Jesse Markin, universal excursions through indie-pop, Rap, RnB, and African folk – a soundscape beyond any genre limitations.
Desert Island Cloud artist interview
We’ve been lucky to interview Jesse Markin following on from his award-winning debut album FOLK and latest singles Smokestack, Exodus and Hemostasis, and his latest second full-length album, NOIR.
Can you name one formative influence on your music? A place, a person an experience…
I truly feel like the influences I’ve had on my music came from different places and stages in my life. Almost feels impossible to name just one but if I had to I would have to name my old band member from The Megaphone State and partner in crime Simo Tuominen. With him, we’ve always collected records and exchanged ideas from the jump. Pushed each other to find new things and explore so, those were definitely the most influential moments in my life when we talk about influences in music and in life.
Studio or live?
I’m an introvert at heart so at the studio there is no stress or tension when I step into the booth. Being in the studio is kind of like the exploration phase where you’re just trying to create and break limits. Live situations have their ups too and now I’m talking about the immediate feedback you get from the audience but there’s usually a lot more work than just the performance. The studio feels like home with no tensions.
What was the first track you wrote on the album?
On the Side of the Road was the first one I wrote for the album. At the studio we kinda pursued this Jimi Hendrix feel with a mix of pop elements and I feel like we did a pretty good job.
What do you feel is the best song on your album?
This is a hard question mainly because I truly love every single song and each one of them suit me differently according to the situation but being an emotional guy I would have to say, Mothers!. There was no planning or arranging when it comes to this song, just raw emotion. My guitar player was on a break just having fun with melodies and I told him to keep going while I was mumbling the words: I should have known better. The song came about very organically and it is personal. Two reasons I love making music.
Are there any artists you would like to collaborate with next?
The main thing is to find a proper workflow, matching ideologies and musical tastes so I don’t really have anyone particular in mind but I’m a fan of many. Erykah Badu, Emma Salokoski, Teemu Brunila, Madlib, Yasiin Bey to name a few.
If you didn’t become a musician, what would you be doing right now?
I was working in import while recording my first album so I would probably be still doing that if life wouldn’t have stepped in. My second greatest passion alongside music would be movies so, who knows, maybe I would’ve moved to that at some point. I like to keep my options and mind open.
If you had one message to give to your fans, what would it be?
Life is happening, don’t wait just do. You won’t regret it.
Where do you see your music in a years time?
Obviously, the goal is to reach greater platforms and spread the gospel. I haven’t set any limitations when it comes to my music. There are always new things to achieve.
Are there any subjects that you wouldn’t write about?
Not really, you just have to find the right angle no matter what you or I decide to write about. So it all comes down to how one perceives one’s surroundings.
Read a book on the beach or party in the sun?
Party in the sun all day. Shit, I’m down to mingle haha.
Best gig so far and where?
Flow Festival in Finland has this legendary Balloon Stage which is a beautiful stage and a couple of years back I was watching TV admiring the performances on that stage and I said to myself that one day…To my surprise, that day came.
What qualities do you think you need to be an artist now?
Originality, passion and drive. Also, you need people around you that understand and share your vision.
What’s your creative process for creating your music?
I follow my intuition. Sometimes I start with the melody, sometimes I start with the lyrics. It all depends but the main key is that whatever feels right must be right.
Do you follow a process or ritual before a performance to get rid of nerves or performance anxiety?
I go through the set trying to remember everything I need to and then push-ups to get the heart going. Simple but it works for me.