Last day of Bingley Music Live, and with it our last interview with the hilarious Yorkshire guys from Marsicans. We have a good laugh talking about music, touring, friendship, skinny-dipping and breaking into strangers house… oops!
Marsicans are James (lead vocals/guitar), Oli (guitar), Rob (bass/keys) and Cale (drums).
UpKoming: So for those who don’t know you, can you tell us a little bit more about yourself, who were you before the band and how did you end up being Marsicans?
James– Three of us met in school and we did the old ‘let’s start a band’ thing, and we did, and we were terrible for a while and then we met Rob and we became a slightly less terrible. And now we’re Marsicans!
Oli– And that’s slightly less terrible.
Rob– And we’ll continue to be slightly less terrible, fingers crossed, until…
J– Rob was in a different band and then we joined together and lived together.
O– There’s a love story between James and Rob!
R– James used to take me out for coffees. The cheapest dates…
I ship this! When was it?
J– Uhm.. four years ago? That is 2013!
You’ve already got 2 EP released, one new single that we just heard, do you plan on doing an album maybe?
O– We’d love to do an album.
J– There will be an album. Definitely!
O– At some point.
R– We’re kinda a bit like, you only got one chance to release your first album so we really want it to be right, we really want everything to feel right by the time we get there.
J– We could release an album next week but it’s not there, so we just keep releasing until we are there then hopefully people will like it.
O– So this is an inside scoop, we’re not going to release an album next week.
Do you have a writing routine? Do you start by the lyrics and then the melody?
R– Usually either James or myself or like doing a bit of a song, either on piano or acoustic guitar, like, something either a lyric or a melody or something will spark and then we take it into our rehearsal studio and kind of everyone there put their little touch and then it becomes a full band song.
J– Sometimes it’s like full path, like you know what you want to sound like. Then other songs, like ’Too Good’ for example, that was just riff and kind of vocal melody. It was just the riff! Just the riff! And then the song was written in about half an hour. It changed a bit of course, but it just kind of, when we’re all together it’s just… kind of different.
When you write a song, do you think more about how it’s going to sound live or the recorded version?
O– I think we are a live band.
J– We’re a bit heavier, I think we’re like, we got a heavier sound live than on record, it’s a little bit more clean and poppy.
O– That’s just because we can’t play properly live.
R– We wouldn’t have a back or a big studio, or have like an orchestra or something.
J– Speak for yourself, I’d love to!
R– Unless we earn lots of money.
We just saw your performance and you were laughing the whole set… especially you (pointing at Oli), all the time!
Marsicans– Yes! (burst out laughing)
Is it complicated when you’re in the studio to work together?
Marsicans– No it’s not!
J– It’s very easy because we’re all very comfortable telling each other to shut up, or like, we don’t mind just being brutal with each other and that’s really helpful because there’s never arguments, well there are arguments but friendly arguments, and it’s just kind of…
R– I think we’re all like, good enough friends to be able to speak to each other in a quite brutal way.
J– And don’t take it personally.
R– No one gets offended or upset about anything, so we just get on with things.
O– There’s too many biscuits flying around, if you don’t like someone you just have a biscuit and go…
Cale– And come back in 5min.
So who’s the most serious in the band?
R– Probably me.
O– When it comes to recording, to vivid ideas, he’s a gift.
R– I’m definitely the most serious.
J– If we change it to miserable I got you!
R– Miserable but then devilish good looking so you know…
And who’s the worst? The one always joking around?
C– We have silly moments, like if things have been a little bit intense for a long period of time, like for example you (talking about James) will get really silly, like stupid silly.
R– I feel like you’re the silliest though. (talking about Oli)
J– I think Oli is the silliest.
He looks like the silliest on stage! So what are your main inspirations?
C– Heavy music for me.
R– Yeah we all have different, like Cale is really into metal, James doesn’t listen to anything that is not an indie band.
J– Or The Beatles!
R– Oli is into Taylor Swift. Like literally just Taylor Swift and Kanye West. I am hip hop. But I don’t know, musical influences are very varied and we just mix some things that we like and try to manipulate that into an indie band.
O– We all have our kind of, our own areas of music and we always tell each other like ‘oh listen to this’.
R– We’ve opened each other’s eyes to music that we perhaps wouldn’t listen to, it’s quite a healthy mix.
J– Me and Cale want to turn that into Rage Against Machine from now on but these two others…
You have a tour coming soon, what are you the most excited about?
O– We got two tours, the next tour is Clean Cut Kid and next Jaws in November.
