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Monday, September 25, 2006

10 Q's with MARK COLTON (CREDO)

CREDO released their second album, 'Rhetoric' via F2 Music last year and it has been getting rave reviews ever since. If you like Fish era Marillion/Genesis with a modern touch then it is really worth a listen.
Over to vocalist Mark Colton...

What are you currently up to? (E.g. touring/studio, etc.)

Well, we are gigging lots to promote RHETORIC and have small tours lined up with both Landmarq and (seperate dates) Quidam from Poland. We are in the process of confirming the first F2 show with Ezra, Magenta and us and hopefully that will become a more substantial tour. We are also starting to write the follow up to Rhetoric (Just in case Dave from F2 is reading this......)

2. Could you take us through the excellent new album 'Rhetoric' and where the song ideas came from?

The lyrics are all I can talk about with authority, and pretty much cover my 25 years as a gigging/recording musician, I have plagarised myself in places from my old bands like Casual Affair, and Freewill, and the songs cover a lot of my experiences over the years.

As for the individual songs, see below.

"Skintrade": Inspired by a conversation with a, then, girlfriend, who announced one night she wanted to be in Porn Films! What do you say to that, it's a no win situation! Her view was she wouldn't be the one being exploited, it would be the people buying the magazines (to do whatever it is people do with that sort of literature!) Just got me round to thinking one day, what makes people want to do that sort of thing!!! Most of the story is editorial licence and doesn't reflect on her at all, but that was the seed for the song

"Turn The Gun": I was looking to write a sequel, or prequel, to "Kindness" from the first album, I would love to play the two songs together live at some point, but I ended up using the lyric originally when I was in Freewill. With Freewill's demise I still thought the lyric was valid, and let's face it, if you are going to plagiarise someone, yourself is a good (and safe) starting point! I love the power and intensity of this song, without being overly heavy it captures the insanity and claustrophobia that the cult of celebrity has bought to the modern world.

"From The Cradle…" Typical of my lyric writing I guess, bleeding heart poet time, but I think it is as good as anything I have ever written. It feels that most people of our age seem to be on second marriages, or despising the relationships they are in, and spend far too much time thinking about what might have been. Again it is a fictional person in the song but is based on so many people who have touched my life in the last thirty years. There are some pretty vivid images in the song relating to the feeling you get when you return to your old hometown and the places you always used to go, it doesn't matter how much they have changed, the ghosts of yesterday still hang heavily in the air! Listen out for the great backing vocals from Sam Collins, from Janison Edge, in the end passage; again it's hairs on the back of your neck time!

"…To The Grave" is a continuation of the previous song and deals with the same story from the perspective of the other partner, who doesn't view that relationship through quite the same rose tinted glasses!!! There are always two sides to every story, and this one details the anger and frustration of someone who gave everything they could, but was made to feel guilty that they couldn't fulfil the aspirations of a demanding partner, and ended up being painted as the villain of the whole affair, and can't quite believe the audacity of the other person. There is a great instrumental interlude at the end of the song, with a great rhythm which sounds simple but challenges every "air drummer" that has had a go at it! A true story? Maybe! We meet the protagonists again on the last song on the album!

"The Letter" is the oldest song on the album, we played it live at the `FoV' launch party, again inspired by the end of an unsatisfactory relationship and as angry as it gets! A particular live favourite that we have now recorded three times. This is the only version that has ever captured the anger, frustration and pain that you can experience when your whole fragile world collapses due to the actions of someone else. It also contains my favourite line that I have ever written!

"Too Late…" The first part of a duo of songs that was inspired by the poems written in the trenches during the First World War. The power, emotion and majesty of those poets moved me as much as any song I have ever heard. When I first heard the music the swagger, tension and power of the chorus demanded a lyric that matched it for power and simplicity, there are any number of vocals on that track which seem to perfectly capture the chaos and fear that people would have experienced when they would have gone "Over The Top". Great violin from Mike on the second verse that blew us all away the first time we heard it. The verse allows the lyric to breathe and conjure even more poignant images before we hit the instrumental section that leads to

"…To Say Good Bye". The closing section of the song which takes us in a different direction and highlights the vocals of Jim and Mike as we take the song to the end. The end section works wonderfully well live and every time we have played the two pieces together the audience has gone mad!!!

"The Game" From my perspective is very interesting, as the main body of the lyric was written when I was 16 0r 17 (years not stone!) whilst some of it has lyrics that were completed earlier this year!
It's a lyric that deals with loves young dream going horribly horribly wrong, and the names have been changed to protect the not so innocent! Another true story? You may think that, I couldn't possibly comment!!! There are some great light and shade moments on the track, the main guitar solo is amazing and the final keyboard/vocal section is my favourite part of the whole album.

