Following the release of ‘Friends’ – the first in a string of release on LAB Records – and an entrance into 2017 that’s seen them galavanting around Europe with various live dates, Marsicans vocalist/bassist Rob Brander took some time out to answer some questions (and have a cuppa by the sounds of it)…
We can all read press releases, but in your own words, who/ what are Marsicans?
Marsicans are four like-minded individuals who drink far too much tea. When we aren’t consuming tea, we write songs together in a small rehearsal space in Leeds, tell terrible jokes to each other in a battered old Royal Mail van and come dangerously close to falling over each other on stages up and down the UK (and occasionally in Europe).
‘Friends’ is really exciting and completely fresh, where does your sound stem from?
Thank you very much! Our sound is a combination of wide ranging influences, as well as shared musical loves. 80s pop plays a big part in our writing, but then again so does heavy metal. That might sound absurd but I suppose the way we voice our songs changes all the time. One thing we like to have as a constant are the chords, lyrics and melody, which are usually written by myself or James on an acoustic guitar or piano. The band then adds their own musical stamp, which I’d like to think makes each song unique. Sometimes a tune can be synth lead, sometimes more guitar driven. It changes all the time.
And you’ve had support from various radio stations as well as Spotify curators, which is a very new thing. Do you think things like Spotify affect how you release music?
Spotify has changed the way people listen to music, so I think it has definitely changed how music is released. We are still growing as a band, so singles and EPs are the way in which we put out or music at the moment. Spotify have been really supportive and helped our music reach new audiences all over the world by adding us to playlists, which is great when you only have a couple of songs to push, but I can’t help but think playlists are slowly pushing the concept of a full-length album out of people’s consciousness, which I think is a shame.
You’ve spent the best of the start of this year on the road – do you think playing live/going out there and getting fans is arguably more important than being in the studio?
Live music is hugely important to us. We grew up going to shows in run-down venues in Leeds, and that’s how we discovered new bands. There is something special about going to a great show which we feel resonates with you, far more than just listening to a band online. In a time where we all live on the internet, we want to carry that torch. We love being in the studio and creating new music, but I don’t think we would be doing it if we didn’t get to go out and connect with an audience face to face.
With that, do you find time to get into the studio? Can we expect anything new soon?
We always find time between tours to lock ourselves away to write and record. We’ve just signed with LAB Records who are a really cool indie label from Manchester. So there will be more new music this year, as much as we can physically release between our overzealous tea breaks.
Do you think Leeds has influenced your getting into music or even your sound at all?
Leeds has a really great music scene. Multiple music scenes, in fact. There are a few genres that seem to flourish in our fair city, tech and house music being the most recent to blow up. It’s a pretty good place to be making music but I don’t think it has had a direct influence on our sound; only in so far as we all know what it’s like to come from the suburbs in the North of England. That common experience helps us stay close as a band in the big bad world of the music industry.
And what about your lyrics – your sound is mature but ‘Friends,’ in particular, seems to be very youthful. Do you think that sort of mirrors where you guys are in your lives?
I guess ‘Friends’ is a homage to our youth. It deals with the notion of adult life getting in the way of relationships. When we were kids we could always call on our friends for a kick about or when we were a bit older, go and drink cheap cider on park benches (sorry mum). Things were pretty simple. We’re at this weird turning point in our lives where all of our mates seem to have become adults over night. They work 9-5s and only go out on weekends. Because we’re always playing shows we don’t get to see them that often, and that sucks.
Finally, what can we expect from Marsicans from the rest of 2017?
More music, more touring, more tea in hand.
Photo credit: Alice Hadden