Songwriter/artist Mark Quinn lives in Liverpool, but don’t expect him to get teary-eyed about The Beatles. Like many younger musicians, he isn’t as impressed with The Beatles as many Boomers are. Still, there must be some magic in the Mersey that enables artists to pen melodic, ultra-memorable songs.
One spin of Quinn’s “Mrs. Daydream” and you’ll be humming it in bars and elevators instantly.
He adds a tasty guitar solo at the end that’s a bit reminiscent of Denny Dias’s stellar work with Steely Dan in the Seventies. But it’s unlikely that Quinn is a Dan fan because he’s not nostalgic for music written half a century ago.
Even the most diehard Beatles fans admit that the group released a lot of stinkers in the Sixties. Has anyone listened to “Honey Pie” or “Blue Jay Way” recently? So maybe it’s time to shift focus to the present and enjoy what Liverpool is giving us today: the sensational actress Jodie Comer (“Killing Eve”) and Mark Quinn’s hooky musical daydreams.
What’s the backstory on “Mrs. Daydream”? Is it a solo write and what went through your mind as you wrote it?
Yep, everything I’ve ever done is a solo write. The introvert in me has been very reluctant to share my songwriting with others, which is why I’m still the “undiscovered genius” that I am now.
The main guitar riff came while I was doing a bass guitar lesson with my uncle. I had to stop while I played it into my phone. The syncopated verse rhythm came next. “Well aware of all the wear and tear” just sounded so pleasing to say. I think from there the idea was that it would be how daydreaming can be enticing and still maladaptive, especially if it’s relating to a love interest.
You live in Liverpool, but aren’t a huge fan of The Beatles. Is that a generational thing? Who were your favorites growing up?
No, I’m not a fan of the Beatles at all. All my friends are well-versed in the Beatles. I fully understand how the impact of Beatles music changed several generations and continues to. I love Billy Joel. I don’t think he would exist without the Beatles. Morrissey/The Smiths have been a permanent fixture with me since high school. For better or worse (probably the latter), most of my lyric writing is heavily influenced by Morrissey.
What current artists (both UK and elsewhere) are your favorites at the moment?
Lawrence probably. I’m still waiting for their song “Don’t Lose Sight” to become a huge hit in England. I think it’s been on an advert but nowhere near as much publicity as in America. If “Don’t Lose Sight” doesn’t become a hit in the UK, then I’m just going to give up on music altogether.
I can’t stop listening to a song called “Livewire” by Oh Wonder. So well-made and I love the refrain! Very Katy Perry / “Teenage Dream”-esque.
What’s the Liverpool music scene like today? Any artists (besides you) we should be keeping an eye on?
I would imagine not very well as it seems like we’ve lost all of the bars that used to play live music. In terms of indie music Circa Waves are flying the flag very prominently and proudly for Liverpool, but I don’t know much further than that. For the entirety of the UK, country music is becoming far more mainstream. It’s always had its own loyal fanbase, and certainly in Ireland they’ve had their own country music scene forever. But it’s infiltrating the pop charts now and forcing a lot of people to rethink the tired stereotypes they’ve had about the genre. The Shires/Catherine McGrath are some examples.
You have a gift for writing great melodies. Did you study music in school or are you self-trained?
Thank you! No formal training, just messed about with piano and guitar since I was about 15. If I ever achieve some success with writing, then I’ll probably revisit this question with a lot more smugness.