Five Minutes With

MUSIC FEATURE: Five Minutes With…Birthmarks

Photo Credit: Jennifer McCord

This week marks the release of Birthmarks‘ debut album …And Then The Rain Stopped. Born from the ashes of the Little Death Machine, the trio’s introspective debut album combines elements of electronica, trip-hop and rock with vocalist/guitarist Daniel Cross‘ highly personal lyrics. We caught up with Cross ahead of the release to find out when he first started making music, what Birthmarks want to achieve and more.  
Firstly, tell us a bit about yourself and your band.My name is Daniel and I sing, play guitar and do programming for the band Birthmarks. We’re an alternative act from South East London and our debut album …And Then The Rain Stopped is out on 27th March. The album took about five years to write and record and is an introspective diary of the collapse and recovery that I experienced during this time.

How did the band form and how long have you been together?

The band in theory formed about 18 months ago. I suppose the band formed from the album in a way. Me and Jason (drums) had been in a band called Little Death Machine for a few years, and whilst we were working on the LDM album it just sounded so different, so it seemed like a good time for a rethink and so Birthmarks was born. When it came to playing live we’d bitten off way more than we could chew in the studio, so we recruited our friend Jonno (guitar/synths) and completed the lineup.

Can you remember the first time you realised you wanted to make music?

Very clearly actually. I was given an acoustic guitar by my father for my thirteenth birthday and the first thing that I tried to do was write songs on it. It seemed like a sad instrument so naturally all of the songs where sad and I never really stopped in a way, it just became an obsession that grew and writing became a necessity for day-to-day living.

Who and what are the band’s main influences?

I think we all come from the same, very varied school of thought in terms of influences. We all tend to like artists who push boundaries like Talking Heads, James Blake, Igorrr, Bjork, Amanda Palmer, Radiohead etc. We’re all really into the same hip hop stuff like Madvillan, Wu-Tang, Mobb Deep etc, which I think has a big influence on our beats and groove. Personally I find Fugazi and, in particular, Ian Mackaye to be a really big influence, I just have so much respect for someone who sets their own rules and doesn’t compromise.

What do you aim to achieve as a band?

The main aim for this is to put 100% into everything that we do and to try and build a body of work that communicates honestly with people.

For those who are yet to see you live, what can they expect from a Birthmarks show?

We’ve been told it’s pretty intense, we tend to play in the dark bar three bulbs and three-strip lights to try and make each space our own. We give everything to our live shows and I find them extremely cathartic and pretty essential as part of life.

What’s next for Birthmarks?

We’re gearing up for the release of our debut album …And Then The Rain Stopped which is out on 27th March. We also recently collaborated with the Icelandic filmmaker Erlendur Sveinsson for a video which we were all very excited about. We were supposed to be having a big launch party on 1st April at the Bermondsey Social Club and then dates nationwide throughout the year, but we’ve obviously had to rethink everything given the current circumstances. We’re planning on live streaming a launch gig and some acoustic performances whilst we’re in isolation. I’ve been writing quite a bit so I can see the follow-up to this album coming a bit sooner than planned. Once we’re back to normal life though we’ll get our rescheduled dates together and take the album around the country.

Birthmarks‘ debut album …And Then The Rain Stopped is due for release on 27th March, available to pre-order HERE.

Tags : Birthmarks
A 20-something year old journalist and freelance PR often found at a gig, a festival or holding a dictophone to a band and asking them all kinds of questions. I'm a sucker for whiskey and vinyl.