Hello Mark, how are you?
Hey Del, yeah pretty good thanks. Sat here on my sofa on release day doing an interview. Things could be a lot worse!
Tell us about Pocket Lint, how did it come to be?
So, in about 2015 I started very tentatively to make some music again. I had stopped when my old band, Remodel, broke up in 2012. But to be honest, I didn’t really get back into making music until about 2018. It was around that time that I came up with the name. The name was based around the idea that I had these songs left from Remodel and wanted to record them. So many of my early songs were those bits of songs I never got to record with the band.
Congratulations on the release of A Grey Opaque, how does it feel?
It feels great. This is my first CD album release. I released the soundtrack to an imaginary film last year. I hope that people like it and it gives them an idea of what my music is all about.
What’s the story behind it?
This release is a compilation of all of my music so far. Many of my earlier releases were download-only, and we wanted to bring them into one place. It forms a sort of introduction to my work. I think. It also shows me how my music has changed. The later stuff is more synth-based, and the guitar playing has become more the decoration rather than the basis of the song.
What are your three favourite tracks from it?
Hmmm, it is tough but I guess:
- When Winter Comes Again: my song set in the film The Third Man
- Noir: a song which I see as a sort of Chandler-esque film noir narration
- Red Dust: A song written from the perspective of the Mars Rover
Describe it in three words.
Conceptual, pretty, wonky.
What were the main challenges you faced in recording it?
Well, I guess learning how to record. In bands, I wrote the music and some of the lyrics and have always been fairly confident about playing music, but recording was something I had never really done before Pocket Lint. I have learnt on the job, though I have really been helped by my friend Tim. Oh and singing. Finding my voice has been great.
What was your favourite part of the process?
The original conception of the idea. The moment where the lightning hits you and you say “right, now I will make a song that is a bolero” or the idea to do an entire drone-based song with a chant over it. That beginning feeling before you let it all go where it goes.
This is your seventh release. What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned from recording it?
I suppose to totally trust my instincts rather than take too much notice of what others say. I know what I want it to sound like. It might not be to everyone’s taste, but it always has to be to mine. I have to live with it forever, so not compromising is key to me know.
You’re an artist from London, how did it all begin for you?
My best friend at school Tim (from earlier) did his English presentation when we were 13 on Jimi Hendrix. He was not big into talking so just played guitar instead. I fell in love with guitars there and then, so that started it all. From then on, I played gigs pretty often til the band mentioned earlier broke up. I moved to London at the end of uni to form a band. I had lived in London briefly too when I dropped out, and moved to play at the guitar institute for a year.
What did you listen to growing up?
As a teen, it was all guitars, I guess. Starting from Hendrix and then classic rock, through to punk, and indie. At uni, I went big into Bowie and Roxy. I had always liked the glam-ier end of indie and not the lad rock side. However, when I was at the guitar institute, I got so bored of guitars I started really listening to synth pop. Mostly Kraftwerk and some of the British electro pop, that never really went away.
You use found sounds in your music, what was the catalyst for this?
Ahhh, my Aural Bonbons. I honestly don’t know. I think I just liked bringing in sounds which others wouldn’t. Stepney on the album A Grey Opaque, which was the first I recorded as Pocket Lint, has the noise of the rain and the traffic that I recorded live into the track, playing with effects and volume. I try to collect sounds as often as I can that I might one day use. I have a found sounds library on my computer so that I can dip into them. The song When Winter Comes Again has bells recorded in Vienna.
What’s in your set up?
I record on Reason on a laptop with just a simple Focusrite sound card. I try not to mess about with the sounds too much once recorded. I think TBH I use the computer as a digital 16-track. I focus on getting the sounds I want before recording. I have a few old synths such as a Roland SH101, and have recently really been enjoying my Yamaha DJX. A lot of the earlier songs were recorded on my Rickenbacker, but recently I have been back to my Telecaster.
COVID had a major impact on the creative industry, what kept you motivated?
Well, for me, I was shielding for most of 2020. So rather than it being about motivation to go and create, creating was my major escape. It allowed me to leave the house in my head. No surprise I think that EP 3 recorded late 2020 is all about Paris and Vienna – I could go there in the music.
The last two years have been a time to reflect — what did you learn about yourself?
That I am still really serious about making music. Ha ha. And that there are some people out there who seem to like it.
Did you pick up any new skills?
God, so many, but I think the main one would probably have to be finding my voice and the way I sing. Learning how to do that and feel comfortable in it. That has been immense for me.
What are you listening to at the moment?
Well, a lot of Depeche Mode after last weekend’s awful news. I discovered Propaganda last week. There is always a fair bit of Soft Cell. Bowie and Roxy are still constants. Oh and Public Service Broadcasting as well. I have also been enjoying Sophie Mahon’s album Bogart’s Eyes too.
What are you looking forward to next?
Finishing my next album: Gallery. Each song is based on a painting. It has been amazing to work on, and I hope is another move in approach. Hopefully it will be out later in the year.