Words by Mark Dalbeth
This Goes To 11 is a weekly column hosted by Mark Dalbeth. Mark was born in New Zealand and now lives in Los Angeles, and would be better known in Australia as having been part of the band Bellusira. Following his dreams, Mark moved to LA and has been working on Rav Medic plus an exciting new project he has in the works. As a performer, Mark has been the subject of many interviews and, as a result of often being asked the same generic questions himself, has come on board with HEAVY and plans to conduct interviews with an edge.
No bullshit questions, no boring anecdotes and definitely no soft edges, This Goes To 11 is a column where the musician finally gets to turn the tables with hard-hitting questions you won’t hear anywhere else.
This week, Mark catches up with Josh from Anita Squeeze.
Let’s cut straight to it!
MD: Your biggest fear right now with the music industry?
AS: This is an interesting question because the music industry has gone through a serious transition. I strongly believe there will always be a way to generate money for artists even though it may not ever be from actual record sales again. Music is so engrained in people’s lives, it’s like air, we need it, and there’s not thing quite like seeing music performed by your favorite artists live and in the flesh.
The thing that does bother me though, is the quality of music. Real songs with real structure, dynamics, melody and a big ending seems to be getting lost. When I write a song I want the listener to feel like they had the best orgasm of their life when the song is over.
Why do you think Rock Music is always the genre fighting for commercial acceptance?
Money! If you don’t make money, you don’t make a next album.
But let’s be real, being commercial was the goal of some of the most influential bands of all time. Mick Jagger was once quoted as saying something about being more commercial, and I’ve heard stories of Lennon and McCartney setting down with guitars, a pen and some paper, and saying, “Okay, let’s write ourselves a swimming pool.” Everybody wants to be successful.
Was there a moment in your career that you thought about throwing it all in?
No, never!!! I will write music, record music, and perform music til the day I die. Money or not! Someone once told me, if you play guitar, you always have a friend. I am never lonely.
What is your typical writing process?
When I write a song it usually starts with the guitar. Something unique happens, I sing a bunch of gibberish, a word pops out, and it builds from there. If I’m still singing the song the next day, I know it’s good.
Is there still value in printing CD’s or do you believe the Digital world has taken over completely now?
I’m trying to figure that out too… let me know when you know!
Are you prepared to sacrifice money and comfort in order to progress your career?
YES!!!! Money is great, but at the end of the day people are too obsessed with it.
I wrote a lyric for one of my newest songs called, “Change The World” which I think explains my feelings about our obsession with money…
“Everybody likes some extra money
To help us enjoy our lives
But when that money is your 2nd coming
Now baby that’s too high a price”
Can you see modern Rock music returning to (commercial) radio in the near future?
I already do… here in Los Angeles, KLOS is playing all kinds of new bands. Same with KROQ.
Was Lars Ulrich right?
Lars was definitely correct. There is no more money being made from songs being sold.The good news is, now you can record your music for practically nothing. That makes it a lot easier to recoup your investment.
Has Rock Music become too safe?
Yes, when you are talking about bands like Maroon 5, and no, when you’re talking about bands like Greta Van Fleet,…who literally made great AOR type record with literally no “singles“ on it, as well as many of the alternative rock bands and a lot of the metal bands.
Do you think it’s important to play in multiple projects or solely focus your attention into one?
I think it depends on your goals. I never wanted to be a hired gun, but if I did, then it would be all about playing for anyone I can. I really love the band mentality, there’s nothing like being in a band of brothers who all have the same goal, with each member offering something unique, and special, both musically and personally.
It’s a lot harder to find that in LA nowadays. There’s a bunch of cats out here selling their careers short for $150.00 by taking wedding gigs and backing up singer songwriters, while losing the passion for the thing they used to love above all else.
What have you got going on or coming up that we should know about?
My band, Anita Squeeze is picking songs for our first release, which will hopefully be released this year, and we hope to be opening for some amazing national bands locally once things are fully back to normal.