The13th AÑO: 3
UNA R E VISTA IMA GINARIA
MARK THWAITE | A. LAISECA ESPECIAL ALAN VEGA | NOVANTA | PUSHIT REFLECTION | 93MILLIONMILESFROMTHESUN | SWANS
3 [ Interview with Mark Gemini Thwaite by Diego Centurión ]
A COLLECTION DATED BACK SEVERAL YEARS
Mark Gemini Thwaite is known for his work abetting big name artists in the Gothic Rock as Peter Murphy, The Mission, Gary Numan, just to name a few. But it was time for another step in his career, Is the time it is released to a land where his name remains above its reputation "accompany" another artist. The transition from being a soloist. And carry the weight of the composition and direction of a project. You open the album with a version of ABBA. Why you opted for "a version" for icebreaker? The ABBA cover was one of the first recordings I completed for my solo album... my initial plan was to record with friends on vocals and self release the album through my own label imprint, straight to itunes sort of thing – no CD – and it was Ville who encouraged me to consider releasing ‘Knowing Me Knowing You’ as a single through a label and to create a promo video for it. Ville got his management team on it and they secured the interest of SPV records in Germany, who ironically was my old band The Mission’s label during my tenure with that band, so I already knew the A&R guy there. As the single came out first – and was very well received, with over 800K views on Youtube – and it was
Ville’s brainchild, I decided to put my collaboration with him first. I think it’s a great way to kick off the album. Why the name of the album? I wasn’t sure what to call the álbum for many months, but pretty much the last song to be completed was ‘Star Struck Eyes’ by the wonderful Julianne Regan of All About Eve… she had sent me a sketch demo of the song with vocals, but with no song title.. when I asked her what she had in mind, she asked if I preferred ‘Volumes’ or maybe ‘Star Struck Eyes’.. I liked the Bowie/Roxy flavour of that song, complete with its sax solo by Jorgen Munkeby, and I suggested we go with ‘Star Struck Eyes’ as it was very evocotive of a Roxy Music song title. I then asked her if she minded my calling the álbum ‘Volumes’, as it is a collection of work – of volumes, if you will – and also ‘volume’ has that sound association, so Julianne’s lyric was the inspiration even though that wasnt her intention at the time... How long have you been writing songs for the album? The idea of releasing a ‘solo’ álbum was something that occured to me last year, I had previously dismis-
sed the idea as I associate guitarist solo albums with virtuosos such as Steve Vai and Yngwie Malmsteen.. self indulgent affairs, and I don’t like my singing voice so prefer to stay in the background and concéntrate on the songs, the Jimmy Page of the band, so to speak. I had accumulated a stockpile of fully realised demos over the years, dating back 10-15 years, some had been written with my old band The Mission in mind, some for Peter Murphy, some for Raymond Watts and his band PIG, when we collaborated together on the Primitive Race album. In fact ‘Coming Clean’ on my álbum was originally completed with the PIG álbum in mind back in 2013, but Raymond felt it didn’t quite fit for PIG so sat on it, and later let me use it on’Volumes’. Raymond had dropped the ball on the PIG álbum and wasnt happy with its musical direction back in 2014 so he sat on the demos/songs for a couple of year.. It was working with Primitive Race that made me realise I could get other vocalists to sing on my demos, including some of the demo’s submitted to PIG which were left unused and gathering digital dust.. I decided to send my various demos to many of the singers I knew personally such as Ville, Wayne Hussey, Ricky Warwick, Miles Hunt and Erica, Andi Sex Gang, Saffron etc. Ville was one of the first, as I had the idea to record a dark and brooding versión of ‘Knowing Me Knowing you’ for a few years, I sort of Heard it being covered by a band like The Mission, but as I wasn’t in the Mission anymore (not since 2008) I just sat on the idea until deciding to approach a solo record last year. I demoed the music very quickly and decided to send it to Ville as HIM are well known for doing excellent rock covers such as ‘Wicked Game’, and I was happy when he responded to my demo straight away and agreed to sing on it. ¿Have you ever thought each guest when you wrote every song? Or that was appearing on the recording? As mentioned before, many of the demos dated back several years and were floating around in my archive of unused music ideas... I would usually record intro/verse/chorus guitar sequences, adding my own drums, bass, sometimes synths etc. I did also write some brand new ideas for ‘Volumes’ last year, not
