Let's Go Blue interview with
On the eve of the release of Hey Mercedes first full length, Everynight Fire Works, I had the pleasure of doing an email interview with (heavy handed) guitarist Mark Dawursk. Here is what he had to say (and amazingly, I would like to note, he got the answers to me the same day I sent them!).
Interview by Nick Daly
- Why did Braid break up? Just kidding. How did you hook up with the other three guys?
I've known Damon since we were in high school. My old band and his old band used to play together all the time, and we ended up sharing a practice space. When Damon joined Braid, I eventually just got to know them over the years. We spent a lot of time hanging around in bars after their shows.
- What did you do musically before Hey Mercedes?
I was in a few bands,but after Alligator Gun(my last band) broke up,I was a guitar tech for the Promise Ring and Jets To Brazil for a few tours.
- Are you self taught on guitar? How would you describe your playing?
I took two or three lessons in eighth grade, only to get bored with my teacher,so I stopped going. I would spend hours in my room playing along to records. The only way to describe my playing is probably...um..this is a tough one...maybe heavy handed? I don't know. Loud?
- As a whole, how were the songs for Everynight Fire Works written?
Bob and I would come to practice with a riff or two, play them for everyone, and if it sounded good while we "jammed it out" we all would then work on the arrangement. Sometimes a song would just sort of write itself (Every Turn) and sometimes I would have it mostly done before hand (Frowning of a Lifetime).
- In a Hey Mercedes pratice session, does everybody bring ideas to
practice and then the band jams on them? Are there any songs that
you wrote most of the song?
Yes, please see above. I have written about half of the songs, halfway. What I mean is: I write the verse and the chorus or something, then we find something else that fits. Some songs were entirely written by Bob, and some by me.
- With many bands you can pick out the different songs and parts
that the different dominant writers wrote in each song. With Hey
Mercedes that is much harder, almost impossible to tell, for
example, what part is a Bob part or a Mark part...Why do you think
that is? Are there any parts to these songs that are a "Mark part"?
I think a song like The House Shook, or The Frowning of a Lifetime, or The Slightest Idea are totally me songs. I'm more intrested in holding down the fort, so to speak, and just rock out the riff. I listen to a lot of Rocket From The Crypt, and Converge-bands that are really riff oriented, whereas Bob comes up with these high, notey parts. Sometimes it rubs off on me, and I start noodling around up there, too. I think that because we take the songs from an idea in the bedroom to a song where everyone is throwing in a little bit here and there, it makes us play together more like a band and less like four guys playing at the same time.
- What is your overall feeling of the new album? Do you feel it
accomplishes what the band set out to do?
I'm extremely happy and proud of it. It was the first time I ever had fun while recording. Thanks to J (shameless plug). He made it so easy to get the right feel, and overall sound for every song. I think it's a great representation of our band, and what we're like live.
- What is the chord at the beginning of the song "Haven't Been This
Happy"? I can't figure it out.
It's a C with a pinky thrown on the B string. I don't know what you call it. You know, one of those cool C chords!
- You seem to be the metal guy in the band, and Bob, though he
rocks, is the more mellow i.e. City on Film, etc. Do you think you
two tend to balance each other out?
Yeah, I think we definitley play off of each other well. Far better than anyone else I've ever played with, at least. I totally am the metal guy, but I have my mellow side,too. I just can't really find a spot for it in Hey Mercedes. When I get into a room with those guys,I just want to rock.
- What is the Hey Mercedes guitar sound? What pedals, amps, etc.
did you use recording? What gear do you personally use?
Gibson guitars, and Marshall amps. I have a pretty unique JCM 800. I use really odd tubes, which sound great, but burn out faster than normal tubes. As far as recording goes, we used my amp, through two cabinets, a Vox AC-30, and a Fender Concert with a Rat pedal, all at once. It was so fucking loud, I could barely stand it. We used the Vox for little bits here and there with a Fender Telecaster for clean parts, and my SG for not so clean parts.
- What was the recording of this album like? I know you must have a
funny story of recording at Pachyderm.
It was awesome. J kept us going in shifts. When Todd would get tired of doing bass for six hours, J would get me in there to do some guitar overdubs untill Bob was bored enough to start singing. It was really stress free. The only funny story involves some whiskey, a camcorder, and someone diving in the pool (fully clothed) for, like five bucks or something like that. It wasn't me.
- What was the Vagrant America tour like for you? Did you like the
tour bus thing or did you miss just the van? And your sets seemed a
I was pretty apprehensive towards the bus. I had never been on one before, and it seemed so mammoth. You know, big rockstar bus. But after I spent a few nights on it, I was into it. It's hard not to be into it. I didn't really miss the van because, on the bus you can just chill out and not worry about anything. In a van, you worry about people being too tired, or getting bad directions, or getting broken into. On the bus you worry about if there's enough to drink during the movie (Ha). The whole tour was amazing. We got to play with lots of great people, and play to lots of great people.
- How was it like playing with Jimmy Eat World?
Same thing. Great people, great tour. We've all known them for a long time, so it was so easy to hang out everyday.
- Now that Hey Mercedes has its first full length in the bag, what
do you see in the future? Have you started writing new stuff yet or
are you just concentrating on touring in support of the new album?
I have no idea what will happen to this band in the future. I think I'll keep my expectations really low, so I don't have far to fall if nothing godd ever happens. I have just started writing a few songs last week, but we leave for tour again on October 17, so I don't think they'll get finished untill next year.
Special thanks to Mark for doing this interview