New Orleans is unlike any other city in the world. Music reverberates in the air and is breathed into the lives of all its citizens. From blues to jazz and hip hop to rock, some of the worlds biggest artists have come from or have been submerged in the musical landscape of this city. New Orleans native, Troy Marks, is yet another among many already heavily influenced by the surrounding culture. Passionate about music from a young age, Marks reflects, “I remember as a young child listening to all the percussive aspects of the great New Orleans Mardi Gras songs and really digging it.” “Everybody would dance and have a great time listening to the music and the street beats.” “It was just what we did.”
At 20, Troy set out on the road with his first band and soon after found himself with an offer to replace a young singer by the name of Phil Anselmo in the popular local New Orleans rock band, Razor White. Phil had just been offered a gig playing with Pantera, and Troy was to replace him in Razor White. “Even in those days Phil was incredibly talented, and you just knew that he was going places.” “It was evident.” “Replacing him was no easy task, but ultimately it was a great experience because it taught me how to tour as a professional musician and gave me my first studio experience.” …Laughing, “It worked out pretty well for him as well.”In 1994, Troy formed a New Orleans based cover band called No Idea and set about trying to make a living playing music. Playing everything from casinos, to festivals, to weddings, the band became very popular. “Although I did get some initial grief for being in a cover band, I have been able to list my occupation as a singer/musician my whole life.” “If that’s a bad thing, I’ll take it every day.” “The success that I have had in No Idea has allowed me the freedom to write and record my own music, so I consider it a blessing and am very thankful.” “I have also sung so many different styles of music that I don’t feel that there is any song that I can’t sing.” “I refuse to live in a musical box.”
Following the death of his mother in 2011, Troy was called to try his hand at writing entire songs. He was inspired by events, seen and unseen, to create and compose music from the depths of his soul. It was as though sounds were emanating from the quietness around him. Earlier in his career he had written mostly lyrics and melodies, as he was always part of a collaborative band effort. Those songs resulted in his debut EP Illumino and is the culmination of all of his previous musical, as well as some personal, experiences. Of particular interest is that Marks himself plays all of the instruments on the demos and currently has about 40 songs total in various stages of completion.
Troy chose to record Illumino at Fudge Studios with Grammy nominated producer and engineer, Jack Miele overseeing the project. “To be honest, Jack really took an interest in me from the beginning,” says Troy. He is just this genius of a guy who operates on a different level than most of us and expects the best out of everyone he is around.” “His work ethic is through the roof; I’m really grateful to have worked with him on this EP, and I’m sure that we will collaborate more in the future.” “We have all the music already recorded for the second EP, we just need to do the singing.”
Illumino is a gritty and passionate rock EP that features massive hooks and standout choruses, as well as thought-provoking lyrics that address personal, yet human themes, such as man’s relationship with God, child molestation, and the demoralization, as well as the forsaking of soldiers upon their return home from war. “The recording process was really cool and organic because Jack, who hand picked the band for the session, wouldn’t let the band hear the songs until the day we were to record them.” “We would sit in the control room, and the band would learn the songs on the spot and then cut them right then.” “It gave us a really cool, urgent, live feel to the EP, which is what I was really shooting for.”
Joining Troy and Jack on llumino is guitar player and Republic recording artist, Joe Stark, of the band Baby Bee. “Joe is one of the most musical dudes that I have ever met,” Troy says. “He picked up the vibe of the songs really quickly and helped to give the EP some great colors that made the songs even better.” Rounding out the band is Graham Robinson on bass, Woody Dantagnan on drums, and Tillis Verdin on keyboards. “Woody’s performance on the EP is amazing.” “He is a powerhouse drummer that can also play with finesse.” “He and Graham really locked in as a rhythm section to give the songs the tightness they needed.”