Mark Durnin – Take Off

“our faces change in every photograph”

Click on the player above to listen to Mark’s song.


Mark Durnin is an Irish man living in London. To be precise he comes from Dundalk, Ireland – a town just south of the border with Northern Ireland.

In 2010, having spent his entire life there, Mark decided that it was time to start making things happen for himself. So, he took some of the songs that he had written over the years and recorded a 4-track EP entitled Streetlights in July and August 2010. In October 2010, he released the EP and gigged tirelessly on the Dublin singer-songwriter circuit, with slots in notable venues such as Whelans, Bewleys Cafe Theatre and Bruxelles, and often returning to his native Spirit Store in Dundalk.

In February 2011, Mark left Ireland behind and moved to London marking a further progression musically as he has become influenced by new surroundings and a diverse songwriting environment. Now starting to find his feet on the gigging scene over here he has been presented with new opportunities to further sharpen his performances and develop his style. His intentions are simple….To gig, write and record as much as possible, and to enjoy every moment of it.

You can find Mark (and some free downloads) on Facebook and Reverbnation.

Mark’s Comment’s

The song “Take Off” started to develop before I even left for London. The chorus was a chord progression that had been going through my head for some time, but there was no verse or lyrics until I got to London.

It is a story that I found myself constantly returning to: escaping and leaving in search of bigger and better things. In another song of mine, “Back Of My Mind”, there is a conflict between whether or not leaving your home is the right option. This song is about the final decision and the process of leaving.

It starts off with the line, We live our lives through other people’s eyes, highlighting the search for independence and how it can be hindered by our inner feelings of what we “should” do or how we feel we are expected to live. Our faces change with every photograph and every laugh leaves a new line… Everything about our lives changes a little bit every day. If you take a ream of photographs in the space of a few seconds, every one will be slightly different. So if changes are happening all of the time, why be afraid to make our own changes?
You told me there was nothing left for me, That I should leave and find my place….This is not one particular voice, but the voices of the friends and family who supported me and told me that I was right in my decision to leave, because there really was nothing for me in recessionary Ireland. No job, no real opportunities with the music, nothing really.

So the time was right, and thats where I spread my wings and flew across the sky, And now I feel a brand new breath of life. There’s obviously a certain rebirth involved in emigration and I feel it every day. The independence, new surroundings, new opportunities, being in love. An entirely new life. Whether it is a chapter or a new book altogether only remains to be seen, but for now I’ll just sit back and let the story unfold.

Mark was my first music contact in London. Shortly after I moved over from Ireland I saw the project advertised on the internet. The idea of having a recording and a photoshoot for free sounded too good to be true and I responded immediately. I met Mark in Dalston and had no idea what to expect but was immediately at ease with the situation. Mark has managed to find that difficult compromise between a friendly atmosphere and a professional environment.

The recording process itself was very enjoyable. The reason for this being that Mark wasn’t in any way afraid to have a say and an input into the way in which the song should be played and structured. I personally found this very encouraging as it showed that he had an actual interest in the song itself. We spent a few hours recording and moving bits and pieces around and then Mark did the editing in his own time, again it was inspiring to see the amount of hard work he was putting into the project. When he sent the first draft of the song to me I told him the bits and pieces that I thought needed tweaking and he was completely open to this input, and got straight on to editing it again. He is a well-oiled machine.

For the photography side of things Mark gave me free reign as to where I wanted to go locally for the shoot. I live in Willesden Green and decided on the platform of Willesden Green tube station for the location and he was there that weekend, ready to go. Again nothing was rushed, he took his time and got it right. I had a lot of fun. Lying on the edge of the platform, walking towards the camera, posing, laughing at all of the above. It was a great day. The project as a whole made me realise that there is a great sense of support and community among the London music world.

Mark H’s Comments

This project was only ever going to be as good as the people who stepped forward and got involved, and Mark’s another reminder of how lucky I have been with how this project has turned out. Once you’ve met Mark, it’s of no surprise that his lyrics are full of charm and wisdom. His words are complemented by his effortless and appropriate guitar playing. Mark’s voice completes the singer/songwriter toolkit with style, his conviction and tone cutting through his guitar beautifully and doing full justice to those lyrics. I listen to Mark play and sing as often as I can and it’s very easy to recommend others to do the same. He’s regularly gigging across town so find out when he’s close by and take a listen.

For the photograph, Mark and I discussed a few ideas: from airports, pigeon chasing in Trafalgar Square to him sticking his arms out and pretending to fly. However, I also wanted to keep it local to where Mark lives, as I have done with the other portraits, and so when Mark suggested we try Willesden Green tube I was immediately sold. I love shooting by the railway and I liked it as a location because it presented an opportunity to play with perspective and to benefit from the sense of movement and distance that perspective can provide. This was important as I wanted Mark’s photo to have a strong sense of movement and, given the title, a sense that gravity was being defied. I really connected with the song’s theme (which is shared by another excellent song of Mark’s called “Out Of Here”), of embracing hope and opportunity by fully committing to fundamental change and movement in order to achieve growth, calm and perspective (as Mark describes it, “a rebirth”). Mark’s naturally calm and relaxed manner (perhaps partly gained from such change and growth), even in an alien situation lying on the platform, allowed me to capture a sense of that in the photograph too.

As Mark comments, it was a very enjoyable afternoon and my job  was made easier by Mark getting right into the spirit of the shoot and not being at all afraid to get his hands dirty (well, mainly his back in truth!).

All website images are the copyright of Mark Hucks © all rights reserved.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: