It has been a long four years between UK band Marmozets’ debut album, The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets, and their Gil Norton-produced (Pixies, Foo Fighters) follow up ,due for release this Friday – Knowing What You Know Now.
The new record tells a story – it’s emotional, it’s intense, at times it’s frenzied – but all of it is classically catchy Marmozets.
Lead vocalist Becca Macintyre explained to Music Feeds how life and other things delayed the album’s release, while she and her bandmates Jack and Will Bottomley, and brothers Josh and Sam overcame self-doubt and grew up under pressure after their debut’s massive success.
Music Feeds: How are you, what’s going on?
Becca Macintyre: Not much, just chilling. It’s the evening so we’re going away tomorrow, me and Jack, we’re going to London to do a bunch of promo stuff, so we’ve just been like doing our washing and just getting like packed up and ready.
MF: All the fun domestic stuff, got to do it while you can! Congrats on the new album – how do you feel now that it’s finally being released?
BM: Oh, like it’s bloody about time! But I don’t know, it’s kind of like it’s not real, because I guess we’ve just been sitting with it for so long and you know, getting all ready with it. So it’s, I don’t know, it’s almost like it’s not really happening. I think probably on the day when I just see this explosion of like finally everyone’s got it and everyone can listen to it, it’s going to be absolutely nuts. I think that’s what we’re really looking forward to the most, it actually being out there. But at the same time it’s going to be a little bit sad, because I’m like, “Oh no! Everyone’s got it now!” because we’ve had it for so long all to ourselves! But no, I’m just totally stoked and excited about it, to be honest.
MF: Well you guys finished recording it, like, a whole year ago, didn’t you? Why did the process take so long?
BM: I know, right? We had normal life situations that, you know, I wouldn’t say got in the way, but it just slowed down the whole process. And we were on the road for like, two years, before we just started sorting out the second album. I’m not making excuses, but I don’t know, we just had to deal with a lot of stuff and it just took a bit longer than we probably would have liked it to have done, but to be honest at the same time with going through everything, they all became the songs that they are so we’re totally pleased with ourselves with what we’ve achieved. You know, with the first album it’s like we had our whole lives to write it, that’s kind of the way it goes. Then, you know, you sign and have management and it’s like, “Oh no! This is, like, really crazy now, we have to write another album like really really quickly – as quickly as we can!” We’ve learnt the lesson, so before it all starts getting crazy with the touring and all the festivals and stuff, me and Jack have been getting together and writing a couple of new songs and stuff, so we’ve learnt our lesson and we’re trying to stay ahead now. We’re just learning, you know what I mean? It’s not as easy as people think, writing music and being in a band – as much fun as it always starts out to be, it’s still fun but it becomes really… ‘adult-like’ I guess? We’ve all turned into little adults I’d say, with the whole process of the album.
MF: Are you having any nerves after the huge success of The Weird and Wonderful?
BM: Oh my gosh, I was so nervous. Like, we had all that time off and I was like, “I’ve forgotten how to sing! I don’t know what I’m going to do!” I’m just like a right mess before going out on stage. It’s like, you think you forget everything. You don’t think you’re capable even though you’ve done it. I remember just going back like, I literally had to go on YouTube and watch videos back going, “Is that really me doing that?! Oh my gosh!” But I think you step out on stage and it’s like muscle memory, you know, if you’re a dancer and you haven’t danced for years you don’t forget how, your muscles remember how you did things. Because we’ve been having a little bit of time off obviously with the album, we’ve done a couple of like mini tours and stuff but now the real touring starts so I’m getting a bit nervous but, you know, without the nerves it doesn’t mean… well, there’ll be craziness, it’ll be an adventure so I’m quite excited. I kind of like not knowing what’s going to happen, it keeps you completely on your toes.
MF: I noticed you threw a couple of ballads into the mix with this album. Do you enjoy exploring the softer side when everything else is all so high energy and “raaahhh” in your face?
BM: Yeah I do, because I need time to breathe! That’s the thing, like, I love it but you totally understand when you see kids running around and adults aren’t like this, but kids just run around all the time, they’re so high energy. Like, we just walk to the coffee shop but kids run to the coffee shop, you know what I mean? We’ve just had that whole experience of just performing like endlessly, ruthlessly, it’s just mental – there’s not a minute or like a second to take a breather. I’ve got this more, like, ‘chilled-ness’ about me now, which has always kind of been a side to me; I’m someone that likes to go sit in nature, you know what I mean, I don’t need to be surrounded by the busy-ness all the time, I like to have my moments. So it’s cool to be able to bring that into the album, you know? It’s nice to be able to have a moment like that. Most of the slow songs ended up being ones that I’ve mainly written with Josh and then we’ve added stuff, or I’ve just completely taken over a part that Jack’s wrote, because Jack writes the most beautiful riffs and melodies on guitar. It’s crazy how it all works together, I think we’re supposed to be doing this!
MF: Well I mean it works! There’s a nice little storyline to it – it starts off really high energy, then kind of halfway in we get to ‘Insomnia’ and it’s and it’s a bit of a lull, then it picks up again – it kind of takes you on a journey, I like it.
