With a love for various genres, Mark Peters & The Dark Band fuse these influences into an eclectic, moving and evocative melody. We speak with the Vienna-based singer-songwriter, Mark Peters, about his latest album Memorial, discovering new music and much more!
What drew you to music?
I come from quite a large family and we didn’t have much money when we were growing up so it wasn’t easy, but there was always a guitar lying around because my dad’s a musician. We ended up one by one teaching ourselves how to play. At first, I think it was a way to escape and later to connect with others while trying to make sense of everything.
What is the backstory to the album Memorial?
I had released 2 EPs previously but the goal was always to create an album, I think it’s a real achievement for any artist. At the time I felt I was writing some of my best songs but I also had a bunch of older ones that I wanted to include, so the band and I got to work. We didn’t really have a chance to play the songs live before we went into the studio, so I guess the fun part comes now. Personally, I wanted to write an album with an overall positive message, dark on the surface but bright in the centre.
If you could change anything about Memorial, what would it be?
I think you always listen back and think “Ah, I would arrange that song a little differently now, or I’d re-record that vocal”. At the end of the day though, it’s just a snapshot of your music at the time you created it. Playing the songs live you can always change things around. That’s the beauty of it. Overall, I’m very pleased with the way the album turned out.
Do you have a favourite track on the album?
At one point or another, they’ve all been favourites. I keep coming back to ‘Swansong’ though. There’s a lot going on there musically and the subject of mortality is deep.
What about a least favourite track?
‘Us Against Them’ was the first single from the album and I heard it so much beforehand that when the album came out I couldn’t listen to it anymore. I thought I didn’t like it actually, but hearing it now I think, “that’s a good tune”. The bassline is so melodic and the ending is superb.
What do you hope people take from your music?
Firstly, empathy. I hope listeners can engage with the lyrics and themes of the songs and relate their own experiences to what I’m writing about.
Secondly, I hope they can lose themselves in the musicianship and composition. The Dark Band are great players and there’s always something new to focus on in each song.
Did you face any challenges when writing and recording Memorial?
We had to take a long pause during the recording process when the pandemic hit. That held the release back a few months, but in hindsight that worked out well because at least we can start to play live again now and promote the album.
What do you believe is the best way to discover new music nowadays?
For me, it’s getting out there and seeing new, undiscovered bands playing live or asking friends for recommendations. I think platforms like Spotify and iTunes are useful but so many gems just don’t make it through the algorithms and onto your Discover Weekly.
Describe your music in one word.
Are there any future plans for Mark Peters & The Dark Band?
Well, we all need a haircut sometime but after that, we’re planning another European Tour for autumn and another release for the end of the year.