Q&A with indie-rock artist Mark Winters

Following the release of his latest single ‘Speed of Light’, we caught up with Texas indie-rock artist Mark Winters to talk about his experiences on the road performing. Be sure to check out ‘Speed of Light’ at the end of the interview.

  • What’s the best show you’ve ever played?

“We had a recent show at Theatre Suburbia in Houston, its was a blast to play for a group that was there to listen to our music, very intimate and special.  Maybe a competitor was a show I played with my son in Waco, nothing better than hanging out on a Saturday night with your family sharing music with the world!”

  • What’s the worst show you’ve ever played?

“I would say at a rock venue in Houston, we had a huge group of our friends show up for a show we were playing with 4 other bands, and the other acts were a lot harder rock than anyone in our fan group could hang with.  It made me really aware that you need to be mindful of the lineups you play in and invite your fans to.  Regardless of how amazing the acts are, there has to be some common vibe for the fans to enjoy.”

  • Is there a city or venue that holds special significance to you, and can you share a memorable experience from there?

“Jacksonville, Florida!  I played my first song on the Radio live there.  Spinnaker radio invited me out for their podcast and It was super special.  I have their sticker on my guitar case to remind me of how amazing it made me feel.”

  • What was the highlight of the last tour you went on?

“Houston to Jacksonville and back, my 2nd tour ever and I met so many wonderful people along the way.  I played in listening rooms, opened for larger acts and really learned what playing a show every day for 2 weeks feels like.  I also learned that I need to be much sharper to give every show 100% on a tour like that.”

  • Can you recount an onstage experience that was unexpectedly risky or exhilarating?

“Yes, we had a guy from the crowd go out to his car between sets and come back with a tambourine.  He proceeded to stand at his table, sing along with our music and play the tambourine, severely out of tune and timing.  It was so loud that the whole band had a tough time staying in the groove.”

  • What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened at one of your shows or on tour?

“I had a girl come up to me on a break and tell me she wanted to join me on the rest of the tour and asked me if I had extra room in my van.  That was a joke right?”

  • Who would you be most amazed to see in the front row at one of your shows?

“I have some early “nay sayers” on my music career that I would love to convert to fans.  I’m not sure I will live long enough for that to happen though.”

  • How do you handle the pressures of performance, and have your strategies evolved over time?

“Yes, I really didn’t have the concept of how to be truly prepared to deliver a live song/set/concert a few years ago.  Having my songs, covers and originals memorized, and the ability to alter them on the fly, and deliver the emotion necessary to connect.  Now on songs that I’m properly prepared for, its pretty hard for me to deliver less than a 100% performance.”

  • Do you have any rituals before you hit the stage? If so, what are they?

“Yes, 100 breaths!  Just breathe in and be thankful, then out.  It’s pretty amazing and it’s also a great way to enjoy your moments and leave it all out there on the stage for the fans who have come out to connect.”