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    Ahead of the release of Perplexed Music: The Album this February, Sarah caught up with Mark McGann to talk collaborations, Parr Street Studios and the perplexities of love…


    Following critical acclaim for his short film Perplexed Music, Mark and the Kickstarter community who funded it have now raised the money to produce a commercial music album of original compositions written by Mark and selected by the donors. Mark explains:


    “After the wonderful experience of making the film our Kickstarter team - who now insist on calling themselves ‘Team PM’ (Team Perplexed Music) - were asking ‘what next?’, so I suggested this music project, as so many of them had responded positively to the song included in the film it seemed an obvious choice. They thankfully agreed so I made fifteen-twenty original compositions available to them online with just myself singing with a guitar and they voted for the ten they wanted included on the album”. 


    Perplexed Music: the Album features Steph Grace Kennedy, who performed the titular song in the film:


    “She was one of twenty vocalists who auditioned for the film some of whom were fantastically talented, but the way Steph delivered the title track made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. She had something extra; something unique and powerfully affecting about her voice. Beautiful and soul-wrenching.”


    Her performance of the track received critical acclaim from film audiences and Mark is delighted to have another opportunity to work with her on the album:


    “I always had Steph in mind for the album. I wanted her unique interpretation of some of the songs to reflect the collaborative nature of these crowdfunded projects. It’s worked beautifully. It’s genuinely thrilling to hear other artists interpret your work as they always find something you hadn’t considered. Through Steph I was introduced to her husband Jesse [Eigen] who is another very accomplished musician. Between the three of us we formulated a timeline and plan to record and produce the album. Most of the musicians appearing on it are session players who play regularly with Jesse and Steph. This was a real bonus as they were already a tight band as well as being fantastic people. It’s been a genuine pleasure playing with and getting to know them”.


    Each track is very different from the next throughout Perplexed Music: The Album and represent various genres that Mark was influenced by growing up in Liverpool.


    “The songs the Kickstarter Team have chosen is a very eclectic mix. I think that was a lot of fun for the band to do. There’s one that’s an homage to 60s pop, another indie rock, a piano ballad and another ethereal indie. Steph and I sing most of the songs and fellow Liverpudlian musician/actor Reid Anderson sings a track called A Thousand Miles Away. He has a deep rich bass voice that brings something completely different. There’s a lot of sunshine in this album”.


    Collaboration and interpretation is an important theme of the album. Mark is delighted by the sound of the record.


    Recorded at Parr Street Studios in Liverpool, the musicians and Mark all have a strong connection with the city so Mark felt it was a natural choice to record in their hometown:


    “Steph, Jesse, Reid and the band are based in Liverpool, so it made sense to record in the city. I loved working at Parr Street Studios, it’s a wonderfully creative space well run with fantastic  facilities. I’m in awe of the city‘s development since 2008, it’s so vibrant and an amazing place to work and collaborate”.


    Mark expresses that Perplexed Music: The Album deals with a variety of themes. Each song reflecting a different story, but there’s one theme that links them together - and that’s love:


    The one theme that binds it with the film is ‘love’. There’s an implicit belief in the power of love to elevate. Its called Perplexed Music because each song represents a different aspect/representation of love and its perplexities; whether that’s feeling like you’re losing a relationship or just meeting someone else, missing someone no longer here or a 1000 miles away, love can be very perplexing even when it’s kind.’


    Perplexed Music: The Album will be launched at The Cavern Club on Thursday 28th February 2019. To find out more and to purchase tickets, please visit The Cavern Club website.


    By Sarah O’ Hara




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