[Cover photo credit to Ritche Perez]
Singer/songwriter Mark Bragg has released his new EP Ashes, six songs that “describe a post-apocalyptic world in which the traditional concept of love no longer exists.” Bragg portrays “a terrifying vision of a future where misogyny and toxic masculinity are allowed to run rampant”, as expressed in the EP’s latest single, “The Planet Crumbled.”
I work with music first, and that informs the narrative. I wrote the lyrics around the time when there were some pretty heinous crimes against women in the news. The album is not about this per se, but a lot of the characters and colours mirror these events. In these characters, I see strong women enduring violent boys full of hate.
Bragg was in a St. John’s coffee shop when he noticed Liam Ryan of the band Swimming at a table on his laptop. Intrigued. Bragg boldly asked take some of Ryan’s beats home with him and add some raps. Bragg ended up writing an entire album around those beats.
Although Liam Ryan’s own EP ultimately only included a couple of Bragg’s lines, Bragg’s own material that came out of this unexpected collaboration is another unique addition to Bragg’s body of work.
To record Ashes, Bragg once again teamed up with veteran Toronto producer Daryn Barry, who had helped make Bragg’s previous albums Winter (2018), Your Kiss (2011) and The Reckless Kind (2002). Tracks were recorded at Terra Bruce Studios in St. John’s by engineer Mark Feener, with Bragg’s cast of players anchored by drummer Chris Donnelly (Tim Baker, Kellie Loder), along with guitarist Brad Power, bassist Mark Neary and keyboardist Luke Power.
Mark Bragg launches Ashes live in St. John’s on Friday, June 16 at The Black Sheep on George.