Mark Longolucco is an emotional man. He writes, plays, sings, and records emotion that yanks on heartstrings and layers listeners in nostalgia. Longolucco weaves tales of decades-old love and its beginnings while he demonstrates his ability to transform familiar physical space into an emotive atmosphere. His careful and yet spontaneously developed full length disc has been described by NPR as “earnest, world-weary vocals and beautifully earthly and intimate instrumentation.” Mark simply wants to be known as quiet.
BR: Are you a one man band?
ML: Depends, for the recording I did it myself. Then there’s a small live band that plays the disc out. I obviously can’t play it all myself so I bring in two other musicians, Peter Williams and Jake Bernhardt, for the quiet band. There’s a rock band too that’s a lot louder in style than the other stuff and they help to promote the disc. Pretty confusing stuff, right?
BR: So when folks book you, who are they asking for?
ML: A show with the small band is really just bringing the disc to life in a live setting. The rock band rarely operates at the same time. That’s sort of the way we try to divide it. I just start by asking the booker if they want loud or quiet!
BR: How do Paul Kozlowski and David Adamczyck fit into the picture?
ML: Paul works across the street from Squeaky Wheel where I work and I knew that he played a bunch of instruments. I wanted an accordion on the disc so I asked if he’d be willing. He just attacks an instrument with his whole body. Same with David. I just ran into him on Main Street downtown where he was playing violin. It sounded great.
BR: Where does the name A Relative Term come from?
ML: It was originally going to be the name of the very first disc I was recording and I liked it a lot. Then I couldn’t come up with a name for myself and I didn’t want to take my real name.
BR: Can you describe your sound in more detail than “quiet”?
ML: Ambient music with words. I guess I could compare it to singer songwriter stuff infused with ambience. Influences have been Ben Trickey in Atlanta and Brandon Schmitt in the New York area.
BR: And where did you learn to play/write?
ML: I taught myself in college where I was in a really awful cover band. We had also started writing songs and I discovered I was into writing songs more than playing covers so I had to teach myself guitar in order to write songs properly.
BR: Do you play more than just the guitar and what do you prefer?
ML: I actually started with drums but everything on the disc was played by me with the exception of the bass, violin and the accordion. Drums are nice but they’re really loud so it’s difficult for my personality. I’m not a loud person so it’s hard for me to say, you’re going to hear me now. Drums are expressive but very aggressive too so in that sense the guitar is more my speed. I’ve always enjoyed the piano too because there’s a lot of touch. It’s a percussion instrument but you can play it softly.
BR: I heard rumors that you write play and record a song simultaneously, is that the normal process for you?
ML: This CD in particular was one of the first times I’ve actually demoed songs ahead of time and then added the accordion afterward for some of them. There’s still maybe three to four songs on the disc where the first time I ever played them, I was also recording them. But generally it’s the same process for me, write as you record.
BR: Any shows coming up in a public venue?
ML: I’m playing at The Vault in the next few weeks. There is an art opening going on called Flooded. There will be a round-robin of folks performing an in-your-face, huge extravaganza, lots of stuff going on. The Vault is a great space–larger than you would think it would be–nice acoustics and always really great work on the walls.
Buffalo Rising readers can listen to a song from Mark Longolucco here.
Laura Duquette is a former ballerina who now dances
with words and punctuation. She has a knack for asking questions faster
than the speed of sound, and her interviews are often off the cuff and
personal. She is Co-Owner of 12
Grain Studio, a Buffalo based creative firm that gives typical web
design a kick in the ass.