banner ad
banner ad
banner ad

A Dirty Dozen with CHRIS MARDINI – October 2021

| 15 October 2021 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “At just 19-years-old, Chris Mardini belongs to the rare breed of artists born to give voice to our most complex emotions. The singer/songwriter has mastered the art of merging intense self-reflection with poetic social commentary—a dynamic made all the more potent by his innate talent for crafting spellbinding melodies. A near-lifelong musician who took up guitar at age 10 and got his start playing Beatles covers at iconic venues like The Bitter End, Mardini sets his soul-baring songwriting to a singular collision of elements: the brooding urgency of classic alt-rock, kinetic rhythms of underground hip-hop, and hypnotic vocal work of timeless singer/songwriters like Jeff Buckley. Chris Mardini’s self-titled debut album is out today.” We get Chris to discuss new music, influences, and more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

I’m so pumped for this release! Can’t wait for ya’ll to hear it! It’s been a long time in the making — some of the songs were written and recorded a while ago and had gone through lots of remixes and re-recordings. I really had to make sure the songs embodied what I wanted to get across to listeners, and that they were authentic in how they represent me as an artist. One thing that you can hear in some of the songs, if you really listen, is my good friend and drummer, Avishai Rozen, singing backup vocals and ad-libs, along with my dad. I always find it really funny when I’m listening to these parts. I can’t un-hear it!

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

There was always music in my house. Everything from the Beatles to whatever was happening at the moment.  My parents tell me that when I was baby, I would only fall asleep to “Hey Jude.”  Anyway, it feels like I’ve been singing my whole life. I started singing in bands in about 3rd grade, and I never really stopped. I didn’t really play any instruments until about 5th grade when I picked up the guitar. I did a bit of writing here and there for various bands I was a part of, but I really didn’t start finding myself as a writer until about 3-4 years ago when I was about 15. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. It was like an addiction; I’d challenge myself to write new lyrics that were better and more in depth than the last. When I’m up on that stage, I know I want to be a musician for the rest of my life when I’m up on that stage.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

Kurt Cobain and Nirvana were the overwhelming reason as to why I started writing my own songs. There’s just something about his emotion, his anguish, that is completely undeniable, and for a while, all I wanted to do was be like him. One of the best compliments I’ve ever received on one of my songs is that it’s “Nirvana-esque.” However, the mood and feel of the songs that I write are often dictated by the music I’m frequently listening to at the time. I’ve been really into King Krule recently, and so I think some of the stuff I’ve been writing is reminiscent of his stuff.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Nirvana, Kanye West, Led Zeppelin, Mac Miller, and Bon Iver. Lists like this are really hard for me. They change every day, and there’s just so much to choose from!

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

I’d probably have to pick Kanye, just to get a glimpse of how his creative process works, and to be a part of it. The man is a genuine mystery and flat out brilliant. I think he’d make a beat with some sample that would absolutely blow my mind. But then again, I’d be really nervous. I wouldn’t want to upset Kanye haha.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

It’s always really difficult when someone asks me what kind of music I make. I usually just say Alt-rock, but I’m always pretty reluctant. I don’t want to put myself in a subconscious box. I also don’t like the idea of so easily categorizing music, but I guess I’m in the minority. One of the worst backhanded comments I’ve heard about my music is someone saying it sounds like Maroon Five.

7. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

In 2018, I saw Prophets of Rage at the Apollo Theater up in Harlem.  Living Color opened.   Seeing Tom Morello, Chuck D and Vernon Reid on the same stage at that specific venue — The Apollo — was something I knew was special.  Absolutely blew me away. My ears were ringing for weeks after! My neck was sore from head banging. They went so hard.

8. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

Man, I really love the feeling that my music, my creation, has an effect on people’s lives in any way. For me, that makes it all worth it. To see that firsthand is so special and is probably the main reason for why I love playing live so much. Man I don’t know what else I’d do! I’d maybe become a professional skier. I really love to ski, maybe I could make a living off of it.

9. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I’ve always wanted someone to ask me if I’ll ever write a song about just being happy and blissful. And the answer would be no. HA. I just think that music and songwriting is free therapy to me, and you don’t go to a therapist if there’s absolutely nothing wrong with your life. I’m tired of trying to categorize my music, which is something I’m often asked.

10. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I really wished I started playing guitar and writing when I was younger. I feel like I’d be a much better, well-rounded musician if I did. I also wish I started learning Logic Pro X and other DAWs at a younger age, just so completely producing my own music would be more achievable and easier. YouTube university babyyyy!

11. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

I’d honestly have to pick the album, The OOZ, by King Krule. That album helped me through some mental struggles about a year back and would even help my insomnia. Some of the sonic choices made throughout that album are just unbelievable and aren’t necessarily logical. But they just work so damn well. I’d love to have a look into what the hell they were thinking when they recorded those songs, and if they’d have any idea of the potential impact it would have on people. Really just ingenious songwriting, and I would kill to be a part of it.






Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

Leave a Reply

Please verify you\'re a real person: * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

banner ad
banner ad