Anemic   [May 2004]

Rocking on all different levels, Marshan seem to have all the areas covered.

There's just no rules, other than rock 'n' roll that turns to a different page song-in song-out. Scotland quartet, Marshan, is your band that doesn't fit a scene, don't fit a certain dress code and on the final note, don't fit a certain genre. However, rock 'n' roll is what music is all about and Marshan do fit that. Style though? It will leave you pondering until the very end.

One minute its groove, next its stoner, then its blues. It's like one big rock family reunion where every genre under the sun reforms for one big drinking binge down at the local pub.

Marshan are familiar with pubs. They play in them, hell they even drink in them. They have played with bands ranging from Dozer to The Warlocks, which is credit to their sound, as it's the driving force into landing such diverse support slots. While this is going on the Scotland scene continues to grow without them fitting any certain area. Do they give a fuck though? If frontman Graeme Duff's words are anything to go by then I don't think so.

Anemic: Hi Graeme, how are things today, mate?

Graeme: Yeah, not too bad mate, it's raining and it's a Monday, but things could be worse I guess.

Anemic: First off, how did you get the name Marshan?

Graeme: I always wish I had a great answer to this question, but what it boils down to is that as a band we are useless at picking names. Songs don't get named until after they've been recorded, coming up with titles for albums normally delays the whole release. You get the picture. Basically we wanted a band name that didn't paint us into a corner. Names that sound great when you first come up with them can limit your appeal five records down the line when you decide that Hammer of Thor isn't really a great name for your band after all. We just went down the pub, got drunk and somehow ended up with Marshan. It doesn't really mean anything, and none of us hated it, so we just stuck with that.

Anemic: Your new album "Songs from Southern and Baseline" is almost a month old, how has it been received over in the UK so far?

Graeme: So far things have been going good. The reviews we've been getting back have been positive. Things always move a little slower than you would like promotion wise and there is still a lot of work to be done. Compared to our mini album the sales have so far been much improved and that's a pretty good sign.

Anemic: Have you started playing shows on the back of the album?

Graeme: We've done a couple of support shows to Gonga and Dozer in Scotland, but we've still to get a tour sorted. We have a nasty habit of not promoting our current releases when we play, so we've been trying out some brand new shows at the gigs. We get bored with stuff pretty quickly and are always trying to try different things. I guess it doesn't help us much.

Anemic: The album is a mixture of rock n' roll that consists of blues, alt, garage, stoner and groove. How did you jam pack so many forms of rock into one album?

Graeme: We don't really plan what we're going to do. From day one we've never decided that we were going to be a certain type of band. We're basically a guitar-based band, which is limiting enough without deciding that we want to fit into a specific genre. I suppose that it creates some difficulty when you are trying to give your band an identity, but I think that we do have an overall Marshan sound. We just play for the songs, and are always trying to improve and expand our sound.

Anemic: What do your fans say about your experimentation? I mean heaps of bands claim they're "diverse" without directly sounding like it, but you guys are. Not one of your tracks on the album is the same?

Graeme: Good question. When we play live we tend to stick to the more rock based sound, so I guess some people might be surprised when they listen to the record and hear all the acoustic stuff. I would hope that they appreciate that we are trying to deliver something a bit different. The problem with the current music scene is that so many people are mining the same seams. It seams that before the marketing drive that was the 80's scene, bands would try their damnedest not to sound like each other, and I like that attitude. So far the people we've spoken with and have really enjoyed the record.

Anemic: Are each band members’ influences very different? Judging by your different sounds, it seems that this could be the case, is that right?

Graeme: I wouldn't say that we have different influences, I think the core of what we listen to is the same. However, we each tend to stray in different directions as well. I guess when we're on the road you might see these differences more clearly, by the stuff we choose to play in the van. Kevin might play some Kevin Ayers or obscure psych folk, Scott may throw in some Jazz or industrial based stuff, Malky tends to like his classic rock with some stadium rock cheese, and I'll play something like The Band or The Who. We all like to roam round the musical map a bit, and that's really what combines to make our sound.

Anemic: How is the Scottish scene shaping up these days. Franz Ferdinand is on the brink of being huge, this must be a good thing for the Scottish scene?

Graeme: I guess so, I don't really know what difference this will make or not. There are so many bands playing up here, that it really is a big pond. The scene is so diverse and diluted that I don't really see us as fitting into any Scottish scene. Most of the other bands I'm friendly with are from England, mainland Europe or the states. I don't know if record companies will decide to take a closer look up here or not, and it doesn't really bother me, anyway. I'm sure if you look and sound like Franz Ferdinand, then some major label might be interested. That seems to be the way they work anyway. Exploit what's popular until you've saturated the market and then find the next trend.

Anemic: Off the topic of the album and let me congratulate your bassist Kevin, they are the best set of sideburns of have ever seen in my life?

Graeme: (Laughs), yeah, unfortunately the burns are no longer part of the band. He shaved them off last Halloween, and they've not returned since. They're fondly remembered, but I guess they had plans outside the scope of Marshan. I'll keep you updated as to his future facial hair plans.

Anemic: What's the plan for the rest of the year, touring on the album I suppose?

Graeme: Yeah, we're at the moment arranging a few shows. We'll be playing at the Stoned from The Underground festival in Germany in July and are currently looking into getting some more dates sorted out in mainland Europe for that time. There's also work going on to get a UK tour sorted, hopefully we'll have news on that soon. And we're also hitting the studio later in the year to record the follow up, so it's going to get pretty busy soon.