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SPOTLIGHT ON SAM MARKS

Watch the music video now, exclusively on MILKY! We caught up with the musician himself to chat about the track, working with his brother on the visual, cabbage and so much more!

Image: Ben Marks (Dreamstate Creative).


Earlier this month, Sam Marks dropped the self-care anthem we all deserve, Tend To Yourself. Now, the musician is backing it up with an epically comical, but lovingly wholesome visual, premiering right here on MILKY!


Directed by Marks' brother, Ben Marks of Dreamstate Creative, Marks dons a wide brim hat with slacks and a pitchfork in hand for the tracks visual. Tending to his garden, the musicians bonds with his chickens whilst tending to his garden. Soon, Marks takes on the role of a cabbage, giving an Oscar worthy performance as the vegetable. With cut in scenes of the musician soaking up life Tropicana style, Marks is living up to the self-care theme of the track, bringing his light-hearted sense of humour and charisma whilst reminding viewers to tend to yourself.


Marks studied classical composition at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and has also played in a variety of rock bands over the past decade. Since launching his solo musical project in September with his debut single Ellie Mae, Marks continues to solidify his standing as a respected solo artist with his unique brand of nostalgic indie-rock.


Watch the visual, and read our interview with Sam Marks, below!


Could you tell us a bit about how you began your musical journey, and your background in music?


I’m a lifelong musician, starting on the piano at age 4 or 5, moving into classical playing. I got to high school and shifted my focus onto guitar as a way of impressing the girls. It kind of worked. I started listening to all sorts of rock and explored heaps of bands. I formed my first band around 14, heavily influenced by the punk pop guys like Blink and Sum 41. Around 18 I formed my first serious punk rock band which then slowly dissolved. My last band White Bay was formed around 23, and is currently on Hiatus as I get stuck into my own songs on this solo project. During this time I studied a degree in composition from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.


Your new single, Tend To Yourself, is really a reminder for self-care, especially within the tumultuous past year the world has had. What prompted you to explore this theme and how important was it for you to use this song as a vehicle to spread that message?


Glad to hear it! Having time during our relatively brief lockdown to step back from gigging full-time forced me to slow down, relax, and take a step back. This is something I’m not very good at. It’s not a song I’d usually write, and is an aberration from the other songs of this debut EP. I usually write in more of an impressionistic style lyrically, which is less obvious and seeks to capture a mood or feeling rather than directly depict it. I thought this would be a good time to release something like this, and if people are connecting to it during covid, that’s bloody awesome.

The track fuses together indie-rock with reggae influences. How did you arrive at the sonics present on Tend To Yourself?


I didn’t really over think the combination of influences. It started as a Reggae rhythm and grew from there. It felt like a natural exploration of styles and sounds. The guitar sounds were always intended to be somewhat psychedelic and indie.

The song is accompanied by a great visual! How involved were you when it came to conceptualising the video clip?


I was involved a great deal throughout the entire production of the film clip, though most of the credit goes to my brother Ben Marks. This film clip was developed under his company's name Dreamstate Creative. My dad, David, also initially conceptualised the idea of my face on some sort of vegetable or crop. Then we refined until we got it to something we thought would work.


The music video was directed by your own brother Ben Marks (Dreamstate Creative). What was it like working together on the clip?


It was a great time. We are best mates and although there can be stressful moments, and tension, it was generally pretty easy going. We put a lot of work into it and I’m bloody proud of him and what he was able to achieve alone!

How important are the visuals to you when it comes to portraying the stories and themes present on the songs?


The concept of the clip was the most important aspect for me. Once we got the idea down to have the two contrasting characters in the clip, we knew the visuals would follow strongly. The farmer physically tending to himself as a cabbage is a very significant and important part of the clip. Contrasting that with the cool island guy basically telling the farmer to relax and tend to himself added another layer and dimension to the clip.


What was your most memorable moment on set during filming Tend To Yourself?


Probably feeding the chooks. That was completely improvised on the spot and we got some great shots and interaction with the little chooks. Also filming in the rock pool with the huge waves crashing behind was a little intimidating and definitely was memorable. In saying that, shooting this clip in public spaces with people watching and walking by was entirely an interesting experience. The whole thing was memorable!

In the clip, we see you take on the role of a cabbage in an Oscar worthy performance. What’s your favourite cabbage dish?


Kimchi is pretty good. Otherwise a classic wok stir fry with some chicken (not the chickens above).

Do you have any of your own self-care routines or things you do to relax and put yourself first?


Running! Then when my brain finally starts to switch off, Netflix and reading. It takes a while for the old brain to wind down.


If Tend To Yourself was a pre-existing piece of art (photograph, painting sculpture etc - anything excluding the songs cover art + video), which artwork would it be and why?


Impression, Sunrise by Monet. It’s unbelievably relaxing. I’m a big impressionism fan.

What else do we have to look forward from you in 2021? Will we be hearing an EP or album anytime soon?


I’ve still got two tracks left to release from this EP (coming soon)! Then I’ll be back in the studio recording my follow up EP.

With restrictions easing and borders having opened, will we be seeing you hit the road anytime soon? What can audiences expect from one of your live shows?


I’m planning on doing an east coast tour this year. I need to get a band together or maybe I’ll do it solo acoustically. This Friday (April 9) I’m doing a last minute acoustic set at Waywards (The Bank Hotel) from 8:15-8:45, opening for Little Quirks.



RAPID FIRE

Biggest influences?

It’s as eclectic as Blink to Gustav Holst. I can’t choose any one band or person. Sorry!

Dream collaboration?

Chris Cornell - if he was still alive.

Album that has had the most impact on you?

Seriously hard choice but Enema Of The State was a huge influence for me in my first bands, though you probably can’t hear much of that on this EP. Maybe a little.

How do you define your musical style in 3 words?

Dreamy, impressionism, mercurial.

A release you are most looking forward to in 2021?

Let’s see if Lime Cordiale comes out with anything else.

If you could create the soundtrack for any film, which one would it be?

Lord of the Rings. Keen nerd!

Album you would listen to on repeat on a road trip?

Chris Cornell’s Songbook



Last concert you went to?

A local show at the Lansdowne. The last international act I saw was Milky Chance.

If you were a Spice Girl, what would your spice nickname be?

Salacious Spice.

Guilty music pleasure?

Nickelback. I don’t feel guilty about this though.

If you could support any artist on tour, who would it be?

Chris Cornell. If he was alive.

An artist you think has had the most influence on the music industry?

U2.

What advice would your current self, give your future self, for a year from now? Chill out! Tend to ya bloody self.

The moment you knew you wanted to be a musician?

It was just a natural process. Probably after my first few plays on piano.


Tend To Yourself is out now!