Archive for Mark Fulinara

Sullen Ray’s first foray into Europe: Inspiration and motivation for BLUE minor

Our very own Sullen Ray has just come back to the States from a European tour with Tarah Who?. From logistical considerations and musical inspiration, we had a chance to pick his ear about the whole experience, and we talk about the future of Sullen Ray as well.

His last single was “Dive”, released on the Villaintine’s 2014 compilation. Listen here!

Sullen Ray and Tarah Who? in Europe

I know originally you were planning to just do a U.S. tour. How did you and Tarah Who? decide to go International instead? Whose idea was it?

Yeah, Tarah Who? and I had planned an early spring tour from San Diego to Seattle! But the opportunity for us to go to Europe came up when Tarah was in contact with friends in Paris. Since Tarah is from Paris, she was a huge part in making that happen. She knew the places that were scheduled for us to play and obviously the area, so we jumped on board a plane and went for it!

It was literally all decided within a week. We emailed the venues we were already scheduled to play here in the US, told them what was going on, and all of them were very excited for us, and said, “No problem!”

Have you been to Europe before the tour? If so, have you played shows there before?

I had not ever been to Europe before, I always dreamed of going, so I took the opportunity!

I’m not particular when it comes to guitars! I don’t care if I have to use a pink Hello Kitty guitar. I was always taught that it’s not the guitar, it’s the player!

How did bringing gear and/or organizing to rent or borrow gear work? I know you play with a lot of pedals and own a lot of gear. What were your must-have pieces of equipment that made it across the pond?

I didn’t bring anything equipment-wise. I quickly learned that in Europe all the venues are backlined! It’s not like here in the US. Usually backlined means that you show up and there’s a crappy drumset and amps that look like they’ve been dropped off a 3 story building.

But in Europe it’s all top of the line equipment with choices: Orange amps, Fenders, Ampeg. You basically choose what you want to use. They do this because there is no room what so ever for bands to bring their own gear. Most venues are down in a basement! It’s actually a very “help the musician out” culture, unlike here, where it’s fend for yourself or die!

Pedal-wise Tarah had a basement full of pedals, and we put together a couple of pedal boards for both of us, and I just used any guitar that was available. I’m not particular when it comes to guitars! I don’t care if I have to use a pink Hello Kitty guitar. I was always taught that it’s not the guitar, it’s the player!

I know you played with various musicians from over there rather than bringing your entire U.S. lineup. How did you all prepare to play leading up to the tour? 

I sent the demos of my music over the World Wide Web to the musicians who were going to play for me! They picked it up quickly and basically the first practice was just to hear us all playing together, them knowing the songs was never an issue… They knew it!

But hearing my music with a whole new feel and intent made me really step back and say “that’s what I want!” instead of always feeling like “ok, this is sort of what I’m going for.”

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Written In Sand – The First Fortnight

For the uninitiated, I’m Mark Fulinara, press contact for Villains and singer/bassist for Beta Lion. Our band’s debut release was released two weeks ago on March 15, 2014. You can download “Written in Sand” on iTunes now.


So the Written In Sand EP has officially been out for two weeks now! The Ides of March came and went, and fortunately nobody got stabbed. The response to the EP has been surprisingly amazing (at least from all 3 people who have listened to it).

I say that it’s surprising not only because people seem to dig it, but because the songs themselves seem to have new life breathed into them. It’s like cleaning out our old room and finding a musical diary of our 20’s. We’re excited to incorporate the songs from the EP back into our live set.

Even the people who worked on it found new things to enjoy about Written In Sand once it came out. Although each person’s role were absolutely vital, nobody who worked on it ever had the final product in their hands until the release. The guys who recorded it hadn’t heard the mixes, the guy who did the mix never heard the sound effects, the guy who did the sound effects never heard it mastered, the guy who did the album artwork hates our band (just kidding, Shane)… and so on and so forth.

It’s been a liberating experience to finally release something that we can say is our best work. So much so, we’re contemplating going straight into recording our full-length album and not booking any shows this year. Maybe after 10+ years of playing live shows together and not recording, back to back releases offsets that a bit?

But I doubt we can resist playing a show by the time summer rolls around. We get really antsy when we don’t play, so we’ll see what itch we need to scratch first. We’ve been given an open invitation to play a beach house in Rosarito whenever we want, so let us know if guys would be interested in that sort of thing, and we’ll make it happen!

If I had to take away the two most important lessons I’ve learned from this experience so far, they’d be:

  1. People want to help you, so don’t get in their way! A big personal hurdle I had to overcome was getting over the fear of asking for help. What I sometimes mistake in myself as being a control freak is actually insecurity (if you can believe that) about whether people believe in us.
  2. It feels really good to accomplish things. I know that people release music all the time, and if you’re Robert Pollard, you somehow release ten lifetime’s worth of music every year. But I have to tell you, the moment I hit the button to finalize the distribution of the EP, I felt like I was struck by lightning like in Highlander:

You can download Written in Sand on iTunes.

Beta Lion: Getting set to release the Kraken… in a bit.

Check out the Beta Lion blog for an update on their next EP, “Written In Sand.” Coming sooner than later on Villains Records!

So this CD is a little bit more of a “Do-It-Together” (D.I.T.?) project… Whether or not it’s well received is an entirely different thing.  If people were to hate the Written In Sand EP, that’d be fine.  At least I wouldn’t have any excuses to give.

Written In Sand Update 12/30/13:  “Prologues to Epilogues.”

Release The Kraken!