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The Outfit Interview with Mark Nawara

The Outfit

Interview with Mark Nawara

By Nina McCarthy, Sr. Music Journalist

Boston Rock Radio


From the streets of Chicago, something is brewing. Chicago veteran musicians, brothers Mark and Matt Nawara, and Mike Gorman, along with Phoenix, Arizona’s, Andy Mitchell have formed The Outfit.


Andy Mitchell - Vocals, Guitar

Mark Nawara - Drums

Mike Gorman - Bass

Matt Nawara - Guitar


“The Wire" catches the ear with gritty riffs and catchy lyrics. I'm already hearing a shit ton of energy and attitude, very infectious. “Lucky One," with its excellent harmonies and kickass guitar, has an upbeat feel that would get the crowd rocking in any venue. I love the warmth of Andy’s vocals on “TKO," hard to define but pure magnitude. “Unfolds" has a Foo Fighters kind of flair to the rhythm, music to have a good time to.--Allyson, Music Journalist for BRR


BRR:  Being Veterans in the local scene, how did you come together as The Outfit?


MN:  My brother Matt plays guitar and he came to me and said that we should really try to start something that is basic rock and roll again, bring it back.  Well, not really bring it back, but we were listening to a lot of radio and everything seemed to all sound the same.  All the bands gelled together so we wanted to create something, going back to the older days where bands kind of had an identity and he wanted to create just a solid rock band.  We came up with some riffs and we decided to go in the studio for one song, cut the guitar, cut the drums, and we thought about getting a bass player and I thought about this gentleman, Mike Gorman, who is veteran in the scene too and he’s a great bass player.  We asked him if he wanted to play on it.  He came in and layed down the bass and we needed a vocalist.  I thought about this guy Andy Mitchell, who I met when I lived in Phoenix about ten years ago, and he had a great voice and it was kind of unique and would be a good fit.  I called him and sent him over the track to see if he’d be interested in laying down some vocals.  He sent it back and we were blown away and we were a band and continued on from there.


BRR:  You released your self-titled debut album Feb 2 of this year on Pavement Entertainment.  Can you tell me about the writing and recording of it?


MN:  Basically the writing was a collaboration.  For some of the songs, Matt would come up with a riff and send it out to Andy. Andy would come up with the melody and maybe put a bridge part in or just tweak it up and send it back to us and then we would go at it.  That’s kind of how the writing went.  A couple of the songs, Andy wrote himself, so it’s a combination of things there.  For recording, we tracked all the music with a guy named Matt Mercado here in Chicago.  He’s a great engineer and producer and also a vocalist.  He was in a band called Mind Bomb several years ago that were signed to Mercury, so he’s a real creative guy so we’re real comfortable there.  We cut all the basics...guitars, drums, and bass and we ended up shipping the sessions out to Arizona and Andy laid down all the vocals in a studio there, sent the tracks back to us and we had a rough mix.  It’s amazing what you can do now with technology.  We actually sent it out to Ulrich Wild in Los Angeles, who is a renowned producer and mixer who has done a lot of bands.  It was an honor to work with him.  He did the mix on it and it came back fantastic and that’s what we went with.


BRR:  That leads to my next question. How did you connect with multi-platinum producer Ulrich Wild (Pantera, Static-X, White Zombie, and Breaking Benjamin) for the mixing of your album?


MN:  I knew Ulrich for a little while because I worked with the band Soil for awhile and Ulrich had recorded their last album Whole, so I was out in L.A. and met him.  He’s amazing.  He works out of his house in Silver Lake, right outside of L.A.  I met him there and I met him again one time at a NAMM convention like a year and a half later and just kept in touch with him because I really liked his work.  Once we had the rough mix and everything, he came to mind because we really wanted to put a good shine on it, so we had to first of all see if Ulrich was even interested in doing it.  We sent him over a couple tracks and he thought it sounded familiar yet fresh and he was into it and wanted to do it, so that’s how it happened.


BRR:  “Soldier Boy” was the first single off the album.  Can you tell me about the inspiration behind the song?  Have any of you served in the military?


MN:  None of us have ever served.  That song was written by Andy, our singer, and I think he was trying to come across as paying tribute to the US foot soldiers that are out there and what they are going through fighting the war.  It’s not a pleasant thing, but they have to do it to survive themselves.  That’s pretty much what the song is about.


BRR:  Tell me about “Wire,” your 2nd single.


MN:  It’s just a straight up rock song.  We just completed a video for it and we are going out to radio with it.  There’s really not a meaning to it.  It’s about being on a wire, living on the edge, kind of thing.  I think it’s a really cool riff and a catchy song.  We’ve been getting a lot of good feedback on it and we’re excited about that.  “Soldier Boy” did really well for us too.  It actually is still cranking up the Billboard Rock Indicator Chart.  I think we were #27 at one point.


BRR:  Is there a general theme that runs throughout your music, or is each song a different story?


MN:  I’d say each song is kind of a different story.  


BRR:  You guys play straight up rock and roll, which is my favorite genre.  Some say rock is dead.  What is your opinion?


MN:  I don’t know if it’s totally dead, but it’s kind of down right now and we’re trying to give it a kick back.


BRR:  I definitely think it’s making a comeback this year.  I get sent a humongous amount of metal but I am starting to get more and more rock sent my way now, which is great because that’s my niche.


MN:  There’s some cool stuff, like that band Greta Van Fleet that’s out there.  They sound like Zeppelin a little bit.  They’re young and bringing that sound back.  A lot of kids growing up don’t even know who Led Zeppelin is, so it’s like a whole new reintroduction to that sound, so it’s cool.


BRR:  Are there any tour plans in the future?


MN:  For sure.  We just signed on with Artery Global which is a great agency out of California and we had our first show April 14th in the Chicago area at a place called The RocHaus  Then we have a show booked May 21st opening for Soil in St. Louis at Pop’s Concert Venue.


BRR:  You’ll have to come out to the northeast.


MN:  We’d love to get out there.  We have airplay on several stations out east.


BRR:  Great!  What’s next for The Outfit?


MN:  We’re going to get this “Wire” video out and get the single launched.  We just want to get out there and start playing.  We want to play radio markets and try to spread the word because you have to tour.  That’s the name of the game these days.


BRR:  Everybody is online, but touring is where it’s at.


MN:  It’s so hard to make money these days with CD sales because everybody streams on Spotify and Apple Music and stuff.  It seems like streaming is the new normal.  But, you’re right, touring is where it’s at.


BRR:  Selling the merch on tour is the key.  That’s where the money is.


MN:  Yes, you have to build up your popularity and get people to come to your shows and sell merch and concert tickets.


BRR:  Opening for Soil will be great to get the word out.  Do you have any shout outs or final comments?


MN:  I just hope everybody enjoys the music.  We’ve been getting a good response to it.  I appreciate all the journalists and everybody that have been interviewing us and covering it.  Shout out to Barbara (Papageorge of Pavement Entertainment), who is a great publicist and has been doing a great job for us.


BRR:  She’s awesome. I deal with her a lot.  I can’t even keep up with the press releases she sends me.  Well, Mark, thanks so much. It was nice chatting with you and hopefully I can catch you guys live.






© Boston Rock Radio 2018

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