Even before he knew how to play the guitar, Mark Bacino’s love of music led to his own creativity.
According to his bio, as a kid, he assembled his own drum kit from cardboard boxes, tin pie plates and chopsticks. From there, the sounds of AM and FM radio led him to write his own poetry.
Eventually, he taught himself how to play guitar. After his college band broke up, Bacino started recording songs by himself. The result of this songwriting was his first full-length album, “Pop Job,” in 1998.
“When I come up with an idea, it’s usually the result of me absentmindedly humming a melody over some sort of chord progression that’s randomly found its way under my fingers on piano or guitar,” Bacino said. “Later, said melody eventually implies a kind of rhyme scheme, which ultimately gives way to proper lyrics inspired by the mood of the music and whatever else might be happening in my life at the time.”
Since that first record, Bacino’s songwriting has become more personal, discussing his life with a touch of humor in his lyrics, especially on the melancholy numbers. Instrumentally, his songs run the gamut in terms of tempo and style. From straightforward rock (“Want You Around”) to a horn-filled jam (“Muffin in the Oven”) to a string-laden lullaby (“Bridge & Tunnel”), he feels at home in any style, writing catchy songs that stick in the listener’s mind.
Bacino’s latest album, 2010’s “Queens English,” is a love letter to the outer boroughs, a record that came together as the songwriter moved back to Queens after a stint in Manhattan. As he started a family, he used the outer boroughs to sing about the major changes happening in his own life.
“Songs that featured the outer boroughs as backdrop and, in some cases, metaphor for the changes happening in my life,” he said. “Although Queens sits geographically close to Manhattan, it’s a very different place. That thought has never been lost on me and it’s a thought I’ve always been fascinated by. It’s a theme I touch on quite a bit on the ‘Queens English’ album.”
Besides his own work, Bacino also composes music for television and film. Writing for a client forces him to work at a faster pace than he does for his own work, where he usually waits for inspiration to strike. Bacino’s time composing for others taught him that creating something quickly often yields the best results.
“I was always of the mindset, especially with my own music, that great work needed to be labored over and hyper-crafted,” he said. “Sometimes the results of those marathon sessions were pleasantly surprising, so I try to remember that when I’m obsessing over something I’m working on for myself.”
For the rest of the year, Bacino will be working on new music, while also composing more tunes for television in his new, personal studio. To keep up with the latest from the Queens songwriter, visit www.markbacino.com.