Beat Mark Interview/Review

Band Picture

Fuzz-y and sing-along-y, the lo-fi juicy pop of Beat Mark is a quite pleasant surprise. This, using their own words, “drive-to-the-beach-in-a-noisy-car type of sound” is extremely catchy, and yet not so simple to explain: “first we clearly had a solar beach boys-esque sound, with songs to listen to while driving to the ocean side. A “drive to the beach” kind of sound. But there’s also a strong noisy dimension to our music, and probably more now than when we started.” Despite its fairly random composition, the band’s catchy non-so-Brit-pop is actually appealing.

The new EP Beat Mark…Move On! comes out on February 15th via Soft Power records in an edition of 100 hand dubbed, hand numbered tapes: “It is both cheap and fast to record a cassette. The cassette also takes us back to the art of tape mixing of our teenage years, when we worked on the perfect ones to give to lovers and friends and then spent ages drawing covers, or when we used to tape songs in a trance at night straight from the radio. Moreover, the cassette sound is great, the object endearing, and its resistance to the damage of time excellent.” The general pop-gaze aura is even more enhanced by the use of different vocal styles (and voices), creating a kaleidoscope of refrains (Boxes), alongside with the general guitar-fuzz, even stronger by the end of the EP (Move On, Decolorize). This is one of those times in which, surprisingly, the adjective simple has not such a bad acceptation: the falsetto choruses of The Way and its blissful lo-fi indie pop just get stuck in your head.

As they are abut to release a new EP, their debut LP Howls of Joy is also getting a re-release on UK label Ample Play: “We are happy to have a British label that’s interested in our music and wanted to re-issue the LP, of course. It’s pleasant to realise the songs are now played and listened to in the UK, they’re supposed to hate French bands over there, so we are quite proud to be appreciated by them funny sarcastic curled up-nosed people with posh accents!” To have a listen to the EP, just click on the Bandcamp page on the band, but not before having read the whole interview below!

Cover Album
Similar Artist: Two Bitz Desperados, Lava Lava Love

When and where did “Beat Mark project” start? Where does the name come from? It’s such a pain to google it. 

We started this project at the end of summer 2009. We chose this name in reference to the Beat Generation and to a William S. Burroughs quote that says “hustlers of the world, there is one Mark you cannot beat : the Mark inside.” «Beat Mark» was supposed to make you think of something like «the mark of the beat», or even «the mark of the beast». But nothing like «you should beat Mark», we like Marks.

Would you like to tell me something more about the genesis of your new EP “Beat Mark move on…Cassette”?

We just wanted to record some new songs. We just played together at our practice space for a while, then Julien has got some sort of a home studio, so basically, we just hung out at his home with beers, we put texts and melodies together and recorded what needed to be recorded where we could and the way we could. It took a few months and was a bit chaotic but we did it!

How did you get in touch with Soft Power records?

Our drummer Chloé was hanging on a Paris girl’s blog one day and found out about a mix compilation Soft Power had put together, and it happened that there was a Beat Mark song along with tons of other bands she liked. So she decided to write the guys from the label just to say thanks for the featuring. They almost immediately replied and asked if Beat Mark would be willing to put out something with them, and we said yes!

“Beat Mark…Move On” is all over the Net right now. How has the reaction been like to your music overall, especially to the new single, both at home and abroad?

In France, nobody really gives a shit apart from a few hardcore supporters who have been with us since the beginning. Other than that, we are amazed at how good the reactions are abroad at the moment, because it’s been a little more than 3 years now that we’ve been playing in France, and even though people generally show up at gigs, we haven’t had a lot of press, blog reports or even record sales lately! It makes us feel both stunned and stoked, and also maybe a bit more self-confident.

Let’s talk a bit more about your influences: which are the bands you grew up with? How much did they influence your music?

The Cure, The Velvet Underground, Depeche Mode, The Beatles, Nirvana, Sonic Youth, Pavement, Stereolab, My Bloody Valentine, Joy Division, Spacemen 3, The Swell Maps, Nico, Love, The Beach Boys… not too exotic.

Basically, you loved a band as a kid, it comes back to you, or rather it has never left you, and then at some point you want to make a song that sounds the same, it fails, and in the end you get something of your own.

How important are live performances in the current music scene, especially for indie breakthrough acts?

It is one of the most important things that keep any scene alive, especially the so-called “indie” one. A band exists when it plays, or it dies. We don’t really play shows as much as we wish for we all have jobs now, but we’re hoping to be able to find the time to quite soon.

Any shows or extra-curricular activities that were particularly memorable so far?

Shows we attended? White Fence at Point FMR last December in Paris was definitely one of the best live acts in ages. The best memories we have with Beat Mark are related to when we spent some time in Italy/Sardinia. Lots of sun, swimming, nice people, the best food and very cool gigs.

By the end of the interview, I always like getting a bit nosy: what’s been keeping your iPod or CD player warm recently?

With the 4 of us, it’d be Jamaican oldies compilations, Can the Lost Tapes, Mac de Marco, Béla Bartok, Personal Space an electronic soul compilation, Amanaz, Tame Impala, Burt Bacharach, Lou Reed Street Hassle, Your Victorian Breasts compilation on three four records. Etc.

Which posters were hanging on your bedroom wall as teenagers? 

Chloé had pictures of Zach from Saved by the Bell on her bedroom walls when she was 12, then she saved some space to have psychedelic images of the Pink Floyd around. Gaëtan enjoyed sleeping under posters of Queen then turned to Nirvana, and Julien still has a couple of awful framed posters of Roy Lichtenstein’s stuff at his parents’. (laughs)

What’s planned for the rest of 2013? Any date we should take note of?

We want to go on tour ! We might come to the UK, actually. It would be pretty cool, wouldn’t it?


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