BM: Yeah… I think half the time as well I like listen to so many albums and it can be, like, great artists and bands, but it just sounds so ‘same-y’ all the way through and you end up becoming one of those people where you just listen to one or two or three songs on the album. I just think it’s nice because there aren’t many albums out there that you can just listen to all the way through. But I find it quite difficult because I think when people find a sound or a niche they kind of stick with it, whereas we kind of tend to write whatever we like and the song kind of comes, you know, when you’re writing naturally and together, you haven’t got people doing it for you so I think that’s when you do get the story, you get the journey. I think that’s something that we’ll always keep doing.
MF: Have you been playing many of these tracks live yet? Have you been able to kind of gauge a bit of reaction?
BM: Well… yeah we have a bit. We’ve tested obviously ‘Major System Error’, ‘Habits’, songs that we would have released from the new album… We’re getting to that point now where we’re about to get into the practice room all together for a week before we start going on tour, and we’re going to really start adding more songs off the album into the set, so that’s exciting as well. So that’s going to take a lot out of me, emotionally and physically, just getting this set down to perfection with all the new songs. It’s all still quite scary and daunting – half of this stuff we still haven’t run through all together properly, in like god knows how long. We always end up having this edge with us the whole time, we’re definitely on our toes the whole time. I’m just excited that we get to perform songs like Insomnia live; it’s going to be amazing to see what happens and obviously see what the reaction is going to be like. Hopefully we’ll have like a killer set when we comes to Australia, so, like, everything will be awesome!
MF: Well it’s been a couple of years since we last saw you Down Under, so will we see you soon, with this album cycle?
BM: Oh I hope so! It’s always a dream to come to Australia; not just to play in Australia, but we have a real connection there because we’ve got friends there, so it’s one of my favourite places in the world. I can never afford just to get flights to go over, so I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to come over with the boys, which was just unreal. And we managed to stay there for a while! So yeah, I really want to come back as soon as possible. That’s the one thing I always ask our manager: “When are we going to Australia? When are we going to Australia? When can we go to Australia?” But we’ll see – all in good time you know, hey?
MF: Well yeah, that’s it. I know the UK music scene is a bit of a sausage fest like the Aussie one tends to be – and I know it’s something you’re asked about quite a bit – but do you feel empowered, or is it a bit intimidating being a chick fronting a heavier band especially?
BM: No, I’m just used to it – I’ve been doing it since, like, 14. So I don’t really know any different. I guess I kind of just see myself as one of the boys, but always knew I was a girl, and now I’m a woman surrounded by these crazy guys who are men now. So it’s just like… I don’t know, it’s just all I’ve ever known. It’s not until you start getting a couple of questions where it’s like, “What’s it like being a girl in a band? How do you find it difficult?” do you know what I mean, it’s like, it isn’t difficult, you just do it. I’m just a muso. I love music so that’s all I want to do, I just happen to write music with guys. I never really looked at it that way, then obviously the older I got and the more gigging and stuff it was like, “Wow, this is really a thing that people keep going on about,” do you know what I mean? And, like, the whole sexism thing and blah blah blah. And it’s like, half the time it was just a bunch of guys who had the confidence to write the songs and go on stage and flaunt their bits, do you know what I mean? It’s like, that’s just how rock’n’roll was, and then girls started realising we can do this as well. You know, like why are the boys so much fun with it? I think that’s just one of those things, when girls are like, “Oh my gosh, this is fun! We can do this too!” it ends up happening. We have some of the most amazing female-fronted bands. Obviously it’s a lot more pop world now, but oh my gosh… I know there’s so much amazing music coming from Australia right now, lately my Spotify has just been listening to loads of Australian musos, so I don’t know what you guys are doing over there but it’s good, it’s really good!
MF: It really is! So, I know a lot of bands say they feel like family, but yours literally is. So how did you start out playing in a band with your brothers?
BM: Well we’ve always been music oriented – we always had music around – my mum plays piano and my dad would always sing and play piano too. We just ended up starting a band at school, a few people saw something in us and we were just like, “Let’s do this.” Then we ended up having Jack and Will join us, who are brothers, so yeah it just ended up turning into this whole family band and we just kept with it.
MF: So, last of all… Knowing What You Know Now – see what I did there? – what would you go back and change if you could?
BM: Oh… I don’t know! Probably… oh, there was a moment just after the Leeds Festival, we were supposed to go on an American tour and that’s when we were just starting to record the album and write half of the songs for the album, and basically I went backstage and I saw an old mate I hadn’t seen in ages, and he ended up rugby tackling me and breaking my knee, because I’ve always had problems with my knee. So I ended up having to get two operations… but I don’t know, if that hadn’t have happened, you know, maybe I wouldn’t be where I am today and the new album wouldn’t be what it is. So I wouldn’t change all of it completely, but just because of the horrendous-ness and the amount of pain that I went through I’d probably love to go back and just be like, “Woah, dude, stop – don’t rugby tackle me and break my leg!
.Marmozets’ new album ‘Knowing What You Know Now’ is due out this Friday, 26th January. Pre-order here.