Mark Kozelek Interview

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Posted by Greg on August 26, 2011 at 2:58 pm
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As part of the release of Mark Kozelek’s documentary Tour DVD, Cameron sat down for a chat with Mark. Topics include the new DVD, writing songs, interacting with fans on stage, Red House Painters, Almost Famous and much more. You can read the entire interview over at the Sun Kil Moon official site, but here’s a few choice snippets:

Cameron: Kris Kristofferson once said, “I write a sad song when I’m happy, because generally when I’m sad, I’m too sad to write a good song.” Where do you stand on the subject?

Mark: I’m the opposite. When I’m happy, the last thing that I want to do is shut myself away in a room and write. I generally write when I’m feeling down in an attempt to find some peace and contentment.

Cameron: You chose to film in black-and-white — what was the attraction to that?

Mark: That was Josh’s idea. We are both fans of black and white, and it helped a lot on the technical end of things.

Cameron: Are you finding that your older material feels fresh to you again when playing it in a classical style?

Mark: Yes. Nylon strings feel good on my fingers and sound better to my ears, so it makes me want to play the guitar longer and better. But yeah, something like ‘Katy Song’ or ‘Like The River’, I love playing them in the more formal, nylon string style.

Cameron: How do you go about selecting set lists for your shows? Does it depend on the city? The venue? How certain songs are feeling for you that day? Do the set lists change much from show to show, or do you have a similar set for most of a tour?

Mark: What usually happens is that I get on stage with a list of maybe thirty songs to choose from. But as the tour goes along, I add or subtract songs, depending on what I feel is working or not. Some songs are easy to remember, like ‘Carry Me Ohio’, but others, I have to sit down at sound check or in my hotel and re-learn. On one of those tours with Josh, that’s how we got the ‘Lucky Man’ hotel performance. I had completely forgotten it and was re-learning it in my hotel room one day. But seated and standing rooms are different. Sometimes I gauge my sets a little differently depending on the vibe of the crowd, and sometimes I tune my guitar a little lower if my voice is tired.

Cameron: Okay, last last question . . . are you ever going to act in another one of our movies? All our work was in the last century. Can we do some modern dramatic acting sometime soon?

Mark: Yes! I would love to. Give me a role and I’ll knock it out of the park. I promise.

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