Q: How is the music scene in Spokane, WA?
MARK HOUSTON: The music scene in Spokane is great! We have a mix of all kinds of music here – rock, indie, folk, and country are all very popular. As a city, Spokane is a nice middle ground between large and small – large enough to catch big bands on their tours, but small enough that local artists are able to get to know and support one another. We’ve also got some really cool venues here in town. One of my favorites to play at is The Big Dipper, which is run by Dan Hoerner of the band Sunny Day Real Estate, and his wife Dawson Hoernerg’s soundscape to be. The whole experience was extremely cathartic.
Q: What is your songwriting process? How do you usually craft a song?
MARK: For me music has always been a way to explore feelings and emotions, so I usually grab my guitar to discover a new idea when I feel impacted by something I saw or something that happened during my day. Sometimes a small interaction I had with someone or a scene I saw in a movie will leave me with a feeling that is difficult to put into words, and playing music gives me the chance to dig in. I started playing guitar at a young age and it’s the instrument that I’m most comfortable with, so that’s usually where I explore new ideas first. The vocal melodies and lyrics usually begin to form early on as well. Once a song has begun to take shape, I’ll have ideas of other instruments that could be added to compliment the vocals and melodies. On this project I’ve mainly stuck with organic instruments, relying on acoustic/electric guitars, piano, xylophone, melodica, and violin to create layers and fill out the soundscapes.
Q: I love your style! Who are you biggest musical influences?
MARK: Thanks so much, I appreciate that! Overall, I’d say that my sound is most inspired by the alternative, indie, folk, and rock scenes, but I listen to a whole bunch of different genres from all over the map. A few artists that have been big long-time inspirations for me are Steven Wilson (Solo, Porcupine Tree, Blackfield), Radiohead, and Death Cab for Cutie. During the writing and recording of “The Coast” some big inspirations were Lucy Rose, Radical Face, City and Colour, AlascA, and Dear Boy.
Q: Did any real-life events occur in your life that inspired the “All the Mornings”?
MARK: When writing my upcoming record “The Coast,” I wanted to build moods and feelings by creating stories and characters. Whether experienced personally or observed in film or other media, I’ve found that I am fascinated by human relationships, and this is a common theme throughout the album. In “All the Mornings” I focused on the idea of aged love, and wrote from the perspective of someone who has been through many years of life with their partner by their side. “All the Mornings” is meant to portray a love that has been worn and tested by time – a love that has guided the story’s protagonist by adapting and growing through hardship.
Q: What is coming up next for you?
MARK: There are a lot of exciting things coming up! My full record “The Coast” will be out in less than a month, on July 16! I’ve begun to schedule live dates for later this year, and some good friends of mine will be joining me to perform the album as a full live band. We’ll be recording a live video soon as well. I have also continued writing more music, and plan to begin recording my next project later this year!
Q: What would you like to tell your supporters out there?
MARK: Thank you so much for listening! These songs hold a special place in my heart, and it’s such a great feeling to know that others have connected with them too. Friends and family, thank you so much for your love and patience, and for taking the time to help me push myself and grow! With “The Coast” I’ve been so fortunate to have people involved in the project and in my life who knew how much it meant to me, and who all went the extra mile to make it happen – I couldn’t have done it without you guys!
Interviewed by Stephanie Pankewich
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