B i o g r a p h y
"Mark Steiner (and His Problems) is a well-known figure in Oslo’s music underworld, and he’s been around in Norway for so long that many assume that he is Norwegian. He is not. This ex-New Yorker is a wandering scoundrel who one might find hanging out in the shadowy corners of a pub at closing time – whether the nearest street sign reads New York, Oslo, Paris, Berlin, Lisbon or Melbourne. A musical vagrant who draws inspiration from the same sources which may have influenced Stuart Staples, Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, Rowland S. Howard – yes, that entire circle of hollow-eyed, black-clad night owls with melancholic dispositions and pocket-flasks full of booze to match. Mark Steiner is indeed such a character..." - Egon Holstad, NORDLYS (Norway)
Ex-pat New Yorker Mark Steiner lived for many years in Manhattan, where he worked in the film industry and as the frontman of the "swamp-rock" band Piker Ryan's Folly. Then came September 11th, 2001. With a Norwegian passport, he moved to Oslo in 2002, and since then he has worked hard to build a career as both an international solo artist and producer, and as a cultural mediator in Norway.
Under the name Mark Steiner & His Problems, he has also self-produced and released four singles with an Oslo-based band, featuring drummer Ted Parsons (ex-Swans, Killing Joke, Prong, This Celestial Engine), bassist and producer Leon Muraglia (Salvatore, Radio 9) and guitarist Romek-Paluch Edwards. The first single, "Insomnia," came out both digitally and as vinyl seven-inch in June 2018. The songs "The Fuck-Up" and "Love Hate Love" came early as "eight-inch" (yes, actually 8") vinyl in January 2020 with a pair of corresponding animated music videos produced by Steiner during the height of the Covid-19 epidemic that April. Studio recording of the rest of the album was finally completed with the band earlier in 2021-22, and mixing of the record is finally complete.
First up was the song "Syn," a premiere single with Norwegian lyrics. Then came the single "Black Hole" in April 2022 (a limited release in support of the people of Ukraine via a digital collection published by Norwegian Hærverk Industrier). Right now the band is in dialogue with various labels about a possible collaboration and vinyl release of the LP "Black Hole" in autumn 2023.
As a music promoter and support artist, Mark Steiner has organized several concerts and tours in Norway for legendary artists such as Australian Mick Harvey (Birthday Party, PJ Harvey, ex-Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds) and Hugo Race (The Wreckery, ex-Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds), American frontman Michael Gira (Swans), as well as a number of other lesser-known artists and bands in both Norway and abroad.
Nordic legends Madrugada and solo artist Ingrid Olava can also thank Mark Steiner for his tireless voluntary efforts in booking and promoting each of their mini-tours in New York back in the 2000s. In December 2013 he brought Norwegian rockers Oddpopp to Prague, and in 2016 they all played together again as a band in Tromsø.
As a producer, he has worked with debutantes (Rebecca Thorsen, Ericå Nøtnes, KG Stave, Ingunn Holmen) and living legends (Alf Folmer, Saul Adamczewski (Fat White Family, Insecure Men). As a cultural mediator, Mark Steiner started Galleri Schaeffers Gate 5 in 2011, a not-for-profit cultural venue and exhibition venue for art and live music in the heart of Grünerløkka. Since 2018, he has also worked on occasion as a voluntary booking agent for Kafé Hærverk in Oslo. This man believes that international creativity should be an integral part of Oslo's vibrant cultural life.
Since 2006, Mark Steiner has toured Norway as well as large parts of Europe, Australia and the USA, both alone and with countless various incarnations of his band. He was interviewed on NRK by the "John Peel of Norway," Harald Are Lund, back in 2007. He has also warmed up for and sung on stage with both Madrugada and Mick Harvey. He has also played support for Michael Gira (Swans), Kid Congo Powers (The Gun Club, The Cramps, Nick Cave), Rowland S Howard (The Birthday Party), John Parish (PJ Harvey), and many others. He has played guitar for both Damo Suzuki (Can) and Brooklyn producer Martin Bisi. Mark Steiner has played several times in Iceland, in Tromsø and Tasmania, been on many tours in Australia, Portugal and the Czech Republic, and otherwise all around Europe and both coasts of the USA. He has succeeded in recruiting local band members in Copenhagen, Prague, Melbourne, Paris, Berlin, Lisbon, Athens, Helsinki, New York ... and of course at home in Oslo.
Mark Steiner debuted as a solo artist in 2007 with the EP “Fallen Birds," recorded in Paris (with Dimi Dero, Tex Napalm, Lisa Barel, Sofy Perez and Delphine Ellis), New York City (with Susan Mitchell and brothers Christopher Mele & Peter Mele) and in Oslo (with Kenneth Simonsen, Eirik Bjarghov, Raymond Jensen, Knut Frøysnes and Eivind Schou).
In 2009 came the album "Broken", a collection of original songs that were recorded in Oslo, Dortmund, New York City and Melbourne, and which was then licensed by Australian label Z-Man Records, and which features a cast of characters too long to list here.
The album “Saudade” (2014-15) under the artist title Mark Steiner & His Problems was in production for almost three years, and was mixed by New York legend Martin Bisi, along with co-producers Henry Hugo and Mark Steiner. In true Steiner-style, the record was first recorded in Mark Steiner's Stagger Home Studio in Oslo, and then overdubbed by various guest artists both physcally in Norway and digitally by others in many other places around the globe.
More recently, he has recorded a couple of duets with Norwegian Line Saus. "Six Feet Under" was launched as a single and music video in 2018, and then the single "Waltz in the Vapor" in 2019, newly launched in May 2021 on the album of the same title via FaJo Records, which finally got to be celebrated with a release party and concert in Tromsø in March 2022.
Since 2018, he has also collaborated with Norwegian songwriter / vocalist / guitarist Monica Røise (The Violets) in the side project Sorrow & The Sea, which will also finally release their self-titled debut album later in 2023.
In January 2021, Mark Steiner started a new exciting collaboration project with vocalist and debutante Ingunn Holmen. Now they work together on songwriting and recording new songs, and have already performed live in Norway and internationally (Iceland, Berlin, Athens, New York City, Charleston).
Another dedicated collaborator is legendary Czech violinist Pavel Cingl, who Steiner has performed with in many countries over the years, and who has been contributing regularly both live and in the studio with various projects since long before the album "Saudade" was first released in 2014. Pavel will also be appearing on some new recordings and live performances in 2023.
Now in 2023, Mark Steiner is working on three studio projects as an artist, musician and producer:
• Sorrow & The Sea (self-titled album, autumn 2023)
- music/text by Monica Røise and Mark Steiner
• Ingunn Holmen (singles spring 2023; album autumn 2023)
- music/text by Ingunn Holmen and Mark Steiner
• Mark Steiner & His Problems “Black Hole” LP (September 2023)
©2018 Tom Garretson photography / used with permission
©2009 John Hughes photography / used with permission