Political, punk, and passionate. As many of you know, the fantastic Mark Spicoluk is a Canadian musician, producer, music executive, entrepreneur, and television personality. He is known for his creativity, Jumping punk rock bassist, and soothing vocals along with bands such as Closet Monster, Sum 41, and Avril Lavigne.
It doesn’t stop there; being at the hype of his career, he is also the founder of the indie record label Underground Operations which has been going since he was the age of 17.
As busy as Mark is with his work, Music, Travels, and Interests (Doing Charity for animals), Yes, he is a vegan too, people! Awesome! He also spends a lot of time working as a judge on ITV’s The Next Star. I was super lucky to steal him away from his work and the wonders of his daily blog and updates with his inspirational and political words to interview him.
Having always been such a fan and admirer of his work, talent, and just epic random experiences, I was amazed to have this opportunity and thought I would share it all with you. Many followers and fans have always wanted to know things from the old school, Avril, Closet Monster days to love films and inspirational feedback, lets’s see what Mark has in store for you!
- Describe yourself in 3 words. Passionate. Driven. Weirdo.
- You went on tour with Avril Lavigne, How was that? It was one of the craziest most fun times of my life… actually I’ve had a lot of crazy fun times. But this one was definitely unlike the rest. Ha-ha.
- Any fun stories you can tell about Avril? Avril was such a sweetheart. She worked really hard to get where she is and the first time the paparazzi ever showed up I think I saw her mind blow out her ears. Ha-ha.
- How long have you toured with her? It was back in like 2003… for many months leading up to her first record ‘let’s go’ and the summer and fall after it came out. Not a long time, but it was the start of everything, so it was a super ride to be on.
- When performing, has anything exciting happened on stage? Playing in Japan was always the best. Who is your main inspiration for your music? I love music with the meaning behind it. A political or inspirational edge. It evokes more in me; it evokes emotion and sparks my heart. Music was once a tool for people to inspire change in themselves and the world, and one day I would love to see it go back to that again.
- If you could perform with any band in the world, who would it be? Nirvana.
- What have you got lined up for your next upcoming project? I’m just writing songs right now… i want to bank about 5 or 10, and then I am going to figure out what to do with them and who to do them with. It’s exciting to write music without a determined plan. It feels more organic and sincere that way.
- Can you tell us a little bit more about it? I feel passionate about the fact that our world and existence on this planet are coming to a tipping point where if we don’t change our current course of culture and human direction, it statistically is not possible for us to continue. Where the passion comes in, is that the status quo does not seem to want to acknowledge that. So I am aiming the undertone of my music to introduce people to knew ideas and ways of looking at our place in the world, but also something that those that already do can possibly relate to and find common ground with.
- You studied philosophy at college. What made you want to get in the direction you are in now? I always made music as a teenager. For a quick minute, I should give it up for a career in academics. Still, music has been away in my life, sucking me back in. philosophy and political science have always fascinated me and learning them in a school environment was terrific; I want to go back and continue my studies one day. I’m not sure when. But one day, for sure.
- How would you describe your style? Casual and easy. I am conscious about what I wear but I always try to keep it easy and comfortable for myself. Also animal friendly.
- What do your hobbies include? Hockey, snowboarding, piano, making new vegan recipes with my girlfriend, and music.
- Have you always wanted to do something involving music? Why? Yes. It has just always had an alluring quality to me. Feeds that voice in my heart and mind that says anything is possible. And from all the crazy experiences surrounding it, I think I have proved that right. Anything is possible.
- Who is your biggest inspiration? Anyone who stands up for what is right or speaks out against the bastards.
- Action movies or romantic ones? Name a few. Both. Raid 2 was one of the best movies I have ever seen, but I also love “love actually”. I’m a Gemini; I’m always split and drastically different.
- What are your top 3 bands? Propagandhi, Sigur Ros, and rage against the machine in no particular order.
- Any words of advice for people wanting to follow in your footsteps? Make your own footsteps. It’s easier that way. Work hard. Follow your gut. Don’t be afraid of big decisions. Prepare to fail a lot on the road to success. And dream fucking big.
- I see you have been working as a judge for YTVs The Next Star. How are you finding working as a judge?I love it. I worked as a judge on a music show called Disband a few years ago for two seasons and now with YTVs the next star its a lot of fun too. I like helping young kids with positive reinforcement and giving them advice and tools to help them grow. Also, everyone I work with on the show from a production standpoint are amazing people and super fun to work with too.
- You have also worked with Sum 41. How did you get your connections into the music business with so many artists? When I played in sum41 it was at the start of their career… I actually grew up with them and learned to play bass to replace a bass player they had. Eventually, I left to start my own band closet monster.
- Being with Closet Monster. You have really inspired a lot of fans, tell us an epic experience with the band! When we were on tour in Europe we stayed and played at a squat in Milan Italy called Leon Cavalo. A completely autonomous old complex that is surrounded by huge guarding walls. The city officials turn a blind eye to its existence and inside its governed by the most wonderful communal anarchists. They have restaurants, two venues, a library, places for people to stay, and more. Really cool society. We met a frail old woman who had helped found and establish its existence… she introduced herself as mamma anti facisto to us and told us wonderful stories about her struggles through life and political adventures… all with the most inspiring smile on her face. I’m sure I will never meet anyone as special in my life as her. We later wrote a song and shot a video in her name. The chorus was truth … “she said never surrender”.
- You get so much support and love from your blog. Is that just something you keep close and personal to you as a live diary? Thus far, as its really new, yes. I’m excited to have it up and running finally. Its special to me. I really enjoy having an outlet. And hopefully, I will keep at it for a very long time to share with others. I think it’s very important that as creative positive beings on this planet we share and create as much as possible. This is one of those things for me.
- I can’t help but notice your love for animals! Any pets at home or faves for us animal lovers? Yes! I have a dog-named prince who is my heart and soul. He is the sweetest little misfit and I love him so much. He has made me a better and stronger person in many ways. I call him my silent buddha.
- You have been in the public eye for years! How did you go about with Underground Operations? I started underground operations when I was 17 years old. Making cassette tapes for my band and other bands in the local punk rock scene. It was something I had no idea would last this long and means a lot to me as a historical archive of mine and many other’s musical and personal journeys. I never went to school for the music business… I decided to just jump in, work really fucking hard, follow my gut, and learn from making a zillion mistakes. Ha-ha. I implore that others should do the same if they desire… as it’s one hell of a journey. Mark has experienced a great number of cultural, Inspirational, and diverse environments. Working from top bands and underground operations, which truly taught and helped him get to his success today, quoted by Mark himself.
“Never give up. Always work hard. When things don’t feel right get the fuck out. And revel in the moments of the journey when you have a second to breathe. Those are the moments of success that you will remember. There is no end to ever be found, only a path to walk”.
Any last words you might like to share with all your fans? “I guess I just want to add that if there is one new idea I would like to ask people to consider just even for a moment, its our relationship as human beings to the animals on our planet. They are our responsibility to take care of, not exploit. No matter what species… we are all a part of the same weird existence. <3″