Mark & James

Mark & James

BandPopRock

If Ryan Cabrera and John Mayer had a kid who played in the Frey

Biography

"Mark & James" began inside a hurricane shelter at the University of Central Florida during Hurricane Jeanne in 2004 – “I thought staying in an on-campus shelter would be a good way to meet girls”, quips James. Armed with his guitar and sarcastic wit, James went out on his girl-hunt, but though he didn’t meet any girls during that stay in the shelter, he did meet Mark Russell, a lacrosse player and marketing major, who was sitting in a corner with his own acoustic guitar. After the storm had passed, it didn’t take long before each had ditched the bands they had been playing with and started recording music together in their dorm rooms.

“Mark and I are like night and day” says James. “Really – if you look at it, we’re totally opposite in almost every way, but we spend all our time together and somehow, I dunno – it works.” James is pretty much an indoors kind of guy; a digital media major who loves art and cooking, he works at the university part-time as a graphic designer and runs a web-site design company on the side. Mark, on the other hand, is a pure jock. After playing Division I lacrosse his first few years at UCF, he now partakes in every sport he can fit into his schedule. His latest craze is rock climbing, which for some reason translates itself into repelling off of the side of the university parking garage in the early hours of the morning. “I just like being active”, he claims.

When it comes to their music, both share vocal and guitar duties, but whereas Mark sees his strength in lead vocals over guitar, James revels in his electric guitar and feels his strength lies there. Paradoxically, Mark feels much more comfortable singing with his guitar in his hands, and James’s husky voice shares lead vocals nicely with Mark’s clear, poignant tone. Both write, but while James looks for an intense emotion – usually about girls – to spur his creativity, Mark just needs the perfect first line: “I’ll sit around for long periods of time just trying to come up with the perfect first line – from there, I’m golden. It’s just gotta grab you”.

Mark & James do a pretty good job of “grabbing” their audience’s attention. Full of charisma and charm, Mark & James have been gigging around Central Florida for the past two semesters with a band they’ve put together to back them. “Performing is by far my favorite thing to do”, says Mark. “It’s the best feeling in the world to have a fan tell me how a song has impacted them”. Though currently focusing on recording more material in the studio, the two 22-year-old college seniors are continuing to perform out at local clubs and bars. “To really be an artist you have to create your song with everything you have, record it to the best of your abilities, and then give it all away to an audience”, says James. “We are having the time of our lives doing what we love, but we have nothing but good things to look forward to, as long as we can continue recording and performing, sharing our experiences and relating to our fans through music”.

Discography

"Hello, I Love You & Goodbye" - May 2008 (I-Tunes)