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I spoke with the jazz/disco/pop/blues trio who were runners up in last year’s Battle of the Bands and have just released their debut EP. Daniel Parry and Jack Schofield are both guitarists/vocalists, and Nick Lound plays ‘face-melting’ sax.
Your début EP is out now! Pleased with it?
Jack: Yeah we are. We were pleasantly surprised with how well the studio time went. We only had a day to do it all, including mixing and mastering so to get 3 done was quite nice. It helped that the sound engineer was a wizard.
Where did you record it?
Nick: We recorded it at the Chairworks in Castlefield. It was produced by David Watts.
Was it hard to know which songs to include?
Dan: Haha, not at all – we only had three in the first place!
Jack: It was a struggle to get them up to scratch before we went in, but nothing gets the creative juices flowing like a deadline.
Nick: Stop saying that.
So are you working on more?
Nick: Yeah, the plan is to get a full original set down.
Jack: We’re always writing really, it’s just a case of filtering out the shit.
Who are the band’s influences?
Dan: I don’t think we really have any influences in common really. We all did completely different stuff before we started playing together, so what we do now is a combination of it all.
Nick: Yeah, we all like different stuff. I like funk and the Arctic Monkeys. Dan likes disco and blues. Jack likes John Mayer and shit.
How did you get together?
Nick: Me and Dan played a few open mics together in first year. Jack played at one of them too. We all lived in the same row of townhouses – it just kind of made sense to start playing together. Dan bowed out at the end of first year and me and Jack played with a bass player and cajon player for a while.
What happened to them?
Jack: It was difficult to practice all together. It made sense to just play as a trio because we spend a lot of time with each other anyway.
So you wouldn’t be looking to add anyone else – a drummer or a bassist for example?
Jack: We did have a full kit player and a bassist for a bit as well. We enjoyed the bigger sound, but it was hard to progress as quickly as we do with three of us. We know each other very well as musicians and bounce off each other easier when it’s just us three.
Nick: Everything will most likely come to an end after uni anyway so we only have six months left really.
So no plans to continue after graduation?
Jack: It depends where we all are. If it’s possible then of course we will try, but otherwise we’ll just have one last big summer blow-out and call it quits.
Dan: Me and Nick will probably still be here – we could just do jazz or something…
How could you continue without the face of the band??
Jack: Hahaha I wouldn’t say I’m the face of the band at all. I like to think my role is to stop things getting too complicated. Nick and Dan are unbelievable musicians in what they can do – there’s only so much I can handle. My influences are more poppy than the other two, so in that sense I suppose I keep things simple. But I think it’s our distinctive sound, and cheesy gimmicks like the sax, that have made us stand out.
Nick, how do you feel about being referred to as a cheesy gimmick?
Nick: I wouldn’t call a sax a gimmick. But for the people who have two pints and reveal they know more Katy Perry than Beatles songs, I guess it could be considered a gimmick.
Can you talk me through how you write a song?
Jack: It tends to start with either me or Dan writing the skeleton of a song, then we get together to build it into something we all enjoy playing.
Nick: We often rewrite songs. ‘Soul From Sorrow’ on the EP was originally a full band track, so we reworked it until it fit with two guitars and a sax.
So does whoever comes up with the song originally sing the final version?
Jack: Yeah, it makes sense to do it like that. If you write the lyrics and melody there’s no point getting the other one to learn it. And of course I’m sure we both have reasons for writing the way we do, so singing it makes sense.
Who’s the better singer?
Jack: Without a doubt. It’s just hard when he needs to be playing sax all the time.
Who do you sound like Nick?
Nick: Kim Jong-un.
Jack: I’d compare you to Pavarotti personally. Incomparable tone and resonance.
Any band New Year’s resolutions?
Jack: I think we just need to make the most of the time we have left, write some more tunes and try to get a full original set together so we can show people what we can do at gigs. Obviously the fact we tend to rewrite songs five times before they’re finished isn’t helpful in that respect.
Is it essential though?
Jack: I guess so. It wouldn’t really be a “the Marties” song if we didn’t all sit down together and have an input.
Why are you called the Marties?
All: Why not?
What do you think of the music scene in Lancaster?
Nick: Not great. There’s a few good bands but there aren’t enough venues that support local acts. Yorkshire House is good, but apart from that the pubs are just ok. Go Burrito is a cool little venue as well.
Jack: Almost every pub in town puts acts on, but the support isn’t there – they usually seem to be pretty dead. There is the potential for a great scene, for example the growing late-night funk jam at Apothecary, but that’s pretty niche.
Nick: I think we do ok in town because we play plenty of covers, but a lot of the bands who play all originals struggle I think.
Who do you cover?
Nick: Everyone from Ray Charles to Blackstreet.
Jack: With covers I’d say it’s less about the songs we pick and more the way we do them. Obviously popular songs go down well, but we do like to think we change them up.
Why do you think the attendance can be poor?
Nick: On campus, I think students get sick of seeing the same bands over and over again. And I don’t just mean ones who are campus-based: Jeramiah Ferrari are a great band but they seem to play here every single week.
Jack: If there was more bands around, the scene would be bigger and would attract a bigger attendance. It’s just a case of building hype around music in Lancaster, instead of it being something in the background to down Jägerbombs to.
Once upon a time the campus music scene was thriving, with names like Bob Marley, Queen and Pink Floyd. Do you think there is the potential for the university to start booking bigger artists again?
Nick: Yes there is. I don’t think they like taking risks at all. They got offered for Snoop Dog to do a DJ set in Sugar which was very pricey but still doable, but they turned him down. Jaguar Skills and Clean Bandit as well.
Jack: Nick’s right about them not taking risks. Big names stopped coming to Lancaster when Sugar opened. They should have carried on getting acts in, like students’ unions do at the unis with academies. Instead we seem to settle for the same old shit every weekend and it’s got the point where no one knows any different. They should be braver, and stick a big MUSIC act on (not a DJ), and see how it goes. I think they’d be pleasantly surprised.
Nick: Sugar could work really well as a proper venue. When you think about it, the main room looks more like a venue than a club.
So who would you book if you were in charge?
Nick: Jamie Cullum! That’d be mint.
Dan: I’d love to see Chic in Sugar.
Nick: Course you would. I think he costs about a quarter of a mil.
Dan: Just raise accommodation prices!
Jack: A big name that would pull in everyone. Someone like George Ezra who has broken through.
Nick: I think old names would go down well too. Like the Hoosiers or something.
Best bar to play in on campus?
Dan: Pendle – best sound system on campus.
Jack: Agreed, they usually get a good turnout and the atmosphere is really good.
Nick: County. It’s a shit venue.
Jack: It’s hard to keep people interested when there’s a massive double door between the bar and the stage.
Nick: But no, Pendle is usually class. It’s where we won our heat for last year’s Battle of the Bands.
Were you bitter about coming second?
Jack: A bit at first. But BC555 played really well – it could have gone either way. We played just before the fireworks at Campus Fest anyway, even if we weren’t on the big stage.
Nick: We got a really good reception at Campus Fest. Playing ‘Titanium’ was awesome – we had loads of people singing along.
Jack: Even ‘Home to You’, off our EP, went down really well.
I love Campus Fest. There should be more stuff like that.
Jack: Underpass rave, anyone?
Nick: That’s another thing, I’d love to see a proper headliner at Campus Fest. It would mean more to me winning Battle of the Bands if you got to support a proper headliner.
You entering BotB again this year?
Nick: Potentially. If we enter I’d like to play the Grizedale heat outside. Then again, it’ll probably rain.
Jack: If we don’t enter, and even if we do, it’d be nice to see Mat Baker win. He’s really improved since last year – should have been in the final.
Nick: Mat Baker is class. It wasn’t fair him being in the same heat as us and BC555.
What song would you have played at your funeral?
Jack: ‘Wonderful Life’ – Alter Bridge.
Dan: I’d like ‘Zero to Hero’ from Hercules.
Nick: I’d have ‘One Day Like This’ by Elbow. And then when it goes ‘throw those curtains wide’, my coffin goes into the furnace.
If you could be a celebrity for a day, who would it be?
Dan: Patrick Stewart.
Jack: Paolo Nutini.
Nick: Makes sense, he’s devoted his life to becoming him. I’d have Guy Martin, I think he’s a legend. The fact he still builds trucks even though he has won the TT and had loads of TV shows is just quality.
If you could have a pint with three people?
Nick: James Blunt, Guy Martin and Jack Johnson.
Dan: Shirley Bassey, Nile Rodgers and Eric Clapton.
Jack: Liam Gallagher, Axel Rose and Thom Yorke. That wouldn’t last very long.
How many ‘saxual’ puns does it take until they’re no longer funny?
Jack: Fingering never gets old.
Nick: Sometimes you have to move onto a bit of blowing though.
Finally, why should people pay for your EP when U2 have given their whole album away for nothing?
Nick: We need the money. Bono doesn’t.
Dan: Because if you buy it there’s a bonus hidden track sung by Nick Lound.
The Marties’ self-titled EP is available to download now on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and Amazon. Look out for them in town and on campus this term!