Music Editor Thom Dent attends an exciting night of the best in student underground, amid the atmospheric dinge of Digbeth's MonasteryWritten by Thom Dent on 16th January 2018
Redbrick Meets: Marmozets
Redbrick's Naomi Penn sits down with Sam Macintyre of Marmozets to discuss their exciting return to touring
Ahead of their much anticipated show at Birmingham’s O2 Academy 2, I spoke to Marmozets’
rhythm guitarist Sam Macintyre about their return to touring and the new album.
Naomi: Welcome back, I know you did the warm up shows for Reading and Leeds festivals, but this is the first sort of proper tour you guys have done in a while, so how does it feel to be back?
Sam: Yeah brilliant, every single show so far has been amazing, there’s been lots of energy, it’s really fun.
Obviously the fans are really happy to see you, and I guess one of the main reasons you took such a long break from touring was because of Becca’s injury, so with the new album coming out in January, how much did the injury help or hinder the writing of that, was there any inspiration from it?
I mean we wouldn’t use it as an excuse at all, it was emotional really more than anything, especially with Becca, it really did take it out of her, and she was pretty bummed out about the whole deal. So we weren’t writing, a new album wasn’t our main priority at that moment, we were all completely focused on making sure she was healthy, and that she could actually walk!
“A new album wasn’t our main priority at after Becca's injury, we were all completely focused on making sure she was healthy
So you’ve released two new singles from the new album, ‘Play’ and ‘Habits’, which I absolutely love, but I noticed they’ve got a new sound, and are heading in a different direction to the previous album and EPs. Is there anything specific that inspired this new sound?
Not really, I think when we wrote Weird and Wonderful we were just really young.
Yeah, you guys have been doing it for ten years now, right?
Exactly, so we were very young and we had a couple of years to figure out what we wanted to do, and a while ago we did have another album together, but for us it wasn’t good enough, because it sounded quite similar to Weird and Wonderful and we didn’t want to just release a sort of ‘Part ii’ to that really! We wanted to challenge ourselves a bit more with some of the stuff we were writing, and it’s come out the way it has. But with this new record you know there are songs like ‘Play’ and ‘Habits’, but there’s some really different sounds too which we’re really proud of.
“A while ago we did have another album together, but for us it wasn’t good enough, because it sounded quite similar to Weird and Wonderful. We wanted to challenge ourselves more
Something for everybody would you say?
Yeah very much so!
So do you think it’s gonna appeal to both old fans and new?
I do really hope so!
That would be great, to have both old fans and new fans in the crowd! Is the setlist for this tour a mix of old and new too?
Oh 100%, people have been loving it so far.
Are you playing stuff that hasn’t been heard before?
Yeah we are!
I mean, on the last run that we did, the festival warm-up shows, we were playing new stuff at those shows too, but we’ve swapped it this time around so we’re not playing the new stuff that we played last time.
You’re doing different new stuff?
Yeah! Obviously, when we did the first run we were playing ‘Habits’, which hadn’t been released yet, so now that ‘Play’ and ‘Habits’ are out it’s not as new, so I think off the top of my head we’re playing two or three other new ones which will be in the set.
The response you’ve been getting so far to ‘Play’ and ‘Habits’ has been great, so what about the really new stuff?
Yeah honestly they treat it as if they already know it, it’s crazy! Some people are really having fun with it, and you get some people just standing there listening, taking it all in and just trying to figure it out, but people are loving it, and we are loving it equally as much. It’s really good fun playing new stuff and seeing people’s reaction.
“You get some people just standing there listening, taking it all in and just trying to figure it out, but people are loving it, and we are loving it equally as much
So what are some of your favourite songs to play live?
I’m honestly really enjoying playing the new stuff right now because it’s so much fun. I mean obviously I love playing the older tracks as well because we haven’t played them in so long, and I really missed being able to play them. Although I did have to relearn some of them!
You mentioned that you guys have been playing since you were so young, any advice that you can give to young musicians nowadays?
Yeah I mean all I would say is that if you’ve got it in your heart that you want to do something and you’re really passionate about it, then you don’t really need tons of advice because you’re gonna figure it out yourself along the way. Obviously playing local shows is important, if you’re a young band and you’re wanting to go into the music industry then playing shows and building yourselves up and establishing yourself is obviously key, and the only way you do that is from gigging and being involved in the local music scene. The local music scene is so important nowadays, because how else are you going to discover your new favourite band if you don’t go out and find them? As a band. you figure it out as you go along, and you learn how to deal with certain situations. We used to play in pubs in bradford every weekend, it used to be the same bands playing and we’d alternate the lineup every week.
