Ten Questions with Mark O’Leary

24 08 2008

Mark O’Leary is a guitarist/improvisor/creative-type hailing from Cork, Ireland.  He has played and performed with many of the greats in the field including Paul Bley, Jack DeJohnette, Sunny Murray, Peter Erskine, Gunter Muller, Joey Baron, Han Bennink, Bobo Stenson Kenny Wheeler, Anders Jormin, Bill Bruford, Palle Danielsson and many others.  His unique approach to the instrument can be heard on two new albums.  Check out:

The Synth Show on Leo Records

Television on Ayler Records


Ellipses on FMR Records

1: What got you into creative/improvised music making, and what keeps you there?

I started playing the guitar as an improviser, I had no teacher, thats how I figured things out, I was interested in sounds initially, not just single note melodies/chords. I sounded a lot like Derek Bailey actually, without even knowing that kind of music existed!  What keeps me there I guess is the ability to move into different stimulating terrain without cartography, reinventing the wheel, new lexicons, I strive to be different, not for the essence of being different but in terms of progression/evolution.  Improvisation is a creative framework for this endeavor.

2: Breakthrough album(s) and Why?

I went through many different phases when I was a kid, the Beatles, TOTP early 80’s, Rory Gallagher(Live In Europe), Bob Dylan, and the people who shaped who I am now Miles, Trane, Ornette, Edward Vesala (who still is one of my favourites check out Nan-Madol), Terje Rypdal (first ECM), Jan Garbarek (early 70’s before Jarrett qt), Tomasz Stanko (Balladyna), Topography of the Lungs by Bailey/Parker/Bennink I had all the Bach Organ Works which really inspired me (watch out for my next Leo release St Finn barres), Arvo Part, Giya Kancheli, Steve Reich, Kurtag, electronic music- Brian Eno, for guitar Tal Farlow, Johnny Smith, Derek Bailey, McLaughlin, Holdsworth, Frisell.

3: How do other art disciplines affect your work?

Visual arts very much, multi media is the future for me.  I like quite a bit of American modern art, Robert Rauschenberg, Willem De Kooning, Mark Rothko are the favourites, I also like Piet Mondrian. The artist I like the most is Gerhard Richter, I saw his exhibition in MOMA a few years back and it was an incredible experience. I also like post Laszlo Moholy-Nagy multi media collage imagery.

4: Favorite Film(s)?


5: Favorite Film Score(s)?

2001 Space Odyssey, recently Paranoid Park.

6: Favorite Fiction Reading?

Jose Luis Borges or Herman Hesse

7: Favorite Non-Fiction Reading?

Thomas Merton/Thomas Hobbes

8: Favorite Guilty Pleasure Music?

Japan/early Simple Minds/Teardrops Explodes/Vangelis/AC/DC/Slayer/Van Halen 1 and 2

9: Favorite Under Rated Musician(s)?

Some of my colleagues, Daniel Alga in Stockholm, Pepa Paivinen in Helsinki, Jeff Herr in Luxembourg, Jacob  Anderskov in Copenhagen, Daniel Soltis in Prague, Toni Kitanovski in Skopje, Vasil Hadzinmanov in Belgrade.

10: Recommended Artist(s)/Shout Outs?

Jon Hassell, Ligeti, Kurtag, Feldman, Stockhausen, Webern, Schoenberg, Penderecki,  Cage, Leo Smith, Han Bennink, Sunny Murray, Rob Mazurek/John Herndon Chicago-axis,  Alex Cline, Scanner, Thomas Koner, Geir Jensson, Ryoji Ikeda, Helge Sten,  Fennesz, early Kraftwerk, AMM, Masayuki Takayanagi, Conrad Schnitzler.




One response

25 08 2008
Avant Music News » Blog Archive » Ten Questions with Mark O’Leary

[…] Glowing Realm: Mark O’Leary is a guitarist/improvisor/creative-type hailing from Cork, Ireland. He has played […]

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