MARCH 16, 2023 - New songs, old songs
Hey all! I feel like I've been quiet about what I've been working on recently, so I thought I'd give you guys a short update. I've been writing and recording a TON of new music for two projects: number one, my next solo album; and number two, putting together a new band. A while back I posted about my frustrations as I'd been growing too busy working with cover bands where my creativity was limited, so these two projects are allowing me to really stretch my wings as a songwriter and composer.
What to expect? Well, my next solo album (titled "Redefinition") has a really organic sound compared to the previous ones, largely thanks to the fact that I'm recording on acoustic drums instead of electronic. (It's taken a lot of practice getting a clean acoustic drum sound, as well as learning to actually PLAY an acoustic kit for the first time in ages!) It will have anywhere between nine and eleven tracks, depending on how I choose to divide them up.
The album is split between instrumental and vocal tracks (leaning slightly more toward to vocal end compared to the previous album), and really takes a lot of influence from progressive metal such as Porcupine Tree, Seventh Wonder, and Steve Vai.
Then, the new band! I'm really stoked about this one. Essentially, it's a throwback to the music that first got me fired up about playing guitar as a kid. I describe it as Van Halen meets Rush with a heavy retro 80's vibe to it, complete with synthesizers and arena-sized choruses. I'm going to be working with some incredible musicians on this project, and I can't wait to share more later on this year!
But while I'm working quietly on these two new projects, I've also been revisiting some of my older material for inspiration. I recently uploaded a playthrough of "Interstellar Voyager" to my YouTube channel; I'd like to do more videos like that to put a spotlight on these older songs again, and to celebrate just how much fun I've had in my career as a guitarist since those days!
For now, at least the next time someone asks me what I'm up to these days musically (and I get asked that a lot), I'll be able to lazily direct them to this blog post instead of talking their ear off for too long. I'm looking forward to sharing some of these new songs real soon! Cheers, friends.
FEBRUARY 16, 2023 - Soundtracks!
I've been wanting to pursue some different avenues in my career as a musician, and one of my top choices is pursuing work composing soundtracks. I've worked on a few scattered projects for short films, video games, and YouTube channels over the years, but I'd like to start pursuing more composition work and taking that aspect of my career to the next stage.
As a proper representation of my current capabilities, I recently scored my own soundtrack demo over the (pretty strange) 2006 Dutch short film Elephants Dream.
You can check out the short film on my YouTube channel here, and I also uploaded the isolated soundtrack here. And if you're working on a creative project that could use my services as a composer, send me an email at email@example.com .
JANUARY 16, 2023 - Social Media Highlights 2022
The latest social media highlight video is up on my YouTube channel here! What kind of content would you like to see in 2023? Solos? Full songs? Covers? Lessons? Leave a comment and let me know!
I hope your 2023 is off to a great start. Cheers, everyone!
DECEMBER 19, 2022 - Merry Christmas! EP
Surprise! Here's a new release, just in time for Christmas. It's available as a "pay-what-you-want" Bandcamp exclusive here, so feel free to download it for free, or if you feel so inclined you can add a few bucks to help buy me a coffee this holiday season.
Thanks so much for your support, and I wish you all a safe and happy holiday. Cheers!
APRIL 16, 2022 - The Making of The Fourth Dimension, 2022 plans
Hey all! For anyone interested in stories and clips of what it was like putting together my latest solo album, you can check out the new video here. I had intended to release this back in the fall, but a bricked computer prevented me from finding and salvaging the video files. Glad to finally get this video out there, so I hope you enjoy it!
In other news, I've recently started to re-evaluate what directions I'd like to take my musical career from this point forward. I've made the difficult decision to back away from a few projects, and intend to start focusing more time and energy into my solo career and other original music. I've been feeling pretty drained by mostly performing cover gigs, and I've discovered that my main desire has always been to create music rather than to only focus on replicating other peoples' songs.
