"Music is oxygen"
- Mark Cote
"Blend the melodic punch of Sgt. Pepper era-Beatles with the smoky, wounded romanticism of Tom Waits and you've got 'Fun House Of Your Mind'…a gorgeous album of top-notch songcraft and performances…"
- Kit Cooper, Sonik Soup Magazine
According to singer-songwriter Mark Cote all that need be said about himself is best summed up by the artist himself: "Music is oxygen.Whether I'm writing a song at the piano or performing with my band in front of an audience, I never feel more fully alive than I do in those moments creating that human connection through music".
With his new album, 'Fun House Of Your Mind' Mark has carved out a niche that freely integrates pre-rock styles such as blues, jazz and Vaudeville with the breezy pop melodicism of late '60's-era Beatles.
Plumbing the source of his inspiration, Mark states "Songwriting is the most personal form of expression for me as an artist. I find that the more personal you state something in terms of a song lyric, the more it speaks universally to people. Hopefully, the listener can recognize an element of themselves within the song so that they don't feel quite so odd or alone in this world."
Born and raised in Ontario, Canada Mark's gene pool is evenly divided between Palmerston North, New Zealand and Montreal, Quebec courtesy of his mother and father, respectively. "Musically, I started on guitar at age 10 because I just thought it was the coolest instrument," he reflects. "I only took lessons for a short while though as my interest waned. Later, though, my folks bought a second-hand Gulbransen upright - a refurbished 1910 player piano with this great, creaky old tone. Eventually, this piano drew me in and I found myself plunking out melodies before deciding to pursue any kind of training which happened to be in jazz."
"There wasn't a great deal of money around in my early upbringing" Cote begins, "although I never felt a lack. My folks were very conscious about exposing me to all forms of the arts as an outlet for personal expression. Ever since I can recall" he adds, "there was always music in the house. From the moment I was walking upright, I was either singing along to my parents record collection or getting my hands wet with paint, creating artwork. I think that is where the two art forms became indelibly entwined. I always think of music in visual terms."
Visual is certainly the word that comes to mind in describing the new album 'Fun House Of Your Mind'. Produced and mixed by veteran record producer, Michael Frondelli (whose credits include albums with Crowded House, Marianne Faithfull, Billy Idol and Danny Elfman among many others) the album's eleven tracks converge to create a colorful palette to lure the listener inside a nocturnal world, much like the urgings of the carnival-barker narrator in the title song "…Grab your ticket, spin the wheel and get in line…".
Mark's talents as a visual artist are also in full view with his whimsical, original illustrations that accompany the lyrics in the CD's booklet.
"I found my perfect collaborator in Michael" Mark says, "He understood what direction I wanted to go in from the beginning, which was to create a concept album. For better or worse, I think we all have a virtual Coney Island fun house in our heads and when I wrote the song 'Fun House' based on this concept, it became a defining creative moment. It then became my goal to craft and shape each one of these songs as an 'attraction' inside the fun house of the mind. So…each song represents a different emotional state such as anticipation, regret, jealousy, loneliness among others-yes, all those responses that make the fun house such an intriguing, loopy place for all of us!"
Citing his artistic goals, Cote concludes, " I want to continue to evolve and explore as a musical artist. I want to have longevity and speak to an audience that stays with me through the years so that we can take this journey together."
Mark Cote's songs, distinguished by his vivid lyrics, playful sense of irony, catchy melodicism and distinct vocal style have been featured in both television and film and continue to help define the ever-broadening and diverse landscape of pop music today.