Mark Biagio Reflects on the Raw Emotions and Poignant Imagery Embedded Within The Fismits’ New Single ‘Halen’


As the curtain rises on the latest chapter of The Fismits’ musical odyssey, anticipation swirls around their newest release ‘Halen’. Mark Biagio, vocalist and guitarist as well as the creative drive behind The Fismits, sits down with Fanbase Music Magazine to unravel the intricacies of this almost-forgotten single. From the depths of creative inspiration to the reverberating echoes of Live Jimi Presley’s legacy, Mark delves into the heart and soul of ‘Halen’.





Can you share with us the emotional journey behind resurrecting this unreleased gem and honoring Live Jimi Presley and their late frontman Marc ‘Presley’ Feltham?

Mark Biagio: I hate to disappoint. I can comment on the journey, but I’m not sure it was emotional. Ask my wife, she will tell you I’m cold and hard. When I heard the track back in 94, I felt it was a great track, so the fact that it never got released was frustrating. My intent was, well, I’ll give it a go. In 2017 I did, and I would revisit it every so often and always thought, yeah, it’s still good. Then it was just drums, one live guitar and voice. When Marc passed away, the next weekend I just opened the MacBook and started to finish the thing.

As both a guitarist, vocalist, and music producer, how did you navigate the intricate process of reimagining ‘Halen’ to capture the essence of The Fismits while paying homage to Live Jimi Presley’s original spirit?

Mark Biagio: It’s not more or less complex than any other track. You get an idea, and you follow it. You keep working until its done. In any instance it must sound like Fismits, but anything I sing on with my guitar and bass style will sound like the Fismits. I did, in this case, consciously decide on a guitar solo in a Presley style and add the required angle grinder.

Given that The Fismits haven’t released any new material since your 2020 album ‘Before the Hindsight’, how does ‘Halen’ fit into the broader narrative of The Fismits’ evolution, both musically and thematically?

Mark Biagio: I’m not that clever. I’ve wanted to do this song for ages, and its demo was done ‘Before the Hindsight” album was even a thing. Having said that I think it fits, it’s an honest to song with attitude. No frills, no big production, but with a small sprinkle of good ideas. 

Beyond its lyrical and musical elements, ‘Halen’ seems to carry a deeper resonance. What themes or messages do you hope listeners will glean from this track, especially considering its tribute to Live Jimi Presley?

Mark Biagio: I cannot, nor would I want to, tell people how to resonate with any track. It’s their opinion and what they hear in it, is what they hear. Like tasting wine. The tones or notes are for their ear alone. Some may reminisce for days gone by, other hopefully will go, cool track!

The lyrics of ‘Halen’ convey a range of emotions, from disillusionment to resilience. How do these themes reflect the broader narrative of The Fismits’ music and your personal journey as a musician?

Mark Biagio: I’ve always been a punk at heart, well now an old age punk. So, lyrics always mean something to me. I cannot write or sing a song that has no meaning, or very little meaning. My voice also demands emotion in lew of my non-traditional singing ability. If I can go there I will and with ‘Halen’, it works. I personally like to write about a struggle, the confrontation and if possible, getting through it. I think that’s what drew me to the track, the lyric, Marc’s sense of melody and then the guitar and percussion working against that. I digress, but in short, I think it fits with a Fismits narrative.


Reflecting on your journey with The Fismits, what have been some of the most pivotal moments or milestones that have shaped your artistic vision and direction?

Mark Biagio: I’m not that strategic. Probably should be. I have a desire to create and/or collaborate. I go where the song takes me, its style will follow the elements of the track, like falling dominoes, as its worked. I never sit down and say let me write a goth song. I keep working and as an idea starts making sense, I build on it. Often, I’ll listen back the next day and scrap it, other times I’ll take just one 10 second thing out and start over. I think the pivotal moments have been failure moments, particularly failed projects that should have been great but were not. The failures are almost never that the band sounded bad, it was more that the people involved were on different planets at the same time. This has forced me to back myself and keep going. For example, I’m not a vocalist, but I could not find people to sing my songs, so I gave up and just did it (“GIFD” as Zakk Wylde would say)! Hard work and struggle I can do, 8 days a week. If it’s not working, I’ll take a break (4 years sometimes), come back, reevaluate, adjust and go again. I can’t deal with sloppy and lazy attitudes. The other thing is life, sadly I’ve also found some guys who I love working with, but the Fismits budget does not allow for them to be close and or they have had to leave for work, emigration etc. So, DIY, for now.

‘Halen’ marks a significant milestone in The Fismits’ discography. Looking ahead, what can fans expect from the band in terms of future projects or collaborations?

Mark Biagio: I said in another interview that the internal energy is high now. The Fismits studio is busy and there are more tracks getting finished and new ideas being crafted. There are other ‘Halen’ type tracks that I feel should be heard, let’s see.

Beyond its musical merits, ‘Halen’ seems to carry a deeply personal connection for you. Can you share any anecdotes or moments from the recording process that resonate with you on a personal level?

Mark Biagio: This version there were no moments, other than when I finished it, I was quite happy and thought Marc would probably approve. As for the original, I recall back in 1994 being super nervous to record Live Jimi Presley. I idolised the band and was very intimidated at first, but musos have a stage and media persona that is never close to their natural “way”. We all got on after a few hours of checking each other out. We never told the studio owner Derek that these guys play scrap metal, car springs and a variety of welding machines and angle grinders. The poor guy was holding cardboard boxes into the sparks to save his studio’s acoustic treatment, I also think I had a Neumann U87 mic on the big grinder in an ambient position and he quickly told me he was not prepared to fry a 40k+ mic on this! One of my bandmates at the time was quite a good producer and he fancied his ideas and thought he could assist them, but when he heard the Presleys, he was like, ahh no I can’t help these guys! That said, Marc had a great ear and every bit of noise, lyric and melody was intentional, there was very little accidental in the Live Jimi Presley sound. When I heard he was a big, big fan of Neil Young, who I had dismissed as a boring country guy (hey I was 21), I decided to, thankfully, give Neil another listen.


As ‘Halen’ prepares to make its debut, what message would you like to convey to your fans and listeners who have eagerly awaited this release?

Mark Biagio: I just hope they enjoy the track!

Lastly, as an artist who wears multiple hats, from musician to producer, what advice would you offer to aspiring musicians seeking to carve their own path in the music industry?

Mark Biagio: I can’t give that advice. I went back to study at the age of 27 and landed up in software development. Something I accidentally found that I am quite good at. It’s not my passion, but I work hard at it, take it seriously and it affords me time and budget to do the music, strange in a way. I would walk away from it in an instant if I could “live” on music. Music and the arts are hard. The people that make it work, work, extremely hard, often compromise and are qualified learned students in music. They understand that its work, so just like in software, 80% of what you do today you might not enjoy – it’s called work for a reason. Not many people are successful with just a bit of talent alone. In my late twenties I decided that music was too personal for me, and I didn’t like to compromise and or work on things that were just “work”. It’s easier and less painful to do something else. The only advice I have is work flipping hard in whatever you do and don’t be scared to fail or be embarrassed.

With each chord and lyric, ‘Halen’ unveils a tapestry of emotion and artistry that speaks volumes about The Fismits’ unwavering dedication to their craft. Our heartfelt thanks to Mark Biagio for sharing his insights and stories behind this musical masterpiece. As we eagerly await the release of ‘Halen’, let us join hands in celebrating the power of indie music and the enduring legacy of The Fismits.


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