Liberation Mark Blurb
The information provided by Liberation Records on Mark Seymour’s career and the “Embedded” album.
Author: Liberation Records.
Date: February 2004.
Original URL: http://www.liberation.com.au/artists.cfm?id=28
Mark Seymour was born in Benalla and grew up in country Victoria. His family was musical. Paula, his mother, encouraged all her children to sing and play musical instruments. Mark learned classical piano for a time, but found the technical discipline a little challenging, and soon moved onto guitar in his early adolescence. The family moved to Melbourne in 1972.
Life in the outer suburbs was, as many of us well know, excruciatingly boring, and though Mark was a conscientious student, he found that there was simply not enough to do, particularly as his family were deeply religious Catholics. For Mark, adolescence was dead time. The brakes were on and stayed that way pretty much until he graduated from Melbourne Uni in 1978 and became a schoolteacher two years later. At that time he realised, in a rare moment of clarity, that his life was going the wrong way entirely and that drastic action was required.
Towards the end of his formal education he began going out to pubs to watch rock bands. Around the turn of the decade in Melbourne, there were bands aplenty in Melbourne, and Mark became hooked on volume and cold beer.
Mark formed Hunters and Collectors in 1980, with a bunch of Uni friends. It was a rollicking eight-piece funk ensemble with industrial percussion, “bizarre” atonal synthesizer, thundering bass guitar and a brass section that was so demonically loud that it became known as the “Horns of Contempt”.
In it’s early form Hunters and Collectors was less like a band, and more like a monstrous “jam session” loosely tied to melody and words, which Mark provided, when he was audible. At times there were as many as fifty souls on stage as audience members joined the parade. Instruments were frequently stolen. However, all was not chaos. The band became famous for its rhythmic power and very quickly became touted as the “next big thing” which is an Australian euphemism for a poppy that grows too fast, which Hunters and Collectors truly was.
The album “Human Frailty” was recorded in Melbourne in 1985. This record has proven to be one of the most important and enduring records of the eighties and Hunters and Collectors were still playing a large part of this cut in 1998 when they retired. With “Human Frailty” Mark discovered, love, loss, and pop melody. His solo records are directly connected to this era and bear the same stamp of raw honesty and emotional power.
Hunters and Collectors went on to record five more albums, and became a huge touring operation.
By 1998, Mark felt that he had done all he could as the frontman of Hunters and Collectors. In that year he plunged into the unknown. After nineteen years of touring with what became one of Australia’s most successful and deeply loved rock bands, he found himself alone on stage with an acoustic guitar.
In going solo Mark has discovered a new and refreshing intensity in his voice that he believed he had lost in the band. His work has developed and grown around this simple and direct approach to performing. He continues to search for the emotional truth in a song. Mark Seymour’s strength as a performer remains undiminished despite the ever-present shadow of the band he used to be in.
He has recently completed his third solo album, ‘Embedded’. Produced by Cameron Mackenzie, this record takes us on a journey into the suburban wilderness. “Embedded” is a dark soap opera about life in the sticks. Seymour has always been preoccupied with the drama that is so well hidden behind the veneer of respectability of Australian middle class life, and here he takes us a little further into it’s confused and shallow heart.
At 47 Seymour has seen plenty of life and a lot of it is here, between the sheets, the back fence and the television. “Embedded” gives us a glimpse of the petty concerns of a neurotic and materialistic world, stories of envy, fear and betrayal played out in the quiet neighbourhoods of our lives. ‘Embedded’ is about another kind of ‘great Australian dream’ that is absurd, often funny and always interesting.
Mark lives harmoniously somewhere in Melbourne with his wife Jo and their two daughters, Eva and Hannah.