The indie-rock quartet talk about their new album Ursa Major, staying creative and finding their own sound.
They say school days are where you make your friends for life and this was no different for Leeds quartet Marsicans. Having bonded over their passion for music and experimental sounds, the group began recording in a tiny basement in Bradford before enlisting Rob as bass player for their final member of the band. As an independent group, the alt-rock quartet went on to headline the BBC Introducing stage at Reading and Leeds, captivating audience with their high energy performances and dance-worthy hits. Now the unadulterated indie-rock group are back, locked and loaded ready to release their debut album Ursa Major this Friday.
Packed with lessons learnt and upbeat bass lines, the band’s debut album is stacked with every emotion weaved in between heady guitar riffs and sombre moments of reflection. With their signature vocal style erupting during roaring choruses and impassions bridges, the band perfectly layer calming productions with playful elements for an inmate indie-pop album. We sat down with the band talking the new album, inspirations and staying creative.
Check out the interview below…
Hey guys! How’s lockdown been?
Hello! It’s been a hell of a ride. We usually live in each other’s pockets, so we basically had to reinvent the way we operate as a band, which wasn’t without its challenges. Somehow we seem to have worked out how to exist purely on the internet.
How has it affected your creativity?
We’re quite an ‘old fashioned’ band, creatively. The whole album was written by the four of us giving our instruments varying degrees of hell in a windowless rehearsal room. Lockdown forced us to embrace technology, and write on laptops for the first time. It’s been a massive learning curve, but we feel like the demos we have are really strong.
How has growing up in Leeds impacted your sound?
Leeds is great. It’s a melting pot of different bands, artists, genres. Being a part of such a varied music scene, in a relatively small city, makes you constantly strive to write better and more interesting music. We’re an indie band, but there are loads of different genres that can be discovered underneath our guitars and drums if you dig a little deeper, and we have a lot to thank the Leeds scene for that.
How did you all meet?
James, Oli and Cale were at school together, and started Marsicans with another school friend. I (Rob) was a big fan of what they did, and my first band played a load of shows with Marsicans in Leeds. Post-university, when we all knew we wanted to be in bands forever, the planets aligned in such a way that I joined Marsicans to fill the bass-player-shaped-hole left behind by the previous player’s departure, and the rest is history.
Congrats on your debut album Ursa Major! What inspired the album name?
Thank you! James spends a lot of time staring into space, not in a gormless way, he just really likes astronomy. Ursa Major is a star constellation, otherwise known as ‘The Great Bear’. A Marsican is a type of bear, which is something we have never really referenced. It’s complicated, but it makes sense, we promise!
What song on the album means the most to you and why?
This changes weekly, but at the moment, I feel very proud of the song ‘Dr.Jekyll’. It’s a song about the flawed character of a dear friend, and I found it difficult to write, so I’m really glad it made it onto the record.
“Someone Else’s Touch” is a really emotional song and isn’t like your other energetic tunes, what inspired this?
The song started its life on an acoustic guitar, like many of our songs, and we knew quite early on that it was going to be sad. When we took it into the rehearsal room to flesh it out, we were trying to push ourselves a little further than guitars and drums. We borrowed a load of old keyboards from my brother, and came up with lots of loops and textures that made us feel a certain way. We then let the sounds guide us a little more than we usually do.
Who are your inspirations?
Lyrically, it’s the people around us. Musically, it’s bands and popstars and producers who don’t stay in their musical lanes too rigidly.
Who would your dream collaboration be?
I’ve always romanticised the idea of Kanye West producing one of our songs. It might be terrible, but I’d love to watch him work.
Now the album is out, what’s next?
We’re going to try and tour these songs until they are physically exhausted and wearily give up on carrying our bodies around the world. Then we’ll do what all bands do, and release some more music.