An Interview with Mark Little
On his new release, "You're a Joke!" (Sept 2021, issue #222)
where are you in ct?
I’ve lived in Mystic for about sixteen years. I grew up as a Navy kid so I’ve lived all over - Washington, Florida, Georgia, Italy.
what was it like growing up in so many different places?
it was a bit hard at first adjusting to friends and everything. you don’t understand your dad is serving and has to be based in different places. but it was awesome, I saw many cultures and backgrounds.
how long have you been making music for?
I started at 13 but I’ve been doing it my entire life. My mom used to play r&b records and my dad a lot of rap. Around 7th grade, I really got into music. Three of my biggest inspirations around then were J Dilla, MF Doom and Madlib. To see these guys that were kind of weird and different as a 13 year old, that sort of blows your mind. I started doing research on artists like Q-Tip, P-Rock, Pharrell. I downloaded FL Studio in summer of 8th grade and I learned how to make music. I’ve been into it for over a decade - it’s been an up and down ride but I like it a lot.
why has it been an up and down ride?
when I started being open about making music, I got made fun of, people told me to quit. that threw my spirit for a long time. I had a lot of anxiety about sharing my music, and then 2½ years ago I got comfortable. Now I’m like, “yeah, I make music this is what I do”. It took time to gain that confidence.
what helped you gain that confidence?
when I was younger I was in a collective with my old best friend and they gave me a lot of confidence to get better, suggesting snares, arrangements, so forth. Also, naturally growing. When you make art you’re growing as a person and skills sharpen. This is the first time I had this confidence with my art.
since gaining that confidence, how do you feel about this new project?
it was a two year long process. I’ve had other projects before with people I was collaborating with, but with this project it felt like the first time I can be the most transparent with my music. It was the most comfortable I felt. In those past two years I had a lot of ups and downs in my personal life so I kind of just reflected it with my music. So over those past two years I made over 130 beats and I had over five versions of the album, and this one was the third. It has a lot of meaning for me, and the fact that people even fuck with it…. I didn’t expect it to have done the way it did.
is there a meaning behind the title of the album?
There’s a lot of meaning with it. One of the meanings is that I was going through personal stuff, people doubted what I was capable of doing, and it was kind of a motivator. At first it really was just a joke, like “haha you’re a joke” or whatever, but you experience life and that title becomes more meaningful. I wanted to prove to myself and people who doubted me, like, “hey, I can still do what I do even with the good and bad, and I’m still here, so I’m not going anywhere.” It’s why the first track, “ENTRO” has the sample from The Wire when Marlo is talking about the guys who are talking bad about him. That intro is super important because people who were putting me down, I’m saying to them that I’m not going anywhere. This is only the beginning and I’m taking this as far as I possibly can.who made the album art? my friend Tyler. The inspirations are Madvillain and Goblin. I asked him to use blue because it’s my grandmother and my favorite color. I tried to put in tributes to the influences who shaped me as a person and as a musician. do your other albums have as much meaning to you as this work? It’s a new chapter. The first two albums I made were just having fun with friends, all over the place. My second album, I was starting to change sonically. With this one, I found the sound I’m most accustomed to. Of course you’re going to change your sound, but as of now, this is where I’m the most comfortable.
what is your favorite song off of You’re a Joke?
All of them are my favorite but if I had to choose one I’d choose... uhh...damn… mm… it’s either COTTONMOUF or.. I’m going to make a three way tie… it’s COTTONMOUF, MOOLAH MOOLAH, or SUPAMAN. I love those a lot, I always go back to those. But that’s tough, because every one has a lot of meaning to me. I remember where I was when I was making beats, the time of day, what was going on in my head at the time.
and where do you see yourself going after this album?
I’m already working on the next album. I was ready to work on something new. It probably won't take as long but I’m going to spend a lot of time with this album, trying to execute new things.
Is there anything else you want people to know?
There’s a lot I want to say… haha. It’s probably going to sound like a rant but I really appreciate every single person that took the time to listen to my music. I take this really seriously. I’ve worked a lot of years trying to get where I’m at. I just really love making music. I don’t do it to be like a cool dude or any of that stuff, I’m fully invested in music, from playing trumpet in jazz band to going on FL Studios to getting my first midi keyboard, all of it was worth it.I be in my own circle and I like it, that’s what matters to me. And if people like it too, I’m like, “oh shit!” I want to make what inspires me at the end of the day, and to see that it’s working for the first time and that I’m able to start doing shows for the first time… it’s insane! I don’t perform in front of people ever. I’m a really low key type of dude, so I’m like, “oh shit, this is kind of scary!” My first show is on September 18th at Rednawa. I told my family about it and they’re super stoked, and I was like, “look guys, it might be kind of intense! There are some hardcore kids!” And my dad, he’s a funny dude, he was like, “I don’t give a damn! We’re going to be up in there!” I was like “Okay, I love the energy! Dad, I fuckin’ love you!” It had me dying. Other opportunities are also coming into play, so it finally feels like things are moving up. That shit means a lot to me and those are things I will never forget.