“If you’ve got it in your heart that you want to do something and you’re really passionate about it, then you don’t really need tons of advice because you’re gonna figure it out yourself along the way
So you’re also building relationships with other bands?
That’s exactly it, you all help each other out. Playing local venue 'all-dayers' and things like that at the weekend. There are a lot of people who don’t like to do this, but there’s also ways that you can enter contests in order to win opportunities that can really help you out as well. When we were starting out we used to play quite a few Battle of the Bands, because when you’re a young band and you want to get some free studio time it’s always good to do stuff like that.
What about big bands that have inspired you over the years; where do you get your influences from?
I would say Muse are definitely the most amazing.
Of course, you guys went on tour with them!
We did! I think that was probably the most amazing thing, to see how professional their tours are and the ways that they put on their shows.
Yeah, they’re known for having massive productions, right?
Yeah they really do, and it’s just so incredible to see where your really hard work can take you too! Muse were definitely a big inspiration for us, just watching and thinking ‘wow, that show was amazing’, it meant that we actually learned a thing or two about how to do our own shows as well, and even just the day-to-day touring stuff too.
“Muse were definitely a big inspiration for us, just watching and thinking ‘wow, that show was amazing’
So, do you guys have any pre- or post-show rituals?
We usually just blast some proper sick tunes backstage! Like some ABBA. Generally just some absolute hits, but we’re particularly loving ABBA at the minute. We usually just like vibe out, crank some tunes on, and just chill out and get in the zone, we really just want to get chilled out before we go on. And then, about half an hour before stage time, we usually just get in, get ready, and warm up, just standard stuff really. There’s nothing really interesting! I always try and eat a nice light meal, and then afterwards have an absolute massive feast, it’s the best way to do it.
Well thanks so much for chatting, I’ll let you get back to your pre-show chilling, and I’m looking forward to the gig later!
Well, this show was definitely worth the wait! After not having played a show in Birmingham for over two years, this was everything I could’ve hoped it would be and more. Opening with electrifying new song ‘Play’, the Yorkshire rockers took to the stage with an explosive energy that didn’t waver for the entire set. The crowd erupted, the screaming began, and it was at once clear that the band had missed playing shows just as much as the fans had missed attending them.
After ‘Play’, lead singer Becca Macintyre spoke only three words: “move, shake, hide”, and the crowd knew exactly what to do. A circle pit grew larger and larger by the second in anticipation of one of their best hits, and Becca’s vocals sounded as flawless as they do on the record. You’d never have guessed that the morning after this show, they cancelled the rest of the tour due to Becca’s bronchitis.
“You’d never have guessed that the morning after this show, they cancelled the rest of the tour due to Becca’s bronchitis
The band’s sound was truly incredible, and their stage presence even better. The five-some, consisting of two sets of siblings, had the audience wrapped around their finger, teasing them before launching into ‘Is It Horrible’, another favourite. What followed was a particular highlight. Upon seeing a fan’s sign that read “Can I play ‘Play’ with you?”, guitarist Sam quickly apologised for having already played it, before invited him on stage to spontaneously perform ‘Love You Good’, a real treat for everyone, as it wasn’t on the setlist. Even the songs they hadn’t rehearsed were faultless!
Following superb new song ‘Suffocation’, they played the (marginally) slower song ‘Captivate You’, during which the crowd went mad, belting every lyric back to them in a moment of mutual, emotional euphoria. But, equally, new song ‘Habits’ later had the same reaction, proving that their upcoming album Knowing What You Know Now will be received with the same fan acclaim as their first album, The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets, was in 2014.
“Upon seeing a fan’s sign that read 'Can I play ‘Play’ with you?', guitarist Sam quickly apologised for having already played it, before invited him on stage to spontaneously perform ‘Love You Good’
Becca often took a moment to catch her breath, each time addressing the crowd with such love and gratitude, for giving them the opportunity to do what they love. ‘We love every single one of you unconditionally’, she said at one point, triggering endless applause from the adoring crowd. Bringing an end to an incredible set, it felt fitting to close with fan favourite ‘Why Do You Hate Me?’ The atmosphere intensified, everyone jumped in unison to create a wave of movement, the mosh pits became harder to avoid, and soon everyone was involved. They ended with a promise that they’d be returning very soon, and it left me excited for the new album in January, and the bright future ahead for Marmozets.
Knowing What You Know Now will be out on 26 January 2018.