This is an interview conducted by Tony Killerbrew on his zine Riotland Comics Super Smash Media Online Zine for March 2005.
"This month we have an interview with a group from New York called Makar, who are just a great band and should be sought out and listened to by all. Makar are currently in the studio and should have some new stuff out real soon. "
1. Who is everyone and what do you do?
Mark Purnell: First off, Makar would like to say a big thank you for interviewing us and being interested in our band! You rock Tony!
Makar, is a New York based Indie-Rock band that writes its own songs and plays its own instruments. No lip-synching, pitch-correction or dance steps involved, just pure from the heart (and sometimes the funny bone) music. We’ve played lots of NY clubs such as Luna Lounge, CBGBs Gallery, the Hook, Pianos, Knitting Factory, Galapagos and others and had a blast doing it.
We’re releasing our debut 18-song album, 99 Cent Dreams, at the end of March 2005 on www.cdbaby.com, so we’re incredibly excited about that. We’ve been working on it for 2-1/2 years on the weekends and we’re definitely ready to set it free on the music world!! We plan to gig a lot to promote it and do local and regional tours this summer and into the Fall. We named the album 99 Cent Dreams after a 99 Cent Dream store in Hackensack. The idea that a store could be selling dreams for 99 cents really appealed to us. Songs usually cost 99 cents a piece and in my opinion are like little dreams so we ran with it!
Makar has had a few incarnations since we began in 2002, but the album consists of the original lineup, which was a 5-piece band with my wife Andrea DeAngelis singing, songwriting and rocking acoustic and slide guitar, Jorge Arias banging on the drums all day, Dan Coates rocking the bass, Vince Viray singing, songwriting and rocking acoustic guitar, and myself, Mark Purnell singing, songwriting, and rocking piano!
Right now, Makar is just putting the finishing touches (mastering and artwork) on the album and not playing out due to the loss of our lineup. Unfortunately, Vince went West to California to follow a family biz dream and Jorge, who is a full time architect when he’s not beating the pig skins, most likely will have to leave the country to fulfill the requirements of his Fulbright scholarship, which require him to go back to his country of origin, Argentina, for 2 years! So Makar is down, but not out. If Jorge wins his appeal and doesn’t get deported maybe we’ll ply him with enough liquor to get him back into the fold and Vince has been missing the band even though he’s all the way out in San Francisco starting a funky t-shirt biz with his sisters, so maybe we can get him back too. But if things don’t workout and we can’t get our original lineup back we plan to look for a new drummer and bass player and get out there as soon as they’re up to speed with the songs. We really can’t wait to play out again!
2. How would you describe your sound?
Andrea DeAngelis: Actually, other people have said it best. Kathi Merrick at indieradiolive.com called us “retro/alternative folk” music, and that sounds about right. We just do what we do, but we’re Indie at heart.
Mark: Thoughtful, fun, rocking and quirky.
3. Who are you influences?
Andrea: Everyone. I like all kinds of music from the Sex Pistols to Willy Nelson to Outkast. Just got the latest Modest Mouse CD and am blown away. Whenever an artist does something unique you have to give it up to them. Sometimes, certain artists have influenced me directly when writing a song. I’ll give two examples. With “Honey-Colored Time”, a slide guitar song of ours, I tried to write that song from Mr. Jimmy’s perspective in The Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” I was also pissed off by some inane, cookie-cutter lyrics from a song playing on the radio at the time and wanted to write something to purge that awful let down from my mind.
And “I Hate My Job” started out with me wanting to write something punk rockish (as much as Makar can do that) because I was listening to the Sex Pistols, Greenday, Everclear and Offspring a lot. But that being said, I’m sure the Beatles have infected everything that I do. A short list? The Beatles, Bowie, T. Rex, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Mimi Baez and Richard Farina, Bjork, Blondie, The Cars, The Zombies, Nick Drake, Love, Radiohead, U2. God, there are so many, it is silly to even try to name them.
Mark: Yeah, that’ll do me!
