WORKAHOLIC // MARK ROBERTS


What do you do?

From 10am to 6pm, I’m the label manager for the Manhattan based, world music record label, Evergreen Music. Then I come home and from 8pm to 2am and run my own budding record label, Stars & Letters, which is currently the light of my life. 

Where is your workspace?

My workspace for Evergreene Music is a 5th story office in Chelsea overlooking the Hudson River filled with over a hundred instruments from all over the world. Stars & Letters is run from of a mixture of Brooklyn cafes and my West Village home. 

How did you get to where you are now?

First and foremost, I’m a compulsive reader and learner. Second, I’ve always made a point never to wait for opportunities to come to me. When labels didn’t come knocking back in the day, I self-released my music. No booking agent? Who cares. I kept at it and worked other jobs to support myself. Passion, in that sense, is kind of like gravity… you stick around long enough in the universe and sooner or later you’ll realize you’ve accumulated this mass of knowledge and experience that starts forming something solid. The final part of the equation for me is formal education and internships. 

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What made you turn to this direction?

I never felt like I had much a choice in the matter, honestly. All I ever dreamed of was creating music and working in music.

 

Was this always your dream job?

Yeah, haha. In fact, I feel like I’ve exceeded my own childhood dreams a bit.

How much of the week is work, how much is play?

It’s all kind of runs together for me at the moment.

How do you find your inspiration?

I’m inspired by my father, who ran his own business successfully for 40 years; my mother, who is the hardest working artist I know and who never ever gives up on her dreams. I’m also perpetually inspired by New York.

 

What has been the most exciting thing you have done with your work, and what is a dream situation you’d like to find yourself in?

Being offered a full-time job running a record label in New York was and is incredibly exciting, as was finishing my first solo album back in 2007. With Stars & Letters, I just released our first EP, so that, too, was a big milestone for me.

How do you define your personal style, work and clothing, etc.

Most of my general aesthetic sensibilities favor minimalism and restraint… swiss typography, abstract expressionism, minimalism, Japanese zenga, etc. My most important sense of style to me is musical style. To define this style would be a vague mixture of Bach, Palestrina, Gorecki, Pixies, Skinny Puppy, Joy Division, and decades worth of amazing electronic music.

Do you listen to music during your workday?

Ha. All the time. I spend a lot of hours on Spotify.

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What’s something someone may not know about you?

All I really want is a family, a Golden Retriever, and a small house in the woods close to the Appalachian Trail.

Anything else you would like to say or for us to know?

Be your own rainbow. Whatever it is you decide to do, just make sure you’re still doing it five years later, and you’ll probably be living your dream by then.

Find out more on Mark and Stars and Letters at www.starsandletters.com.

– Elizabeth Baudouin

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