This is an open letter to old and new friends;
It is entirely possible that The Mark Inside's new EP False Flag may never have seen the light of day. Myself and the rest of the band---Geoff Bennett, Gus Harris, and Reade Ollivier---have had to struggle a long time to get this out to you and to get where we are today. But I think we've come out the other side stronger, self-possessed artists (yes I am willing to label ourselves as such) content to live and die by our collective sword. We have lived this music inside and out and mean every word, beat and note of it.
In the years following our critically acclaimed debut release, Static/Crash, this band has fought hard to get on with a second full-length record. We toured Canada extensively, made two videos that saw heavy play on MuchMusic and online, and the songs 'Carousel' and 'Sweet Little Sister' from Static/Crash achieved mainstream radio success. All good things.
But our band has been most lauded for our live show. We love to play, and it is our bare-bones and unrelenting live sets have made the band bleed, pour sweat, and blister hands and vocal cords. Fans leaping onto the stage, unable to control themselves is a regular phenomenon; they have all but thrown us from the stage in their frenzy. Cops have shut down our shows on more than one occasion and there have even been instances of public nudity and property damage. Dose magazine says The Mark Inside live experience is a "ballsy rock rave up. Kinda like a balls-out bar-room jamboree at the roadhouse at the end of the universe!!" I've always been very proud of that quote.
Things were going well, but we had differences with our label, and found our way clear of our recording contract. We threw ourselves to the mercy of our own wits and instincts to carry on. And carry on we did: We started writing in earnest. Each of us, seemingly desperate to prove ourselves, came out swinging; the new songs were more focused and aggressive, the rhythm section more dominant and pushed further by thunderous guitar passages and, personally, I wanted to take a more pointed and aggressive lyrical stance addressing my understanding of myself and the world at large. We released a 7" single, 'Circling the Drain b/w Liar!', on Davy Love's vinyl singles-only label Magnificent Sevens. And various television shows sought out our music for key scenes (almost always as the soundtrack for a character’s adolescent angst or over-indulgence). We even ended up playing ourselves in the Ken Finkleman (The Newsroom) mini-series At The Hotel, alongside our 'manager' Don McKellar (Highway 61, Child star).
When we finally sent new demos to our dream list of producers, the music struck a chord. We found ourselves in the enviable, but difficult, position of having to make a choice from a selection of some of the most talented producers of the day. Ultimately we narrowed it down to two: Andy Gill (Gang Of Four founding member) and Jim Abbiss (Arctic Monkeys and Kasabian producer). Andy Gill gave us some high praise, describing The Mark Inside’s music as "Gutsy, direct and often inspiring; this music is timeless." I considered it an honour just to be able to speak to a personal hero from one of my favourite bands. Ultimately, it was the way we intuitively felt that Jim understood the music, combined with the picture Abbiss painted of a live-off-the-floor recording, focusing on the band’s live prowess and energy that won us over.
Abbiss signed us to his own MetalBox Recordings, and TMI headed to England to begin work on our second full-length album. Holing up for a month in rural Lincolnshire in a converted chapel from the 1700's, we started laying down the tracks which will first appear on our new EP False Flag. Jim captured the essence of The Mark Inside, working with us to interpret what became the best recorded representation of the band and our songs. Long days and focused nights drenched in the joy and catharsis of playing the new songs permeates the recording. The heart and soul of our band can be heard throughout and this is what we had always aimed to achieve.
Following an opening slot for The Hold Steady in the UK, the band and MetalBox struck a licensing deal with Sony Music Canada. The Mark Inside’s first Canadian release through this new arrangement is False Flag, an EP being released on vinyl (which includes a digital download), and digitally in Canada on October 26.
After two years spent cursing the gods and ourselves, navigating the ever-changing realities of the music industry, and rallying our personal demons and angels for some fresh wind in our sails, I speak for the whole band when I say that The Mark Inside could not be more pleased to finally offer up the results of our hard work to the world at large. Through a long and odd trip in which we have toiled and then some, we have remained fiercely loyal to our own cause holding ourselves in judgment of our own reflection and what gets us off in all other music, words and art; it has made us become more focused and wise but, perhaps above all, we have elevated and maintained a sense of purpose and humour in making our way through this world in turmoil.
Thank you for reading,
Chris Levoir - The Mark Inside
The Mark Inside is:
Geoff Bennett - bass
Gus Harris - guitar
Chris Levoir – vocals, guitar
Reade Ollivier - drums