only recording all of the music for the ABBA cover myself (Rik Carter also kindly added some keys), but also re-recording a new version of ‘Seconds’ by Human League for Saffron of Republica to sing to, an old friend of mine.. . I also wrote the new music for ‘Drive and Forget’ that Ricky Warick sang on, also the three songs with Miles Hunt of The Wonder Stuff were all recent compositions. And as mentioned before I had already gotten Raymond Watts to sing on ‘Coming Clean’, although musically that song owes more of a debt to Killing Joke than PIG! Raymond was kind enough to let me include it on my solo album, and also gave his blessing to let me use some of my compositions for the PIG album with some of the other singers, as he wasn’t planning to release it... that was last year... How was the recording process with so many guests? As it was all long distance, with the only vocalist living in LA being Ricky Warwick, it was a case of file sharing over the internet... I would send my completed fully realized demos with verse/chorus/middle 8 ideas with drums and bass to each singer, usually sending 1 or 2 demos to each person, then wait and see which one they would respond to... they would sing their vocals usually in their home studios, as all you need is a decent microphone and garageband nowadays.. they would then send vocal files to me and I’d mix them in... I mixed the entire album in my home studio, all except the ABBA cover which Ville and I both agreed to have Tim Palmer mix that one as it was the single. I imagine names of many artists who were unable to participate. Does this make one second Volume think? There were a few singers I approached who were into the idea but didn’t have the time to compose and record a vocal, including my old friend Gary Numan, also Franz Treichler of The Young Gods (we had collaborated on a Mob Research track together a few years before), and Ginger of The Wildhearts, who had planned to sing on a track… I did also approach Peter Murphy but he politely declined to be involved. That was last autumn before I had a deal.
For me I feel that ‘Volumes’ is more of a one-off, just something I wanted to do, having recorded and appeared on over 20 commercially released albums by various other bands and artists I played for over the years, I just wanted one record out there with my own name on it, before I’m too old to do it.. It’s been a great success and I’m really happy with how it all came out, it hangs together really well.. But I have no great urge to make a follow up right now... I’ve been busy composing a new album with Ashton Nyte, after our collaborations on Reaping and Jesamine... We have an entire album of material in that vein and hope to release it late this year or next...
How do you plan to play live, if that's the idea? There lies the rub, I have so many different singers on the album in many different styles that it’s a real logistical headache to try and perform the songs live, I could maybe focus on one singer and have that person sing all the songs but probably of less interest to the audience out there.. for the time being I have sat on the idea of touring a band for it, although there was talk of opening for The Mission on their european tour later this year, but it didn’t work out..
What are the plans that you have in the coming months? I’ve been busy working on the forthcoming ‘GEMINI NYTE’
You have come several times to Latin America, do you have
album with Ashton, also working on some tracks with a we-
plans to return soon, accompanying someone or to present "Vo-
ll-known drummer – all will be revealed soon – and also de-
moing ideas for a Primitive Race follow up album currently in
No plans to return to Latin America in the near future unfor-
the Works. I’ll be rejoining Ricky Warwick and The Fighting
tunately, my previous visits were with The Mission and most
Hearts for a European tour in November, including some festi-
recently Peter Murphy (in 2013), not sure when my next tour
val slots in the UK. There’s also talk of us recording a new album
down there will be... I always enjoy playing to the fans down
with The Fighting Hearts lineup as well.
Below is a "Track By Track" by Mark as part of the exclusive interview and then statements Ashton Nyle and Carlo Van Putten who talk about their participation in "Volumes".
Track by Track
also agreed to let me use ‘Coming Clean’ on my album. Wayne loved the demo – I deliberately didn’t sent Wayne the version
Knowing Me Knowing You (Ville Valo of H.I.M.)
Ray sang on as I didn’t want any subliminal influence on the vo-
Pretty much my favorite ABBA song. Everyone who grew up
cals or melodies – and what you hear on my album is Wayne’s
in the UK in the 70’s is an ABBA fan, and I’m no exception.
take on the music, he nudged it in a great Depeche Mode direc-
I remember Wayne telling me that he borrowed some of the
tion which I really liked. I also liked the Alabama 3 style electro-
chords from an ABBA song for a Mission song (not telling you
nic blues vibe I’d come up with.
which one!), and his old band The Sisters of Mercy used to cover ‘Gimme Gimme Gimme’. I’d had the idea to record a dark
It won't take U long (Miles Hunt of The Wonder Stuff)
heavy and brooding version of KMKY for years. I even spoke to
Great rousing vocal and lyrics by Miles here. As mentio-
Wayne about it, but he loves what Ville did with the song and
ned before, he came up with fully realized vocal melodies and
thinks VV did a great job.
chunks of the lyrics within 30mins of receiving the demo music. Incredible. For me the music chorus on this song had an al-
You can’t go back (Miles Hunt of The Wonder Stuff)
most Foo Fighters vibe to it before Milo sang on it, but once he
I love the crushing chorus on this one, I remember sending
recorded his vocals it he made it truly his own.
