds for the album this way was that it would give me full ownership of the completed album. Allowing me the freedom to license it in different territories around the world, and actually own my creation. That hasn't been the case for me before, and was ultimately the most attract aspect of what the Pledge arrangement represented.

I’ve listened to the album twice now, and two tracks stand out for me. The first being Low Company and the second is This Is The Lie ( And That's The Truth). Obviously you’re proud of all the tracks on the album, but do you have a favourite, one that you knew as your recorded it, was brilliant.

This Is The Lie (And That's The Truth) is a personal favourite. It was written and recorded very quickly, and I felt we captured a  beautiful, haunted atmosphere with all the cross-fading reverbs and whatnot. It sounds like there is a church organ on the track, but it's just the differently tuned guitars 'droning' together.

Also, I'm rather fond of Space Cadet. It's a bit Tubeway Army, a bit Vangelis, a bit BBC Educational Film. It was a probably the most fun to record. A lot of time was spent just listening to hundreds and hundreds of different keyboard banks, and blending synthesised sounds. Again, kinda new territory for me.

With every new album comes a tour to support it. It’s been a while since you’ve played in Ireland, any chance you will make it over here this year?

I'm hoping so. It would be great to come out with a full band and do this record some justice. Volume-wise.

You seem to have an on-going love affair with Mexico / Spanish in your albums. As far as I can tell, it started way back with Solomon Bites The Worm, Zorrro, Bienvenido and finally Consuela on the latest album. Am I reading too much in to this?

I think that's more the unconscious influence of Arthur Lee. I can't help it. It's certainly not deliberate, but I do find myself drawn to those sun-baked Mexicana melodies.

After writing as many songs as you have over the years, you must have written a couple of stinkers that never saw the light of day. What’s the worst lyric you have ever written?

Oh, man… I don't know. It's not something I want to think about. I'm more than sure there are a few howlers out there, but still nothing I wouldn't fight anyone to the death to defend. My children.

Finally, if our readers want to buy the album, where can they purchase it?

Well at the moment it's not really available. I'm meeting with record companies now and it will be getting a general release in about 3 months time, all going to plan. That said it will be available from my website www.markmorrissmusic.co.uk and at gigs and shit.

As always, if you want to keep up to date with Mark, check out his website, follow him on Twitter and finally, check out more of their videos on YouTube.

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