We talked with bassist and composer Hannah Marks and asked her about her upcoming album “Outsider, Outlier” which will come out on the 20th of October. Learn more about Hannah Marks as well as her music and life experiences in this interview!

Hello Hannah! I am very happy to talk with you. How are you doing these days?
Hi Reuel! I’m doing well, thank you.
Glad to hear! In a couple of months, you will be releasing your new album named “Outsider, Outlier”. What would you tell your fans to expect to hear when they listen to your new release?
Fans can expect to hear a wide variety of musical styles…from explosive free jazz improvisations to sludge-y metal riffs to campy musical theatre-esque melodies. Some of my lyrics are dark and disturbing, others are more wishful and optimistic.
You have a very original sound mixing elements from Jazz and Rock. What musicians would you say have influenced you and your musical style?
On the rock side of things, I love Deerhoof, Nirvana, the Lemonheads, Sonic Youth, the Melvins, and Jesus Lizard…and on the jazz/creative music end of the spectrum, artists like Ambrose Akinmusire, Ornette Coleman, Becca Stevens, and Jen Shyu continue to inspire me.
Wonderful! Let’s play a game! I will set a scenario in an alternate universe with new rules and see how you’d react to the different situations. Ready?
In a universe where you are a necromancer, which late musician would you ask for advice?
I’d love to talk to the late, great jazz pianist Geri Allen. Before her death, she was doing it all: performing and composing, teaching at the collegiate level, being a mom. These are all personal goals for me, so I’d ask her, “how are you balancing all of this?” I want to truly know what the challenges are facing women in music, and particularly those that choose to be mothers.
In a universe where humans can choose either to be able to teleport from one place to another or travel back and forth in time, which superpower would you pick?
Teleportation wins out, always! That would come in handy just on a day-to-day basis living in New York. Forget taking the subway! In terms of time travel…I’m not someone who typically lives with any regrets. There’s no need to go back and relive old experiences. I guess it could be cool to go back and see some of my favorite deceased musicians play.
In a universe where humans only see in greyscale, what would your favourite colour be?
In a universe where money does not exist, but instead, people pay for things by making other people laugh, how rich would you be considered?
I’d be middle class, I think! I’m not the funniest person in the room, but I have my moments. I think I’m more silly than funny.
In a universe where the senses of taste and hearing are mixed together, what food would you imagine your music would taste like?
I’d say…mapo tofu? Maybe because that’s just what I’m craving eating right now. My music is like mapo tofu because it’s spicy and at times it makes you uncomfortable. The more you familiarize yourself with it, the most you appreciate its rich, layered flavors.
In a universe that is a post-apocalyptic world flooded by zombies, would you be hiding in a safe house, on the run fighting zombies, or a zombie?
I’d probably be hiding. I can’t imagine that I’d be on the frontlines fighting the zombie wave.
In a universe where you were chosen to rule a nation, what is the first law you’d change or make?
I’d make abortion legal across the nation.
Thank you for playing! I hope you enjoyed this game. Do you remember the first time you performed live on stage? What was your experience like?
One of my first memories performing live on electric bass was at the now-closed House of Bricks in Des Moines, IA for a rock band camp. I was in middle school. Our setlist included “T.N.T.” by A/DC, “Message in a Bottle” by the Police, and “Twist and Shout” by the Beatles. This was before my music taste developed so my parents definitely had more input on the setlist than I did! I got onstage, and realized my E string was out of tune. I didn’t know how to tune without a tuner yet, so I played the whole set with the E string sitting at an Eb…it was horrible. That was also the first time I sang solo in public.
Photo credit: Lexi Brown
Thank you for sharing this experience! Have you ever experienced any kind of sexism in your professional life? What advice would you give our young readers who might experience any kind of discrimination?
Yes, all the time. I’m sure I encounter sexism more times than I’m even aware of. But that’s something I also can’t let myself get weighed down by, or else I’d never succeed. You have to put blinders on, to a certain degree. The most powerful tool for combating sexism is bonding with other women. Finding a community of people that understand what you’re going through, at any age, has been crucial to me staying involved in the music, despite any challenges that come my way.
Thanks for the advice, Hannah and thank you for giving us this interview. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
You can preorder the album now or buy it when it releases on October 20th – check my website on updates for when we will play our CD release shows!
Reuel Way

Being a feminist has been normalized as an irregularity through our patriarchal society, so I'd rather be called a "decent human" than a "feminist man". I breathe Metal and Rock and have a screwed-up sense of humour.