Mark Haze- Chats Music Career, Producing and  New Release ‘Dont Say Goodbye’

Intro

South African Singer-Songwriter and full-time touring musician Mark Haze is known for his wide vocal range and electric large live performances. Mark skilfully delivers a signature combination of high energy Rock ‘n Roll and silky Old-school Soul, fused with raw emotional Blues … guaranteed to have audiences singing along on their feet!

On-stage Mark oozes charisma, with the distinctive ability to confidently command both large audiences, and personally connect with audiences in intimate venues – not an easy task when moving from large stages with a full band to a smaller acoustic setup where he is face to face with the audience. His powerful soaring vocals, skilled soulful guitar playing, and pulsing rhythms are a force to be reckoned with, delivering a show experience like no other – an escape into a world where nothing else matters, where you find yourself lost in the moment and his music. Each performance is treated as though it would be his last.

Off-stage, Mark shows appreciation for his fans, always taking the time to meet them at every show. Mark shares that “I believe to really love music, is to find the beauty in all forms and genres and embrace it”

Mark is a natural showman with influences ranging from Rock Icons like Queen, The Beatles & Lenny Kravitz, Blues Masters Eric Clapton & B.B. King, to modern artists like Bruno Mars, The Weekend, Fallout Boy & Jack Garrat. Mark is known for experimenting sonically, merging contemporary Pop & Electronic Cultures with the historic timelessness and beauty of Rock, Soul, and Blues.

 

 

Questions

Hi Mark, Welcome to Fanbase Music Magazine, before we get to know you a bit more, how have you been with Covid-19 and lockdowns, have you and your family been safe?

Thanks very much. The family and I are great. We were lucky enough to avoid getting Covid the past 2 years.

Did you take part in the online streaming gigs that became popular during lockdown or were you able to keep yourself busy musically during lockdown?

I think I did 1 or 2 corporate contract shows via online streaming, but I didn’t take part in any of the Facebook home shows. I was lucky enough to have been invited to perform in a few episodes of Bok Radio’s Biltong Sessions, where fans could buy tickets to view the shows online. The band and I were able to perform properly on a stage with lots of cameras to capture the real thing, which was just that much cooler than just performing in your lounge. Wimpie van der Sandt did so much for the music community during the hard lockdown, and so many of us owe him a lot, as it could have been the end of so many careers had, it not been for him and this platform.

I also started taking on a bigger role in producing in the studio. Something I’ve always done, but mostly on the down-low to help newer artists. I’ve since started working with some profile acts and really put myself out there and enjoying it a lot. I’ve always been a producer in the traditional sense, but not actually handled the studio engineer role. I’ve always sat shotgun and run the show, but thanks to hard lockdown, I had some time to really learn how to take on that side of the studio myself while tracking at home. With the help of my sound engineer, Heinz Cruuys and several hundred video calls, I managed to work on and produce a bunch of songs that became the ‘Why Not?’ album.

The launch of the ‘authentic’ album was completely delayed during the lockdown, but after some discussion with the record label, we decided to do the mastering at my studio and release it as well. So, 2 albums dropped in 1 year, which is pretty cool.

Can you tell us your background, where did you grow up and what got you into music?

I come from a music-loving family. The radio or TV was always on, and I loved to sing along. There was a piano in the house I grew up in and my grandmother played. I showed an interest and suggested I start taking lessons at school.

I had no sooner begun doing piano lessons at 7 years old, when the big awakening came after watching my uncle’s band play for the first time. When I felt the drums in my chest and heard that electric guitar at stage volume for the first time, I knew. I was hooked to Rock n’ Roll!

How would you describe your genre?

I’m not good at describing my style. I recommend checking out my music from the links below and go listen what you believe it to be.

What sort of music influenced you while you were growing and even today?

I tried to be a student of all genres and styles, but my love for Rock music has always been the majority shareholder in my playlists as well as how my overall sound tends to go out.  However, if you listen to my stuff, you’ll hear elements of various influencers like classical, baroque, RnB, soul, Blues and even some hat-tips to 90s Hip Hop.

You recently teamed up a track and music video called ‘Wolves’ along with talented musician KAT, how did you find that whole experience and working with someone as talented as KAT?

KAT is a lot of fun to work with. There’s a very simple flow between the two of us when we get to work together in studio. I find her song writing very interesting and at the same time, very simplistic in terms of translating it to the audience. It’s a rare gift to be able make songs seem simple, when they have so much depth to them. Her music is like an onion; it has many layers. She’s not the first artist I’ve produced or recorded, but she is the first that got me to agree to do more music with her after the first recording. It’s turned from a once-off project into a long-term production idea. She shares ideas with me often and has done a bunch of tracks with me now. We’re working on new songs as we speak. She takes this career very seriously and I like that about her.

You also got to be the support act for Bon Jovi a few years back, can you tell us how that went down and how was the whole experience?

It’s always great when you get the chance to play the big shows in the stadiums … 50 000 people on your worst day is still better than most good days and that day wasn’t a bad day at all. I tell people this a lot … for me, the stadium experience is probably the easiest gig situation. The crowd is so massive and easily hyped that the show is always going to be great. Plus, it helps to really know how to work those shows and believe me, I KNOW how to work those crowds. The small venues where the crowd is within arms-length are so much more intimidating and way harder to work into a frenzy.

Can you explain a typical Mark Haze gig?

My purpose in life is to bring joy through music. It’s all joy and all love all the time. My hope is that people feel that at each performance.

