Q & A: Folk Singer-Songwriter Mark Schurch on his Debut EP, “Till I’m Gone”

Hailing from Fort Langley, BC is emerging folk singer-songwriter Mark Schurch. Earlier this year, he released his debut EP, “Till I’m Gone”. The EP features a collection of 3 songs that share, through a blend of soulful vocals and organic folk sounds, the lessons and realizations we come to discover on this journey we call life. 

Recently, I spoke with Schurch about how he got his start in folk music, his debut EP and more.

Kyla Pearson: You are a part-time folk singer-songwriter. For those who are unfamiliar with you and your music, can you tell us a bit more about how you got your start? What made you gravitate towards folk music in particular?

Mark Schurch: When I was younger I played the electric guitar and was in a hard rock band during my late teens and into my early twenties. After our band stopped playing together I gravitated towards the acoustic guitar because on my own it gave me an easier outlet to sing and play songs than the electric guitar. I played sporadically at home over the years and when I moved to Fort Langley 8 years ago I stumbled upon an open mic and became motivated to perform at it. After a couple of years of performing regularly at local open mics, I gained the confidence to book a gig and ever since I have been playing at local breweries, restaurants and private events.  One of the main reasons I am drawn to folk music is its natural organic sound as well as its poetic and vulnerable lyrics. I like songs that can really affect me emotionally and that create powerful imagery.

 

Kyla Pearson: What is the primary message you want to share through your music? Why is the message important to you?

Mark Schurch: I think the primary message that I want to get across with my music is that everyone finds life to be difficult at times, and by sharing some of these thoughts and experiences, I hope that it can be comforting to others that may feel the same way. Many people look at others and think that they have life all figured out and that it is easy for them but it usually is not the case. I think it is important to be reminded of this during our social media-crazed society in which most people are only showing off the good times and the beautiful pictures.

 

Featured: Folk Singer-Songwriter Mark Schurch. Photo courtesy of Mark Schurch.

Kyla Pearson: Earlier this year, you released your debut EP , “Till I’m Gone”. Can you tell us a bit more about each of the 3 songs on the EP?

Mark Schurch: The EP contains the songs Long Way Around, Till I’m Gone and What We’ve Become.  I am recording these songs at the not-so-young age of 47 so overall these songs are born out of a lot of reflection on my experiences and observations of life. 

Long Way Around is about how we often feel that we have reached our destination of where we wanted to be, this may be a relationship, or a career, or something else, but then things change and you realize that you were in fact not at your destination. The journey can be long and difficult but there is also a lot to be gained through these experiences. 

The song Till I’m Gone is a bit of a broody song with a theme of escaping your demons or your past to a place of solitude and nothingness, for better or for worse. 

The last song, What We’ve Become was born out of memories from when I was younger of how I had these strong notions of who I was going to be and all of the problems in the world that I was going to solve, and how these types of innocent and naive predictions may fair when met with the realities of life.  

Kyla Pearson: In relation to the previous question, Can you tell us a bit more about the songwriting and recording process? 

Mark Schurch: I write all of my songs on my own and sometimes they are born out of a lyrical idea, other times from a guitar riff. Over the last couple of years, I have started a large number of songs but I have only completed a little over a dozen of them. I find that the ones that I complete are the ones in which there is a strong story or theme and something important to me that I want to get across.  I have wanted to record songs for a while now but I kept putting it off partly because I was nervous and shy about putting my songs out there but I was also unsure of where to start with the recording process. In the end, my main motivation for getting over my reservations was that I really wanted to have these songs brought to life for my own personal mementos, although sharing them has ended up being the most rewarding part.  I ended up getting in touch with a local producer Jay Stewart and after we decided on which songs to record we met for an afternoon about once a week over the next six weeks and put these songs together. Jay really made me feel at ease during my first recordings and it was a great experience to have other talented musicians lending their musical ideas to these songs. I had typically just played these songs on my acoustic guitar so it was amazing to hear them evolve as the different instruments were layered onto the tracks. 

Featured: Folk Singer-Songwriter Mark Schurch. Photo courtesy of Mark Schurch.

Kyla Pearson: On a similar note,  what was the experience of working on your first EP like? What is one lesson you’ve learned through this experience that you’ll apply to future releases?

 

Mark Schurch: I had a great experience working on these songs, the approach was very relaxed and decisions were made based on what we thought the songs needed as opposed to what we thought other people may want to hear. The collaboration with other musicians was by far my favourite part. One of the lessons that I learned in the recording process is that sometimes the imperfections of a take are actually better than a perfectly clean one as they can be more interesting.

Kyla Pearson: According to you, what is the ideal setting to listen to the EP in order to fully experience it?

 

Mark Schurch: I think the ideal setting would be sitting on your porch or patio on a nice still evening. These songs are reflective and have a relaxed feel, so I think they would make for a nice way to unwind at the end of the day.

 

Kyla Pearson: Do you have any upcoming shows that fans can catch and hear you play the songs off the “Till I’m Gone”  EP at live?

Mark Schurch: I play regularly at breweries and events in the Langley area and I post any upcoming shows on my Instagram account @mark_schurch_music.

Lastly, what is one thing fans may not know about you?

Mark Schurch: Aside from music one of my other passions is health and fitness, and later this year I will be competing in an ironman triathlon. 

Listen to the “Till I’m Gone” EP now:

 

 

Stay up to Date With Mark Schurch:

IG: @mark_schurch_music

Spotify: Mark Schurch

Apple Music: Mark Schurch

Amazon Music: Mark Schurch

Works cited:

Schurch, Mark. Interview. Conducted by Kyla Pearson, Jun. 14, 2022.

Unknown. “Featured: Folk Singer-Songwriter Mark Schurch. Photo courtesy of Mark Schurch.”. Photo courtesy of Mark Schurch. Accessed Jul. 7, 2022.

Unknown. “Featured: Folk Singer-Songwriter Mark Schurch. Photo courtesy of Mark Schurch.”. Photo courtesy of Mark Schurch. Accessed Jul. 7, 2022.

Unknown. “Featured: Folk Singer-Songwriter Mark Schurch. Photo courtesy of Mark Schurch.”. Photo courtesy of Mark Schurch. Accessed Jul. 7, 2022.

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