Interview of MGT
MGT took some time out of their day to do an interview with me, their new album is about to come out.. Make sure to purchase it and let your friends know about it as well!
You have been putting out music for many years, and over the course of that time you have put out several albums with various bands. Your newest album will release on Feb 23, 2018, and from what I’ve listened to, it is really good! How is this album different from your previous works?
Mark: Well the main difference with this new MGT album, in comparison to the last album I released called ‘Volumes’, a solo release, was the last CD featuring various different singers, 8 of them including my friend Ashton Nyte, whereas on this new album it’s myself and Ashton writing and performing all the songs, barring a couple of cover songs that we recorded... we decided to call the album ‘Gemini Nyte’ -an amalgamation Of our names.. we collaborated on two songs on ‘Volumes’ in 2015 and we just kept on writing! that was a couple years ago now.. and we had most of this album in the can over the last year.
Over the years you have collaborated with some well-known artists such as Gary Numan and Alanis Morissette. Who would you like to work with again and why?
Mark: it was a real childhood dream to work with Gary Numan, He became a friend of mine over the years... I remember learning how to play are friends electric on the Bontempi electric organ back when I was 13, years old in the late 70s, so it was mind-blowing to get to play that song live with Gary on tour just a few years ago. We collaborated on some re-recordings of his classic material back in 2002 but it would be nice to record on some of Gary’s new material at some point. Also recording with Tricky was great, some really challenging stuff, wouldn’t mind doing some more with him as well!
I’m sure that you have been on some amazing tours over the years, and i’m sure some shows stick out more than others. What are some things that have stood out over the years?
Mark: Probably one of the most memorable shows for myself was when I joined the Mission in the early 90s, and we played a big benefit show at the Leeds Town & Country club theatre in 1993. it was billed as a big comeback show for The Mission, they hadn’t toured in a few years at that point, and to see the sea of arms held aloft as we perform ‘Tower of Strength’ was something I’ll never forget.. also performing on the main stage on the Saturday night at Glastonbury festival in 1998 with Tricky was brilliant.. we went on after Robbie Williams -who became huge in the UK shortly after that show - and going on right before Blur at the height of their fame was quite an experience.. probably the biggest crowd I’ve played to.
What initially got you interested in playing music, and what’s kept you in the scene over the years?
Mark: Funnily enough I only got a guitar because my best friend at school Paul ‘paddy’ Bryan had gotten a guitar first, one of those catalog guitars, and I decided I wanted to learn guitar as well so I got one from the catalog with the help of my Mom, and started learning… he was always a few months ahead of me and so he was my carrot.. I was so determined to catch up to him.. eventually it worked out! Not even sure if Paul plays anymore..
You put out your first solo album in 2016, what was different about putting that album together compared to what you did in the past?
Mark: Well the release of ‘Volumes’, which was my first solo release, was purely a whimsical and self-indulgent affair.. I realized that I’d recorded on over 25 commercially released albums over the years, but never one with my name on it, and I had some time on my hands and decided it would be fun to release my own material.. I’d never done it before because I hate the sound of my voice - I like to call myself ‘the Jimmy page of the operation’ heh heh.. and once I realised I could ask some of my singer friends to sing on my demos, contributing the vocals, myself handling the bulk of the music.. then ‘Volumes’ was born.
Who has been your biggest influencer(s) over the years and what did they do to inspire you?
Mark: My influences have varied over the years.. initially back when I was a teenager in the late 70s I was heavily influenced by the emergence of the punk rock scene in the UK.. bands like Generation X, the Sex Pistols, The Skids, and Gary Numan etc.. also some metal bands such as Motorhead and Rush and I also listened to stuff like Pink Floyd and alternative rock..as I progressed I started listening to more alternative rock such as the Cure, Killing Joke, XTC and Siouxsie and the Banshees to name a few.. as I got older I became more influenced by classic rock bands such as Led Zeppelin, Bowie, The Who and The Beatles, plus blues, dub and rock ‘n’ roll such as Eddie Cochran, artists such as Prince, Prodigy, Radiohead, the list goes on… new bands I’m listening to include Royal Blood, Russian Circles, Grinderman etc.
If you go give your younger self advice what would it be? Would you want to change anything?
Mark: I’ll probably tell my teenage self to go and get a haircut! and start dressing better.. have you seen those old photos?
Social media and the internet has changed the music industry quite a bit, what are some changes that you have enjoyed, and what would you hope to see change?
Mark: The Internet has certainly been revolutionary for music.. I remember a time when all you got was vinyl and tape cassettes, and then it was compact discs, and then the Internet kicked in.. and all of a sudden you could download an album in a minute, which was revolutionary.. nowadays you have services such as Spotify were if you want to listen to in obscure album by Brian Eno and Robert Fripp you can just search for it and listen there and then, that it won’t cost you a penny.. it’s pretty mindblowing. Sadly it’s inevitably had an impact on musical income for the artists, and I’m just hoping that we figure out a way forward with the industry to see artists compensated for their creativity more..
What’s your process for writing music? And what kinds of themes do you see recurring in your music?
Mark: Being a guitarist, it usually invariably starts with the guitar.. I’ll be doodling away on my acoustic watching TV and stumble across a cool chord sequence, or an interesting melody or arpeggio and then I’ll go to my studio and flesh it out with some programmed drum beats and the bassline… there are some occasions where I’ve actually written with the drumbeat first - perhaps using a sample - but invariably it’s usually from the time honored tradition of strumming away on your acoustic guitar, and just coming up with something inspiring.
I see that you have an upcoming tour coming up with Jyrki 69 that will be hitting Hollywood, Las Vegas, and Mesa AZ. I’m sure that you will put out awesome performances at each venue. What’s next after that? Are there any other events coming up that you are looking forward to performing at?
Mark: Currently we are focusing on the new album dropping next month on 23 February, and then our US tour in March.. we’re still looking into options after that so we are hoping to do some more shows you’ll have to watch this space! Definitely looking forward to the shows, especially performing at the legendary Whisky A Go Go in West Hollywood! All the iconic rock bands of the 60’s have played there..
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