ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN The Huntington News, March 21, 2013
By Sara Tucker, News Staff
A free concert Saturday night at afterHOURS allowed a sold out house of students to escape the St. Paddy’s Day partying for a few hours. Indie groups The Antlers and Lady Lamb the Beekeeper got fans swaying and tapping their feet along with the music. The performance also allowed Northeastern’s own singer/songwriter Mark Gilday, Jr. to try his hand on the stage, delighting the audience with his energy and enthusiasm.
Gilday won Tastemakers’ Battle of the Bands competition last month, which allowed him the opportunity to open for the magazine’s spring headliner – Brooklyn-based trio The Antlers.
“Our events are specifically geared at bringing bands in that have not yet reached their full potential in terms of popularity,” Jeff Curry, Tastemakers’ president, said. “We’re genuinely interested in finding the best acts you might not have heard of yet. We don’t shoot for too obscure of a selection, but we definitely strive to find the best possible bang for our buck.”
A Northeastern-bred performer, Gilday’s set was met with excitement. This was the middler marketing major and music industry minor’s first opener for a popular band, and his anxiety was evident. But regardless of how nervous he seemed, the audience cheered him on.
Gilday sat down for a Q & A with The News regarding his musical career thus far, and where he hopes to take his music. The singer/songwriter will release his debut album in May, entitled ‘Nothing, Really!’
Huntington News: When did you first start making music?
Mark Gilday, Jr.: I started with the guitar when I was 13 or 14. I learned every Red Hot Chili Peppers song on ‘Californication.’ I didn’t start writing my own music until a couple years after that when I started a band with some friends in high school.
HN: When did you decide you wanted to start performing live?
MG: I’ve always loved the feeling of performing for people. When I was younger I wanted to be an actor. I loved performing with my band throughout high school, but I was just the guitarist. I only started playing and singing my own songs as a solo artist about a year ago.
HN: How has Northeastern helped you along your musical journey?
MG: Northeastern has been really great for my musical journey. I’ve met a lot of really cool, talented people through the open mics and music clubs on campus. There is a lot of talent at this school that I think is extremely underrated.
HN: Do you write your own music, and if so, where do you get your inspiration?
MG: The inspiration my music comes from my past experiences with people and things that have happened in my life. I like mixing specific details from real life events with broader, more vague metaphors. Also, seeing other musicians and songwriters play original music is always very inspiring to me.
HN: How did you first get interested in the Tastemakers competition?
MG: I actually tried to snag the opening slot for the Bad Books show in afterHOURS on Feb. 11. The event organizer told me the contracts for the show had already gone through so they couldn’t add me as an opener, but that I should try to participate in the Tastemakers Battle of the Bands to get the opening slot for their big show. I sent an email to Tastemakers asking if they let solo acts be a part of the battle, and it just kind of worked out from there.
HN: What was your reaction when you realized you’d have the chance to open for The Antlers?
MG: I was enjoying a latté made by my lovely barista girlfriend at the Riverwalk Café in Nashua, NH when I got the text from Jeff Curry letting me know I had won the battle and would get to open for The Antlers. I couldn’t believe it. I actually thought it might have been a prank at first.
HN: Do you do some sort of ritual before going onstage?
MG: I wash my hands.
HN: Do you get nervous before performances, and what do you do to deal with that?
MG: I don’t usually get nervous before performing, but I was definitely nervous before my set at The Antlers show. It was a sold out show, and it was The Antlers.
HN: What is your fondest memory of performing?
MG: The time I performed an a capella cover of ‘100 Dollars’ by Manchester Orchestra with one of my best friends, Jed Crook. If you don’t know the song, or Jed, look them up. You won’t regret it.
HN: What are your plans for the future?
MG: Continue to play out around Boston as much as I can. I am recording my debut album ‘Nothing, Really!’ with an expected release date in May. Be on the lookout for it.
HN: Any words of advice for those looking to become singers or performers?
MG: If you’re nervous about performing because you think you’re a bad singer, a bad musician or a bad whatever, just ignore those feelings and do it. You just have to do it. Who knows what it will lead to?