Metro Newspaper readers voted him as ‘One of the Best Artists in London’, his EP’s have set tongues wagging and now musician Mark Mathews embarks on his latest challenge of releasing one track, for every month in 2017!
Musicvein caught up with Mark following the release of his 3rd song this year, entitled ‘The Informer’, to find out more about him.
MV: Hey Mark, a lot of people are talking about you at the moment, especially around this challenge of yours. I’m eager to see how it all pans out and whether or not you’ll stick to this mammoth task of writing, recording, promoting a song every month! What exactly made you decide to do this?
MM: “Erm…boredom!” he laughs “No, on a serious note it was a combination of factors. I’ve been doing the age old release an EP/Album thing, you tour, promote the hell out of it and within a short space of time the hum and buzz over your music is gone! Everyone knows the music industry is changing and it’s becoming ever more evident. The slogan ‘Content is key’ is so pertinent to 2017. I started noticing changes last year when I released my album ‘The Raging Sea’, in the build up to the release there was a lot of excitement, the month following the release there was a lot of noise but then it just slowly trailed off. I was still promoting the album at gigs, doing radio interviews etc but it just wasn’t the same, people had listened to the album and then moved on. To be honest, I burnt myself out last year heavily promoting the album, to a point where I was bored! I was bored of my music, bored of what I was doing, I kind of lost the love for what I was doing which on reflection was a bit sad really.
This year I decided that, to rejuvenate things, instead of releasing an album, I’d release a track every single month – culminating in an albums worth of songs by December. And you know what? it’s working at keeping me focused and interested – or should that be interested and stressed!” (he let’s out a belly laugh again)
MV: Well that’s certainly one way of finding your passion again. So do you have a stock of songs already lined up or are you looking for inspiration?
MM: “No, no stock of songs I just let the songs find me. I think it was Neil Young who said “you go fishing” (when approaching song writing) so in essence you just sit there and essentially wait for a song to come and when it comes you nurture it – I can totally relate to that. I don’t sit down and say ‘Today I shall write a song’ it just doesn’t work that way for me, so I noodle around with the guitar and sometimes a riff will come or a chord sequence, then the lyrics and that’s usually how my songs are formed, I don’t feel that I have moments of inspiration.
My latest song ‘The Informer’ developed as I tinkered around with a keyboard. I’ve played the guitar for the past 15 years and so the keyboard/piano is not my instrument, but with this new approach to my writing I’m pushing myself creatively.”
MV: 15 years is quite some time, what made you choose the guitar as your instrument?
MM: “Well I credit my parents for my love of the Beatles and making music all round, they were influential in me taking note of how songs were made and the lyrics within them. I loved bands like Small Faces and The Kinks but it wasn’t until I heard Oasis that I started thinking “That is what I want to do. I want to write songs and be a guitarist like Noel Gallagher.” It just seemed like a no brainer to me. So I got a couple of Beatles songs from a mate and Oasis songs from another and just set about trying to work out how they were played on a guitar. From there I started to write my own songs which I guess has been influenced by those artists in the way they structure their songs. My songs are generally pop-song structured, so whether I write a Folk or Rock tune, it will always have that verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge structure and be Folk-pop or Rock-pop.”
MV: Ah so you’re a self-taught guitarist, and the singing?
MM: “That just sort of happened, I was a bit shy about singing when I was younger. I was always quite happy doing backing vocals, playing the Noel Gallagher scenario really. I played lead guitar in a few bands and would sing duos occasionally, however I began to realise that the bands I was in weren’t going in the direction that I wanted to go in and if I wanted to get my songs out there, I had to go solo. So it’s more the case I was up against the wall and the only way out was to sing – I did and now you can’t shut me up!”
MV: And do you miss being in a band?
MM: “To be honest I love being solo and I can’t ever see that changing, but there is something quite magical about a group of lads together making an amazing sound. I think it’s quite rare – with the exception of people like Radio Head, Beatles, Oasis etc – to get a group all going in the same direction, I would have like to have been in something akin to that. As it happens now everything is down to me and I prefer to have control over the things I do. I have to get out there and book gigs, write songs, promote and manage myself, it’s hard work but rewarding.”
MV: So once you get to December and released your final track of the year, will you do it all over again in 2018?
MM: “Eeeeerrrrrmmmm ask me in December! I’m really not sure. I may add a couple of bonus tracks to the album once finished but here’s an exclusive for you….In 2018 I will be releasing a 4 or 5 track EP of revisited songs. There are a lot of old songs I’ve written and I’m not going to lie there are shit ones but there are a few gems that would sound great with acoustic treatment, so there you have it Musicvein, my plan for 2018!”
MV: Oh I do love an EXCLUSIVE! Will be looking forward to that and every song which you’ll be releasing this year. Be sure to keep me and my readers updated on your progress.
To keep up to date with Mark Mathews find him at