Fresh off a tour with sleepmakeswaves, the genre-rejecting band Marlow talked with Larry Heath about what they’ve learnt on the road, why they refuse to be pigeon-holed, and what’s in store for them in the next months.
You’ve been running around Melbourne all day today. How’s it all been going?
Good, we’ve been making good time on the road, no major hiccups in terms of gear and getting everything sorted for each show, so everything’s running smooth.
Logistically, things are going smooth.
And it keeps morale high. Show-wise, things are good too. We’re picking things up as we go, this is the longest set of shows we’ve done sequentially, so there’s been a few learning curves for us, but all positive things.
You’ve got a few shows coming up next month, I believe. You’ve got a few shows coming up next month, I believe. 20th October in Sydney.
That’s the big one, the big single launch at the Annandale [Hotel]. So this is the last run of shows with sleepmakeswaves, we’re in St Kilda tomorrow night, and we’ve got a couple of our own in Newcastle, Canberra… An acoustic one on the central coast…
And that’s just going to keep you going until the big one. So, how are you feeling about the music? Is the new single leading to something, or is it all you’re focused on now?
Well the last two singles that we’ve done have been about a year apart, and both times when we recorded them, we’ve done another two or three. So we’ve got quite a few in the bank, just trying to work out how we release them, whether we do an EP or an album. I think we’re going to be writing again anyway, and see what comes out of that, and then work out a plan for next year.
Fair enough. And beyond the Annandale date, is there going to be much more touring for the rest of the year?
We’re still trying to figure that out. We were discussing that on the car trip on the way up. Maybe might do another Melbourne run, cause Melbourne’s cool. We love you guys down here. We want to end the year on a high note, but November and December are kind of the party months, ‘cause summer’s there, and everyone’s getting ready for the end of the year. Some good gigs do pop up, but we feel like October 20 is a nice peak. Something we’ll definitely like.
We should get you guys on the Soundwave bill or something like that.
I missed a heartbeat just then. Why not, that’d be great!
It’s not a bad line-up this year.
I know! Even more released today. Killswitch Engage, Norfolk, The Chariot, The Vandals… A couple of bands I like, anyway, which is good. Great stuff. Expensive tickets.
Just gotta get on the bill, it makes it a lot cheaper! Well, not really. It might make it more expensive because you have to travel for a couple of shows or something…
We’re not too worried about those expenses…
That money comes together! So how have the shows with sleepmakeswaves been going?
Amazing. We’re good friends of theirs, so it’s an absolute privilege to watch them every night, and not just performances as in their set. When they walk into a venue, they just seem like old road dogs already. It’s just a pleasure absorbing everything and working with them – on a personal level, but musically as well, they’re one of my favourites. It’s sad, this is our last show with them, but fingers crossed they’ll have us back to do more.
Have a few commiseration beers later.
We’ll have to mention that on stage later. Awesome group of guys. They really know what they’re doing, they’re really committed, there’s no mucking around… They’ve just got such a strong group of people that support them, especially with their genre and all of that. When we did a Sydney show, I think we hit 300 [ticket] sales, excluding door list and bands, so that just goes to show that there are people thinking outside the square when it comes to genres and sub-genres of music, which is great to see.
And how have the crowds been responding to you guys?
I think they’ve been… positively surprised.
That’s a good way to put it!
I guess we’re not as experimental as some of the other bands on the line-up. We do have our little flourishing moments of that kind of experimental sound, but I think that that’s the good thing to have in the line-up, is something that’s a bit left of centre to what you’re expecting, going by what the headlining band’s doing. So yeah, we’ve had some good chats at the merch desks, with people who like what we do.
That’s gotta be encouraging.
Yeah, it is. And we were talking about it today, how we’re sort of flexible with how we can slot into different genres. Elements of our music can fit with traditional pop rock, down to experimental instrumental stuff. I think that’s good. Except every time we read something about ourselves, the genre changes. Or someone says, ‘What’s your genre?’ and I’m like, ‘Man, if I knew, I would tell you.’ One of the last reviews was like “psychedelic grunge”, I’ve never heard of that term before, so that was quite interesting. Or, “anthemic rock”, which is in press toady. That was a good one. I mean, as long as they’re not calling it “poo”.
It’s kinda cool and refreshing ‘cause it shows that we do sit in between that sub-genre and people can’t quite pick us, or put us into little pigeon holes. We like that. We want people to be able to say, ‘that’s Marlow. That’s Marlow’s sound,’ as opposed to, ‘Marlow are a rock band,’ or, ‘a progressive rock band,’ or, ‘an experimental band,’ so. We like that.
Well, definitely. I mean, if someone doesn’t stand in the crowd and go, ‘they sound like Blink-182,’ or, ‘they sound like Metallica,’ that isn’t bad.
It’s a really frustrating question, ‘what do you sound like?’ or ‘what’s your genre?’ because if it was easy to answer, it’d be boring.
Well, definitely keep that going. From what you’re learning on the road now, and what you’re experiencing, is that translating into music you’re writing? How often are you guys getting together and making new music?
We haven’t got together to write for a while, in the lead-up to this tour… the longer this tour progresses, the more I find that I want to lock down and start writing again. You prepare yourself so much for the tour, ‘cause there’s so many logistics – it’s not like turning up and playing, it’s marketing activity, there’s stuff online, there’s all these things that com into play, so it’s exhausting. So the last thing you have time for is to sit yourself down for eight hours and lock in and do some writing.
Which is ironic, because that’s what you’re supposed to be doing!
Yeah! But it’s definitely burning inside though, I’m keen to get back into that phase of being in a band. A lot of what’s going on in terms of touring and whatnot is going to influence what we do in the studio when we write. It’s definitely inspiring, we’re just waiting to get in and get started.
And – we were talking before, that we both play Temple Run to kill time when we’re, travelling, because it’s fucking addictive as all hell.
I’ve got Line Runner but I haven’t played that in a while.
What’s Line Runner?
You’ve gotta jump, and duck, and jump, and duck…
Oh it’s that similar sort of thing, but 3D and with fire and shit.
Usually, we’re either sleeping or fucking around on the laptop or talking shit. Just anything to keep the time flowing. It does get a bit Groundhog Day, like you find that you’re sitting in the car and you have these two hour bursts of periods where you’re talking, and then three or four hours where no-one’s saying a word. Like, silence. You’re just in the zone, or thinking about things, or sleeping, or stuff like that.
The good thing about us four is that we’ve known each other for so long, and we’re all “brothers of the soul” thing, so it’s really easy to say ‘respect my space,’ or ‘I need some time to zone out,’ or ‘I need some time to go and do my own thing, so we’re really cool like that.
Fair enough! Thanks, for taking the time, guys. Best of luck with the show tonight, and of course the big one in Sydney next month.
Thanks for having us, dude!
Get tickets to their upcoming single launch on Saturday 20th October here: http://tickets.oztix.com.au/default.aspx?Event=29647