This Goes To 11 #1

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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.

Sit back, relax, and check out Mark’s debut interview with Eric Davidson from Dead Horse Trauma.

MD: What’s your biggest fear right now with the music industry?

ED: Other than “scorps” in my shoes, bears, birds, or the never-ending possibility of a bus crash, I’d say, it’s the hungry crooks. With the new ways artists are having to get creative in staying afloat, there HAS to be a whole new pile of crooks just waiting to rip off the new musicians trying their hardest to put their dreams out there.

Why do you think Rock Music is always the genre fighting for commercial acceptance?

I don’t really think they’re the only genre fighting for it. Wouldn’t any genre? I think getting that commercial money is probably coveted by any music. On the contrary, here in Des Moines, IA, there is access to a couple of rock stations. I don’t hear any primarily Dubstep, or EDM stations in this area. I’d say Rock is fairly accepted.

Was there a moment in your career that you thought about throwing it all in?

Of course, but what would I do with all this music inside? I don’t want to explode. I’m not saying it’s logical, but no musician I know has ever spontaneously combusted, js. I will never give up on music. I may take on different roles in the production of music from time to time, but I couldn’t imagine giving it up altogether.

What is your typical writing process?

I actually try my best to not to let there be a “typical” writing process. We’ve intentionally tried to take new avenues of writing with each album cycle to grow as a band, then musicians, and now songwriters/sound engineers/designers.

We were evolving our processes in our first 3 albums to where we could just email songs back and forth, but when we recorded with Rick Lander, he blew my mind with an observation. He taught us about song farming, and how in our new “evolved” process, we didn’t have that “Aha moment”. That moment when you’re all in the same room, and you stumble onto that great riff or breakdown, where everybody looks at each other and just communicates, “yeah, this is it.” He was absolutely right. We turned in to a song factory churning out songs that had so much of a mechanical feel it lost the emotion we put into each riff. We just got “good at our jobs”. You tend to have that with anything you do religiously. You find ways of being more efficient, more mechanical, more streamlined, but with art, sometimes we need to throw a wrench in the gears to restart and bring focus to the emotional aspects of creativity.

This time around we’re using all of our newfound knowledge and putting out some of the best pre-pro work we’ve ever done, though in a much different way than ever before.

Is there still value in printing CD’s or do you believe the digital world has taken over completely now?

I think there’s value in giving the fans what they want. If they buy your CDs, then you should try to have them available (there are no sizes to CDs to have excess stock, they’re OSFA). Even if you have to make them by hand. Just give them what they want. You used to have to get minimum batches of 1k-5k CDs done in order for them to be even remotely profitable, but there are so many places out there now, you can get mini-batches of 100-500 made.

Are you prepared to sacrifice money and comfort in order to progress your career?

Well, yeah. What’s different? We’ve been touring for more than 5 years. We’ve seen some things. 😉 What better gamble can I take than on myself?

Can you see modern Rock music returning to (commercial) radio in the near future?

I think we can continue to stretch the term “Modern Rock” to anything we can. The next Modern Rock could not even have a single guitar, but rather use egg beaters through a synth, and trash cans as drums. It’s just gotta speak to you as Rock Music does.

Was Lars Ulrich right?

Sure. You can make someone right or wrong, depending on your perception. Things like Napster just made the industry evolve. Maybe faster than intended, but hey, you gotta stir the pot every once in a while.

Has Rock Music become too safe?

I don’t think so. Commercial Rock music? Sure, you gotta appease the wallet holders, and keep them from being sued, or losing corporate sponsors. The business has nearly always kept a tight hold on how far-from-PC you can publically be.

Do you think it’s important to play in multiple projects or solely focus your attention on one?

Depends on your available time, the projects’ schedules, your role in the project, your expectations. I’d just say, “Yes”. If it’s important to you, do it.

What have you got going on or coming up that we should know about?

Dead Horse Trauma is still working on new material, and as DHT fans know, we don’t hype stuff until we have stuff for them to see. I personally have been working with a few artists that need beats, recording, production, and just general guidance. I’m no expert myself, but I really like to lend my experience, and what I’ve learned to help bands and artists that are working hard to pave their own way. Talent is in no short supply, I think everybody knows a really good musician that “should have made it”. It’s the hard work that really separates the ones that really want it, and the ones that just expect it. Whatever “it” is.

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