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Interview: Four Marks

Four Marks is the moniker for Mark One and SD, the London-based duo that encourages others to follow their creative impulses – because life is too short.

Wearing animalistic masks to provide both anonymity and originality to their artistry, the pair share an ambitious vision to create progressive noise packed with satire. The result? A genre-splicing Molotov cocktail of whip-smart electronics, razor-sharp rock dynamics, lysergic pop savvy, and provocative lyrical substance.

Their latest single  ‘Paradise (Act 1)’ connects political issues with hip-hop and post-punk hybrids. Featuring moments of privilege and brutality, the song journeys into the lives of two individuals from different social backgrounds. We speak to Four Marks to discuss ‘Paradise’ (Act 1), creativity, and more!

Hi Four Marks! Thanks for chatting to us here at GigSoup. How’s it going?

As good as things can be right now I’d say.

Can you tell us about the formation of Four Marks? How did you both meet?

I was looking for a creative partner to start working with to bring some of these stories to life and started to put a few feelers out to producers to work with. SD was actually the first one I met, he was looking for a new project having done a load of engineering work for the likes of Wire, Django Django, and Laura Mvula. We literally started working straight away and it clicked. We’ve been making music together ever since.

You wear Animalistic masks to protect anonymity, while adding originality to your act. Now here’s the real question, which Animal do you think suits your personalities best?

As pictured I’d say, curious cat (but harder working) and an energetic dog.

How would you describe your music in a few lines?

It sounds a bit like Black Mirror…

What’s the story behind your latest release Paradise (Act 1)?

It was the first track we made together. I’d basically written the lyrics over a couple of days, it was this story that just came, and then I kept writing until there was something there. It was definitely inspired by the Brexit fallout. At that time (like now) the UK felt so polarised, views were expressed, information/misinformation rife, completely divided groups, algorithms creating echo chambers, and no one was or is in control.

I think what I could see if there was an inability to see some of the deeper drivers for why people have different views of the world and how experience defines that in so many ways. It was this story about postcode lotteries.

I did some rough vocal takes of it in logic to see how it sounded. I then found SD and we started working together, I shot him the WAV files and he started to create the soundscape, it was nuts, just had this massive drone going on through it and we knew then that we were going to make that track.

Did you face any challenges when making the track?

It was pretty plain sailing however lyrically it was too long. There were originally four verses so we killed one and then used that as a base for an Act II (which we then changed again). We did do a bit of a search for the right person to mix it and when we found Hugo Nicolson the fit felt right, he had co-produced Screamadelica with Andy Weatherall and he really helped enhance the sound.

As artists, why do you think that it’s important to address social conflict in your music?

No. Not really. I think it is just something that we have tackled in our initial releases, the first three tracks we are putting out are probably more in that camp but we have a ton of other work focuses on other aspects of life. That said, personally, I do like music with a purpose.

Do you both remember the first albums that you purchased?

SD: White Zombie – LA Sexcersisto

Mark One: (What’s the Story) Morning Glory – Oasis

Any advice for aspiring musicians who are just starting up?

First, just have fun. Second, keep it fun. Third, care less about what other people think.

What are your hopes for Four Marks in the future?

Release our debut album next year, that’s top of the list. We’re not going to be doing 3 singles and a record, we’re just going to keep putting out work, and then we’ll drop the album when it’s ready. Then it’s really about the live show, we’re going to blend contemporary theatre with live music. Imagine if Black Mirror was a stage show…something like that.

You can find more information about Four Marks at...

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