The Industry, Music, and a Baby Mandarin Orange…
When Mark Stoermer, longtime bass guitarist for multiple Grammy- and BRIT-award-winning band The Killers, struck out on his own last year, fans weren’t sure what to expect. The bandmates cited the stress of their near-constant touring as the reason to take a break from it, while he still worked with them on their most recent album, Wonderful Wonderful. Stoermer has produced a spellbinding solo album, Dark Arts, as well as a limited-edition 7” vinyl release featuring his single ‘Blood and Guts (The Anatomy Lesson)’, the video for which is a darkly mesmerising testament to Stoermer’s unique personal voice.
We got in touch with Mark to find out his story of his career so far, and what he’s learned about the industry since those early days in Vegas with The Killers. Read his open letter, exclusively for Spindle, below…
* * * * *
I started playing music when I was 9, and in bands on bass and guitar at the age of 14. Music was something I had a passion for from a young age, and joining The Killers in 2002 was, at that point, another step along the way. After a year of sweating it out in the garage and playing the local bar circuit in Vegas, we were fortunate enough to sign our first record deal. This was my first experience with the ‘industry.’
I never thought that much about the music business/industry growing up or starting out as musician. You could say that I didn’t find the industry, the industry found me by way of being in a band that had songs, a strong work ethic and was in the right place at the right time. However as far as a career goes, I came to realize the ‘can’t live with, can’t live without’ aspects of the industry. While I appreciate the doors that were opened for me, mainly being able to play music for a living, I spent most of my time focusing on just that – the music.
Sometimes younger artists ask for advice with regards to the business. I may not be the best person to ask but I always lean towards saying something like this – it may be a bit cliche but follow your heart. Gravitate towards the things that feel right and work hard at them. There are a lot of outside factors within the industry that you cannot control. So try to do your best to control the one thing you can – the music. Then hopefully the other things will fall in place.
Try your best to control the one thing you can – the music. Then hopefully the other things will fall in place.
As far as my solo work, so far I have released all of my projects myself. I enjoy the freedom of sharing songs, albums, videos, etc. without really having to answer to anyone. That said I don’t think of it as a ‘solo career’ so to speak. I don’t really have any big ambitions with what I put out on my own. It is just something that I do – I make music and I will put it out for anyone who may be interested.
On that note, I have a new single coming out October 13th and a new album will be released in November with a slew of videos to go along with it. The writing and recording of this record (my third solo one) was done between breaks while recording with The Killers in late 2016 to early 2017. I originally thought about putting it out earlier in the year, however mixing and final touches got put off due to conflicting schedules. Around August of this year the album was technically ready to be released but I intentionally put it off once again to stay out of the way of the band’s LP5. With that in mind, I did not want to hold onto my record until 2018 considering most of these songs are a year or two old. Besides, it is so different in terms of musical style and size of project that it shouldn’t be an issue. If The Killers are a giant fuji apple, my solo record is a baby mandarin orange.
Mark Stoermer’s album, Filthy Apes and Lions, will be released in November.
Connect with Mark Stoermer: