music is goodtime groove, otherworldly happy music that combines Acrimony-like
stoned sounds with Blind Melon-like melodies. Heavy, spacey, and blissful. The
result is a toe-tappin', music to drink beer to (among other substances!). I was
so taken with their new release "Kings Thursday on the Friday Street", that
I decided to interview the lads and they kindly responded from their home in
Scotland. So without further adieu, here are Kevin, Malky, Graeme and Scott
collectively known as Marshan.
Heavy: Tell us the storied history of Marshan. Where, when and how did the band form, who's in the band, what
play, that kind of thing.
Four fuck ups met and ruled ... thank you, goodnight.
Informative as always Mr Thomson, how about we let Graeme handle this one...
Ok we originally formed as Dying Sun back in 1996. At that time we were playing
more doom oriented stuff, although bizarrely enough, it had a punk influence,
which led to us being described as stoner doom. At that time the line-up was the
same as Marshan except we had a separate singer.
Yeah, he really didn't work out, leading to Graeme (and myself) taking up the
vocal duties. Malky hits stuff, me and Graeme play guitar, and Kevin plays bass
and makes weird trippy space noises. Graeme does most of the vocals, and I help
out now and then.
Custom Heavy: I'm
going out on a limb here... I think the Marshan is the first grooverock band
that I've heard of that came out of Scotland. Give us your take on the Scottish
rock scene. Are there any other bands we should be aware of?
The Scottish scene is mainly based in heavy stuff, mainly Death Metal and
hardcore. There is not much real rock around. There are a number of indie bands
who are doing interesting stuff such as Mogwai,
but in terms of the stuff that Custom Heavy mainly deals with, we are the only
Scottish band doing it as far as I know. To tell you the truth, the British
scene is actually not as large as the rest of the world. I mean you've got bands
such as Orange Goblin, Hangnail, Blackrock and Khang, but there's probably only
about 20-30 bands in the UK who are doing this kind of stuff. I guess there
might be a lot more who have still to make their name, but in terms of bands
with any kind of profile, there are not actually that many.
The good bands in the local scene around Glasgow tend to be based on heavier
ideals, like the phenomenal One Root and a hardcore band called Divide which we
dig, but I've not heard from them in the last couple of years. Because of that
we are looking to contacts outside of Glasgow to get relevant gigs.
Custom Heavy: Marshan
uses two vocalists, both of them equally capable...just for the record who is
singing what? And why two vocalists? Was this one of those things where both
Graeme and Scott wanted to sing and wouldn't shut-up so in order to shut them up
the band decided to have both guys sing?
Graeme: Ok, Scott sings the majority of
"Purple Demon Blues", while I sing the rest of the stuff. After we got
rid of our previous singer, none of us were really too keen to do the singing,
in fact we still pretty much see ourselves as guitarists who just happen to
sing. Anyway, we decided that some kind of singing was required, so Scott and I
stepped up to the mic. It makes it more interesting having two vocalists as
well, cause Scott has a completely different style to me. Although I do the
majority of the singing, Scott will definitely always be involved, he's kind of
the George Harrison of the band.
There's no big singer ego-trip thing going on in the band... it just so happened
that I came up with a melody line for Purple Demon when we were jammin' it out.
It's a case of if it works, go with it... and in the case of Purple Demon,
having me singing seemed to work.
Custom Heavy: Who
are the Marshan influences? There is a dump truck full of groove on the album,
but also a concerted effort to maintain dynamics. In the review, I compared you
guys to a more exciting Acrimony. Would you agree with this?
I guess there's a range of influences, mainly rooted in British rock. Stuff like
Zeppelin, Sabbath and Purple is obvious along with Cream, Thin Lizzy, The
Rolling Stones, Hendrix and Mountain. We also dig old blues such as Robert
Johnson and Howlin' Wolf, rock and roll like Elvis and Chuck Berry and jazz
Good music's good music man, no matter where it comes from... whether it be
Muddy Waters, Thelonious Monk, Black Flag, Stones, Entombed or Nebula. It's all
Lets not forget the modern stuff also - Hangnail, Goblin, Bitchwax, Roadsaw,
I would add AC/DC.
The dynamics comes from listening to stuff like Zeppelin II. The reason why that
album is amazing is because of the range of stuff, from "Whole Lotta
Love" to "Thank You" to "Ramble On". You should always
have a good number of heavier tracks, but I think the listener gets more
enjoyment if you break it up every so often so it doesn't get boring.
The goal is to express a number of moods - to take the listener in a trip if you
We have been compared to Acrimony once before. I only actually have one Acrimony
track on a compilation cd, but I know Tumuli is supposed to be a great album. I
don't mind the comparison, in fact I find it interesting. So far we've had Fu
Manchu, Orange Goblin and now Acrimony. There's a lot of bands doing the Kyuss
thing at the moment, so I guess at least we're sounding like different bands!
Ahh yeah, I kinda see what you mean with the Acrimony comparison I think. Tumuli
is an awesome album, but I'm the only one of us that has it and any similarities
are purely coincidence!! Truely though, they're an great band so it's a pleasure
to be compared favourably to them...
Custom Heavy: I
have always sung the praises of producer Dave Chang in these pages. I think he
brought out the best sounds of the aforementioned Acrimony as well as Orange
Goblin. How did you hook up with Dave? How much has he influenced the Marshan
Graeme: Well, I actually sent your review
through to Dave cause I thought he might use it on his website. Kevin basically
found out how to get in touch with Dave through Darren Sadler who works for
Rocksound magazine (cheers Darren!). We really wanted the best guy we could get,
and we just looked at our albums and Dave Chang seemed to appear on them all.
He's a busy guy so we had to wait about nine months before he could fit us in,
but we put that time to good use though and it definitely paid off.
King's Thursday on the Friday Street was recorded and mixed in five days,
so Dave didn't have much as much time as he would have probably liked. He
obviously got us a pretty good sound, he was the difference between making this
a reasonable demo, to something we could actually release on a label. We're
hoping to get together with him for longer next year to do a proper full length,
and we're sending stuff out to labels now to see if any of them would be
interested in working with us.
We're already thinking about production issues ourselves, and with greater input
from Dave this time around the next record should turn out very interesting.
Custom Heavy: Two of my favorite
tracks on the album are "Deep & Meaningless" and "Needle
Eye". Can you give us the background on these songs both lyrically and
Graeme: "Needle Eye" was actually
a catalyst to us changing our name and parting with our singer. It was pretty
much the first Marshan track, and had a very Sabbath influenced sound. It's
actually quite an odd song for us 'cause most of the stuff we do is more rock
and roll, but I guess that was us mixing our doom stuff with the groove
direction we've now moved into. The lyrics were inspired by one of Scott's
friends who was a heavy duty Christian. In our doom stuff we had a song that
mentioned Jesus Christ, not in any bad way, his name just popped up. Anyway,
this guy seemed to take offence at this, obviously tarring us as Satanists or
something because we were playing heavy music and mixing in religious imagery.
"Needle Eye" was just kind of saying to him that he judged us
unfairly. Marshan don't have religious beliefs, we just like to drink!
"Deep and Meaningless" was the last song written for King's. It
actually wasn't complete and we finished it in the studio. We had decided we
wanted something a bit lighter, and while jamming the song out it suddenly
became heavier at the end in a Stones manner. We decided to do some odd stuff on
this track, like using brushes and stuff. The lyrics are interesting. I guess
the first part is a kind of Love song (I don't mean that in a Celine Dion
manner), but when it speeds up most of the lyrics were made up on the spot.
Actually the last few lines aren't actually English, just a mixture of
syllables. We were basically jamming out ideas in the studio. That's why it's
called "Deep and Meaningless", the first part makes sense, the second
part doesn't. However if you consider the song really deeply you can almost
reverse the last statement. I was coming out with some weird shit at the end,
which I've tried to analyze to work out what the hell my subconscious stream was
saying. I'm not sure what I was singing but I'm sure it makes sense in some way.
Custom Heavy: How about live Marshan? How
have the live gigs been? Who have you played with and where do you guys play?
Kevin: In the past we've had some great gigs
with bands like Alabama Thunder Pussy, Karma To Burn, Orange Goblin, Solstice,
Warning, Sloth, Sally, Khang, One Root and The Blood Divine. Hopefully we'll be
able to get on with some of the US based bands heading over to the UK over the
next 6 months (Karma To Burn + Sixty Watt Shaman, High On Fire + The Atomic
Bitchwax, Bottom, Orange Goblin + Roadsaw, Nebula.....) We need to find the
We've got two shows arranged with a band called Area 54, one in Newcastle (Trillians)
on December the 2nd and one in London (Kings Head) on November the 16th.
Hopefully there will be more confirmed with them soon. We try to jam quite a bit
live, which sometimes backfires. We recently did a tour called the Nu Titans
tour which goes round the UK. As the name suggests it is mainly a Nu Metal
thing, so there we were, sandwiched between all these tight Nu Metal acts,
playing our extended jams and drum solos and things. The kids weren't really
into it, so we tamed it down a bit and that seemed to work a bit more. Basically
we'll play anywhere in the UK that will have us, but there are some plans afoot
to see if we can come across to the US to play a few shows - we'll see what
Custom Heavy: What does the future hold
Rock stardom and legend status
goes the drummer again on his rock star trip - best to ignore him. Who can tell
what the future holds, but if things go our way we will find a label to help
with the funding for our upcoming full length album (again with Mr. Chang) so we
can get a decent length of time to record it. It's gonna be a lot harder than
the Kings session, but we're looking forward to it.
I hate to ruin
the suspense that Graeme has built up in the previous answer, but we're also
thinking of coming over to the US next year to play SHoD IV, and maybe hook up
with another band for a small tour around it. I mailed Rob Levey about it and he
seemed like he might be up for it, so I've sent him off our CD.
Other than that
who knows, but we are ambitious and have a tendency to come up with increasingly
ludicrous ideas as time goes by and turn them into a reality. If we can keep
doing that then it's gonna be a good trip...
Right now we're trying to get out there in England, Scotland, Wales (hell,
anywhere that'll have us!) and play our asses off... show people how rock 'n'
roll should be played!!.
Yeah, we're trying to raise our profile a little with more gigging and some more
publicity hopefully. We're also trying to get to know a few more people in
Europe and the US, this scene is really very global, and it's amazing the cool
bands and people you can meet just by messing around on the internet.
Custom Heavy: Any last words,
observations or advice?
Well firstly thanks to you Chris for all your help, indeed thanks to everyone
involved with this music anywhere. I think there is a really healthy underground
scene going on at the moment, and that's down to everyone involved in this
community. I hope that maybe we can come across to the US to meet up with some
of you, but if any of you are coming across to the UK don't hesitate to contact
Always listen to the purple rabbits in your head... they hold the true secrets
of the Universe.
Its all about the music.
If you ever need entertainment for a party, just give me a call and bring lots
of beer & rum.
Thank you, and
Read the Custom Heavy review of Marshan's "Kings Thursday on the Friday Street"