Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Interviews:: Dave Marsh

Dave Marsh has released his debut solo record after 20 years in the biz. It's the first release on Joel Plaskett's label - New Scotland records - and it's really good. What else do you need to take a listen? Some Q&A from the man himself? Well, here you go.

HH:: The True Love Rules is your first solo record after 20 years as a musician. What made you decide to release your own material and what did you want the record to say to listeners?
DM:: It would have been unfair to deprive music fans any longer. Also, the way things are today you have to pretty much take it upon yourself, because, y 'know, this ain't exactly the golden age of radio. And that's another good reason to kick against the pricks. And the listeners will hear what they want to hear. Hopefully I'm not talking about anything people don't get.

HH:: You touch on so many influences in your songs, but never lose your own identity or fragment the album into individual thoughts or ideas. So I wonder how long you were working on the songs? Were some written years ago or were these all written specifically for the album?
DM:: Picking Up the Pieces and Forsaken By The Beautiful People were written and demoed three or four years ago , but most came from the regular writing spells of the last two years. Much of it's obviously about relationships. That's definitely a theme. The thing seemed to gain it's own momentum and the album took shape naturally, especially after True Love Rules and Darling You came tumbling out. They came in the dozens eventually and it had to be reduced to something not too sprawling.

HH:: After years of being in a part of successful bands like the Superfriendz and the Emergency, how difficult is it for you to step out from behind the kit and be in the spotlight? Which do you prefer?
DM:: I'd led bands on guitar before both the Super Friendz and The Emergency so it wasn't completely new. But it' had been awhile. It's a lot of work. Drums can take it out of you sometimes, but there's a nice bit of anonymity tucked away behind the kit. With the drums you can really shape the whole performance quite easily - or if you're not careful, pull the rug right out from under 'er. Up front it's all showbiz.

HH:: Halifax seems to be getting it's name back out there with some local acts getting national attention. How do you think Halifax has changed since the first big influx of bands like Thrush Hermit, Sloan and the Superfriendz?
DM:: Well, nobody had the internet, for a start. Or computer home recording. Or $6 beers. Sounds great doesn't it? Really I haven't noticed a big difference in the way bands form, or play their shows. Maybe in the advertising of shows, getting the word out. There's still only 3 or 4 small venues that most bands play in.

Whatever hasn't changed probably doesn't need to because this town always produces a creative scene. The universities keep turning and NSCAD especially stirs the pot, people come and go constantly. I guess the main difference is that bands and singers have had some national success and haven't had to leave town. I mean there seemed to be an entire generation of musicians and artists that moved to Toronto. And now they come to our shows when we play there.

HH:: You recorded with Joel, who you obviously have a great working relationship with, and released the album on his label. How important is that family feel when it comes to trusting your label is going to do the right thing and let you create the record you want?
DM:: Yeah, well, the album came before the record label. I'm not sure if he'd been mulling it over in his head the whole time but it worked out great for the record. Joel was invaluable in recording the record , we reference a lot of the same things and for a couple of A type characters we know when to give and take. It's cool that this new album is riding out with this new label. There's energy there that is double barreled.

HH:: A lot of your peers contribute to the record. How did the process work? Did you write all the parts or just start playing with them and letting the sound evolve from people that you trust musically?
DM:: I laid down all the bed tracks and the arrangements were inevitable , so the structure was already there . I just knew that I wanted to have friends play on it . Didn't matter what , just bring a flavour. Charles hums this la la at the end of Pieces and it just kind of made it for me and Mike Lewis bangs the hell out of one note on the piano at the end of Move You Around and it's one of my favourite bits on the record. I wanted Tim Brennan to play some bass because I knew he'd bring some ace mojo with him, too. I guess I could have played everything on every track but that's probably doing a disservice to the song. Rock and Roll isn't about going it alone.

HH:: Lots of thing have changed for musicians - how they get heard, make money, sell records, book shows - because of the internet and blogs. What is your personal take on the whole situation?
DM:: For me it all comes down to the live performance. Gigging. That's where the communion takes place. I guess the ability to reach people is the best thing about the current situation. There such availability to self production of music that things can get watered down a bit. It's overwhelming sometimes trying to take in all that's happening even in your home town. Maybe Sly Stone is right and everybody is a star.

Posted at 3:30 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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