To say that English singer-songwriter and visual artist Mark Fernyhough has been keeping himself busy recently is a bit of an understatement. In addition to his prolific visual artistry, writing and photography that has been featured in publications such as BBC One, Vogue & NME, Mark has released several stunning new singles ahead of his new debut album (Berlin Archives), and recently opened for legendary British indie band Suede on their Blue Hour tour in Berlin in September.
SoundThread has previously brought you news of several of Mark's stunning single releases ("Steal My Love", "Nouveau"), and today we are excited to share our insightful interview with Mark as he talks about the incredible opening performance for Suede, his new limited edition album, as well as providing us with a glimpse into what lies ahead on his creative horizons. Thanks to photographer Michel Gds, we are also thrilled to share some fabulous, exclusive photos of Mark and Suede's Brett Anderson from the September 29 concert at Berlin's Columbiahalle!
MARK FERNYHOUGH at COLUMBIAHALLE (Berlin), 29 September 2018. Photography by Michel Gds
Your set tonight went down incredibly, how do you feel about the evening?
I’m really pleased with the audience’s response. It was wonderful to be joined onstage by synth player Agata for the first time and guitarist Steven Horry’s playing was suitably fierce.
What was it like supporting Suede in Berlin for the third time?
It was splendid. I grew up listening to Suede, so personally there’s something really significant about it.
SUEDE at COLUMBIAHALLE (Berlin), 29 September 2018. Photography by Michel Gds
What made you decide to only play unreleased tracks tonight, with the exception of your single ‘Steal My Love’?
Since I had guitarist Steven Horry onstage with me this evening, it seemed logical to focus on the new guitar based tracks we’ve written together. So apart from ‘Steal My Love’ which is a solo composition, it was all new songs.
Your last two singles ‘Sidewalks’ and ‘Nouveau’ were surprisingly absent. Why was that?
‘Sidewalks’ I only just wrote and will play live in 2019 during some shows. ‘Nouveau’ we were planning to play right until the last hour, but we cut it for another new song ‘Ghost In The Machine’.
You also released your new limited edition ten track album ‘Berlin Archives’ on Tuesday...
Yeah. I’ve been writing songs in a more electronic style for an upcoming solo album so it felt like this would be an excellent time to clear the closet of various solo songs I’m very proud of from previous sessions recorded in Berlin before they get lost. I see ‘Berlin Archives’ as an introduction to my music, it covers a lot of ground in ten tracks.
The album is quite stylistically eclectic...
Unashamedly so. It features three different producers - four if you count me. I wrote the three new songs which kick off the album just weeks ago, so the record isn’t a monument to the past but a roadmap to the future. I feel good that rather than closure, the album represents an artistic beginning.
Outside the previously released tracks on the record such as ‘Berlin’ and ‘Steal My Love’, many songs on the album are based around cello and guitar...
Yeah about half of the songs were pretty much recorded live in the studio and feature Natasha Jaffe on cello and Lukas Creswell-Rost on electric guitar. They joined me onstage when I previously opened for Suede, and the songs were recorded around that time. Two of the songs ‘Sky Over Berlin’ and ‘Harvest Year’ have a slightly unexpected country vibe.
On ‘Berlin Archives’ your song ‘Socialites’ strikes me as particularly intriguing...
That’s probably my most complex track lyrically. Thematically the song spans decades and oceans. It references Jean Seberg, Tom Wolfe, Martin Luther King and the Berlin Wall. It’ll appear on a future Mark Fernyhough studio album in a reworked form, musically.
Why have you chosen not to make the album available for streaming?
I always conceived ‘Berlin Archives’ conceptually as a limited edition ephemeral artifact. I’m planning to sell it digitally as an album on Bandcamp too, for a short time.
What’s coming up next for you creatively?
I’ll continue recording my more electronic based solo album which commenced with my single ‘Sidewalks’. I’ll also be working on my conceptual visual art in which I’m creating a Tableau Vivant series with contemporary dancers and models.
A big thanks to Mark Fernyhough for providing such insightful responses for our Q&A!
Finally, we leave you with the official music video to "Running Out of Love", the pulsing, upbeat new single from Mark and guitarist Steven Horry, which features a modern, electronic style that gives a slight musical nod to classic 80's pop the likes of Heaven 17 and ABC.
MARK FERNYHOUGH & STEVEN HORRY "RUNNING OUT OF LOVE" (Official Music Video)