This moment may seem like it’s come so soon for most, but for Chris Mardini, it’s been a long time coming. We’re talking about the release of his self-titled debut album, which is officially out today, a massive musical milestone for this 19-year old musical phenom. Featuring an inspiring alternative rock sound, Mardini freely explores issues of importance to him, such as alienation, insecurity, self-sabotage, and social pressure. He goes to great lengths to come across as genuine as possible in his songwriting, and not making the lyrics just merely filler or senseless. To record his debut, Mardini joined forced with Marc Swersky, a Grammy-winning producer who hooked up the young musician with some stellar instrumentalists who helped bring a lot of vibrancy and energy to these songs.
Raise in New York City, Mardini began playing guitar at the age of 10. By a teenager, he was playing covers of Beatles songs at local venues like the iconic Bitter End, with audiences gravitating towards his soul-baring performances. He’s got the skills, the drive, and the ability of a truly great songwriter, which this debut record is certainly indicative of.
To commemorate the release of the album today, Mardini has contributed a very special guest blog for us today in which he discusses the record, his musical inspirations, and how he goes about bringing his songs to life.
“My New Album and What Got Me Here” by: Chris Mardini
I’m so pumped to be releasing this new album! We’ve come a long way. There was so much time and effort put into the composition and production of these songs. It’s both stressful and relieving to know that it’s over and done. Each song was written and produced at very different points in my life. They’ve all been through so much to get where they are now, and I can’t wait to see people’s reactions. While each song is unique and has its own story, it’s interesting to observe similarities and the continuity of the songs as a collection. I believe in these songs…
I might be a biased source, but I think the songs complement one another very well. To the best of my ability, I try to incorporate many of my inspirations into my music. Sometimes it’s tough since I listen to somewhat contradictory forms of music that wouldn’t seem to work well together. However, it’s a challenge that I always try to overcome, and I hope I did so on this album.
Like many other artists, I consider my sound to be a weird mixture of all my musical influences. As I said, I like a lot of different “genres,” and what inspires me isn’t necessarily linear. I’m really into Nirvana, Mac Miller, King Krule, Deftones, Jimi Hendrix, Kanye West, Kendrick Lamar, Rage Against the Machine, and others. One of the biggest compliments I can get is someone telling me that they can hear one of these artists, or any others that influence me, in my music. The best is when people are like, “Man, this song sounds like *insert one of my influences* mixed with *insert one of my influences* and a hint of *insert one of my influences*. It’s amazing, and I hope I get more feedback like that with the release of this album.
The frontrunner for most influential on my sound and my musical persona has to be Kurt Cobain. I’m just so damn in awe of the guy. Like I remember being floored during my sophomore year of high school, listening to newfound demo after demo. The way he’s able to weave in and out of scales in his melodies still astonishes me to this day. Also, it is unbelievable how he’s able to take a melody/hook that’s inherently pop-like and just flip it on its head. In high school, I would spend hours watching live Nirvana shows or exclusive interviews, completely enthralled. He’s what inspired me to start writing my songs. I only hope to grow into half the lyricist he was.
I put so much heart and soul into every moment of every song on the album, and I hope that it’s going to impact people everywhere who take the time to listen. My number one goal is for this album to connect with people and give each listener the chance to apply it to whatever’s going on in their life. Relatability is so important when making music. Whenever I’m writing lyrics, I remind myself that it’s important to illustrate a distinct event or situation with words, but it’s just as important not to get too specific. There needs to be room for listeners’ imagination.
Some fond memories come from the studio while recording these songs. It’s always such a fulfilling process. I feel like I can do anything when I’m in there. There’s so much room for creativity. I often find myself breaking “rules:” whenever people ask me something along the lines of ‘what kind of music do you make?’ I always find it so hard to respond. I haven’t even figured it out. I try to make whatever I think sounds good and what I think is relatable. This often results in me borrowing features of multiple genres and plugging them all into one track. Sometimes it can get chaotic, but again, it’s all a part of the process.
I always have so much fun bringing my thoughts and ideas to life in the studio, and often it takes lots of time and effort to perfect a song. I usually have an idea of what the song should sound like and what effects it should have on the listener before I even start working on it in the studio. But with these songs, there were so many new ideas and thoughts that were just pouring out of my boys and me. It was so hard not to try and include everything. Even months and months after initially recording the song in the studio, I was always saying to myself, “this sounds so awesome, but how can it be better? How can it be bigger?” I don’t necessarily consider myself a perfectionist or anything in that realm. But I knew that these songs had to be near perfect.