This Goes To 11 is a new 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 speaks with Max Kilstofte from L.A blues/hard rock outfit Fuz Lip.
MD: Your biggest fear right now with the music industry?
MK: That’s a good question. One of my big fears is how music is increasingly becoming computerized and relying on technology. The human element is missing. It is not the same as it was years ago with humans playing instruments. Mistakes sometimes enhance the music. The analogy I would give is that music shouldn’t be made on an assembly line. It should be handcrafted by artisans.
Why do you think Rock Music is always the genre fighting for commercial acceptance?
I think rock music is always rebellious and a bit of a counter-culture. By definition, counter-culture is not mainstream culture, therefore rock music is always going to be on the fringes and not as commercial.
Was there a moment in your career that you thought about throwing it all in?
I think there have been many times along the way where one’s confidence gets rattled as a musician. Musicians are all insecure and some days all it takes is looking at another talented musician (i.e. Jimi Hendrix or Duane Allman) and thinking you’ll never reach that level so why keep going. What you need to do is remind yourself that music is artistic expression and while maybe you can’t play like your heroes, they also can’t play like you! We all have our own artistic fingerprint. We’re all unique and that alone should be reason enough to keep going. Even if it is just to put your artistic weirdness out into the atmosphere.
What is your typical writing process?
Most rock music starts with a guitar riff from Captain Max. Then it goes to Mad Max on the drums and the guitar and drums work through it. Usually, for us, the last thing is Miles bringing in the vocal melody and lyrics as well as the bass line. If the song is more of an acoustic folk or blues thing or of the piano singer/songwriter style, then sometimes the vocal melody and lyrics are thought up in conjunction with the chords and then it is taken back to add some lead guitar and drums for some polishing and arranging. Generally, we all get our hands on all the songs. It is very collaborative. Although Miles probably does most of the lyrics, there have been a number of songs where Mad Max on the drums will help out with the words as well.
Is there still value in printing CD’s or do you believe the Digital world has taken over completely now?
I think there is value in CD’s and records. The digital world is more geared towards singles, however, we love the concept of a full album. Albums are how all of our heroes made music. There is something so artistically stimulating about putting on a full album and listening to it from start to finish. Also, the artwork and pictures. The image. The order of the tracks. There’s so much going on and it is so much more intriguing than just listening to singles.
Are you prepared to sacrifice money and comfort in order to progress your career?
Can you see modern Rock music returning to (commercial) radio in the near future?
I don’t know. Anything is possible. It could come back to a degree. I don’t think it will ever be completely commercial.
Was Lars Ulrich right?
I think in some regards Lars was right. Obviously, his image took a hit for how he took on Napster, but he did have a point when he said they were doing it for the younger bands. Because at that point, Metallica had made so much money and had built such a brand that they didn’t need the record sales…It seems he was right after all, the up and coming guys probably got hurt way more by the changing music landscape than the established guys.
Has Rock Music become too safe?
Not just rock, but a lot of music has become too safe. It goes back to the technology and manufacturing songs by computer rather than having humans play them. There is something vulnerable about humans doing it. Humans mess up, they aren’t as precise as machines, but the human element is what makes rock dangerous and fun. We need to get back to letting the music be less perfect and more human.
Do you think it’s important to play in multiple projects or solely focus your attention into one?
I don’t have much of an opinion on that one way or the other. I have seen other guys have success being in multiple bands. For me, I have never been able to fit into different groups so I always had to make my band. Luckily, I wanted a power trio and I already had a bass player/singer in my brother so all we needed was a drummer. For me it has always been best to focus only on one band but what is best for me may not be best for you!
What have you got going on or coming up that we should know about?
We are getting in the studio this month to record our second album. We really took advantage of all the downtime in COVID to write since we couldn’t play live as much. We are really looking forward to this album. Our fans can expect a single or two to be released later this year as well as a music video or two. We intend to release the full album in the first half of next year.
Watch “Running on Empty” below: