Guitar Gods: Mark Akin
Multi-Platinum Soundtrack Recording Artist For The Insanely Popular Anime Series 'Dragonball Z'
Mark Akin. If you've heard the name, it was probably as the man behind the guitar wizardry of the popular TV show "Dragon Ball-Z." If you're a guitar nut, you might know that he did a few clinics with guitar legend (and Guitar Gods interviewee) Jennifer Batten. But there is SOOOO much more to this guy!
His bio opens, "Guitarist – Bassist – Synthesist – Anime Soundtrack Artist - Mark is a Multi-Platinum soundtrack recording artist for the insanely popular Anime series Dragonball Z with syndication on Cartoon Network. He's also shared musical credits with Dream Theater, Bootsy Collins, Buckethead, Sum 41, and Saliva to name a few. His style is diverse, ranging from hard rock to electronic soundtrack vibes, to all out metal mayhem...".
What it doesn't say is that he also teaches privately, hops around the globe with Tone Tubby, Dean Guitars, Frezel Amps, Seymour Duncan pick-ups, Emma Electronics, and others, runs the soundtrack company Megawatt Music, is guitarist for the prog-metal band The Shadow Syndicate, has released a solo CD of electronica, is a touring clinician, and much more!
I had the opportunity to speak with Mark recently - check it out!
[David McClean] What are your current projects?
Mark Akin First off, I'd like to say thanks for even considering me for this interview...lot's of great players out there ya know!
I just finished my first full length progressive electronica CD called AlienCarChase (ed note: see review at Tinfoil Music). Drum and Bass, House, Experimental ... it has it all. Great CD to drive too. There're even a couple of tunes from the "The History of Trunks" soundtrack (Draognball Z), and my first ever electronic tune "Aurora22." The CD has a cool Sci-Fi edge to it - very minimal guitar, but cool stuff. I'm planning on performing the CD live (and record it) with crazy BucketHead-ish licks all over it…bamm! The CD is on its way to CdBaby, and 30+ on demand sites ... check it out!
I'm also working with drum maniac Rikard Stjernquist from the prog metal band Jag Panzer, and bassist (longtime bro) Clint Barker in the band The Shadow Syndicate. Prog metal to the bone peeps! We are currently auditioning singers for the band. We hope to release our first CD, Power and Dominion, by summer. Tour plans in Europe and Scandinavia are being discussed right now … keep ya posted.
Last, and certainly not least, is my collaboration with soundtrack-esque artist Keith Richie. Check out his muse, www.indieopolis.net . That's what's on the table at the moment.
[David McClean] How do these differ from your past work?
Mark Akin Basically, it's my usual M.O., although I've never had so many different genres to deal with at one time. I dig it!
[David McClean] Do you have one project that you are most proud of as a guitarist?
Mark Akin The Dragonball Z soundtracks hands down, quite the experience. The producer, Dale Kelly, would say, "I need desolation in this scene," and I'd give it to him. My improv skills really came into play in this gig. It's really a crazy story for sure; I'll have to share it with you guys another time. The DVDs-videos have sold over 690,000 copies worldwide since October 2000, and they're still selling. I have 17 writing credits on them, not to mention sharing credits with some amazing musicians, including Dream Theater, Petrucci ... wow!
[David McClean] Can you give our readers a run-down of your basic gear (live and/or studio)?
Mark Akin Ok ..here goes. I'm using a custom made, high fidelity Frenzel BluTone 50 tube amp...kills! Tone Tubby hempcone speakers - amazing tone. Various stompboxes, a Digitech GNX4 guitar workstation, one of the coolest learning and idea archiving boxes around. I use it as a teaching tool as well. I'm using Dean USA Hardtail guitars most of the time - really sexy axes.
Mark Akin My home studio consists of a Toshiba laptop, Yamaha Motif 6, Motu 828 firewire interface, Sony Acid and SoundForge, and Waves plugins, which absolutely kick ass!! I actually used an M-Audio Jamlab to input my audio for my new CD...it had a real earthy vibe. Ear over Gear, I always say.
[David McClean] Who would you cite as early influences, and who are you favorite new players?
Mark Akin Hendrix, Eddie, Rhoads, Vai, Satch, Yngwie, Jean Luc Ponty (electric violin), Holdsworth, Dime, Jason Becker, (so good it's stupid) ... several others for many different reasons, mostly style and voicing, tone and taste. I really dig Ron Thal aka "Bumblefoot" a lot ... a true contemporary player, funny as hell, too. Richie Tull and John Inman from Texas are really good players, too.
[David McClean] Can you give a few tips to aspiring players?
Mark Akin Learn your fretboard cold!!!! Be open to all styles and treat your music like art, not a sport. Tone, tone, tone...
[David McClean] What are your future plans?
Mark Akin The ongoing creation of music through many collaborations. Tour as much of the world I can at least once.
[David McClean] Thanx for talking to us, Mark!
Mark Akin My pleasure, now go write some cool riff and send it to me to jam over!
Visit Mark at www.mark-akin.com