R– I’m excited about being on tour again, it’s so much fun. It’s a routine, because when you’re touring we wake up and it’s like: having breakfast, drive to the venue, do soundcheck, play show, go to the hotel, so our lives are pretty routine. And when we’re on tour it’s just pretty cool to know exactly what we are going to do that day and that week, and so I like that, but it’s just fun being with your mates on the road.
Do you have an anecdote of one thing that happened at a gig or on tour? You’re all like ‘I know something but I don’t know if I should say it!’
C– Bournemouth? Skinny-dipping?
J– I’ll leave you to that.
R– It’s not an amazing story.
O– Last night of the tour that we last did, we were staying in Bournemouth, we all dropped our gear off at the hotel and then we went skinny-dipping at midnight, just swimming in the sea, and telling to each other, ‘oh this is nice’…
J– ‘That was a fun tour!’
R– Just hoping that all our clothes wouldn’t get stolen.
J– That’s about as rock’n’roll as it gets really.
O– There was a time in Basingstoke when Rob and our manager tried to break into someone’s house.
R– We were touring and we were staying at one of the support act’s houses and we got given the wrong address and we turned up at about 3am at this house, the wrong house, and couldn’t get in. We were told the door was open so I climbed over the fence of the back garden to try the back door, and then like the light came on I had to run out the garden.
C– These people at this address had been robbed two weeks earlier.
R– So that was pretty terrifying and then we just sat in the van, drinking warm lager for about two hours, so these guys came home from a club they were at with the guy and we could get in.
C– That was fucked.
You just played at Leeds Fest, how was it?
J– I think it’s the best show we’ve done, because years ago we were the kids that were going to Leeds Festival because it’s 15 minutes from our house so it was a real moment playing there, pass this.
R– There was about two or three thousand people in that massive tent, because we were on the Thursday night, we were the only band on at that time, which kind of meant that everyone who was there was desperate to see our band.
So you prefer playing in your hometown?
J– I don’t think that we prefer.
O– There is more expectations I think, we kind of think that we are going to have a good crowd because we are from the area and it’s not always the case but when it is the case it’s very good.
R– You have something to prove in your hometown, because you’ve got friends and family there so you’ve got a little bit more pressure while as if you go to the end of the country or to another country there’s no pressure for anyone to turn up.
O– We’ve been to Paris in January and we didn’t expect anyone to be there, but it was a really busy room. It was James’ birthday.
R– It was very surreal.
J– It was at The International? L’International? (trying to sound French) Just pretend you’ve heard of it. Can you hear our Yorkshire accent? You know we are from Yorkshire…
We can understand you but when we arrived here it was our first time in North England, it was quite hard.
O– Oh wow! That was a real experience.
Marsicans– (yelling ‘hello’ with a strong Yorkshire accent)
If you could headline any venue tomorrow, what would it be?
J– Alexandra Palace or Madison Square Garden because it’s big.
C– Rock in Rio.
R– Any capital city in the word that has a big venue. I think we just want to play to as many people as we can.
J– Red Rocks in Grand Canyon.
R– Basically if anyone offers us a gig we will just play it. Or Space! On the Moon, playing football.
Well, maybe in a few years! So what do you think about the link between social media and bands today?
R– It’s very strong!
J– We love it, it’s great fun, we always have a great time on Twitter because people can just message you whatever they want and you just see it, no one really cares what you put as long as it’s nothing controversial or offensive. If you’re on Facebook, you can’t just write the rubbish you do on Twitter.
R– It’s weird that world that we live in, how everyone lives their lives through their phone. Because we have to do social media stuff for the band we are all quite aware of it. When we got gig we see kids with their phones, we’re quite analytical about social media. It’s a weird position to be in, having to do it as part of the band.
O– Twitter is kind of the best because sometimes I get bored and like to write post and I say things like ‘oh post a picture with the t-shirt on your dog’, sometimes they do and there’s a dog in a Marsicans tee shirt!
R– There’s a girl in California who keeps tweeting us for the past year and a half. We aren’t lucky enough to play in California at the moment but it’s amazing to know that your music travels around the world and someone really appreciates you that much to buy your merch. And that’s the thing about the internet, it just connects you immediately with people around the world.
O– Yeah Zuckerberg!
R– (taking another voice) And yeah that’s why I started the website Facebook and it’s doing quite well.
Thanks guys! Are you going to see any gig today?
J– Get Inuit! We love The Wombats too!
Interview by Laurine Payet and Léna Villari.