This week, we spoke to Madison René Knapp - who is the enigmatic force behind MRK. MRK have been described as "If Kate Bush was David Byrne’s conjoined twin and the siblings were raised on the nuked out paradise of Bikini Atoll and creatively weaned on a Broadway stage, the result would be MRK."
As the brand new blood-bath of a video, ‘River Of Blood' hits the web, we thought we would catch up with the artist behind it, to ask her a few short questions.
D//E: So, how did the project get started?
MRK was born out of necessity. I had booked a show for my previous band at a time when the band was on the outs. Because this particular event happened to take place at an exotic dance club, everyone was very on the fence about it. Once the final majority answer was “no” I locked myself in our old studio, wrote and recorded some songs and burned it all to CD. The next thing I knew, I was belting it out on a mirrored catwalk with a panther-like pole dancer crawling towards me.
After I had played a few more shows and recorded some more tracks, my genius friend Alex Arias became my producer. We’ve been making magic ever since.
D//E: When and what inspired you to you start making music?
I come from a very sing-songy family. We are all creatively and musically inclined in one way or another. My father initiated me into playing guitar around 3rd or 4th grade with “Twinkle, Twinkle,” and from there I created my own tablature system using color/shape/number for fret/string/finger. This enabled me to write my first pre-pubescent unrequited love songs. Unfortunately, that system has long since been forgotten.
My parents have always had a love of eclectic female artists. Specifically: Tori Amos, Kate Bush, Joan Osborne, Sheryl Crow, PJ Harvey. I don’t think they realized that they were creating an eclectic female artist by exposing me to all these powerful frequencies as a kid.
Patti Smith was also very important to my musical development. When I first heard her voice I could feel her electricity and wildness. I absorbed all of her 70s punk glory in music and books. From that point, I began doing poetry readings and a cappella performances and never returned to choir.
D//E: Were you influenced by old records & tapes? Any specific ones?
Bjork is always in the back of my mind. Her music from any era provides lightning bolts of inspiration. Patti Smith, too. But specifically…
Illuminations Buffy St. Marie: The track “God Is Alive, Magic Is Afoot” touches my inner/outer mystic. Every word she says in that song is true in my mind.
Double Fantasy John Lennon and Yoko Ono: It’s a beautiful yin yang of styles, moods and perspectives, always dancing with itself as it slyly slips between such distinct tracks as “Watching the Wheels” and “Kiss, Kiss, Kiss.”
The Jesus Egg that Wept Danielle Dax: Amazing, theatrical weirdness.
Hounds of Love Kate Bush: Also needs no explanation.
D//E: Do you have plans for a new/debut full length LP/EP in the near future?
There is an album in the final stages of release, TBA. Stay tuned for video/track debuts and an official album release date.
D//E: For new listeners, what style briefly defines your music?
Alchemical alt-pop. Always changing, always coming from a deep emotional landscape inside and out.
D//E: What does Destroy//Exist mean to you?
1) Destroy/Exist is unlike any blog I’ve come across. There is a deep sense of curated originality which feels more like walking into a gallery than clicking through opinions and mindless filler.
2) Destroy/Exist is the perpetual space/time flux of everyday life. We go to bed practically dead and wake suddenly into existence again. It is going on all around and inside us. Always.
Special thanks to Leila Jarman for setting up this interview.