My Week: Mark Holub

The New Jersey-born drummer and his UK jazz band Led Bib were nominated this week for the Mercury Music Prize for their album 'Sensible Shoes'
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The Independent Online


Today we're told we need to be at the Hospital Club at 12pm tomorrow. They don't tell you why but we know that that's when and where they're announcing the Mercury Music Prize shortlist, so we pretty much know what's coming. In the evening I meet up with the rest of my jazz group, Led Bib, and we chat about the implications of our little band being nominated and what we'd have to do.


As we wait to get into the Hospital Club we suddenly start getting all these texts, saying "Oh my God, you guys are up for the Mercury" and things like that. We do an afternoon of interviews and have a couple drinks to calm my nerves. Then I come home to Walthamstow and speak for ages to our label and distributor. I have to then turn off my computer and phone and say "Right, I'm going to have fun". We all meet up for some drinks and have a bit of a laugh. It's an amazing and tiring day.


I spend the day at home dealing with problems. The first problem is that we're out of CDs and stores want to stock the album. We also don't have any gigs planned for August so we get some booked in. I have a solo gig in the evening in east London. I play to five people, two of whom are in the band. This brings me back to earth but it's nice to know that nothing's changed! Sleeping hasn't been great, though, because I'm so wired and excited.


It's hard to sort out all the things that are arising from the nomination, like publishing deals and things. I spend a lot of the day calling people up to ask for their opinion on matters. I assume everyone else who is nominated has a manager who makes all these decisions, but I'm our manager, so it's hard to know what's quite right. I then go on a radio show before meeting my girlfriend who I've barely seen all week, even though we live in the same house.


Ronnie Scott's jazz club get in touch and say they want us to play there. It's like, "Wow! Ronnie Scott's is calling!" It's amazing. I then meet a couple of the other guys and we play basketball, which I've never done before. It's been non-stop all week but absolutely unbelievable. I'd like to see the Invisible win. I think we're really unlikely to win, but what an amazing thing if they awarded it to a jazz group. The Sun and NME would be up in arms but I think some people would appreciate that. We've been bowled over by all the support. It allows you a break into the mainstream audience. I truly believe in this music and I love the guys that I play with. Hopefully people can sense it's the genuine article. Give it a try, maybe you'll like it. What's interesting is that on Tuesday people from the prize came up to us and said, "You're not in competition with each other. These are the 12 albums of the year. You're all winning." It's cheesy but it's true; we've already won.