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Blessed Are The Obsessed: Marlow – Aesthetics And Experiences

Written by Mike Hohnen on February 22, 2012

To put it simply, Marlow reminded me why I got into this line of work. Being a music journalist it’s easy to become jaded and desensitized, seeing bands as ominous grey blurs. Though this fusion of alternative and progressive experimental rock translates to a live show that will be engraved in my memory for a long time. With a front man who has a Charles Manson-eqsue charm, the sex appeal of Russell Brand and the voice of well, no one else really the whole show is a mind fuck, they pull you in, get you close and hold you there and you’ll spend the next week thinking shit…what just happened?

Blessed Are The Obsessed: For those who are unaware, what’s you’re name and what’s you’re role in the band?

Blake Galera-Holliss: My name is Blake & I’m the vocalist in Sydney band Marlow.

BATO: I really dig the name, simple but unusual, where did it come from?

BGH: We took the name from Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” which is the Novel later adapted into the movie “Apocalypse Now” directed by Francis Ford Coppola. The protagonist in the Novel is Charles Marlow. Travis (guitars), Kiel (drums) and I studied this novel for our HSC around the time of the band’s inception. Conrad’s dark perspective on the Colonisation of the Europe is something that even today I’m still inspired by. After reading it we decided to take the name on board.

BATO: I Can Breathe is a great track! What can you tell us about it?

BGH: Lyrically the song takes on a different meaning for me from time to time, but the original meaning behind the song when Trav and I first started jamming on it was one of release, or breaking free from the trappings and pressures of modern day culture. The verses represent the process of suffocation that we all endure at some point in our lives when striving to find our own voice. The chorus represent’s the break-through we make by witnessing or becoming a part of something that empowers us. Whether it’s an inspiring act of love or experiencing art, it brings us to the euphoric realisation that we are alive and breathing. The bridge is finally transcending, letting go and becoming a disembodied consciousness.

BATO: The band is clearly a spiritually aware group, what has motivated you to take this stance in your music?

BGH: Collectively this band is motivated by the unity of our aesthetics & experiences. When we write, we’re writing to get in touch with ourselves by creating music that links us to our true identity through the release of sound and energy. This allows us to share a spiritual connection with ourselves, and others. As a band we believe in writing music that’s honest and empowering. With this in mind, its then possible to establish a connection with the like-minded people who then become part of the experience.

BATO: I caught you’re last gig at the Annandale, for anyone yet to experience Marlow live, how would you describe you’re show?

BGH: We do everything we can to make the live show a comprehensive & engulfing experience for ourselves, and everyone in the room. Through the sound we create collectively, all four of us are experiencing the energy created by the music just as much as the audience hopefully is. For me it’s a very alien, hyper-dimensional process of release as I have little or no control over anything but my voice when the sound is around me. It’s almost like the music transcends the 4 of us into a shared state, like puppets controlled or conducted by the music.

BATO: If Marlow’s music was an animal, what would it be and why?

BGH: I drew an Owl I kept seeing around my neighbourhood around the time of the “I Can Breathe” single release. In Australian Aboriginal cultures the owl is seen as a messenger of secrets, kin to sorcerers, as well as companions to seers, mystics and medicine people. The lyrical content of songs we write contain plenty of references to ancient culture, mystics and the unknown, which is what the owl signifies.

BATO: So far what’s been the greatest experience for you guys in Marlow?

BGH: So far it’s a toss up between achieving national major radio airplay for “I Can Breathe” and unleashing it to a full house at The Wall. Both exceeded our expectations.

BATO: What can we expect to see from you guys this year?

The release of our debut EP, plenty of touring, a new video & more.

BATO: Where can we check you guys out next?

BGH: March 17 at Spectrum on Oxford St with Dangerous & Awaken I Am.

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