Mauri Dark is definitely among folk music’s most interesting characters. His visually stunning videos and dark, introspective songs have taken music listeners by surprise. In 2020-2021, the Finnish singer-songwriter’s debut album, Dreams Of a Middle Aged Man translated well on both sides of the Atlantic, scoring 2 Top 20 UK iTunes hit singles, while receiving AM/FM radio airplay on dozens of radio station across North America. With his current single, “Love Will Prevail” riding the wave of success, Mauri sat down with us to answer a few questions in this exclusive interview…
Congratulations on the release of your latest single, “Love Will Prevail.” What inspired you to write and record that particular song?
Musically that song relates to The Beatles and the song “Blackbird”. What happened in the world, what was written in news and all the negative things and hatred that’s all over social media sort of came to a frustration point in my head and I wanted to write a timeless song that would spread a positive message. A song that would make people think how choosing between love and hate affects their everyday lives. Hate will only bring back more hate and love will bring back more love. My relation to my firstborn daughter also played a part in the birth of that song (she is in “Love Will Prevail” music video). And my wife teaches me lessons everyday on this matter too!
Besides being a very talented singer, you are also a visual artist. Tell us about that. What does that entail?
I have been making visual arts with my birth name Mauri Kosonen as long as I have made music, for 25 years now. I have never been able to choose between them. In 2016 I got formal education as BA of Visual Arts for that and started making public artworks for a living as entrepreneur. That includes murals and artworks for facades. I work mainly with painting, sculpture, video and light and my art can be considered environmental art. My latest artwork is “Big Blue”. It features a life size blue whale painted and printed on glass on a building facade and illuminated with underwater lights. My main theme is the relation between nature and humanity. My artworks can be found from https://maurikosonen.com
Were you involved with music as a teenager? Did you play in any bands back then? How did you get started?
I started as early as 8 years old to play drums when I heard the band Kiss but the first proper bands came at 16 as a drummer. When I was a teenager then unknown bands like Guns N’ Roses, Nirvana and the whole grunge thing were just starting out so I grew up with good music back then. From there I have had several bands with varying instruments. Guitar and vocals came at the age of 18 and are now my main instruments. I have made 9 full length albums, 5 of them with metal duo Mystons and made about 500 shows in Europe and Finland. In Dec 18, 2020 I released my debut solo album “Dreams Of A Middle-Aged Man”.
How would you describe your brand of music to someone who has never heard of Mauri Dark?
It is dark, folky, timeless acoustic music sang with my bass voice and backed by a low-tuned acoustic baritone guitar and spiced with mainly acoustic instruments. It is similar style of music what Johnny Cash and Leonard Cohen did with their last albums with a little bit of vibes from the 70s and Americana.
How would you describe a Mauri Dark fan?
I think my fans are those who really listen to the mood and lyrics of the song. Those who like timeless songs with a universal message and played by a human with real instruments. Hopefully those who like to feel, think about things when listening to music and not use it as just mere background noise.
What gives you the most joy when you are on stage?
It is the connection through my music with the audience. Nothing compares those special moments shared through music in a live situation.
Tell us about your best performance you’ve ever had? How about the worst?
I can’t pick any specific ones, they all are kind of blurred in my my head. But the best performances I have had are definitely those when I am a 100 % focused into the songs and the mood of music and can feel that the audience is too and there is interaction and connection happening between us. Sometimes the audience is just unreachable and that also makes the performing worse. Sometimes the vibe is perfect and sometimes its the exact opposite. But through experience you kind of learn to work in the 90 %-99 % good level but there’s always room for improvement!
What is the highlight of your music career, so far?
I would say my debut solo album is the peak so far. With it I got to work with mastering engineer Vlado Meller who has worked with all the big ones like Metallica, Michael Jackson and Johnny Cash for example. There was something really special about those songs when I made them and I think they are built to last. The album is close to 100 K listens on Spotify and the videos are reaching 60 K views in Youtube. Being hooked up with my US Manager MTS Management Michael Stover has helped a lot. With a solo album you really have to start everything all over again and you got no expectations. I am really grateful what has happened with the debut so far.
What does Mauri Dark like to do when he’s not making music?
I like to do a lot of things. I make art, I jog, play soccer and go to gym when I find the time. I read books and comics and like to watch series. I also like being in nature and living it primitive besides a campfire. I like to travel and a also see culture, art and music. I also sail with and old boat and I like to build things (like my home studio) and do things with my hands, like chop wood. And of course I enjoy being with my core family my wife, my daughter and our two cats.
What is up next for you in 2021?
Hopefully live shows soon! Things are opening up slowly..
Thanks Mauri! We appreciate the time…
Thanks, interesting questions. All the best for everyone’s 2021.