Canadian alt country singer/songwriter Carolyn Mark has been making music in many different forms. Currently a solo artist, she has also been a member of the Vinaigrettes, The Corn Sisters (with Neko Case), The Room-Mates, Showbusiness Giants, Jr. Gone Wild and NQ Arbuckle.
She was nominated for a Juno Award for her solo work in 2010.
Mark’s new album, The Queen of Vancouver Island (Mint Records), was released on September 18th. Not only has she firmly established herself as Canadian music royalty, but also as the queen of awesome song titles like “Nobody(’s Perfect),” “Old Whores” and “You’re Not a Whore (If Nobody’s Paying).”
Naturally, we had questions.
Innocent Words: What was going on in Hollister, California, that brought you there to record?
Carolyn Mack: The very amazing Nic/Adrian Calder hosted a party for my band mate Terri and me. We had such fun we stayed for a few days, signed out a laptop from the local TV station and tried to figure out how to record, with days off. We wanted a scaffolding upon which to hang our drinking.
IW: What is the story behind doing this album in four separate recording sessions?
Mack: I like tangible results. I find if it’s all one big long session, I get bored. I’m a performer, so I like to get energy back when I sing, and recording isn’t like that for me. So if we do one song in one day, it’s far more exciting. Also, great players like Paul Rigby and Paul Pigat aren’t available very often.
IW: “Not Like in the Movies” reveals the life of a full-time touring musician. Care to expand on the ups and downs of that life?
Mack: I wrote it because in the movie version of being in a band (and believe me, I love any movie about a band! The more fake the better! It keeps the fantasy alive!), they always just play one song. In the next shot, they’re at the after party. I’m always, like, “Who loaded the gear? Who went to get the van?”
IW: Do you see much of your former Corn Sister, Neko Case?
Mack: I got to see Neko last fall in Vermont. We played down the street from each other, got to go to each other’s shows and hang out with Rigby. It was so great to see her.
IW: You’ve been in many bands over the years. Looking back, do you have a favorite?
Mack: Boy, nostalgia sure sweetens the memory, don’t it? I was just thinking about when Garth and Tolan, my Room-Mates, went across Canada to Newfoundland in a Civic and feeling nostalgic about it. The shows were great. At least they are in my memory.
IW: You’ve spent plenty of time in the U.S. What are some advantages and disadvantages to being a Canadian artist?
Mack: As a Canadian you can get the impression that nobody cares. It costs a lot to get the work permits, the border is a drag, and the money’s pretty bad. There are way more bands. But it’s a challenge I feel I want to take on!
IW: What are your favorite and least favorite parts of touring?
Mack: My favourite part is that the day is pre-planned, and if you eat all your Pac-man dots and do all your chores, you get to see your friends when you get there. My least favourite part? (My favourite has a “u” in it!) Raging onstage paranoia when the club’s not very busy.
IW: Where is your favorite spot on Vancouver Island?
Mack: The Beacon Hill Petting Zoo, Victoria, B.C.
Read more at http://meowonline.org/2012/09/04/all-hail-queen-carolyn-mark/