(Make Me a) TRISTE© Mixtape Episode 79: Mark Rolfe

Mark Rolfe

Mark Rolfe is a classically trained multi-instrumentalist from Nottingham. Playing in the bands Lorna and The Slow Return he is inspired by everything from The Aphex Twin to Elgar and Sonic Youth to Arvo Part. He loves animals and being by the sea.
Lorna formed in the late 1990’s and release music on the US-based label Words On Music. They have been compared to the likes of Teenage Fanclub, Stereolab, Yo La Tengo and The Velvet Underground. Lorna have released six full length albums and several singles.
Mark Rolfe started his solo career in 2014 and made seven (very diverse in style and production) records so far. Every Setting Sun is his latest record, recorded with a little help form his Lorna friends, and will be out on August 5th.

What He Says: “I am very proud to present my new solo album. I feel it’s the best work I have ever done and certainly the most I have ever put my heart and soul into anything. I recorded it two years ago and then suddenly lost my mojo for putting it out – some of the album deals with sad subjects and I found listening back to it very hard at first. Two years later I have decided to give it ‘a life’. Despite all the gloom ‘Every Setting Sun’ is twelve pretty fully orchestrated indie-pop/alt-folk based around time travel, endless summers, gain and loss. Although trying to stay fresh and unique I have very proudly worn my influence on my arm here, the album leans on the majestic summer pop of Gerry Love (Teenage Fanclub), the poetic honesty of Jonathan Richman and the late date dwellings of Leonard Cohen. Although a solo effort, many of my Lorna band mates have helped me out on this one as did my old Silverman friend Martin Williams. I am indebted and humbled to all of those who did so.

One of the reasons I don’t release this album in 2020 when I recorded it was due to the amount of songs about loss and coming to terms that time is an irreversible thing.  If someone said to you that is your last night on earth – write a song about it –  this is it.  Sharon (Lorna) jumped in to help me out and I love how her vocal just slides in out of mine.

I wanted to throw a cover into the album as I think it’s always an interesting thing to do and to choose something that sits alongside your own work. Jonathan Richman is a true genius.  I have always loved this song, it has so much heart.  Similar to themes in my album it talks about the perpetual forward motion we experience form day to day.   ‘Do you long for her, or the way you were?’

His Mixtape:

Neil Young – Out On A Weekend

I remember hearing for the first time in the back of a friends car when I was 17.  It was around 4 in the morning and the sun was coming up and I had never heard something so beautiful and simplistic. Neil sounds so lost and lonely on this song,  so magical and Sparse.

American Analog Set – The Kindess Of Strangers

I had heard of this name for a while but had not spent much time listening to them.  In 2002 Lorna were fortunate to play a few shows with them and I was utterly mesmerised by their sound .  I think I’ve used the combination of a Jazzmaster, Vibraphone and Fender Rhodes on every album since.  Andrew Kenny is a real genius.  They were so kind to Lorna too.  Great guys and sorely missed.

The Spinners (UK) – Waters Of The Tyne

The Spinners are a cult uk folk band that have been together since 1958, at the age of 86 they are still playing live some 65 years later.  My parents played their records to me from a very early age and took me to see them live age 7. They were my true first love.

Aphex Twin – Flim

Recently I’ve been listening to a lot of music  Electronica.  As a teenager I always found it hard to connect with techno on an emotional level but this is the first electronic track I can remember that truly moved me.  I must have been around 22-23.  This song is over 20 years old and still feels like it was made in the future.

Teenage Fanclub – Your love is the place where I come from

Teenage Fanclub are my favourite ever band and the reason I started a music career. It’s hard to pick one song, I typically gravitate to the songs of Gerry or Norman but this Raymond song is just astonishing.  Pure heart.

Earth, Wind and Fire – Fantasy

There are several genres of music I’ve found it hard to connect with in the past,  funk being one of those – I didn’t like the fussiness and overly mechanical feeling of what I heard.  This changed a few years ago when I found a real warmth and sense of honesty in the genre.  It’s a great track which lead to further great discoveries.

Leonard Cohen – So Long Marianne

I first got heavily into Leonard when I went over to the states for the first time on my own as a 21 year old.  Being in a big city all alone seemed to point me towards Leonard who along with Neil and Brian Wilson are what I call my big 3.    Chosing just one song is hard but I went this as it always makes my heart flutter and feel very full. I miss Leonard so much.

Sigrid – Strangers

I thought I would end with something really new: I am such awe of the direction of some commercial pop music from young female artists lately. Billie Eilish, Holly Humberstone, Let’s Eat Grandma to name a few. Top of the pile has to be Norwegian born Sigrid with her own ‘DIY’ brand of pop music. I love the sense of adventure, fun and ambition in this song.  You can tell it’s from the heart.   

Every Setting Sun will be out on August 5th via Winnetka Records. Look HERE for more information on Mark Rolfe.

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