Once the big "post-lockdown fight for gigs" subsides, I think it would be really cool to organize a small tour and get back on the road as a solo artist again. Whether that happens this year or next, I think it would be the sort of refreshing change of pace I need at this point. But for now, I do have a few dates coming up that you can check out on my site. Time to dust off those old amps and get out there again!
OCTOBER 10, 2021 - Four Pedal Licks
A new batch of lick lessons has dropped today, for any guitarists out there who are looking for something new to practice during the long weekend.
You might have heard about "pedal tones" used in composition, where there's a constant, unchanging note under or over the progression. I like to use this idea melodically when I'm putting together solos. Here are four licks inspired by this concept that you can incorporate into your own music!
SEPTEMBER 19, 2021 - New licks?
I've been looking back on some old lesson videos. People still seem to be enjoying them, so I'm going to bring back short lick lessons into my social media world!
I did the "Lick of the Week" thing on Facebook a few years back, but after a full year of uploads every Thursday at 1pm, I got burnt out and stressed because of that self-imposed deadline.
So I'm going to be doing smaller, Instagram-sized lick lessons starting in October. I'm going to aim for 4 each month, tied together with a common theme. But the key idea is that if I'm feeling uninspired or overworked, I won't worry about maintaining a strict schedule. Feedback is hugely appreciated and helps me maintain inspiration and motivation, so feel free to share your thoughts and questions in the comments along the way 🙂
Looking forward to getting rolling with this! Until then, you can check out some of the other lesson videos I've archived on my YouTube channel. Now, time to write some licks.. See you soon!
AUGUST 13, 2021 - "The Fourth Dimension" now available!
Finally, my second full-length album (and fourth solo release overall, hence the title) is available on all streaming and download services!
Due to certain restrictions amidst the pandemic, I concluded it would be wise to postpone the physical album release until after COVID has died down for good. So once this pandemic is truly a thing of the past, I look forward to having a proper album release concert and a small tour to follow. But until then, I was just too excited about these songs to keep them to myself, so please enjoy them on the streaming service of your choice!
Thank you all so much for your support and encouragement. I hope you enjoy the new music! Cheers.
JULY 15, 2021 - Hitting the stage!
Tomorrow marks two weeks since my second vaccination, and I'll be celebrating by heading on down for a last-minute gig at Grand Beach with the Stacey James Band. I have a handful of summer dates with SJB, as well as with the Claptones and other projects, and I'll post those to the "Shows" page as more details are announced. Until then, please vaccinate and be safe so we can make COVID a thing of the past! See you all soon.
JULY 10, 2021 - "The Fourth Dimension" album details
Just announced! The newest full-length solo album, "The Fourth Dimension", will be released on August 13, 2021. (Yes, Friday the 13th!) It will be available to stream and download wherever music is available online, with a physical CD release to follow soon after.
Make sure to follow me on social media (links at the top of this site) to catch any new details before the release! Cheers, my friends.
JUNE 17, 2021 - "The Great Divide" studio video
Hey folks! It's been a bit of a crazy 2021 for me so far, but now that I'm all settled down, it's time to finally get this album released! Let's start with a studio video for my new track "The Great Divide". (Well, the footage is nearly four years old, but it'll be new for you guys.)
The new album, "The Fourth Dimension", will be released this summer. The track listing is as follows:
2. The Great Divide
3. Full Swing
4. Magnetic Fields
5. Chasing Two Rabbits
7. What I Really Meant to Say
8. Power Trip
More details to follow, so stay tuned. Cheers!
SEPTEMBER 18, 2020 - "Static" music video has arrived!
The music video for my newest single is here! This song was carefully crafted to feature guitars, synth, drums, bass, and vocals all performed by me.
You can check out the video here: https://youtu.be/b8U54qabGrs
Get ready for more details on the full album soon!
JUNE 22, 2020 - Part of the Godin family!
I am now officially a proud endorser of Godin Guitars! It's no secret that they have been my favourite brand for years, and they craft some of the finest instruments in the world. I'm looking forward to working with them, and showing off what their instruments can do on my upcoming record.
