Interview: Mark My Way - Ieperfest 2017Written by David Marote
Mark My Way are and up and coming band from the Ypres region in Flanders that have been building up a vast following over the five years in their existence with their unique approach to hardcore intertwined with rap. 2017 seems to be the year that the puzzle pieces are falling together for them with a new EP The Big Game and opening the main stage of the 2017 edition of Ieperfest.
Time to catch up with the band and find out all about their new EP and future endeavours.
Today is a special day for Mark My Way, your EP release is today at Ieperfest and you just played the mainstage. How has it been untill now?
It's been quite amazing so far, we've had a lot of good reactions. Also really happy that we finally released the new EP, The Big Game. And that we can combine it with a day like today. And of course, Ieperfest, we're a band from Ypres, we're literally from two streets down the road.
So it's a home match, we're really honoured that we were invited.
As people from Ypres, it's only a dream i guess to play such a festival.
We grew up coming to Ieperfest for years, we've helped out as volunteers.
Also the quality of the soundcheck and such, the monitors and more. We're used to playing smaller venues and this was just for real. The sound is pretty tight.
But you also have a release party planned in home town Ieper, september 9th at Vort'n Vis venue.
What can the fans expect for that night?
Saturday 9th of september, we've teamed up with Apocalyps Now Department. You can see it as a subdivision of some people who work for Ieperfest. They put a line up together with us with great bands we can't afford ourselves. Like Slope who played The Trench this afternoon. It's catchy, groovy hardcore on the rise, a name you will hear a lot about. It's a good match. Abashed and In Clover are playing too.
The CD release party is also for the people who couldn't make it today. Some friend of ours. We don't expect them to the pay the full price for today just to come see us. And also it's in the Vort'n Vis.
You just received some other great news. A compilation release of previous EP and demo on Genet Records. What can the listener expect and when?
We're really happy. It's going to be released fall of 2017. Our newest LP Lustrum : Joy As Profit in three colorways, a limited press of about 300 pieces. IT features our newest EP, Save Our Souls EP from 2014 and our demo from 2012. All together it's 15 songs i guess.
We're really honoured that they see something in us. That they think this is a good step for us.
The Big Game is the title of the new EP, it's derived from a part of your lyrics.
Could you tell us some more about what The Big Game means to you?
As the singer i write the lyrics and The Big Game actually stands for life in general. I feel like life is something you can see as a game. It has it's own rules and to me those are the rules. Confrontation in order to change. That's what i do in my lyrics, i confront myself with things that i feel, that i see. I use that confrontation to get other ideas. I feel like that everyone should now that life is a game they play.
That's also why the artwork is a distorted chess board. It refers to the game, it's distorted, it's not smooth, life does not go smooth.
And the Kingpin you only see the little yellow cross, just to express how difficult it could be to survive in this.
For me the EP is about figuring out how to handle stuff that you have to endure.
Hardcore is a very conscious group of people, i guess in the lyrics you can also feel a lot more emotion than just another pop band. Hardcore always refers to the deeper stuff, the harder stuff. I guess that is what The Big Game is about.
It will be released on CD and tape by local record label Kick Out The Jams. How did you end up with them?
Ieper pre fest was the first time Angelo asked to talk. That was in 2013. He said look i really like what you do. He gave me the notion that he was interested in working together. Then we got a show in Wervik with Deconsecrate, the band of Andy who also works for KOTJ. Apparently Angelo had said to Andy to check us out. They just contacted us and we've been working with them for four years now.
They've been the biggest support, they have us so many opportunities. And they help us out with advice and the artwork for the EP. We couldn't have come so far without Kick Out The Jams.
About the new EP, i noticed you worked with Pieterjan Haemers from My Aim to produce the EP. Another local up and coming talent, and you also made a video for Stay In The Light. How was the cooperation?
It's nice to have the freedom with Pieter-Jan,because recordings are mostly paid per hour but with him it's per track. We have a lot of room for creating songs. He's also a really good producer.
Because we've played a lot of shows with My Aim, he's just a friend of ours. He's always honest and comes up with ideas. He's just a delight to work with. He knows what vibe you want.
A lot of specific tunes on the EP were written in the studio.
Like the sample for I See Through was completely written in the studio.
The muscial style of Mark My Way is heavily influenced by hardcore but Hip Hop has a huge influence too. How did this come by?
A couple of years back i really got into Hip Hop, i played in another band and i had the idea of maybe i should try and rap but they weren't that fond of it. And then Niek and Louis (former band member) came to me, hey you're singing in that other band how do you feel to come and try to sing for us as well. As the other band was quitting, I said yeah, they told me they were going for this E-Town Concrete vibe and i'm a huge fan of E-Town Concrete.
Ok, these guys are going to be open to me rapping and trying some new stuff. I think it went really well and we all got along. Now with The Big Game i feel it's not more just ike rapping in Hip Hop,
but i has the same kind of flow and the way i write lyrics. It's a bit more agressive. It's still there.
Lyrically, Mark My Way tries to keep a positive outlook on life but some tracks can be more misanthropic. Like Gaia Prevails/Man Fails paints a rather bleak image. Could you tell us some more about the song and what you're trying to put out there?
Most of the lyrics are things that i see in the world. The way humans interact with each other, the way humans interact with nature and the enviroment. The other stuff is more like personal stuff. Confrontation for myself, writing about it. Because i feel like if you have some trouble with something writing about it, talking about it, singing it, putting music to it really helps. Like with Gaia sometimes i wouldn't say i'm pissed off but i need to get it of my chest. It's something that keeps my busy and it comes out a bit dark. It's a darker perspective. The point is for me is take this as something that you learn and get on with it. Just like Stay In The Light is a song that goes about death, when my parents read it they were like, did you write this? What is this. They were a bit shocked. For me it's a really positive song. It's about moving on.
What's next for Mark My Way?
13th of September we have a show in Geneva and maybe a couple more, we're trying to figure it out now.
We're planning to write an album in about one year from now. And just play gigs. Maybe shoot a new video.
Because now all the songs that are on the EP are songs we've played live a lot for quite a while now.
I think we now have found our sound.