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Sébastien Ross

Sébastien Ross

Propriétaire de KracRadio et projets de musique maloware.com Owner of KracRadio and music project maloware.com

Interview with Mark Remmington

Where does the idea come from to create a song every week for 12 weeks on Youtube?

The idea was born almost out of necessity. The pandemic and lockdown restrictions has been hard on so many of us for so many reasons. Just the social isolation was bad enough, but on top of that, loss of work, financial instability, the negative effect not just on yourself, but on our loved ones.

For myself, I suddenly found myself in a a bad place mentally as we ended 2020, it took me by surprise and it took me some time to admit to; and I realised the first step to recovery was admitting and accepting how I was. This lead me to write my song “Blossoms” which was really a musical letter to myself really to just understand and accept where I was.

Once I’d finished it and shared it, I just found I had an immediate response from not just friends but people I hardly knew, coming to me saying that they felt the same, how the song had helped them even… It reminded me of how music can heal, and reminded me that I needed to feel, to know even, that I was doing something meaningful with my time. I knew I needed to do more.

So from there I set myself a goal of making a song and a video every week and sharing it, really in an effort to have goals, an effort to fix my head. And the good news is it worked! They say it takes 3 weeks to form a new habit fr way of thinking; I gave myself three months (12 weeks) just to be sure!

Seriously, I must say this process truly helped me in my relationships, myself as a Father, a Husband, as a friend, I got back to being my better self. I would encourage anyone feeling similar effects of life under lockdown, to do the same, pursue a passion project, challenge yourself to learn new skills, and set goals. Just go do what you love.

Were there people in your family who had artistic talents?

Well my Mum is a very capable creator with fabrics, she can make just about anything from textiles from clothes to curtains, and I think that all comes from the same place as music. A drive to be creative, applying a particular set of skills, high levels of concentration and intuition all swimming together to bring a new thing to life.

I have an uncle who helped get me started on guitar, how to tune, basic chords and riffs, so I’m forever grateful for that, and from there I had to fend for myself and just teach myself what ever I could pick up from Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath records.

But yes I would say there’s a lot of creativity in my family,; it’s just not always musical expression where we find our passions though is it.

Do you play all the instruments?

Yes I do, again, this is more out of necessity. I made this music during the second wave of quite strong lockdown restrictions, so collaborating with others was just off the table. Also to meet my self imposed deadlines of a fully mastered song a week, it didn’t really allow the time for trial and error that comes with working remotely on musical projects with other people.

So the album is just me. You’ll hear there’s a lot of use of keys, particularly on my songs “Black Keys Honey” and “Put my bones into the Ground” , but all of them have textures in the background, of subtle strings, electric piano etc, I play all the bass parts of course, but I must say I am first and foremost a guitarist.

Everything else, including the vocals I approach as a tool to get the job done, I approach these other instruments as a songwriter. I think its great to have other instruments around that aren’t your principle instrument, they make you write in completely different ways and write songs you otherwise wouldn’t have.

It can also be quite freeing; when laying down a guitar part, as a guitarist, you can’t help but get distracted by worrying, is this section technical enough to be interesting, should I play more flashy. When you take an instrument you know you are not proficient at, you’re just concerned with servicing the song, with trying get the sound in your head, down on tape and recorded.

Who inspired your musical style?

Its a strange question to answer because the music I listen to most is quite hard and heavy rock and metal; I absolutely love the band Mastodon for example. But I have really eclectic tastes and for some reason when I sit down to write, the sounds that come out are just not that… at least not anymore, so I find myself channeling Pink Floyd, or Neil Young some days, and then Smashing Pumpkins or Radiohead the next.

I also really love folk artists like Nick Drake and John Martyn, or Americana and Blues, Ben Harper for example, and you’ll hear that on songs like “Can’t avoid the Crash” performed mainly on an open tuned Robert Johnson style parlour guitar.

Which song are you most proud of and why?

This is such tough question, like choosing a favourite child! Each song is important to me for different reasons; they are the stories I experienced or collected over the 12 weeks I was making songs.

That said, the song that seems to have meant the most to others so far is “Blossoms”; I’ve never made a song before that prompted people to get in touch and say it helped them. I’m incredibly proud of that, thats what music should be shouldn’t it after all? a way to share stories, of highlighting common experiences of all our lives, the good and the bad. It’s not easy laying your heart out for the world to see, but if by doing so I’ve managed to help a few other people, then its really worth all the pain.

I’ve got to make an honourable mention as I’m also really proud of the big guitar sounds on “Going out of our Minds” the album is all recorded at home, and whole neighbourhood knew about it when I was recording that one, my guitar amp was turned up to 11!

 

Have you already participated in other musical projects?

Yes, I also play guitars and sing in an electric Blues three piece called “Stone Pepper Blues”. This is predominantly reworking of blues classics, I play a lot of slide guitar here. But we also have some original material and released a single last October called “Lockdown, Lockdown, Lockdown”. No prizes for guessing what that songs about. Playing in this three piece with my pals Eddie Miles and Jon Cannon is such a treat, there is something magical about being in a three piece, when you all click, the sound you make somehow becomes more than the sum of its parts, a fourth dimension of sound somehow enters the room. I love it. Its also great to just play these raucous old tunes.

