Like many bands, A Simple Complex evolved from earlier projects. “I was in a metal band named Hostile Witness, that auditioned a bass player. It didn’t go well, but I seemed to click with the guy, so we stayed in touch. Later, he approached me about starting a band, so A Simple Complex became my hard rock side project. We recruited two more members and wrote a dozen songs, but after our first show, my co-founder quit. I thought that would be the end, but the other two members both approached me, wanting to continue moving forward.” The band’s first show was in 2004, but a lineup reboot in 2010 brought them to a new level of larger success.
Mark’s influences come from both music and literature. “Musically, I am inspired by a lot of semi-known 90’s hard-rock bands, who were innovative and cutting-edge at the time, like Quicksand, Tad, Helmet, Only Living Witness, Pitchshifter, Life Of Agony, etc. Lyrically, I’m inspired by rock and alternative artists who I consider to be dark poets like Robert Smith (The Cure), Martin Gore (Depeche Mode), Tori Amos, Peter Gabriel, Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails), and so on.”
The Local Scene
Asked what he likes best about the New England scene, Mark has no problem making his choice. “The camaraderie,” he says. “For example, for our CD release party last August, we asked seven vocalists from different bands in the area to join us on stage, to each sing one of our songs with us, and then one of their songs with us. They all not only loved the idea, but worked very hard to make the show a huge success with us. We hope to release the entire show on DVD. Keep an eye on Kickstarter very soon.”
A Simple Complex can be found playing in various venues throughout New England. “We play all over New Hampshire and eastern Massachusetts most of the year (not so much in winter), however we have made it out to Maine, Rhode Island and upstate New York at times,” Mark says. “We’d love to play Hard Rock Cafe and The Middle East Downstairs in Boston and Meadowbrook in Gilford, NH, more often. But we also love our local home town area bars like <a href=”http://portsmouth.ourcityradio.com/music-news/spotlight-millys-tavern” target=”_blank”>Milly’s Tavern</a>, Shaskeen Pub and Mad Bob’s Saloon. Anyone looking to have us perform in a new venue is very welcome to email us at <a href=”mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org”>email@example.com</a>.”
Mark also enjoys going to local concerts. “After answering this question,” he says, “I’m heading out to see my favorite local unsigned band, Adam Ezra Group, perform at a local bar. I’ve been known to drive up to 10 hours just to see up-and-coming acts like Celldweller, Watsky, Abbie Barrett and fellow<em> New England Music Awards</em> nominees Darlingside in the smallest venues around New England and beyond. And those are always the best concerts. No binoculars required!”
New England Music Awards
A Simple Complex is happy to find themselves on the ballot for this year’s Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal act. “We are absolutely thrilled to be one of only seven bands that have been nominated for a New England Music Award three years in a row,” Mark says. “We’re hoping this year will be our first time taking home victory.
A Simple Complex has shared stages with national touring acts Korn, Seether, Shinedown, Puddle Of Mudd, Buck Cherry, Sevendust, Drowning Pool, Nonpoint, Halestorm, Candlebox, 10 Years, Chevelle, Ra, Black Stone Cherry, Powerman 5000, Taproot, Prong, and several more, in addition to local New England heavyweights Dead Season, Prospect Hill, Craving Lucy, Vegas Temper, Gone For Days and many others.
“Heavy enough for the mosh pit, rock enough for the radio,” Mark says, in describing A Simple Complex’s sound. “We are carrying the torch of that 90’s hard rock sound forward, but trying to take it in new directions and help the style continue to evolve. We are most often compared to Evanescence, Shinedown, Halestorm, Sevendust and Breaking Benjamin.”
The band has an innovative approach when it comes to their recordings. “Since 2011, we’ve released a 3-song CD each year. This year, we release Volume 4 of our Left Behind Saga, a story told through music, like Queensryche’s Operation Mindcrime or Pink Floyd’s The Wall, except that we’ve released the songs out of order. So we’re excited to release the final volume and ask people to reorder the songs to discover the story we’ve told.”
Rear View Mirror – 2013
We asked Mark to touch on some of the bright points A Simple Complex experienced in 2013.
“Our CD release party featured several well-known local rock vocalists, and was my most memorable show of 2013. We came up with a concept that has been called innovative and groundbreaking. Each guest vocalist joined us on stage to perform one of our songs, and then perform one of their band’s songs with us. It was an amazing experience and really showed how tight the indie hard rock scene in New England is. The second most memorable show for me was performing at a summer camp for teens and tweens in Maine. From the first note, the whole place erupted in jumping, shouting, fist-pumping, dancing and singing, and it didn’t stop until well after our last song was done. Whoever says rock is dead is very mistaken.”
2013, it turns out, was a pretty good year for the band. “We won the title ‘Best Local Band Playing Mostly Original Music’ in the 2013 Readers Poll, held by our regional newspaper <a href=”http://e-pages.dk/thehippo/292/16″ target=”_blank”>The Hippo</a>. They gave us the cover story in September. We thought all of this exposure would make people want to find out more about us, but sadly none of it translated into increased visits to our website or a spike in “likes” or “followers” on our social media pages. Persistence in getting radio spins and gigging your ass off seem to be the only effective way to gain fans these days.”
Aside from playing with A Simple Complex, Mark loves spending time with his wife and eight year-old son.
<em>To find A Simple Complex online, simply type </em><a href=”http ://www.google.com/search?q=A+Simple+Complex+&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a” target=”_blank”>A Simple Complex into Google</a> <em>and you’ll find more ways to keep up with us that you could ever want, but to name a few … click to find them on <a href=”http://www.twitter.com/asimplecomplex” target=”_blank”>Twitter</a>, <a href=”http://www.youtube.com/asimplecomplex1″ target=”_blank”>youtube</a>, <a href=”http://www.reverbnation.com/asimplecomplex” target=”_blank”>reverbnation,</a> and of course, <a href=”https://www.facebook.com/asimplecomplex” target=”_blank”>facebook. </a>