"Who I Am is an album based on my life over the last five years. The good, the bad and the ugly" We chat with Cory Marks
Hey Cory, where are you right now, and what have you been up to today?
I'm currently at home in Sturgeon Falls, Ontario, Canada, and I just finished a phone call with my assistant manager. I’m also finishing some studying for my pilot’s license.
What’s been keeping you busy in 2020?
Since tours have been cancelled since the start of COVID, I've been writing a lot, spending time with my family, and trying to finish my pilot’s license before Christmas. I also go live on Instagram every Wednesday at 4pm EST, and on Facebook every Friday at 5pm EST to interact with my fans.
Introduce yourself to our readers and tell us one thing about you that we won’t read in your bio.
I'm Cory Marks from North Bay, Ontario. I'm a singer/songwriter, drummer, hockey player, and student pilot! Before this music career started, I was enrolled at the Royal Military College of Canada with hopes of living out a childhood dream of being a fighter pilot.
Tell me about Who I Am in two sentences?
Who I Am is an album based on my life over the last five years. The good, the bad and the ugly; essentially just everything that comes with life. I believe everybody will relate to a song on the record at some point in their life, whether it be in the past, present, or future!
OK, you’ve got a bit more time, what’s the most interesting thing you can tell me about the recording of the album?
The album was recorded in Las Vegas at the Hideout Studio with my producer Kevin Churko. Because of my touring schedule and Kevin’s albums with other acts, the album took roughly four visits and two-plus years to finish. I also got to use [Pantera drummer] Vinnie Paul’s actual snare drum to track drums on the album. He is definitely one of my favorites, so that was really cool!
Opener ‘Devil’s Grin’ sets the tone. What’s the story to that song?
That song really describes a situation, or relationship rather, that I was in a few years back. In fact, this situation happens to many people, both men and women. You can't explain your attraction to said person and you can't quite put a finger on them. No matter how good you feel, you know it's not a good situation, so it's a bit of smoke and mirrors deal. Her angel's smile is the devil's grin.
Talk to me about ‘Outlaws & Outsiders’, what a cast of singers… Travis Tritt!
Yes, Travis Tritt! Mick Mars and Ivan Moody too. Once we knew this song was going to be the lead single coming out, we wanted to have features on the track… and I didn't want to have just anyone. I wanted artists that could relate to the song and love the song as much as I did. I'm thankful for each feature on this track and glad they loved it as much as we did! I grew up listening to a variety of music and still listen to all kinds including rock, country, metal and pop.
Your press release talks about your “autobiographical storytelling.” Which song most represents you as a person?
Each song has its own story for its own specific time in my life, so in a way, they all do!
I’m a sucker for traditional country, and ‘My Whiskey Your Wine’ has everything a good country song should have. What was the writing process for the song?
I was having a coffee one morning before going into the studio and listening to some Merle Haggard. I wanted a real country song on this record, and in my opinion, it doesn't really get more country than that. Again, the song just depicts a past experience. I'm a whiskey drinker, and I know girls love their wine. The guy in the song lost love, so he's drinking for two now that she's gone and he's alone. It's probably my favorite song on the record on an acoustic spectrum.
Who’s your most famous friend? And what story can you tell me about them?
Well, I have a lot of good friends, and this is a new question I've never answered before, so thank you. I mean... my most famous friend is most likely Travis Tritt!
What’s next for you?
I have a new Christmas song coming out called 'Jingle My Bells'. This will be my first Christmas single, and I've always wanted to put one out. I also have a new single out on UK and German radio called 'Blame it on the Double'. In the meantime, what’s next for me is this pilot’s license and hopefully, some live shows soon!
We normally ask about playing live but there’s not been much of that. So, a topical question instead, what’s the most interesting thing you’ve done/learnt during the pandemic?
I think we can learn not to take things for granted, like shows, touring, family, and friends. Enjoy everything and take it one day at a time because we just never know. I feel like I've really learned and understood that concept a whole lot more in the last seven months.
If you could recommend one song to hear this week, what would it be?
'Rush' by Mission. Listen to the lyrics, melody, and musicality of that entire song.
What’s the question we should have asked you today but haven’t?
Would you like us to pay for your flight training?
Finally, how do you take your coffee?
Black. Sometimes with a shot of honey.