Caught Up In The Mood: An Interview with Nora Marks

by - September 27, 2022

Photo courtesy of Vicki Holda

When Chicago trio Nora Marks released their last album, Opt Out, they noticed that the songs left off the 12-track LP meant too much to them to be unreleased.

One of the songs, “Hunch”, was written during one of their sessions for Opt Out by guitarist Michael Garrity. Another song, “Final Form”, was written by Garrity’s brother and Nora Marks drummer Matthew as well as bassist Matt Galante. Both songs were nowhere near as fleshed out as the tracks that made the final cut of Opt Out, but Michael recognized that his bandmates had started something worth finishing.

“Both songs I felt strongly about and definitely wanted to get out there, but also we didn't really have a plan for them,” Michael said. “I didn't want to just sit on them or try to do something new and fresh and drag these old songs with it, so I really pushed at the beginning of the year for us to find a way to get them out without it being a whole new record or whole new project.”

They also wanted to show off all the lessons they had learned from creating Opt Out. Michael said that from a vocalist standpoint he took a chance to experiment on various aspects of the recording process and wanted to try it again as soon as possible.

“I was really wanting to go back into the studio again quickly, both to learn new stuff and show off what we had been learning,” he said. “It seemed right to just try and do a quick project so that maybe we slow back down a little bit here and focus on something big and more substantial.”

They teamed up again with Kat and Tony Baker of Hot Mess Records as they felt the last project they worked on together really enhanced their recording process. This time around there was no learning curve, no awkward introductions, and they felt that gave them the comfortability to throw out ideas and embrace their creative input.

“We were confident and we were ready to try new stuff, and they were there to give us the ideas that we needed to unlock things,” Michael said. “It's just as much their project as it is ours.”

They aren’t afraid to admit that the beginning of Nora Marks didn’t have a concise story. Each member was writing songs that best suited them, but may not have suited the band overall. While creating albums that had different sounds for each song gave them the opportunity to fit into several genres and be billed on different live shows, they feel like they are at a spot now where they know who they want to be and what they want their sound to be.

“We also want to make sure that we're a little bit more thoughtful about [live shows],” Michael said. “We don't want this to just be us making music for ourselves, but now we're also trying to figure out who our audience is; what kind of audience we want to cultivate and how we can do that.”

He said that Matthew explains it best by saying that this EP, titled The Buzzing Of Flies, feels like putting a bow on their music thus far. It is a gratifying way for them to show where they plan to go next without being fully committed to one sound or one genre. It gives them the flexibility and freedom to try something new while remaining true to the originality of the band.

Nora Marks is not only eager to release The Buzzing Of Flies, but is excited about where they currently are on their musical journey. They can’t wait to give these songs the spotlight they deserve without being overcommitted to where they go next. They have a wide open world ahead of them in terms of what they can create and are ready to add that to the list of learning experiences.

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