Anita: Your band was born in Pennsylvania. How far from Philly are you?
Mark: Pittsburgh. We’re on the opposite side of Pennsylvania from Philly.
Anita: Is “Frost” what your currently promoting?
Mark: Yeah. It’s unreleased. I’ve been milking it for a while now.
Anita: Are there other songs you’re promoting as well? Old ones, new ones?
Mark: Yeah, anything off the last album. “Seventh Year of the Broken Mirror”, “Spiral Staircase”. Those two.
Anita: I’m really digging your song “Seventh Year of the Broken Mirror”. Can you tell me more about that song? What inspired you to write that?
Mark: I’ll try to get in touch with Mike about the Seventh Year lyrics. All the music is written individually, but sometimes Mike and Steve collaborate on material.
Anita: Cool! Who are the current members and how did you come together to form Order Of Nine?
Mark: Michael DeGrena vocals, Steve Pollick guitar, keys and producer. Mark Howard bass, Mark Kreh guitar and keys. There is someone very well known in the program/metal world working on drums. I joined in January of 2011. Michael Degrena is the founding member, his co-founder Michael Chicket passed away. Steve was good friends with Mike beforehand and in another rival band Icarus Witch. Steve has been with Order of Nine since 2006. The new record has some songs they both worked on. Steve and I usually write complete songs on our own and record the basic ideas: guitar, keys, ect, maybe a scratch drum track. Then we play it for everyone when we meet up at Steve’s studio. Mike usually has suggestions on song arrangements. “Frost” was done as a band tradition, the band has done three other Christmas inspired songs that have never been technically released. Just for fun, “Frost” was a song we worked on and it was inspired by the famous classical song “Canon in D”. It was originally supposed to be a cover of that (another secret) but so many melodies were changed, the time/tempo was changed. Mike decided to do vocals to it at the last minute before Steve was mixing it down. We thought he did a great job, it kind of had a David Bowie vibe but of course he has his own unique voice. The other influence on that song was bands like Nightwish, in particular the song “While Your Lips Are Still Red”. This was my first stance at trying to do some symphonic band music in a band format. Another element we wanted to add is that TSO (Trans-Siberian Orchestra) feel, to make it something that could hold up against a group like that. It was put together on acoustic guitar with all the strings, piano, choir, timpani drums and Steve’s guitar solo with layers added. Some of those parts were written as we put it together, others were added as we recorded it. You definitely get the full effect playing it through a regular set of speakers loud. It’s kind of crazy that these days the vast majority of people hear music for the first time over a cellphone speaker! Play it loud over speakers that can move some air, all the details come through.
Anita: Do you have sponsors for shows that I need to mention?
Mark: Nope, Steve’s had a bunch of different ones in the past. The guys got me one with Spear Guitars but nothing is in effect now. Actually, I take that back. Mark Howard has one with Specter basses.
Anita: What are some future goals that you have? Any hobbies?
Mark: We’re about 75% done with the new record. We are going to do more videos, the last time we did three. I think the plan is to do four or five, maybe some of those will be lyric videos, or play-throughs. We’ll just try to make it as big of a production as possible. All the videos were self produced and filmed so there is always a learning curve. On the plus side, we of course have the luxury to do things as we want and on our own time. In my free time I try to exercise as much as possible. Steve puts a lot of his free time into working on computer programs and software, all the tech stuff that enables us to get a great sounding recording. Basically, I’m the one that took on the role of networker and promoter. So I spend a lot of time online on Facebook just trying to fish for new potential fans. In groups, or pages. I’m trying to build up the fan base as much as possible before the new record is done.
Anita: Do you have a tour planned after the release anytime soon?
Mark: Yeah it takes time but I think I have it down as best as one person can do. I’ve got four profiles and I send out messages constantly and join as many groups as I can. The other guys aren’t really good with that and I saw it when I first came in so I do this to build things up and make the most impact that we can. It is amazing the impact that you can make with online promotions. We all have our passports, so hopefully we can get on some festivals. Those seem to be the best bang for the buck. One show in front of a bunch of people. In all honesty, tours are very hard to do. The last tour offer we had was going to be 10k upfront for a leg with Fear Factory.
Anita: Mark, thanks for taking the time to do an interview, and good luck on your future endeavors. Keep kicking ass!
Mark: No problem, and thanks again for reaching out!