EMQ’s with MARK PYJAMA
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with South African based force of nature Mark Pyjama. Mark is a man with music in his DNA and rhythm pulsing through his veins. He is the main creative driving force behind the Pyjama Planet Empire:
Pyjama Planet (Mark Pyjama the Solo Artist)
Pyjama Planet Studios (Music Production Services)
Pyjama Planet Samples (Audio Plugins & Instruments)
When Mark is not mixing and producing music for brands and bands, ghost-writing or developing Audio Plugins, he is also a blistering Solo Artist writing his own music and melting faces with tracks, as seen recently for his set at Metal4Africa’s WinterFest’20.
Huge thanks to Mark for taking part.
Introduce yourself and give us some of your musical history?
Hello, my name is Mark Pyjama. I am a composer for a living, and write Symphonic Heavy Metal on the side. With Pyjama Planet’s music, I am the sole composer. The music is focused primarily around the guitar themes that I write first, but eventually broaden to full scaled Orchestral backing with a full metal band. After writing and performing for South African rock band All Guns Full Ammo, I decided to go solo to explore my own musical tastes not hindered by others.
How did you come up with your band name?
Pyjama Planet started as a visual concept that I often had when writing my own music: bright, luminescent colours in space. It’s dark; there is no sun any longer; but a lonely planet glows with radiation left from the solar explosion. Night time. Bright colours. Pyjamas…That was it!
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
I am based in South Africa. The South African heavy music industry/scene is filled with stellar bands and musicians, and also populated with not-so stellar bands and musicians. The existence of the latter provides a fair amount of angst between musicians here. Competition is rife which is great at times for creativity boosting, but the negative effect of bickering has its toll eventually and has led to a somewhat divided group of heavy metallers.
On the positive side, the pandemic has meant that a large selection of bands have released new music this year and thus the industry seems to once again be booming with magnificence! The hope is that with enough music being released, the public won’t have time to bicker as they’ll constantly be inundated with content.
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
Released on the 2nd of October 2020, ‘The Prelude’ is the first single off Pyjama Planet’s upcoming album, “Madjenta”. Madjenta is a fierce warrior from Pyjama Planet. Her and her loyal beast Khenji roam the plains hunting those who mean ill to the living on the Planet.
The album, “Madjenta”, is a fire-side story told by Madjenta to Khenji about the history of the planet and her involvement in keeping it free from evil.
‘The Prelude’ (feat. Kris Xenopoulos)
Who have been your greatest influences?
From Andora, Persefone have inspired me beyond any other musical outfit. A mixture of death metal, metalcore, and prog metal. Incredible musicians, intelligent songwriters, and they grab me in the heartstrings with almost every section. I haven’t heard many bands who can bring such an insane amount of melody and feeling into music that is so heavy.
What first got you into music?
3 factors contributed to my becoming a full-time musician (albeit a late career shift). Firstly, my parents. They both played instruments, although sparingly, and I could see the joy it brought to my father especially. Second, there was always Pop playing in the house. From a young age I was battered with an onslaught of cheesy melodies, whether I liked it or not. Elton John; Celine Dion; The Beach Boys; Queen; even some good ‘ol Cat Stevens. And third, when 5 years old, I witnessed a boy at my pre-primary-school play the violin for us, also aged 5. That single moment was most influential of all. Hearing an orchestral instrument for the first time, being played by someone my age? Magical. 1 year later I picked up the violin myself.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
It would be a dream to collaborate and write some Orchestra and Synthesizer to a Sylosis track. Apart from Persefone, Sylosis and Trivium are my other 2 biggest influences when it comes to Rhythm guitar technique.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
Wacken Open Air! I was lucky enough to travel to and attend Wacken in 2012 with 3 South African friends. The energy. The scope. The history. It’s the ultimate stage for me to end up on one day!
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
Attention. During the first song I ever played live on stage with a heavy band, I had crowd interaction, people smiling and waving at my guitar, and people that seemed genuinely interested in what I as a musician was doing. This was weird to me, as I had little to low expectations at that point that I was any ‘good’ at writing music.
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
Thank you for listening to what Music I have released, and please stay tuned for more!
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
My first cat, Lucy. She was my biggest Rockstar when I was growing up. I miss her.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
Being a musician means I am privileged to be able to get lost in the world of sound. I hate that it, at times, is more fulfilling than life itself.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
I would remove any competition that physically pits one musician against another.
A world in which art is judged by voting is a world where the overly-sensitive could be forced further underground.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
The album that changed my life forever was most definitely “Master of Puppets”. I had been influenced by a lot of Punk, Rock, and pseudo-Punk metal for years before finding this album, but this one solidified what I love about rhythm guitar and especially in my own songs: fast, hard, intricate palm-muted riffs. I’m a right-hand heavy rhythm guitarist so Master of Puppets was my jam when I discovered it.
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
Physical copies have a wonderful tangible element to them, and thus are great fun when ‘collectors’ get their hands on them. I myself used to love collecting CD’s, but was more interested in collecting films on DVD and still do to this day actually. I found that with music being so abundantly available on digital platforms, the need for physical copies have decreased, in my life anyway.
Cars now often come with USB port, an Aux input for your phone, or simply Bluetooth where you can hook up Spotify on your phone and you’re good to go. No CD needed.
So, depending on what we mean by ‘best’, I’d say that the best format for music has to be personal. The audio quality between different platforms isn’t discernible to the ‘average listener’ and thus it becomes more a question of, “What is best for you?”
For me, I love ‘physical’, but it’s become more difficult to use physical copies of music on everyday devices nowadays, so I opt for digital.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
I was lucky enough to perform at South Africa’s premium Rock and Metal show “RAMFest” in 2014 with my older band, All Guns Full Ammo. This festival had Trivium, Killswitch Engage and Biffy Clyro all at the top of the bill, so this was a tremendously exciting event to take part in. Our set was mid-afternoon on the Saturday, at the secondary outside Metal stage, and we must’ve had close to 300 people dancing in front of us at one point.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
If I were not a musician, and especially one now with a career in music, I would’ve gone into software development. I studied coding for 3 years at school and the ability to create something with just numbers and letters was a world within itself and so fascinating. Ironically, for my final school project, I built and developed a piece of Music Composing software which nowadays would be comparable to something like Sibelius. Sibelius and others alike are programs in which you write out your song in sheet music, and then have the ability to have it played back to you.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
Dwayne Johnson, Andrew Lincoln, Hans Zimmer, Tom Holkenborg, and my wife.
What’s next for the band?
The 2nd single from our upcoming album “Madjenta” is landing on the 22 of January 2021. ‘Storm The Gates’ is a hard and fast thrash song, unlike the rest of the album which predominantly fits into the mould of Symphonic Djent.
Along with this cracker of a tune is a Music Video which will be released by a yet to be confirmed YouTube channel, on the same day as the audio release. The Single will be released via all major streaming platforms, and you can pre-save the tune here:
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
Mark Pyjama Facebook: www.facebook.com/mark.j.allnutt
Mark Pyjama Instagram: www.instagram.com/markallnutt
Pyjama Planet Studios Instagram: www.instagram.com/pyjamaplanet
Mark Pyjama YouTube: www.youtube.com/channel/UC0sPDxvueeulydoWd6x1Wtw
Pyjama Planet Studios YouTube: www.youtube.com/channel/UCo27th2cidf7_34bJiKF8iA
Google Play: www.play.google.com/store/music/artist?id=Ank7nd67g5r5thoyngkfbv6ebo4
Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?
Trick question! They are a different food source altogether!
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Find everything Pyjama Planet go to www.pyjamaplanet.com
Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.