APRIL 11, 2020 - Studio update
Hey friends! I hope you're all doing well and staying safe amidst the crazy state of the world that I'm sure I need not explain. I was determined to finish and release my next full-length studio album and embark upon a promotional tour during 2020, but clearly the tour will likely have to wait until the world's situation returns to an (at least mostly) normal state.
However, the album's production is continuing on stronger than ever. I'll be releasing a series of new songs and accompanying videos on my YouTube channel over the upcoming months, and before long, The Fourth Dimension will be available in its full glory on streaming platforms worldwide!
If you haven't yet seen the video for the first single from this new album, check it out here! And thank you for the support, during these strange times when us musicians need it the most. Cheers!
JANUARY 1, 2020 - New year's resolutions
Happy new year, everyone! Great progress is underway on my newest solo album. Believe it or not, I started recording it in 2016, and started writing the material as far back as 2014, and like a mother duck sitting on her unhatched young, I have been waiting patiently for when this album is ready to be released into the world. For this reason, I truly believe this album will be my best work by far, and I can't wait to share it. One of my new year's resolutions is to release it alongside my live album, and head out on tour to promote the new material.
As far as other projects, I have some exciting things lined up for 2020, notably that I'll be playing guitar and singing in the Eric Clapton tribute project, the Claptones. I'm really looking forward to hitting the stage with these guys, and hope to see some familiar faces in attendance!
I'll be posting regular album updates on my social media accounts, so give me a follow on the platform of your choice. (Links at the top of this website!) Until next time, happy new year, and here's to a great 2020! Cheers, friends.
JULY 22, 2019 - Live album in the works!
I'd like extend a huge thank-you to everyone who came out to the show at Station 8 Cafe! The evening was a rousing success, and thanks to the amazing Dennis Maione running the sound (not to mention organising, promoting, and emceeing the event), the entire evening was recorded and immortalised in a nice 20-gigabyte file which he gave to me after the show.
So whether or not you were able to attend, you'll be able to check out some songs online soon--once I sort through that behemoth of a file and get around to mixing the tracks. No guarantees about exactly when this will happen, as my top priority right now is preparing for my wedding in August, but it will be worth the wait! Until next time, thanks again to everyone for the incredible support. Cheers!
MAY 29, 2019 - New videos!
Time for some new music videos! After uploading a live playthrough and a studio video to my YouTube channel, I figured it was time to redesign the Videos section of this site.
If you haven't yet, feel free to check out my playthrough of "Biscuit's Revenge", the opening track of the In Sympatico EP, and also the newly-released studio video for "Cross My Heart", the album closer. Thanks for all the support, and I hope you enjoy the tunes!
MAY 22, 2019 - Show updates
For those of you following the "Shows" tab of this site, you'll notice some sudden changes. Firstly, Grand Master will be playing at the Park Theatre on Tuesday, June 4, to support heavy metal legends ANVIL on their North American tour. (Teenage me would be screaming right about now; I was a big fan during my high school years!)
Next up, note that the May 31 show with Stacey James Band has been removed. Not happening. We'll be playing again soon though, so stay tuned.. We've got new material on its way for you to enjoy!
Finally, you might notice the July 19 solo show at Station 8 Cafe.. What's this? It's been ages since there's been a standalone solo show! It's gonna be a fun one; I'm trying out some new material and hoping to get feedback before I really get going on my next solo album, and I also am hoping to have some physical copies of In Sympatico available for sale at the show, for the first time ever! Very exciting stuff.
More news to come very soon. Cheers!
FEBRUARY 18, 2019 - New year updates (...About freakin' time!)
Hey folks! I've been pretty quiet on this site the past few months concerning my gigs, activity, and other news. There are two big reasons: number A, I've been busy with some big exciting things, and preparing for my wedding this summer (which is the biggest and most exciting thing for me!); and number B, I've been getting involved in some other very exciting and unique projects recently, and I wanted to ease into them before making any formal announcements.
