Interview with Mark King from Level 42
Ahead of their performance at the Newark Festival this June we were honoured to interview Mark King – the lead singer and bassist of the legendary group Level 42. Read on to find out more about the new material, Mark’s creativity boosters, his thoughts on how the music industry has developed since their debut and much more.
You are performing with UB40 – featuring Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue at the 2017 Newark Festival, June 17 – Have you played with UB40 before?
Yes and no! I played at a charity concert for Prostate Cancer a couple of summers back, and Ali was on the bill too, so it was great to hear him sing – I love his voice!
Have you performed in the Newark/ Nottingham area before?
Not for a long time, so we are long overdue a visit, and dust off some of the old classics to play for everyone
You are amazing live – is this your favourite part of the whole Level 42 experience?
How kind of you say, thank you. I LOVE playing live, and so does Mike Lindup my old pal of thirty-eight years now. There is a ‘buzz’ about playing live, and it’s one that is shared by everyone present at the shows. I guess that’s why we still do it.
Can you choose your favourite song to perform or is this simply too hard!
Hahaha! Yes it really is too hard to choose just one song, but if I had to it would be Lessons In Love……. no wait, Running in the Family….um, Something About You, no Love Games…. or Starchild. The Sun Goes Down (Living It Up). You choose for me!
You’ve toured with the likes of Madonna and Tina Turner, but who has been the ultimate highlight to play live with?
I loved the 1986 Prince’s Trust Rock Gala. I was the bass player in the house band which consisted of Elton John, Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Phil Collins, and Midge Ure. We were joined throughout the evening by George Michael, Paul Young, David Bowie, Mick Jagger, and Paul McCartney…. name dropper? Moi?
Are you working on any new material at the moment?
I am. Our second EP Sirens II is way-overdue, and I was hoping we would have it finished for the tour we played last October, but music is like that. It either comes in a wave of inspiration, or leaves you staring at the wall.
You’ve been all over the world with your music, where have you most enjoyed playing?
I think I speak for all the guys in Level 42 when I say we are more than happy to play anywhere at all really, but we went to Chile and Argentina for the first time late last year and it was fantastic. Wonderful audiences who really love their music.
What do you like to do outside of your music that contributes to your creativity?
I’m very happy pottering about in the garden, and I know Mike (Lindup) is a real camera buff and always out and about with it. Family life has a great way of keeping you grounded, so you can really let the creative juices flow when you get back into the studio.
What music are you listening to these days?
I’m a big fan of BBC6 Music. Gilles Peterson’s show on Saturday afternoons is always full of new music to me, and their ethos of ‘one foot in the past, one foot firmly in the future’ means you get to hear loads of Indie bands and artists you would never otherwise get to discover. The festival they have coming up in March has a fantastic lineup, too!
What are your thoughts on how the music industry has developed since you started out?
It is a very different business now to the one we got into in 1980, but there are some fundamentals that will never change; the main one being that you still need great songs to get you there.
We’d like to say a massive thank you to Mark for answering our questions and being an absolute pleasure to work with. You can see him and the whole Level 42 play live this June at the Newark Festival. Tickets to the festival are on sale now and they’re going fast so don’t wait, get yours now and see this amazing band play live in Newark.