I also recently worked with a very good old friend and fellow artist “Nix Dadry” adding lead guitars for his upcoming EP which will be released in the summer I hope. Again firmly in the role of lead guitarist, I also just shot a live video with him and his band which has just been released on YouTube as Nix’s replacement from being able to play live or tour to support the last release, there are these live videos for his fans to enjoy. If you like your rock, check him out!

I also played a couple of years ago with Alternative Folk artist Neil Cousin on his EP “Roaring Boy” providing guitars and mandolin. We also played quite a few gigs and it was so much fun. I must say that whole piece was what helped me get back to playing guitar again, after a long break from music, whilst focusing on a corporate career and just putting my young family first. Those things are important of course, but if you are a creative person, its really important you are doing something with that creativity, that you are doing things also for your self.

Do you think you are experimenting with other musical styles, if so which one?

Well yes, there’s the Blues and Hard rock I mentioned above; but I’ve been fortunate enough to have been invited to play a lot of music as a session player in the past. I must say I am by no means a virtuoso, at all; but I love all music, and when playing other peoples songs, particularly on their records, I do my homework, I work out the style of playing, I learn the songs inside out and come in prepared with a few options for their song and have learnt to work pretty quickly as a result.

You can’t be the best at music, there’s always going to be others better skilled at doing their thing, but you can always be the hardest working and the most prepared. That goes a long way, and people always appreciate you taking their music seriously. In the past I’ve played, Country, Pop, a little Jazz even, lots of rock, some metal, Punk… Basically if it requires a guitar, I’ve given it a good go.

Which artist do you respect the most and why?

I’m not sure respect is a word I like to use for music; everyone deserves respect regardless of what skills you have, I respect people that treat others with respect, that live with equality and kindness on their lips and in their hearts.

I am amazed by the musicians of the 50’s 60’s and 70’s that scultpted and created the genres we take for granted today. I could sit up all night and talk about the first 4 Black Sabbath albums, or Miles Davis Jazz masterpiece “Kind of Blue”; or Bob Dylan’s lyrics… all of these people and many, many more.

But I suppose one of the most selfless acts in music in recent years has been David Gilmour auctioning off his collection of very well known guitars from his career and giving the whole lot to the charity Client Earth to combat and raise awareness of the realities of climate changes.

Not only has his music given so many of us countless moments of joy and inspiration, but to do what he did is a gift to future generations beyond music. May we all learn from his example.
what is the place of social media in the promotion of your music?
I try to unify what I put out on three platforms that I am most familiar with, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

So follow me on any of these and I promise to keep you entertained with music, guitars and just general life stuff. I must say of them all, for an independent artist like me, Facebook kind of sucks these days, none of my friends and followers seem to see any of my posts, but Insta and Twitter are really 1great platforms still with lots of organic reach. So I’m really enjoying sharing and discovering music on those right now.

Do you have a future project that you are currently working on?

YES! Of course my album “12 Weeks” is coming out on the 9th of June, you can stream or download it from all the major services in your country wherever you are, I also have physical CD’s available from BandCamp (I’m old school, I still love a CD and Vinyl).

But I’m already working on the next album with half of it recorded. The next album will involve collaborations and performances with friends and other artists and its been really great getting people I love to hang out and play with involved. Most of all I’m just so grateful that these great people interested on playing my songs; its an honour.
we like to leave the last word, what would you like to say?
I have to say I think the work you do a KRAC radio is really important, I really appreciate the platform and the voice you give to Independent Musicians, we all have our stories to tell.

For me, and certainly with this album I just wanted to get across the point that if your experiencing bad times, if you’re struggling, its never forever, you will find your people to help you get through, and you can use your passion to find meaning in what you have, get creating. At least, this is what worked for me.
My album “12 Weeks” is on release 9th June. Thanks for listening

We like to leave the last word, what would you like to say?

I have to say I think the work you do a KRAC radio is really important, I really appreciate the platform and the voice you give to Independent Musicians, we all have our stories to tell.

For me, and certainly with this album I just wanted to get across the point that if your experiencing bad times, if you’re struggling, its never forever, you will find your people to help you get through, and you can use your passion to find meaning in what you have, get creating. At least, this is what worked for me.
My album “12 Weeks” is on release 9th June. Thanks for listening

Mark Remmington is a guitarist turned singer songwriter, based in the rural East of Engalnd. Embarking on his first solo release emerging from a long break from the music scene and entering into a new period of high productivity.

In his former role as guitarist Mark has been a working studio player, and touring musician playing on some of the largest stages around Europe. Marks debut solo debut now sees him in the role of mutli-instrumentalist and story teller, sharing stories of living life through the pandemic, the great gift of friends, the highs of love, the lows of social isolation, of loss, and finally the importance of living a life well.

In response to feeling the lows of depressive feelings many have experienced in the last year, Mark resolved to get through this period by writing songs and making accompanying videos, releasing one song a week, every week, for 12 weeks. The process was a success and Mark now has his collected songs ready to go out now as his album “12 Weeks”.