Perhaps most know for being in the successful folk rock band Fairground Attraction, Mark Nevin has since gone on to release five solo albums and written alongside the likes of Morrissey. We caught up with the fantastically talented songwriter about Bowie, Nashville and his latest album, My Unfashionable Opinion.
Hi Mark! What have you been up to since the new year?
Getting ready for my new EP, ‘DOLLY SAID NO TO ELVIS’ to come out and go on tour. We are just finishing a brilliant animated video which I am particularly excited about!
How was 2017 for you as a whole? Have you any memorable highlights, other than the album release?
It was an exciting year musically, I was delighted with the great response to the album and the launch gig we did at St Pancras Old Church in London was amazing.
Can you tell us a bit more about your album from last year: My Unfashionable Opinion?
In these days of social media and an increasingly narrow window of what is regarded as politically correct, there is a feeling that I think I share with a lot of people, a nervousness about expressing myself freely for fear of being attacked by a load of tweeting lunatics, ‘My Unfashionable Opinion’ is about ‘keeping my head down and staying away from the angry mob’.
The track ‘The Stars Align’ came following the death of Bowie, how did that affect you and your songwriting?
I used to worry that I would run out of ideas, then David Bowie died and I realised I was more likely to run out of time. It gave me a sense of urgency and made me want to be riskier about what I wrote about. So the album contains songs about not wanting to work in a chocolate factory (Curly Wurly Boy) and all the never played tracks on Spotify (Forgotify), slightly odd themes that I might haven’t have done a few years ago.
With five albums now under your belt as a solo artist and nearly ten years working solo, how do you feel now you release music?
I really don’t give a second thought about what people will think about what I do now, I used to be self conscious about reviews back in the NME/Melody Maker days, but now it’s very liberating to just let it flow out.
Being such a talented and prolific song writer, you have worked with many notable artists in your time including Morrissey of course, is there any person or people who have significantly affected the way you write?
A few years ago I got to know and write with the Nashville songwriter and artist Beth Nielsen Chapman. I have enormous respect for her and something about her incredible spirit and openness unlocked a door in me.
The Nashville writers are such sticklers for every syllable being perfectly honed to lock into the melody, sloppy nearly rhythms and shoe-horning awkward lyrics into tight spaces are seriously frowned upon!
Modern politics plays a huge part in music now, do you find yourself getting inspired by current affairs or do you tend to keep writing on a personal level?
I have shied away from politics in my songs for a few reasons. Firstly, I hate people preaching and whining and most political songs tend to do that, and secondly, it is too easy to criticise politicians for not doing an impossible job in the way the uninformed masses think they should do. That said, the new songs I am writing are more political, but I hope that they differ from the type that I have just described, (actually I know they do!)
We are anticipating your arrival in Sheffield when you play at The Greystones on the 15th Feb, how have you found Sheffield as a music scene in your experience of touring?
I haven’t played in Sheffield for a long time actually, it is a great city. The last time I was here I got up with Squeeze and did Perfect at the City Hall. The people are great.
Finally, what has 2018 got in store for you, and what can we expect next from Mark Nevin?
I am looking forward to getting out and playing live and continue to write all the time. I am going to do the second in a series of EP’s in time to be released after the summer.
Thank for answering our questions – we look forward to seeing you on the 15th Feb!
See below for the single, ‘Only Dreamers (Live The Dream)’ taken from My Unfashionable Opinion.