TAKING us into the middle of the week...
PHOTO CREDIT: Zyanya Lorenzo
is Mark Daly, as he tells me about his new single, Without You, and his 2018 album, When the Stars Align; the records that matter the most to him and when music came into his life – I ask how important and motivational it is knowing his music has connected with so many people.
Daly reveals his plans regarding touring and the future; whether the stage is somewhere he likes to be and which approaching artists we need to keep an eye out for – the songwriter chooses a great track to end the interview with.
Hi, Mark. How are you? How has your week been?
Hello, how’s it going? My week has been great, thank you. It’s always very hectic and exciting leading up to a release but all positive.
What is the weather like where you are? Do the conditions inspire songwriting at all?
It’s actually been a nice sunny week in Ireland for a change - but we are being punished with a storm tomorrow that is going to make up for it. I definitely think weather has a big effect on my mood and rainy days at home often lead to new music. Most of my deep songs would come from days like that. I lived in Seattle for a couple of years too and they have the same weather so I guess I am used to it and that’s why I can’t write upbeat, summer Pop songs. Haha.
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
I am a singer/songwriter from Cork in Ireland. I have been playing music full-time for ten years now and I have been loving every minute of it. In my early days, from about twenty to twenty-six, I was frontman for a rock band called The Voodoos and we were lucky enough to tour all over the world and sell a good few albums along the way. I was also a songwriter for Operation:Mindcrime in Seattle who are a supergroup of musicians created by Geoff Tate (formerly of Queensryche) who asked me to contribute some songs for his trilogy record…and I got to work with world-class musicians like John Moyer (Disturbed), Simon Wright (AC/DC); Rudy Sarzo (Ozzy, Whitesnake) and loads more which was an incredible experience.
After working on that record, I moved back home to Cork to focus on my solo career and I released my first single, The Hearts Reminder, in 2016. I also released a charity single in 2017 called Your World for World Autism Awareness Month with a song I wrote about my son.
In 2018, I released my debut solo album, When the Stars Align.
Without You is your new track. What is the inspiration behind it?
This song is like a dramatic love song; one where you write down all your feelings when everything is raw and the pain is at its worst. Then, later, you think I probably should have let the dust settle before writing these lyrics but because of how raw and real it was I wanted to keep it exactly the way it is now to show those emotions.
It is from the album, When the Stars Align. How personal is the album would you say? Did you take a lot of inspiration from your own life?
The whole album is very personal. Most tracks are about my life and personal experiences of dealing with hurt, pain; rejection and loss but also positivity, love; family and looking ahead to the future. To me, this album felt amazing to write and I found myself in a whole new style of songwriting on this record. The producer (Kelly Gray) wanted me to pull back from the Hard-Rock singing on these tracks and to focus on the lyrics - and telling my story -, which I was very grateful to him for making me do as I always used the Hardcore singing to cover up lines in my songs that used to make me feel uncomfortable.
Has music always been in your life? Which artists did you follow when young?
I have always loved music and all different styles of music. When I was a kid, I would get obsessed with one particular album for a long time - like ABBA’s greatest hits for example. Haha - and I would listen to it day and night. In my teenage years, I got massively into E.L.O, Pink Floyd; Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones.
Also, some of my favourite songwriters from when I was young are still my favourite to this day…like Adam Duritz (Counting Crows), Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes) and Justin Furstenfeld (Blue October); so, as you can see, I have a diverse taste in music for sure. Haha.
Your music has received a lot of praise and support. How important and motivating is that kind of backing?
It’s very motivating when people reach out to tell you that they like your music and can relate to lyrics etc. For me, I find there are times as a musician where I end up with loads of self-doubt and question my abilities as a musician and songwriter even more so when it comes to releasing new music. It’s really amazing to hear positive feedback.
Do you have a standout memory from your time in music so far?
I thought my MTV EMA performance with The Voodoos in 2011 was always going to be my number-one memory but I have to say it was the day I released my charity single for Autism Awareness Month, Your World, as it was such a difficult thing to release such a personal song. But I got messages from parents all over the world to say how much the song meant to them - and that was truly an incredible memory that will be hard to beat.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
August and Everything After - Counting Crows
It was the first album that I really, really listened to the lyrics and felt how powerful they were and, from then on, I was hooked on this band and songwriting.
The Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd
I just think it’s the greatest album of all time. Everything about this record is incredible and, still to this day, blows my mind.
Higher Truth - Chris Cornell
I have always been a fan of Chris Cornell on all his projects but I really connected with his final solo album and I learned a lot from this particular record.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
My own rider would be nice and easy: beer, whiskey and FIFA (smiles.
What are your other plans regarding gigs/touring?
Lots of plans to tour the U.K. and Ireland this year, including a tour with one of my favourite bands, Candlebox, in June across the U.K. Also plans are well underway for a U.S. tour in 2020.
Is the stage somewhere you feel at your most alive?
Yes, indeed. I always love being on stage as it brings out a different side to me - and one where I always feel happy and comfortable in.
Is there any advice you’d give to upcoming artists?
Besides the obvious advice of ‘work hard and find your sound’, I would say just to try and keep it at a level where you love doing it. It can easily stop becoming about writing and performing because of how competitive and hard the music industry is, so I think once you are doing it for the right reasons and work hard, success will come along with that.
IN THIS PHOTO: Better Oblivion Community Centre
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
Better Oblivion Community Center - which is Conor Oberst and Phoebe Bridgers together - is a really amazing new band and the album is brilliant. Irish band Fontaines D.C. are now starting to blow up and the album they just released is killer!
IN THIS PHOTO: Fontaines D.C./PHOTO CREDIT: Daniel Topete
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
I do get a nice bit of time to chill away from music. I love hanging out with my two kids and my better half, Claire, and playing/watching football. Although, being a Man Utd fan at the moment isn’t the best way to unwind. Haha.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
I’ll go with a Fontaines D.C. tune! Boys in the Better Land…and thanks for having me
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