The Irish singer-songwriter talks us through his lockdown experiences and how he made his latest single “Redemption” in a wardrobe.
Lockdown has meant artists have to find new ways to record music, whether it be covering your bedroom in egg boxes or recording under a duvet, musicians have been expanding their creativity in the past year and we’re impressed. But just when we thought we’d heard it all, Irish newcomer Marcus comes along and blow us all out of the water with his latest single “Redemption” – which was recorded in a wardrobe. Using the closeted space as a vocal booth and a home set up for production, the singer creates an atmospheric feel for his latest single, drawing us in with its soothing bassline and assuring vocals. Wrapping his vocals in a guitar-tinged melody, the singer opens up on his journeys, discovering what it means to find love and seeking redemption.
Dropping out of university to pursue his music career, after years of putting it on the backbench, the singer has been making his rounds in the Dublin music circuit, before catapulting to the spotlight with his critically acclaimed debut single “Obey”. Ready to be more active this year with the release of his debut EP “Sing Your Disease” set for release this summer, we sat down with Marcus chatting inspirations, his genre-bending sound and how he wants to continue to make music people will resonate with.
Check out the single below now…
Hey Marcus! How’s this past year been for you? Has it affected your creativity in anyway?
The last year has been good. I’ve had a lot of time to reflect and work on new material. That said, I’m looking forward to things getting back to normal. I don’t think it has had any major effects on me creatively. Sometimes I need to be out in the world experiencing and feeling things to get really inspired, and there hasn’t been a whole lot of that this year. It’s given me more time to write though so I would say there have been positives and negatives.
How did you first get into music? What was your earliest memory?
My Dad taught me a few chords on the guitar when I was nine or ten, that was how I got into creating music and it’s probably my earliest memory too. I think the first chord he taught me was G and I would try and play it on his massive metal string guitar. Not long after that he got me a small nylon string which made things a lot easier. I also have very early memories of poking holes in his speakers, does that count?
You gave up the songwriting in your teenage years, what made you pick it up again?
I just got distracted when I started secondary school. I was more interested in playing football or hanging out. After a couple of years the thought of picking it up again was pretty intimidating. It wasn’t until after I left school that I found myself playing and writing again. I had dropped out of college and wasn’t in the best head space. I began playing the guitar again to pass the time. It was the same little nylon string I had when I was a kid and I was definitely rusty. It’s weird thinking back on, but it just became such a big part of my life from that point onwards.
Congratulations on your new single “Redemption”, talk us through the production process, did you find any challenges creating during lockdown?
It was certainly different! I had worked with Alex (Borwick) before but in the studio. For Redemption we worked remotely, sending stuff back and forth. Luckily I have a little set up at home so I was able to demo the song for him and send over any parts he needed. A lot of the vocals were recorded using my wardrobe as a vocal booth. Lockdown definitely presented a few challenges but we got there in the end.
The song moves between various genres, how would you describe your sound?
I would describe my sound as unique to me. I try to write music that is true to who I am and if you do that, you’re never going to sound like someone else. I don’t bring a lot of reference tracks to the studio either, I’d rather try and create something that sounds fresh. I was exposed to a lot of different music as a kid, so that helps. I listen to a lot of hip hop too and that definitely influences the production and lyricism on some of my songs. I think genre is less important today than it was ten years ago, so artists have the freedom to take their music in their own direction.
The single follows on from you critically acclaimed debut single “Obey”, what was it like seeing your debut in so many playlists and gaining so much support?
It was a really good feeling. It was my first time releasing a song so I didn’t know what to expect. I was nervous but the response was so positive. I’ll always remember the first time I was playlisted on Spotify and the first time I heard Obey on the radio. One of the best things about releasing music is talking to the people it resonates with. I was getting messages from people all around the world and that was a real highlight for me.
Where do you get your musical inspiration from?
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly. For me, it can come from anywhere and can vanish just as easily. My phone is full of voice notes from ideas I have when I’m in a less than ideal place, like on the bus. I’ll also sit myself down sometimes, intent on writing a song, and not budge until I’ve got something. In those instances you’ve just got to find some nice chords and see what comes out of your mouth.
If you could work with anyone who would it be and why?
There are some producers I’d love to work with. Rick Rubin and Mike Dean for example, because they’ve worked on so many iconic records. Guys like this would have such a wealth of experience and you could learn a lot working with them. But it isn’t something I’ve given a whole lot of thought. I’m open to work with anyone because you never know who you might click with.
Looking to the future, what are you most excited for? Have you got a project or EP on the way?
Yes, lots coming up over the next couple of months! My EP ‘Sing Your Disease’ is out this Summer. I’ve been pretty quiet since releasing ‘Obey’ last year, so I’m looking forward to being more active this year. ‘Redemption’ is the first single taken from the EP and there are two more singles coming after that. I’m also really looking forward to gigs coming back. Playing live around Dublin was such a big part of my life a year ago and I miss it.