Can you talk us through your music gear and instruments, what gear do you like to use?

I use a BOSS GT-1 multi-effects pedal with several amp simulators over various songs. I like different amps and different guitars for different styles and songs, so I prefer to not stick to one amp on stage and have the ability to use anything I want. I have a couple of guitars that I use and love. My Yamaha CPX-12 for acoustic stuff is amazingly warm and clear and I generally use my USA Fender Strat for the bluesy stuff and move between my Adrian Smith signature Jackson and my Les Paul Custom for the crunchier tracks. I’ve tracked with so many different guitars over the years, but one of my favourites in studio is my Fender Telecaster Deluxe ’72. It’s pretty versatile when you’re laying down initial tracking and I can always get an idea of what I’m going for and record over with the ‘correct’ guitar afterwards.  But very often, it stays in the session.

Do you have any new music in the pipeline that we should look out for?

‘Don’t Say Goodbye’ has been tracked and is in the final stages of production at the moment. The single and the video will be out soon. I’ve decided to go bigger with this song. It’s time to really throw in all the feels and power! This one is not ‘SA Radio friendly’, so you won’t hear it on commercial pop stations, but it’s going to be a powerful track for fans and for online listeners and listeners outside of South Africa. The next few songs are going to be part of a massive Rock Opus that I’m putting together. I’ve some really big emotions that I’m working on throwing out there and the music needs to big enough to carry those feelings.

As well as being an awesome musician you’re also a producer and this is how you got in contact with KAT, can you tell us how it was producing Kat’s work and also how can people get hold of you if they are interested in working with you?

I met KAT at a show and enjoyed her music. We had a chat and she ended up calling me to discuss the possibility of us working together. As simple as that, really. People can get in touch via my site or social media and then I meet with them. It’s not as glamorous as people seem to think. It’s mostly a case of artists coming in to record their ideas and then seeing where it takes them. KAT has so many ideas and writes all the time, so we keep in touch and share ideas and songs are born through those ideas.

For people who are not too familiar what the role of a producer is, can you explain how important a good producer is to have?

You’re basically the liaison between the artist and the engineer in the studio. You’re also the sounding board for ideas. You’re the ‘other’ member of the band. You’re the person who helps steer the direction of the song into what is best for the song and not necessarily best for the ego of the songwriter. You’re often the tiebreaker vote on decisions when a band or artist can’t decide what to do. You’re the co-ordinator of all the instruments and often the person who thinks of what will work where and what should or shouldn’t be in the song.

It’s often very important in a band situation, to have a producer, because not everyone is able to focus on the whole song or big picture of the music. Each person needs to focus on their instrument and parts and do the best job. Producers often must be the bad guy and work a musician to do better and deliver different options on takes.

All of that while still being respectful to not undermine an artist and let them feel comfortable and confident in the direction that a song ends up in.

You currently working under The Devographic Music Agency, how has the whole experience been working with Devo?

I’ve worked with many PR people and agents over my career. Devo is by far, my favourite.  A real student of music as well as the music business. We see eye-to-eye on what I want to represent and put out there and he handles a lot of the things I tend to leave ‘til later in favour of the creative side of my business. It takes a ton of pressure off me knowing that my business is being handled while I do my art. Being a brand can be tough and everything always needs attention, so he makes sure that things stay afloat.

Thank you for doing this interview, do you have any last messages for our readers and your fans?

To the fans, I love you! You’ll never really know how much you all mean to me. My career wouldn’t be what it is if it wasn’t for all of you. Thank you for listening to my music and coming to my shows. You are the best and I will forever be your ‘selfie slave’ at shows and even in parking lots while I’m out shopping.

Mark Haze Online:

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Bookings & Enquiries: info@markhaze.com

 

ACHIEVEMENTS

Mark and his band at that time, 12th Avenue, were the official support act for Seether, in 2008 opening for one of South Africa’s greatest exports at large venues like Grand West Arena and the Standard Bank Arena.

Mark won the American Idol Experience at Universal Studios in Disney World, Orlando in 2011 (a condensed version of the hit TV show) and was the runner-up in Idols South Africa.

Mark was the official support acts for Rock ‘n Roll legends Bon Jovi on their 2013 World Tour

Mark had ample success on Television and Radio in South Africa, Namibia, and Malawi, with global airplay on global Radio Stations. Highlights include his single “Lonely” going to number 1 on the Algoa FM Top 40 Chart in 2014, as well as his first single “Out Of My Head” achieving the most downloaded song of 2011. His last 6 singles all hitting the SA Top 10 Chart.

Mark’s debut album “Where Angels Fear to Fly” produced the hit single “Wake Up (Dreaming Of You)”, that went to number 1 on the Kia Take 40 SA Chart in 2012, and remained on the chart for a record-breaking 23 weeks. Mark had a number 1 song on Radiowave FM, Namibia’s biggest radio station with his single, “Love Can Change The World”.

Mark had numerous Music Videos and behind-the-scenes documentaries feature during prime-time television on DSTV, M-Net, and SABC 3, as well as other broadcasters throughout Africa.

Mark performed at major festivals like ‘Rocking the Daisies’ and ‘Ramfest’ and headlined the ‘Moon Rock Festival’. He also performed in New York at B.B. King’s Nightclub as well as the famous Underground.

 

COMING SOON

As we speak Mark is gearing up to release a grandiose rock anthem called ‘Don’t Say Goodbye” – Watch This Space!

 

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