I may have missed Marriages' debut EP “Kitsune” back from 2012, but I certainly did not miss their debut LP “Salome” which got released on 7th April 2015 - it is simply an extraordinary record, shoegaze and stoner-infused alt-rock with ethereal and entrancing vocals.
Marriages is a three-piece LA band formed in 2011 by members of post-rock group Red Sparowes and dreamy folk-rock band The Nocturnes, with current line-up featuring Emma Ruth Rundle (Red Sparowes, The Nocturnes) on guitar and vocals, Greg Burns (Red Sparowes, The (Fallen) Black Deer, Halifax Pier) on bass and keyboards and Andrew Clinco on drums.
Signed on Sargent House, home of bands like Boris, Deafheaven, Russian Circles and Chelsea Wolfe, Marriages are currently touring Europe together with the american alternative country splendors Wovenhand to support their latest release, the debut LP “Salome” named after the biblical femme fatale, an icon of dangerous female seductiveness, who famously requested and later received the head of John the Baptist on a platter in reward for an exotic dance described as the Dance of the Seven Veils.
Both Marriages and Wovenhand are set to perform the headlining event of Impulse festival in Rijeka on 24th April 2015 at OKC Palach.
Hi Emma Ruth, Greg and Andrew. How are you doing and how has touring in Europe been going for all of you so far? How is the audience in Europe treating you?
Andrew: Greetings! Tour has been going great. Our collective jet lag has leveled out and we in full tour mode. The audiences in Europe have been nothing but warm and enthusiastic and the venues we've been playing have been very accommodating and professional.
Just last night I was driving with my friend to Krapina (a city in Croatia) and we were discussing Wovenhand. The two of us are big-time fans of David Eugene Edwards and his work - his former incarnation as 16 Horsepower as well as his current incarnation as Wovenhand. Marriages share the same label (Sargent House) with Wovenhand as well as the stages across Europe on this tour. That has to be a big success for you because you will get to perform in front of bigger audiences compared to the hypothetical case where you would have toured alone perhaps. How did it come to this - touring and sharing the bill with Wovenhand and how do you feel about that? And how do you feel about David Eugene Edwards and his work? Is he someone that you look up to?
Andrew: We're extremely honored to have Woven Hand take us on this European run of shows to say the least. Considering we are both under the same management, when it came time for them to select an opener, I imagine the choice was made easier because Sargent House likes to keep it within the family. David is someone we definitely respect and admire as a powerful performer and prolific songwriter with an incredibly immense breadth of worth. We are all fans of his work and very inspired by his longevity as an artist.
You received quite a lot of great reviews for your debut LP “Salome” and I have to say that I find it to be a really remarkable record. Salome was, according to my sparse knowledge about the alleged history, a biblical figure who is, also allegedly, responsible for the death of John the Baptist. Is there a certain reason you named your debut LP inspired by that specific biblical icon? Or did you have some other Salome in mind perhaps? What was/is the overall theme for the record, if there is any?
Andrew: As a band we have always been interested in various mythologies and religious iconography. We found the imagery to be compelling and powerful and appropriately encompassing Emma's lyrical motifs and the musical ebbs and flows we play with. The title track 'Salome' has a break down section in it that I feel serves a sonic illustration of the dance Salome performs before Herod Antipas.
Where does the name “Marriages” originate from? Did you maybe choose it as a symbol of collaboration and mutual pleasure of working and creating together?
Andrew: Marriages was a name Emma came up with. We all agreed that the name evokes powerful imagery yet isn't too specific. We also feel that it's typographic form is strong and visually balanced.
Referring to the briefly aforementioned inspiration – where do you find your source of inspiration? How does the creative process look like for you as a three-member band? How does it all come together in a form of a specific song or an arrangement? Is there some template that you use or is it different every single time?
Andrew: For us, the creative process is a pretty egalitarian one. Whether someone brings a simple idea to the table or we all just evolve a song through real time improvisation, it never feels like there is too much of a polarizing force from any one member. Everyone brings their own stylistic pieces to the table and we've always been pretty good about assembling the quilt in a cohesive manner.
There are quite a lot of contemporary female-fronted bands that I personally esteem and admire a lot, i.e. VUM (also from LA, performed two concerts in Croatia last year), Tamaryn, Perfect Pussy, Lower Dens, Glasser, Circuit Des Yeux and many others. How does the music business and the music industry treat female artists and female-fronted bands? Do you get the same respect and do you think you are being acknowledged in the same way as male artists and male-fronted bands?
Emma: Historically, I've felt like I've received different treatment from sound men at times, assuming I know less about my sound or the way I want to be mixed. But not so much recently and on this tour, everyone has been beyond respectful and accommodating.
Greg is working with photography, i.e. cover of “Some Heavy Ocean” LP is his work, while Emma Ruth finds another artistic outlet in painting and writing. I am quoting a sentence from Emma Ruth's website: “The face of the world was a lying one….and still is.”; and can only agree with that. The opening song on the “Salome” LP is named “The Liar” and I guess my question to you would be – do you (still) think the world is a place of lies and deception? And are music and arts something that can help to open people's eyes in order to unveil the truth and the clear picture of how the world is functioning?Are music and arts also something that can channel “the negative” into “the positive”?
Andrew: All art forms I believe to some degree are a lie. They conceal as well as reveal to suit a specific message and take on a certain form. While they may be extensions of the Universal mind, I think the manifestation of any idea into form involves some aspect of lying whether it be to ones own subconscious or through its respective medium. Certainly the kind of grand-scale deception you described serve a much more malevolent purpose, however I don't necessarily think the energy behind manifestation of those lies is any different. We just happen to be in the business of using the Universal forces to manifest what we believe to be beauty and hope that others will recognize and be enriched by that positivity.
I know your time is quite limited on tour so I am going to close this Q & A interview with the final question. Wovenhand has been to Croatia and performed a couple of times already while you will be performing in Croatia and in Rijeka on 24th April for the first time – what can the local audience expect from you and what do you expect from us?
Andrew: In terms of music, we will be mostly playing selections off of 'Salome' as well as a couple from 'Kitsune'. I would say, (for those who haven't heard us) to have no expectations and approach our music with an open mind and heart. I think that's the best way to approach any live performance situation. Oh, and not talking during quiet sections is always appreciated too ;)
Many thanks for taking the time to answer the questions! I am really looking forward to see you perform live in Rijeka - I can already tell it's going to be an amazing night. I also hope you will you be bringing some merchandise with you : )