(October 22, 2007)
Q: Hello Mark, how’s it going?
A: It’s going Excellent! How bout choo?
Q: First of all, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
A: Not sure what you want to know… hmmm, well… I love writing and performing music. I love all kinds of music so long as it’s good! (very subjective I know..)… and I hate capsicum (or peppers as they call them over here)…
Well, I grew up in a small town in Western Queensland, Australia… signed a record deal when I was 18 in Sydney, lived there for about 6 years – then moved to LA, lived there for about 2, moved back to Oz and toured for another 2 year and then been back in the US between Nasvhille & LA for the last 18 months…
Q: You’ve released a solo record (None Of The Above) as well as an album with your band ZINC (MAKINGSENSEOFMADNESS). And you are working really hard on new material. How would you describe the differences in sound and the musical development along the years?
A: I guess, I’ve been somewhat a product of my environment…. my first record was influenced by what I was listening to and where I was living at the time… coming from straight out of the bush (Dalby, Qld, Australia) I was really into music like The Eagles, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Garth Brooks and of course whatever Top 40 stuff was on the radio…and I still REALLY dig all that stuff today…
With the Zinc album, we had been living and touring between LA and Sydney for several years – so there were a lot more pop/rock influences goin on.. plus there were 2 other guys in the band! So the vision for the music was a collaborative thing…Having 3 singers was really fun, but it meant that songs had to be written in a certain style for everyone to agree on them.
Q: ZINC is on a hiatus for the moment. Do you think that you guys will ever make another record together?
A: Well, never say never I guess…. but everyone has moved on I think to do their own stuff, so that makes it pretty difficult…..If I was a gambling man, I’d put my money on……..craps….no wait, blackjack…..well it would depend how much I’d had to drink at the time…. have I successfully dodged that question?
Q: Can you tell us something about when your next album might be released?
A: Yes… I can Koen! It’s looking like a June/July 08 release in the US – which I’m very excited about, not sure about Oz yet… still some label things to sort out there….
Q: You are originally from Australia, but you spend a lot of your time in the United States. Where do you find people to connect to your music the most? And what are the differences between an Australian audience & an American audience?
A: Good question… there are some differences, and I think it comes down to population… eg. When you tour Australia, unless you have a hit song on the radio at the time, you can pretty much only afford to do the major capitol cities – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane etc…. the reason being, it’s pretty hard to find venues and towns along the way, where there’s enough people to come out to the show and make the sums add up….
but in the US, You could drive like 3-4 hrs… stop, gig, get on the tour bus – and then drive 3-4 hrs again and be at the next venue…. I mean there’s 300 million people in the US compared with 20 million in Oz……. So that means there are more people who like the style of music that I play.. just because of the population!
Q: You’ve written and played with some pretty big names. How do you experience things like that?
A: How? Um…. welll, not sure what you mean exactly… I could tell you WHAT it’s like… but it all depends on the individual experience… Touring with Shannon Noll on his first big tour was awesome – we (Zinc) played like 80 shows all round the country and met some great people along the way…. Writing with Dave Berg & Georgia Middleman (written a gazillion #1’s) here in Nashville was killer too – but for different reasons…
Q: You’re a good example of an artist who uses self-promotion through internet to its fullest. How much has internet promotion changed the music industry?
A: It goes without saying that the internet and file sharing has had a major impact on the music business, but it certainly is not The DEATH OF THE MUSIC BUSINESS, or anything like what a lot of people say.. it just means it’s changing… and if you are smart and savvy about it – it’s changing for the better!
Instead of “thinking outside the box”, I think that music execs need to just throw the box away and start again… The internet, my website and myspace have allowed me to attract and stay in touch with a bunch of fans that I”ve never been able to communicate with before… and for that, I’m really grateful…. I hope that I can continue this good run!
Q: You have written dozens and dozens of songs. When you write a song, do you usually start with the lyrics or rather with the melody?
A: It all depends, there’s no set rhyme or reason when I write a song… could be lyrics, a melody, a hook…sometimes I’ll start with a hamburger….
Q: And who do you consider to be the biggest influences on your song writing & sound in general?
A: That’s a tough one – there are so many artists that I Love! I’ll throw a few out there … Tom Petty, Switchfoot, Garth Brooks, Crowded House, Sheryl Crow, The Beatles (of course), The Stones (absolutely), the list goes on….
Q: If you could pick one band or artist that you could tour with, who would it be? And why?
A: Elvis Presley! He is, was, and always will be THE KING!
Q: Lets say you could perform anywhere in the world, what would be your favourite place to play a show?
A: Well Wembley would be on the list! Giant Stadium in New Jersey (I saw Bon Jovi there a few years back)….I really like mid size clubs like The State Theatre or The Enmore in Sydney….. The Rutledge and 12th & Porter are great places to play in Nashville… smaller venues like The Basement (also in Nashville) and Hotel Cafe in LA are cool too…
Q: Do you have any rituals before going on stage?
A: To be honest, not really…. I generally just try and grab a few minutes by myself to focus…
Q: Day or night?
Q: Club venue or arena venue?
A: Mid-size Club (1000)
Q: CDs or digital music?
Q: Okay, final question. What are your thoughts on people downloading music, both legally & illegally?
A: My thoughts are… hmm….. well, downloading music as opposed to going to a record store, will become standard in the next 5 years. For most of us, it already is…….CD stores will probably be gone pretty soon…. That doesn’t mean that I think everyone music recordings should be free… It just means the way we get our music has changed forever. I already give away a couple of mp3s to people who are interested in my music – just for joining my mailing list.
(www.markosheamusic.com) I do this in the hope that people like them and want to hear more…. For me, the recordings are a way to let people know what you sound like… if they like it, they’ll come to a show. It’s a very strange and interesting time for the music biz – but music isn’t going anywhere! and I plan on being round playing, writing and recording it for a while to come!