Getting to know Multi-Instrumentalist Byron Mark

Known to bring worlds together through his music, multi-instrumentalist Byron Mark gears up to release his album ‘Odyssey’. Before his release we sit down with Byron to get to know the Australian artist and learn what inspires him.

What inspired your upcoming album?

For almost 10 years, I have been performing and touring with different flamenco acts all around Australia. During this time, I have developed a strong passion for flamenco rhythms, and have thought for a while to compose a series of pieces inspired by these rhythms, whilst going back to my roots of classical music. One of my band mates and close friends, Damian de Boos-Smith, also plays spectacular cello in some of our live flamenco shows. This inspired me to extend my compositions to not only incorporate the cello, but an entire string quartet. So with that, I all of a sudden had a collection of compositions on the boil for piano, string quartet and percussion. The focus percussion instruments on the album are of course the Cajon (prominent in flamenco music), as well as the Indian tabla. I also regularly collaborate with tabla guru Maharshi Raval, and really wanted to explore a crossover between the cajon and tabla as the core groove elements on this album.

Your music is very global, which country has your favourite music?

I really enjoy listening to music from many different cultures. My family heritage is Greek, Maltese and Croatian. Growing up, I would listen to Greek music at family functions, and although I haven’t really performed it before, I think the sounds and rhythms lay inside my subconscious creative mind. I also love listening to flamenco and Indian music, and alot of African music too, both African drumming as well as the more melodic African songs. However, if I had to pick a favourite, it might have to be Spain at this point in time – as there are so many great fusion collaborations happening over there stemming from flamenco music.

What’s your favourite song off the upcoming album?

Hmmm….this is a tough one……….I think it may have to be ‘Byroven’. This piece was inspired from one of my favourite Beethoven Sonatas that I learnt when I was back in school. I really like how this piece developed effortlessly during the writing process, and it works really well live on stage, and I have also had some nice feedback on it as well. I guess I like it because it sums up the overall vision of the album – merging my classical roots together with world rhythms and contemporary harmony.

Who are you listening to now?

Right now I am actually listening a fair bit to Cory Henry. I saw him play live in Sydney back in April, and he is such an inspiring piano player. I’ve also discovered a music producer by the name of Alfa Mist, and really enjoy listening to his music. I also listen to a lot of flamenco music, and am always keen to discover new sounds.

What else have you got coming up?

In a couple of weeks I will be releasing the music video for the ‘Byroven’ track, and hosting this at a nice art gallery in Surry Hills called Peach Black. I am also in the process of organising some more concerts to promote the Odyssey album and the release of the music on vinyl (it’s very exciting to have my own vinyl record out now, ha!), with some shows in the Blue Mountains and regional NSW in the pipeline.