4. Do you have any good stories from shows you have played?
Andrea: M.E.A.N.Y. Fest 2004 last fall was one of the funniest and weirdest shows we ever played. The whole night bands played that were very un-MAKAR-like. They were hard-core bands and their crowd was hard-core, so it was a bit more nerve-racking than usual for us, because we thought we’d be playing to a very indifferent audience. But we really didn’t have anything to worry about because the artist before us managed to clear out the entire room. He played solo on an electric viola and a beat box. To say that the crowd didn’t get him is an understatement. They ran, not walked, to the exits.
Three of us were sick that night on top of it all. I had been to the emergency room the day before suffering from a severe sinus infection. I was on so many kinds of cold medication I couldn’t see right. Mark was sick as well, we must have gone through 2 boxes of tissues in the van. Then our set time was shortened to 20 minutes instead of 25, because after the viola guy the judges just wanted to get the hell out of there. So we had to blast through I Hate My Job, The Country Song, The Monkey, Worth It, and Damion Day.
During The Monkey, I managed to knock into Mark’s mic and send it crashing into his forehead. Mark didn’t know what had happened at first because his eyes were closed. He just felt the mic whack him in the head. The bass player and I could barely see straight we were laughing so hard, while Mark, bewildered and befuddled, look around for a mic that had just been in front of his mouth a minute ago. But Jorge kept drumming like the Argentinian madman that he is, Mark finally came to his senses, located the mic and kept on singing, and we rocked out the rest of the set. It was a fun night, even though only 6 people were left in the audience. On the positive side, the judges and sound guy said they really loved our music and were pulling for us. And all 6 people voted for us, but what the hell were 6 votes going to do?!!
Mark: Yup, me forehead still smarts when I think about that magical and mystical night, but I’ve learned to make sure me mic is far removed from the Pete Townshend swirls of me Rockin’ love kitten. Had to learn the hard way, but I learned cause mama didn’t raise her no fool.
5. So who do you like better? The Beatles or the Stones?
Andrea: I have always been a Beatles fan first and foremost.
Mark: She’s a Beatles Fanatic!!! The girl gone crazy for the mop tops.
Andrea: But that being said, The Stones are just amazing and fun. I’ve just started listening to Let It Bleed and I just love that album. Sometimes I feel like the best Stones albums could be culled from the “album filler”. Because on Beggar’s Banquet the “hits” don’t seem to fit. I like to listen to that album without Street Fighting Man and Sympathy for the Devil although Sympathy is one of my favorite songs of all time. But on Beggar’s Banquet, I just can’t stop listening to Jigsaw Puzzle and on Let It Bleed, I just love the title track to death. But when you listen to any phenomenal band like U2, Radiohead, The Rolling Stones and The Who and then you put on the Beatles there is no comparison. And there never should be.
Mark: Well, it’s hard to say, because they’re both such phenomenal bands and one of the five main pillars of Rock music (Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Elvis being the other three), but since you be pressing me to throw down the Beatles/Stones’ gauntlet I have to give it up to the Beatles as well. Mainly because they paved the way for the Stones and every other sixties band to make it. They wrote some of the Stone’s earliest hits and really helped them along the way. Also, the Beatles have the bigger hits and a greater number of them. And I happen to love John Lennon above all other musical artists, except maybe the King, so that about seals the deal. Elvis, Little Richard and Chuck Berry, put Rock on the map, but the Beatles brought it to a larger audience and gave it a lot of artistic credibility. Their artistic development from a fluffy, but incredibly hooky pop band to a group of highly evolved, ground breaking artists pushing music to its outer limits creatively speaking in only 12 years and in a way that no other band had ever done, puts them ahead of the Stones as well.
At first I thought the Stones rocked harder than the Beatles, but if you listen to Lennon on “Twist and Shout” or McCartney singing “Long Tall Sally” you realize the lads could blow the tops off any group out there if that’s the way they had wanted go. But hard raucous Rock and Blues wasn’t the only color they had, unlike the Stones. They had every color of the musical spectrum available to them and they used it like the masters they were. So hands down the Beatles! But that doesn’t mean I don’t love the Stones completely and without question and thank the good lord above for creating them and blessing them with unearthly and amazing powers of Rock n’ Roll!!! I mean Exile on Main Street and Beggars Banquet??? WOW!!!