Milo the demo – complete with intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus etc. same as the album version – and within one hour
Star Struck Eyes (Julliette Reganof All About Eve)
Miles had sent a demo mix back with his sketch vocal... it was
If I recall correctly, SSE started out life as one of my demos
amazing and sounded pretty much the same as the album ver-
submitted to The Mission back when we were recording the
sion, all that was missing was definitive lyrics.. I sent him ano-
‘God is a Bullet’ album around 2005-2006… Wayne never res-
ther (It Won’t Take You Long) and again within an hour he had
ponded to it so I sat on it for a few years, it’s probably one of the
sent back another sketch vocal of that one, also sounding like a
oldest demos I had floating around, dating back to 2005, may-
complete song already!
be earlier that that even. It was an acoustic guitar riff I had been playing for years. I sent it to Julianne as it’s centered around
The Reaping (Ashton Nyte of The Awakening)
that great acoustic picking arpeggio chord sequence and I really
I came up with the music arrangement and riffs for this one
thought Julianne would sound great on it. It didn’t have a solo
on the tail end of working on the new Primitive Race album in
on the end when I first added Julianne’s vocals to it, I ended up
2013… it wasn’t used so I sent it to Ashton once I was introdu-
getting the inspiration to have my friend Jorgen Munkeby from
ced to him through mutual friends, such was Wayne Hussey
Norweigan Jazz Metallers Shining add a sax solo to the outro.. I
(who had played with Ashton last year). My intention on this
asked him to reference Pink Floyd and Roxy Music and he tota-
one was to hark back to 80’s songs such as ‘Rebel Yell’ and
lly nailed it. This is Wayne Hussey’s favorite song on the album.
‘Blue Highway’ by Billy Idol – both he and Steve Stevens were a huge influence on me back in the day. Ashton was also a huge
Sweet Valentine (Van Putten of Dead Guitars)
fan. So this is our little nod and homage to those great songs...
If I recall correctly, this was originally demoed around 2009 and sent to Peter Murphy at some point for his consideration
Another Snake in the Grass (Wayne Hussey of The Mission)
for the ‘Ninth’ album, along with other demos... Peter did end
This demo actually started out as a demo written and submit-
up using my music compositions for ‘Uneven and Brittle’ and
ted for the PIG album back in 2013, and there’s a version of Ray-
also ‘Rosehunter’ from the Secret Bees of Ninth, which were de-
mond singing on it (completely different vocals and lyrics). This
moed around the same time as the music for Sweet Valentine.
demo and many others ended up being archived and unused as
I sent this demo to Carlo last year, tweaking and rocking it up a
Ray lost interest in the direction the PIG album was taking and
bit, and he recorded a beautiful lyric on it.
for a couple of years he just sat on them saying he had no interest in releasing them. So once I decided to record material for
Jesamine (Ashton Nyte of The Awakening)
volumes, it seemed silly not to use some of my compositions he
Another demo I originally recorded with Peter Murphy in
was sitting on – it was all my music after all – and advised him
mind, around 2012... it had a Radiohead head style verse and a
last year that I was passing some of the music demos onto other
Killers style chorus... Peter never responded to the demo when
singers for my solo album. He was very gracious about it and
I emailed it to him, so it sat around unused for a couple of years,
then I loaded the session on my computer last year, beefed up the drums and guitars and sent it to Ashton. One of my favorite on the album. Seconds (Saffron of Republica)
Drive and Forget (Warwick of Thin Lizzy)
Seconds (w/Saffron of Republica)
I was going for an acoustic Stones/Faces vibe on this one, and
This cover has quite a history to it… back when I was learning
it’s the only song on the album where the vocal was recorded in
to play the guitar in the early 80s, I used to put on the ‘Dare’
my studio, as both myself and Ricky live in Los Angeles. We had
album by The Human League and work out my own guitar ri-
some fun with this one, we layered loads of BV’s which have a to-
ffs, as there was no guitar on the album… fast forward to 1999,
tal Mick Jagger American twang to them and we were cracking
I was beginning to learn how to use Logic Audio and I decided
up in the studio! We backed those off in the final mix... This is
to record my guitars on top of the original album mixes of the
another song that has an alternate electric ‘hard rock’ version,
Dare album.. ‘Seconds’ was one of them. You’ll find a mix of it
more in vein of The Fighting Hearts, I might release it on my
on my Soundcloud account (link on www.markthwaite.com).
