James Marks was brought up in a small town in Queens, New York. It wasn't until the dreaded middle school years that he became interested in making music. His close friends had begun listening to punk rock and playing instruments, so James picked up a guitar and started strumming power chords. He acquired a free drum set and quickly became the drummer of the band, despite his complete lack of experience with sticks. The first band, named Liminal, didn't last long. When the drama of High School hit, James turned to acoustic guitar and emo-esque songwriting. The new band, named Bleak Prospect, was jam-packed with open D tuning and high notes that James couldn't reach. Eventually, James began listening to old heroes like Bob Dylan, the Beatles, Big Star and, of course, Burt Bacharach, as well as more contemporary voices like Björk, who receives a thank you on James' first album. The sound began to sway from folk-rock to alt-country to samba, and the songs became more about an expression of James than an attempt at achieving a particular sound. James firmly pronounced that his songwriting, in order to preserve purity, would be for him alone. He would play for friends who requested to hear or his old bandmates when he wanted advice, but he would pursue other avenues for a career. Some time passed, many more songs were written, and James found himself in the studio hearing his songs with other musicians playing along. Once it became apparent that he had an album on his hands, he switched directions. He picked up a banjo and a glockenspiel and learned what it means to produce. He immersed himself in the album and is now preparing to say 'musician' in response to the question, 'What do you do?'
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