Besides getting out and gigging more with Grand Master recently after a bit of a hiatus last year, I am also playing bass guitar in the Barry G Player Band, playing alongside some of the city's most incredible musicians. My blistered fingers kinda hate me for it, but I gotta say it's been a great experience so far! I've mostly just played bass in a studio environment, so I feel like this is definitely helping me grow personally as a live musician.
Attilan is also well underway in the production of our new album, and we hope to have a studio video out soon for its lead single. More news on that soon!
I'm also trying to diversify the content I post on social media, and posting more on my Instagram and YouTube accounts. I've uploaded some new lesson videos as well as some older selections from my Facebook page, which you can find under the "Lessons" tab of this site. If you're interested, you can follow the social media links at the top of this site for more content. Cheers!
DECEMBER 5, 2018 - In Sympatico gets a digital release!
My newest release is now available for download here via Bandcamp.com. Man, does it feel great to finally get these songs out there! I've been holding onto some of the songs for several years just waiting for the right chance to unveil them, and here it is. The track listing is as follows:
1. Biscuit's Revenge
2. All Work, No Play
4. Moving On
5. Apollo 11
6. Autumn Colours
7. Cross My Heart
8. Flammable (bonus track)
The seven main tracks will appear on all major streaming and download platforms over the next few weeks, while the bonus track will exclusively be available as a Bandcamp download with the purchase of the full album, and eventually on physical CD as well.
The album features artwork by Madi Champagne, and was mastered by Doug Northcott at Amplitude Audio.
NOVEMBER 28, 2018 - In Sympatico
Hey friends! It's time to announce the digital release of In Sympatico. I was hoping for it to ideally be released months ago, but thanks to some wonderful computer problems during the late recording and mixing stages, I was able to just barely get it completed in time for December. It will be available for purchase on Bandcamp.com one week from today on December 5th, and will also be available on all other major music download/streaming services shortly thereafter. A physical CD release will follow in early 2019.
Stay up-to-date using the social media links at the top of this site! More news to be announced very soon. Cheers!
JULY 9, 2018 - Summer flash-forward
Summer is here! As a private guitar teacher, I'm pretty stoked about having some time off during these months. This will give me a chance to accomplish a few things, namely to complete the production of my new album. Here are a few interesting facts about it!
As things look now, it will be a 7-track EP. I do have lots more tracks written, so I may yet choose to include another in the list, but I think these seven tracks adequately capture everything I want to accomplish right now.
As far as the musical direction, you can expect a blend of hard rock, blues, and jazz fusion. I think all of the songs sound fantastic, and I can't wait to share them with you guys!
It will be the first of my solo albums to feature vocals. Most of my fans and friends probably know that I often sing in my other projects, and I figured it was the right time to introduce that ingredient into my solo material. I've decided I want this EP to be an accurate representation of everything I do, and singing is one of those things.
All of the instruments are recorded live; absolutely no programmed drums or anything like that this time around.
The album title will be "In Sympatico"; it's inspired by a David Bowie quote about the influence of the internet on the music industry, and I chose it because I mainly want to market this release digitally. There will be physical copies available as long as there is demand, but this is a necessary experiment I feel the need to go through before my next full-length album (...which is almost entirely recorded already!), which I plan to release in 2019.
I am hoping to shoot at least a few new music videos over the summer, so make sure you follow the Facebook page, subscribe on YouTube, and all that jazz! I can't wait for you all to hear this new stuff; I'm extremely proud of it. Cheers, friends!
MARCH 13, 2018 - Mark is on Spotify and iTunes!
My newest release, "The Sound of Light", has been released across several major digital platforms, such as Spotify and iTunes! If you're a Spotify user (which you should be; it's fantastic!) then click the "Follow" button to immediately enjoy this new EP, plus other great music I'll be releasing later on this year. Thank you so much for your support!
