What is your name and role within Marsicans?
Hello. I’m Rob and I play bass, keyboards sing and play guitar a bit when I’m allowed.
Where are you currently based?
You’ve had a hectic touring schedule this year, playing with the likes of Hippo Campus, Clean Cut Kid and JAWS, what are the biggest challenges of touring so often?
There are the obvious things like being tired and missing home, but I think the biggest challenge we face when touring so much is finding the time to write. We’re the kind of band who get together in a dingy rehearsal room to write songs, rather than using laptops and stuff, so despite having hundreds of ideas in our heads, we can’t really bring an idea to its fruition whilst on the road.
What do you most and least enjoy about constantly touring?
The best thing is meeting new people. Being on tour puts you in a really unique position in so far as the schedule of each day is the same, but the days themselves are entirely different. The environment around you changes and with that there are a whole host of new and interesting people to hang out with. We don’t take that for granted. The worst thing is probably being cooped up in a van for hours on end, but we have found ways of dealing with that… (We may or may not be writing a terrible sitcom.)
Favourite show of the year and why?
Koko in Camden supporting our friends in Hippo Campus. The venue is nothing short of majestic and the crowd was amazing that night. The HC boys also invited us on stage to sing with them on their set closing song which was really special.
How do you prepare for each show?
We make time to do vocal warm-ups together, often in a relaxed fashion over a beer but we always do the same thing. The habitual nature of that gets us into the headspace that we’re about to play a show. Just before we go on, we also have a silly ‘hands in the middle’ moment like we’re in a sports team. The current version is completely ridiculous and far too inappropriate for this interview!
You’ve also recently announced your highest profile tour to date for March next year:
01 Mar – TBA
02 Mar – London, Borderline
03 Mar – Bristol, Louisiana
07 Mar – Glasgow, Attic
08 Mar – Manchester, Deaf Institute
10 Mar – Leeds, Church
The band signed to LAB Records at the start of 2017, how have things changed since the signing?
Our releases have been bigger and better with each cycle and our team has grown with them. It’s great to be working with like-minded individuals who want nothing but the best for our band. To be able to draw from the label’s experience when moving forward is pretty great. It means we get to focus on what we always wanted to do which is write tunes and play shows.
What are the benefits and drawbacks if any of being signed to a label?
I think it really depends on the label. We have heard some truly harrowing tales about record labels coming in and taking over creative control, pushing or pulling bands in enough directions to lead ultimately to their demise, as well as labels scooping up bands just to shelve them whilst another priority act corners a market. That being said, our label has opened lots of new doors for us, and we have friends in bands who are doing incredible things in partnership with bigger (and often considered to be more totalitarian) record labels. The main thing we have taken from our experience is to retain as much control as we can over our own careers. If something doesn’t feel right then it probably isn’t!
Who are you listening to at the moment?\
I’m really into Matt Maltese. He’s a singer songwriter who pens achingly beautiful piano ballads. There is a certain ‘bond theme’ quality to some of his choruses and it’s really quite arresting.
What equipment do you use?
I’m currently playing a pair of 1978 Fender Musicmasters (both 4 and 6 string versions), a heap of quite broken effects pedals and a Nord Rack 2 synthesiser.
How did Marsicans start?
The other three boys met in school, started a band for fun. I joined in after we finished university when we all decided to try and be popstars for real.
Who takes care of the song writing, and what influences your sound?
We all have a role to play in the writing process but we usually start with the bones of an idea written on the guitar or piano by James or myself. It’s then taken into the aforementioned dingy rehearsal room to be embellished into a full band arrangement. Our influences are very varied and can often change weekly depending on what we are all listening to. Who knows, maybe our next tune will sound like Matt Maltese.
Favourite food and place to hangout?
Fajitas or pizza and you can’t make me choose so don’t try. Maybe a fajita pizza would be the ultimate, but I’ve yet to see it done. My personal favourite place to hangout is in bed but that’s because I’m a total sloth so I’ll go with the place we hang as a band: Oporto, a bar in Leeds or ‘the best bar in the world’ if you ask anyone in Marsicans.