"Seems Like Yesterday" Well as I said the couple from "Cradle to the Grave" appear in the last number again, and by this point, there is a degree of reflection and sorrow from both partners who finally get the opportunity to say all the things they really wanted to say.
Feels a bit like a coffee advert following these two! But there is more to follow in the next album, which if our recent run rate is anything to go by should be out in 2016!

3. How do you view the current music scene, especailly progressive rock? Has the evolution of downloading and the wide use of the Internet helped spread the word more about your music? From a CREDO perspective our perogative is to get our album heard by as many people as possible, the internet has helped, I am not so sure I would be so positive if I was in, say IQ or Pendragon and know that thousands are downloading my music for free!

As for the current Prog scene, to be honest, my view is it has'nt changed much in the last ten or so years, you sitll got Pink Floyd and Genesis who, if they reformed, would be the worlds biggest grossing acts for the following Twelve months and then you got your next level, almost your championship level of Marillion, Tull etc, and then it's down to the next level, IQ, Pendragon, Magenta, Pallas etc, hopefully we are knocking on the door of this level after RHETORIC, seems to be the case from the reviews I have read!!!

4. How did the new line-up of Credo come about? Do you still keep in contact with past members of the band?

Mik left so long ago now I can't remember his reasoning, on reflection it was as good a thing as could have happened to us. Mik was a tremendous lyricist, but I am sure he would agree Mike Varty is an infinitely superior musician (as I am sure his Shadowland/Landmarq/Janison Edge credentials highlight). Paul was another matter, I have remained close to Paul and Robyn and his departure was a huge blow for us musically and personally. I think he just didn't enjoy the music we were playing anymore and wanted to get back to playing what he plays best, he is a phenomenal drummer, but again Martin brought a new edge, power and precision to what we do, Rhetoric wouldn't be the album it is if Martin hadn't come on board.

Mike Varty has added so much to the band, we now have two musicians (along with Tim Birrell our guitarist) who can solo and make the hairs on the back on your neck stand up! Mike produced the album, and from a personal perspective coached the vocal performances out of me when I was in and out of hospital and my health was shot. His engineering and production work is phenomenal, his playing and song writing is superb and he is a nice bloke too, so between them they have made a great difference.

5. Where do you get your songwriting ideas from and who musically is an influence on you?

Well, historically I have always tended to write lyrics very much born out of the fact I was unable to maintain a satisfactory relationship! Neil Matthars (from Casual Affair) always refers to them as the "Oh you bitch you left me and broke my heart" sections!
When Iwas single I think the other members of CREDO used to get real worried when I turned up with a new girlfriend at a gig, I am sure they used to warn them about the distinct posibility of having their lives thrown into a song! However, during that time, and I know that Jason you have seen me in three of my bands, I have always felt capable of incorperating issues that move me into a lyric. Bradford City FC fire and murders in Ireland (Too Late To Cry - Casual Affair), Play With Fire (youth drug culture, CA again), Skintrade (Prostitution and the loss of innocence (Freewill & CREDO) as well as things like Too late to Say Goodbye (CREDO) are some pretty good examples of what I mean

6. What was it like getting back to performing live again after such a long time?

Bloody scary! But great fun.

7. Casual Affair - Your other band are back giging. Have you been enjoying the gigs again? Why did the abnd call it a day and whatever happened to Freewill?

The Casual gigs were/are great fun, and it was that that made it all possible, the split felt very acrimonious at the time and I don't want to go over old ground again, there are some scabs that are just best left unscratched! Ultimately we had just run our course, but couldn't see it. FREEWILL, on paper, should have been huge, but the chemistry musically just wasn't right, it ended up sounding like FISH fronting the RED HOT CHILLI PEPPERS at a STEVIE WONDER plays METALLICA convention, love the guys in the band, despised the music.......

8. What have been the most memorable gigs and why?

CASUAL AFFAIR - The Night Mickey Moody opened for us & The night Carl announced he was leaving after we destroyed a support band featuring members of Terraplane/Thunder, The Opera On The Green in 89, opening for ZODIAC MINDWARP etc etc

FREEWILL - Opening for GALAHAD/PENDRAGON, farewell gig!

CREDO- Opening for WISHBONE ASH, JOHN WETTON, PORCUPINE TREE, KINO, ARENA, Pallas, Mostly Autumn etc etc Both albums launch gigs, the night we signed to CYCLOPS, the night CREDO split after me and Tim had a huge row and someone found me dragged me back to the venue and we suddenly realised just how good CREDO could be

9. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Sleeping and avoiding the doctor!!!

10. Message to your fans...

Come up and say hello or drop me a mail, stay alive and buy the album!!!

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