According to him, Marvelous Mark’s music career began in earnest with a chance meeting between himself and Matt Delong (No Warning, Yacht Club) and the founding of Marvelous Darlings, with vocalist Ben Cook (Fucked Up, No Warning, Yacht Club). “I met Matt at a bar. He asked me if I wanted to start a band and I said no, but he kept calling me ’til I said maybe. We wrote our first six songs through email. Matt and Ben would write the songs and record them with a drum machine and send them to me, I’d write and record my bass parts and send them back. I didn’t even meet Ben ’til our first show.” The relationship would become the foundation of Mark’s life as a songwriter. Over the course of the next five years, Marvelous Darlings released nine 7” singles on various independent record labels, one full length live LP and a full length singles compilation LP.
In that time, Mark and Cook began sharing an apartment in Toronto’s east end and recording and releasing songs as Roommates (Slumberland). “I was working in a deli and started giving lunches away to a construction worker in exchange for weed he said he grew with his mom. I don’t know what they were doing to it, but the first time I brought it home, Ben and I got baked and started listening to The Darkness.
Then we both literally blacked out, and by the next morning we’d recorded these weird songs, but couldn’t remember doing it, so we decided to call it Roommates and release it.” Similarly hazy sessions followed, the results being released on cassette through the Scotch Tapes label, with those releases being compiled onto a 7” EP by Oakland label Slumberland Records. “There were supposed to be more releases, but at the last session I got paranoid that I was dying and ran home and sat on the couch scared for my life. We stopped trying after that.” Some songs from the aborted sessions would later be re recorded for Cook’s solo project, Young Guv.
The following year, Mark left the country for Argentina, where he spent nine months working as a butcher’s apprentice. The experience made a lasting impression: “Maybe it was the meat, maybe it was the heat…I can’t really talk about what happened there, but I lost a part of my self. I began to interact with reality in a new way.” Upon returning home, he started living illegally in an old coffin factory next to a pig slaughterhouse, where he would go to be alone and focus on music. “I became withdrawn and suspicious of all technology. I destroyed my phone and wouldn’t use the internet or computers. I stopped talking to most of my friends and spent my days wandering the city in bare feet. At night I’d go play my guitar in an old abandoned loading dock at the slaughterhouse. It’s completely hidden. No one knows you’re there.” It’s here that Mark began writing songs at a feverish pace, showing some to Cook, who encouraged him to pursue a solo project.