Soundcloud at some point for the fans. Ricky and I are touring
again later this year with The Fighting Hearts.
conds I had become friends with the lovely Saffron of UK band Re-
Black Heart (Erica Nockalls of The Wonder Stuff)
publica – and she loved what I had done with the original song
Erica did a great job on the vocals on this one. It’s also one of
with my guitars and we decided to re-record the song with my
the oldest demos on ‘Volumes’, it dates back to around 2003 and
guitars and new beats and Saffrons vocals. That was back in
has a big Prodigy/industrial vibe to it. It didn’t suit The Mission
2001... that demo sat unfinished for over a decade... once I an-
nor Peter Murphy so I sat on it for 10 years until collaborating
nounced I was recording and releasing a solo album last year,
with Raymond and he did put a vocal on it, but again it ended
Saffron reached out and suggested we include our version of
up consigned to the digital archive never to be heard again, that
‘Seconds’... the original master tapes were long gone, so I ended
was in 2013, so by last year I gave Erica the original music demo
up recording it again from scratch and she recorded her vocals
I had written and she came up with ‘Black Heart’. She’s super
in London... this version came out even better!
talented and I’ve had the privilege to appear on her last two solo albums. I’m glad she agreed to sing on mine!
Another Day back (Miles Hunt and Nockalls of The Wonder Stuff)
Dark Storm (w/Andi Sex Gang)
The last of the trilogy of songs with Miles on this album. Eri-
Such an atmospheric and melancholic chunk of music. I ori-
ca added some great backing vocals to this one (and violin) so I
ginally demoed this around 2009, I was working with Al Jour-
decided it would be cool to credit both of them on this one. The-
gensen of Ministry and he was setting up a music archive for use
re is an alternate version of this one complete with rock drums
with movies and TV shows. So ‘Dark Storm’ was composed as
but Miles hated it! He said it sounded like the Spin Doctors or
an instrumental with movies in mind. Raymond also had a go
something like that... so I wisely stuck to the minimal version
at a vocal on this one, but again consigned it to the digital vault
you hear on ‘Volumes’. Great atmosphere and vocals.
so I gave it to my friend Andi Sex Gang last year and he came up with a wonderful vocal. A great album closer.
Coming clean (Watts of Pig) This was originally demoed and recorded with PIG in mind, although if I’m honest it was just a demo /riff I came up with around that time and then I tried to make it work for PIG. It’s more of an alternative rock stomper and although Raymond did a great vocal on it, I can see why he didn’t see this one for the PIG album (which I hear is finally coming out after all later this year). Some of my favorite riffage on this one.
Ashton Nyte (The Awakening) ("The Reaping ", "Jesamine") I was invited to sing on MGT’s album after an introduction from a mutual friend, Adrian Skirrow (from ASP Records, South Africa). Mark and I got chatting and essentially he sent me a few instrumental demos to see if anything resonated with me and inspired to write lyrics and vocal melodies. The track that became “The Reaping” spoke to me most clearly from the first batch and was the first one I completed and sent back to Mark 2 or 3 days later. Fortunately Mark loved what I had done, which inspired me to have a go at another and thus “Jesamine” was born. I do believe that our meeting was perfectly timed, in the grand symphony of life, because I kept writing lyrics and vocal melodies to his instrumentals and he kept sending more through. Ultimately we ended up writing about 12 songs together in a couple of months, which motivated us to create a new project, “Gemini Nyte” which we have continued to work on now beyond the release of “Volumes”. I am very proud of both “The Reaping” and “Jesamine” and find working with Mark to be a very comfortable, inspiriting and entertaining experience. I am excited by what we have created so far and look forward to what lies ahead!
Carlo Van Putten (Dead Guitars) Sweet Valentine “I have been asked by Mark to sing on one of his songs. Mark is a great, multicoloured, and talented musician, I met Mark first, when we supported The Mission back in 2008. Mark and I have had something in common. I really think that Mark is not only a succesful guitarist along with many of my favourite 80"s music (Gary Newman, The Mission, Pete Murphy) but he is a friendly and cool person to hang out with, inbetween the soundchecks and the concerts. How do I feel about being part of this by paying my contribution to Mark's solo album? I am proud to be part of this man. The pleasure was on my side…”
The13th U NA R EVISTA IMA GINA RIA
Published on Aug 29, 2016
Interview with Mark Thwaite, Carlo Van Putten and Ashton Nyte by Diego Centurión. This is part of the issue number 29 of Magazine The 13th,...