Mark Whitmore approached me recently with a simple and honest request: I don’t necessarily fit in with your blog, but can I get on your website? Of course, I answered. I accept all indie artists…especially ones that are “off beat”.
Mark is not a “traditional” musician, and yet he’s a very legitimate musician. He creates instrumental jams by looping tracks he recorded together. He releases his music on numerous streaming platforms, so if you’re interested in listening to some instrumental tracks, I suggest you follow the links below.
• So, to start, describe what you do, because it’s a little different than “traditional” artists do.
I record a rhythm, whether it be on bass, keyboard, guitar, ukulele, kalimba. Then loop that rhythm, pick up a different instrument and record along to the rhythm on a separate track. Rewind, and loop it all together pickup a different instrument, and repeat. This process makes multiple layers of audio that when played all together sound like a full band playing. I then cut the length down to what would be reasonable, make fade ins and/or outs, come of with some sort of “lead” or solo and then try to come up with a name for it… If I can’t come up with a name, I send it to some friends and ask them to name it.
• Why did you decide to start making music? Is it purely a passion project, a desire to create or something else?
Back when I was in high school a bunch of friends wanted to start a band. They needed a guitarist and offered to teach me the ropes if I would be in the band. That was over 15 years ago and about 5 bands ranging all different genres, with me playing bass, guitar, or drums. Now I’m just recording on my own.
• I know I listen to instrumental music on Spotify sometimes when I do homework. Have you noticed a growing desire for instrumental music?
Honestly, I personally don’t see a big following for Instrumental music. I wish I did, but the majority of people I know just don’t like music without something they can sing along to. I know one person besides me (and you) that actually listens to Instrumental music. The main reason I make instrumental music is because with how busy life has gotten, I don’t have time to dedicate to being in a band anymore, but I still want to create music. I have trouble coming up with lyrics, and trust me, no one wants to hear me sing lol. So for me it’s either Instrumental, or nothing. After I started recording instrumental music is when I actually started actually listening to other Instrumental music. I look at the music I make as something to put on as essentially background music. While at work, or someplace else you don’t need to worry about it being offensive, or inappropriate.
• I see you have a some new tunes coming out soon. “Follow the Path” is supposed to be alternative rock, but what about the other upcoming release, Jamming With Myself? Can you talk about these?
I released my other 2 CDs and they didn’t pick up much traction. What I did next is started listening to more Instrumental music. Using YouTube, almost every Instrumental song that is on there is either a cover of a song, more electronic than what I would prefer, or written using unique instruments that would make it be classified almost as world music. So I decided to go out and purchase a Ukulele, and a Kalimba. Two Instruments that I could make a few songs with that would have more of a unique sound. “Follow the Path” is the first song I am releasing that has both the Ukulele and the Kalimba in it.
Jamming With Myself is a blues/funk/rock album that I recorded. Ever since I started listening to Instrumental music I always found myself gravitating towards the blues, rock, and funk instrumentals. After listening to them for quite a bit I figured I’d try to make my own.
• What are your biggest musical influences?
I listen to almost every genre of music. I am a big fan of Frank Sinatra, Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers; basically anything with a guitar. As far as people who would motivate me in making Instrumental music, my 3 favorites are Daniel Tidwell, Gary Hoey, and James Galway. All 3 of them are very different sounding, but very talented.
• I noticed you have some video game music on your YouTube page, do you have any other non-musical influences that factor into your music creation?
I grew up playing video games, I still do. When I started listening to Instrumental music I came across Daniel Tidwell. I listened to his video game covers and it was very nostalgic. I thought it was amazing how a song, without even words, could make you feel like a kid again.
This taught me that music can totally change your mood. So what I started doing is when I get home from work I pickup an instrument and just start playing (with the record button hit). Whatever comes out I try to work with. Good days, I’ll record a happy song. Long days, a slower song. I never could stick to just 1 genre lol.
I currently have more metal songs, piano songs, ukulele songs, and acoustic songs, and Christmas songs all finished up, but I’m just waiting until I get enough similar tracks to release as an album. I did so some of my own video game covers and I have more finished and ready to release but since they are cover songs, it costs me a decent amount of money in order to release them properly. Hopefully if my amount of streams/sales pick up I’ll be able to release them… Right now I have one from Mario 64, Donkey Kong Country, and 2 more Zelda songs ready to go.
• If you had to pick just one, which album would be your favorite?
I know you said just 1. But I feel like I have to pick 3…
1. My favorite album that wasn’t made by me will always be the first actual CD I ever owned. Green Day – Dookie.
2. My favorite of my albums is truthfully Jamming With Myself.
3. Since I don’t want to sound like I am just trying to promote my new album, I would pick Metal Moods as a close second.
• What are you listening to lately? Anything you would recommend?
Lately I’ve been all over the place with music. I’ve been listening a lot of James Galway, a German folk metal band called Equilibrium, Israel Kamakawiwoʻole, and Gary Hoey.
• What are your thoughts about bands releasing more singles, rather than following a traditional route and just releasing albums?
Personally, I don’t like it. I know I have a decent amount of singles and will continue to, but it’s only because with the way streaming and the music industry is now, you need to if you want to get heard. Take Spotify for example, they have “featured playlists” which everyone wants to get their songs added to. As an artist, when you upload your music they give you option to select 1 song from 1 upcoming release to have their playlist creators listen to and if they like it, possibly add it to a good playlist. This is the best way to get streams via Spotify. If I release 1 single every month, I can select to have that single previewed. If I release a 10 track album, I can only select 1 track out of those 10 for them to listen to. I remember sticking a CD in the player and knowing what song will come next, Anticipating it, and enjoying entire CDs. Artists would create albums that are meant to be played beginning to end. I take the time to try to make sure the songs all flow well together for the albums. Just having a bunch of singles takes away from the experience in my opinion.