Interview: Four Marks highlight social inequality on new track

Hey Four Marks, welcome to BBM. How have you been keeping during these weird times?

It’s interesting how humans adapt to circumstances. We’re adapting to a world where genuinely anything could happen.

What inspired the name Four Marks?

It was kind of a split personality thing. We all have so many different sides of ourselves; whether it be at work, with your family or with your friends, etc. When I hear our music, it does sound like both or our numerous personalities are captured in the sound; all coming together into one entity. Four Marks for some reason just captured it for us, it begged a question.

You’ve recently released your new single Paradise (Act 1) Can you tell BBM the inspiration behind it?

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 that – 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. For me, the story is really about postcode lotteries and how that impacts views or decisions. This track is just telling a story of two people on different journeys that leads them to different places.

How was the creative process for Paradise (Act 1)?

Lyrics were written in like a two-day stint and the story just started coming. It was about capturing it, and then the writing continued until there was a pretty mad story there. It was longer than what the track is now – there was another final verse originally.

Those lyrics were then recorded in logic at home, and then I took them to the studio. SD did his thing and I remember the first time I heard the drone and movement he’d created in the soundscape. I was just like “yeah, that’s it, that’s what we’re making, that sort of thing.”

We finished it quick. It was the first track we made together and we thought it was interesting, and wanted to see if we could find someone to mix it. We found Hugo Nicolson, who had co-produced Screamadelica with Andy Weatherall, and he took it on and really enhanced the sound.

How do you both work together in order to bring your musical visions to life?

To be honest, there hasn’t been that much chat between us about that sort of thing. We just started working together, and this is what it is. I think with all projects, over time they find a rhythm and dynamic that works or doesn’t. In this case, it has been pretty plain sailing.

This first batch of tracks we’re putting out is more lyric storytelling heavy, and that’s because a lot was written and then we put music to it. But that’s changed, we’re getting more aware of space and rhythms. What we like doing naturally is building worlds, and when we reach a point with a track where we think it has done that or good enough, it goes out the door.

The music is the base, but then we add the visuals. More of that is coming and we’re excited to share that.

You’ve also released a music video for Paradise (Act 1) which highlights political issues through gifs and film clips. Why did you decide to showcase social matters in this way?

When telling complex narratives through music what can be missed is subtext, and subtext can be important. The challenge is making the video was: how do you tell a complex narrative, during lockdown, without tons of resources, in a humorous way that also delivers subtext? 

That’s when it dawned on me that people do this every day using gifs online and so we went on the process of trawling the internet and curating gifs and content that could tell a story and narrative. We feel that this really worked and that it does tell a story with subtext whilst also blending the physical and digital world. It’s quick cuts, it’s pithy but with depth, to me, it’s very internet culture.

If you could create your own ideal festival line-up, which 3 acts would you choose as headliners, and why?

I’m going to read this as living artists, this is a tough question and I’m not even sold on my answer. Be something like this.

Friday – Orbital – just go for it

Saturday – Radiohead – pure class

Sunday – Philip Glass – make me cry

If you could perform anywhere in a Post-COVID world, which country would you pick to perform in?

Nigeria – The Shrine – would be nuts

Finally, what’s next on the agenda for Four Marks?

Short the Pound.