Mark Howard on the Inspirations Behind ‘The Light Behind Us’

by the partae
Mark Howard on the Inspirations Behind 'The Light Behind Us'

Mark, your new single “The Light Behind Us” is set to release soon. Can you tell us about the inspiration behind this track and the story it tells?

The song is about making the desire to create radical change in your life.

You described a bird tapping at your window as the catalyst for writing “The Light Behind Us.” How did that moment influence the lyrics and overall feel of the song?

The image of the bird seemed so innocent as does the twinkling star I also reference in the song. I wanted those images juxtaposed with the thought of being blinded by the sun and a mushroom cloud to convey a loss of innocence.

“The Light Behind Us” is about the desire for radical change and escaping life’s complexities. How do these themes resonate with your personal experiences?

We all experience grief and sorrow in our lives, and I hope people can see these challenges as opportunities to make meaningful change in their lives or to create something beautiful out of despair.

The track blends coastal rock with authentic storytelling. How do you approach combining these elements in your music?

People like to put things in boxes and label them. It’s all expression and music to me, but you’re welcome to slap a genre on it if it helps.

Your upcoming album, ‘Deep Dark Blue,’ features “The Light Behind Us.” How does this single fit into the broader narrative of the album?

Staring into the Deep Dark Blue can be terrifying, but more often than not something beautiful emerges from the depths and not the gaping maw of some monster. Face your fears and embrace change. The Light Behind Us explores this idea as do many of the other songs on the album.

You’ve compared your sound in this track to artists like The Cure and PJ Harvey. How do these influences shape your music, particularly in “The Light Behind Us”?

You become so emotionally attached to your songs sometimes it’s difficult to know exactly what they’ve been influenced by or sound like, so I get other people to tell me.

Working with Dave Prideaux and Andy Stewart, how did their contributions impact the final sound of “The Light Behind Us”?

Dave Prideaux was particularly influential. He helped me workshop the song, experiment with different keys and tempos, and discover new sounds that we felt enhanced the song.

You’ve performed in 45 countries and shared many stories through your music. How do your global experiences influence the themes and sounds in “The Light Behind Us”?

I’m not sure exactly, but it all gets filtered through experience.

Your last single, “Scarlette,” saw great success. How do you think “The Light Behind Us” will build on or differ from that track?

Scarlette helped build my audience and I hope the new single will reinforce their faith in my music.

The chorus of “The Light Behind Us” is described as anthemic. What was your creative process in crafting such a powerful and engaging chorus?

It took hard work and a fearless approach until something felt right.

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