JANUARY 26, 2018 - New lesson videos
With January coming to a close, I've uploaded all four of this month's "Lick of the Week" Facebook videos to my YouTube channel as a single compilation. You can find them under the "Lessons" tab at the top of this site, as well as other full lesson videos which I also plan to update regularly.
If you feel like subscribing to my channel, I'd appreciate it a ton, and maybe even buy you a cup of coffee sometime if you ever encounter me near a place that sells coffee! Cheers.
JANUARY 4, 2018 - Grand Master Turns 10!
Good news, everyone! On January 12, Grand Master will be celebrating ten years of existence with a one-of-a-kind concert at the Cavern club on Osborne. The evening will also feature my other band Attilan, as well as Johnny God (ft. Grand Master's longtime friend and engineer Mike Daher).
Grand Master will be exploring our entire discography, including those often-requested classics from the Omen and The Dream Alive era. This may never happen again, so you DON'T want to miss this show!
JANUARY 1, 2018 - What to Expect in 2018
Happy New Year! Hope you've had a nice holiday spent with family and friends. Myself, I've been stuck indoors due to the Sickness. The silver lining is that it's given me plenty of time to plan and edit a series of weekly videos I'll begin posting this week on my Facebook page, so make sure you follow it! Each Thursday, I will post short videos demonstrating a Lick of the Week, and will provide full explanations and sheet music. I also plan to upload full video lessons from time to time, so feel free to leave a post on the Facebook page letting me know what topics you would like covered.
Besides video lessons, I also have several CDs' worth of new solo material I'm hoping to release this year, and I can promise you that some VERY cool things are on their way this year! Here's to a great 2018. Cheers!
SEPTEMBER 14, 2017 - Attilan Inteview
Earlier this year, Jeremy and I did an interview on CKUW 95.9FM promoting the new Attilan album. We decided to upload the entire broadcast to our YouTube channel, which includes the interview as well as three full songs from Dysthymia. Check it out here, and learn some neat stories about how the album was made, as well as other musicians, promoters, and engineers we've worked with along the way. And we're FINALLY going to do that concert at the CFR on September 23, so check out the “Shows” section of this site for details!
SEPTEMBER 2, 2017 - Summer Wrap-up
What a great summer! After several months of gigs and working on my next solo album, I ended the well-deserved break by joining the great Disraeli Dreamers onstage at the Pyramid Cabaret as lead guitarist on September 1st. I will also be returning to play with them a second time on September 15th for a bigger show which will be professionally filmed and broadcast on Shaw TV.
I am also looking forward to playing two venues for the first time: with Grand Master at the West End Cultural Centre on September 8th, for Nine Lives' CD Release; and also with Attilan, who will be playing on September 23rd at the Crescent Fort Rouge United Church, one of Winnipeg's most accessible music venues for all ages.
I will be starting my full teaching schedule on September 5th. I will be teaching private guitar lessons at Tauber Music School (14 Britannica Road, Winnipeg) on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. I teach ages 8 and up, kids and adults. Visit the receptionist at Tauber, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask any questions if you're interested in registration.
I hope you all have a good long weekend, and a great September! Cheers.
AUGUST 11, 2017 - New Video for "Still Waters"
Time for a new music video! This is the third track from the Sound of Light EP, and one of my favourites. Thanks to Madi Champagne for filming. We shot this in Winnipeg's beautiful St Vital Park, with all our best little duck friends. Watch it here!
JULY 11, 2017 - Web Site is Live!
Hello world! Keeping up with your favourite musicians in this big scary internet can be difficult, since it's become a bit of a mess of social media platforms and media hosting sites all competing for your attention. So here I've gathered up all the media and information from each of my musical projects into one place, so you can have easy access to my music, videos, and concert information.
And if you want to be a SUPER FAN, there is also an email list to which you can subscribe, so you can be the first to hear new music and news. (I won't overload your inbox, I promise. Just ask my friends, I even take ages to text back.)
I hope you enjoy exploring my site, and if you find anything is broken or missing, you may email me at email@example.com . Or you can just say "hi" and tell me about your favourite things. Good day!