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Minnesota's own Musician and Producer, Mark Stone

One of the things I like the most about interviewing is how casual conversations are with artists. I recently talked to local Minnesota artist Mark Stone who is incredibly knowledgeable about so many aspects of music, the music industry, and music production. We chatted about so many things, it was actually difficult to narrow down what to put in my blog.

Mark Stone is a solo artist, songwriter, the frontman for Dirty Country Band and ULTRA-MEGA, a music producer (La Grunge Music), sings demos, and makes production music.

Mark Stone is a career musician who started with a band signed to an independent label with national label distribution and sang with them until they disbanded. He has experienced every component of the cycle of music. There is not much he hasn't done in the life cycle of a song. Mark is at a point in his career where he is spreading his talents to grow into different facets of music and production, hence the long list of activities. The Dirty Country Band has a rock country sound and ULTRA-MEGA is post-modern grunge music with friend and bandmate Jeremy Schreifels. The music is released in alternating months for ULTRA-MEGA and the Dirty Country Band

throughout the year.

The cost of producing songs, including studio time and engineering costs, was the driving force in the development of La Grunge Music. Learning a new craft in the familiar world of music was the most logical way for Mark to grow in his career. Mark Stone became an independent producer. Having a home studio office space not only makes it time-saving, it was a career and mental savior during the pandemic. One thing that worked well when everyone was home was the ability for artists to collaborate with each other when normally their tour schedules prevented that option. Music has taken on a deeper meaning, songs became more personal, there was more self-reflection and more people started collaborating through whatever means necessary or available. Artists found ways to send and mix music that were almost unheard of beforehand. Mark said, "Collaborations bring you into the other person's creative process".

Minos - La Grunge Music logo

Mark Stone talked to me a little bit about the ins and outs of production music. Production music is EVERYWHERE and once you realize it, you’ll notice it more often. It is the background music used to support something else, it is supposed to blend into whatever it is supporting. It is the background music during television shows, movies, sports games, and commercials. Most of the time it goes unnoticed because its purpose is to produce the mood for whatever it is supporting and retain your attention. The first thing I thought of while we were talking about it was the movie The Holiday, Cameron Diaz plays a producer who is working with Jack Black and he is composing music for the credits to a movie. (I paid more attention to that part than the love story part.) Music can keep your focus on something other than your visual sense. It is an amazing thing.

Last but not least we talked about social media and how to manage it mentally and productively. From artists,(I hear this all the time) it’s a catch-22, a necessary evil to have social media. Social media is useful for artists to advertise music and shows and deliver content easily. It can also be a place for artists to advertise their favorite venues. Interacting with people in a public setting is a tricky thing at times and it can be exhausting if it is used outside of that context, otherwise it is really just a tool in the toolbox.

Keep up with Mark Stone on his social media buttons below.

It was a pleasure to talk to you, thank you for your conversation, In A Country Minute or a couple of hours. -Rose


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