Mark mines his cre­ativ­ity

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Music - Tyler Brown

“I MET a miner in the West­ern Desert one night af­ter a show in Onslow. He was 62, lived in Caloun­dra and had been trav­el­ling across the coun­try ev­ery two weeks for the past 17 years “to work in this hole” as he put it. I said, ‘Why don’t you stop?’. ‘Be­cause the money’s too good’, he said.”

May­day, Mark Sey­mour’s lat­est al­bum with band The Un­der­tow re­leased last Fri­day, ad­dresses no­tions of home.

It is filled with Aus­tralian sto­ries like the Two Dollar Punter who “shook the hand of the smug­gler” for the hope of a bet­ter life, the boy who might not have a home but has a footy team in Foot­ball Train and that miner “half­way be­tween hell and nowhere”.

“I think the FIFO story is pretty in­ter­est­ing,” Sey­mour said.

“It’s par­tic­u­larly ger­mane to West­ern Australia. We started go­ing over there a lot and do­ing min­ing towns and camps.

“We ended up in some very, very rough places and play­ing to itin­er­ant work­ers… and I ended up con­vers­ing with peo­ple who were in those places and that song emerged from that ex­pe­ri­ence.

“I like the idea of doc­u­ment­ing a par­tic­u­lar time in his­tory, es­pe­cially given that’s quite a con­tem­po­rary sce­nario.”

May­day is Sey­mour’s first al­bum since Hun­ters and Col­lec­tors’ ref­or­ma­tion and trib­ute al­bum Cru­cible in 2014.

So where did he find the time to cre­ate an al­bum that he says was “the hard­est record to make and def­i­nitely the most per­sonal”?

“I de­lib­er­ately set out to get the writ­ing un­der­way at the be­gin­ning of last year, well ear­lier than that, be­cause I could see this Hun­ters thing loom­ing,” he said.

“We just went about it in a fairly left-brain way, book­ing in re­hearsal rooms any­where and say­ing ‘Let’s just get to­gether and play’.

“It re­ally loos­ened up my song­writ­ing, so I was knock­ing things up on the iPhone just with an acous­tic gui­tar and throw­ing ideas at them and as a con­se­quence the songs struc­turally are very sim­ple.

“A lot of them are quite blues-based, in­vert­ing three chords and I just sing over them – keep­ing things very rudi­men­tary and it just merges like sto­ry­telling.

“It’s melodic rap so it’s very loose and sim­ple but live, it’s a re­ally ef­fec­tive way of writ­ing songs be­cause they’re very easy to trans­late in front

of an au­di­ence.”

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