Formed by two sets of teenage siblings in 2007, Marmozets have taken the world by storm with their explosive brand of female-fronted post-hardcore influenced rock. Touring relentlessly since the release of their EP Vexed in 2011, the quintet from Bingley, West Yorkshire, have quite literally grown-up-on-stage, earning widespread acclaim for their energetic and impassioned live performances, while working feverishly behind the scenes to hone their songwriting craft.
Released in 2014 the band’s acclaimed debut record The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets charted at #14 in the UK, launching their career trajectory towards the stratosphere. As the likes of Move Shake Hide, Why Do You Hate Me? and Captivate You became staples on Radio 1, venue upgrades were required for headline runs and front-woman Becca Macintyre found herself labelled a scene icon as the band capitalised on the considerable buzz generated by mesmerizing audiences on Vans Warped Tour, Glastonbury, Download and Reading and Leeds.
Fresh off of being selected by rock monoliths Muse to open their Psycho (UK) tour, the ridiculously youthful Brits (all in their early 20s) are poised to make their debut sojourn down under in July, adding some grit to the Splendour in the Grass lineup playing a smattering of club shows for good measure. In anticipation of their arrival Music Feeds caught up with guitarist Jack Bottomley to discuss the next step in the weird and wonderful life of Marmozets.
Watch: Marmozets: Move Shake Hide
Music Feeds: Hi, Jack! I see you are in Oxford today? Sold out show tonight, hey?
Jack Bottomley: Yes, looking forward to it. We’ve played Oxford a couple of times this summer, it’s always been really cool. It’ll be nice to do it again.
MF: Sounds amazing, man. Quite the line-up on that show too, I’m a little jealous I couldn’t attend myself. Now, you’re, obviously, coming down under for the first time for Splendor in the Grass and some headline shows, are you excited to be heading down under?
JB: I cannot wait. Me, Will, and Sam have never been to Australia. we’re just like … so excited for it! It’s just been one of those things that’s always been a dream to be able to fly all over the world and play shows and see all of these countries otherwise we’d likely never have seen. When it comes to Australia which is somewhere I’ve always wanted to go personally. It’s like, okay, cool, this is actually happening now, this is amazing.
I think it’s going to be really cool. I think, it’s one of those things, you’ve never been there, so you don’t really know what to expect and that makes it more exciting. All of our friends who have been down there to play shows have said everyone is dead cool, and that the crowds are amazing, so we can’t wait to see it for ourselves.
MF: You’re in for a treat with the crowds, man. Always really appreciative to have overseas acts make the trek down under. You’re one of the heavier acts on the lineup, so you can expect quite an energetic response, I would imagine. Is there anything in particular, for you personally, that you’re looking forward to seeing, doing or experiencing while you’re down under?
JB: I want to try to have a boxing match with a kangaroo.
MF: You’ll lose. I guarantee it. You’ll be lucky to get one jab in before it crushes you.
JB: Yes, maybe, I mean, I fancy my chances, but then again, I did lose my last fight with an animal, so maybe I shouldn’t be so confident!
MF: What animal bested you?
JB: Say, it was a small possum. He had run at me. It was like huge rat. I didn’t know what it was all I knew was that I didn’t like it. I just ran away. It was like no contest. I just DQ’d myself.
Watch: Marmozets: Captivate You
MF: That’s amazing. Always, always good to get some WWE terminology into interview. There’s plenty of possums here in Australia, too, so you might want to brush up on those combat skills. Now, you guys have a reputation as a must-see live act. I’ve heard nothing but good things, not just from punters but from some other bands, about your performances. How important is the live show to Marmozets as a band and what do you think it is that makes you stand out from the pack and has people raving so much about what you’re doing?
JB: I think it’s because we’ve been a band doing just shows in local pubs or clubs and any gig venue we could, and given our ages, we had to work a lot harder to make people respect us, as opposed to just seeing us as a novelty.
So the live show, that’s the bit that we know what to do the most with, it’s always been our primary focus. That’s what music’s about for us is live gigs and people coming out and enjoying music and having a good time. We just always put our all into it. We just love everything about doing a show. It’s just the best thing. We love it.
MF: Despite existing for nearly a decade, you’re still a really young band. You’ve pretty much played every major festival in the world, you’re on a massively influential label, your album charted highly, everyone loved it, critics, fans, everyone. Is there anything, in particular, that you put that success down to? Is it the fact that you spent so long as a band before you put out your first record, part of why it was accepted so well?
JB: Well then, it’s hard to know. We’ve never been in this position before, so actually, we just sort of rolled with it. We didn’t really ask too much of anyone. We just rolled with whatever we saw as cool. It just worked to for us in that way, I guess. We weren’t trying to really please anyone in particular as what the album was.
It was literally just like these are songs that we’ve written for this album. Let’s put it out and basically see what happens. People dug it. We didn’t try and mold it around what was going on currently in music or anything like that. It was just like, let’s just do what we want to do here. Seeing people back it and get so into it has been pretty surreal in that way. We’re very fortunate to actually be talking about it. Grateful for it.
MF: Musically, you’re quite a dynamic band. I’ve discovered it as more a chaotic melting pot of all the guitar rock genres than a specific genre. Did that come about naturally or did you deliberately set out to make your band one that changes and challenges conventions with each track?
JB: When we were younger, we were massively influenced by bands like The Chariot and things like that. We just basically wanted to go out and just throw notes out and play horrible chords and jump out and throw guitars at people. That’s what we wanted to do. When it came to actually writing the album, we didn’t want to make an album of just noise for 45 minutes, so we decided to try and diversify a bit, but not in any particular direction. As we didn’t really have a particular sound we were going for.
We just came up with an idea for a song, and we discovered that even when it didn’t sound like our band instrumentally, Becca’s voice and her versatility vocally, made it work and made it identifiable as a Marmozets song.
Becca has such a distinctive voice that no matter what we’re playing, we’re always going to sound like Marmozets, and we’re lucky to have that, it enables us to keep things interesting for ourselves and for our fans, it lets us be weird and wonderful, if that makes sense?
Watch: Marmozets – Born Young Young and Free
MF: That makes sense. That’s why it was a great choice of open title. In terms of the sound obviously being very varied almost like a chameleon-like quality, do you think that’s helped you slide in on more bills than some other acts would be able to? You’ve played with an incredibly diverse amount of bands.
JB: Yes, I think it really has done. We’ve been, it’s kind of weird, because you get these offers and you’ll be like, one of them will be like a super heavy band and we’ll do shows with them or hard core bands, but then we’ll do bands with number one albums or like Royal Blood or something like that. Or even support Muse at a massive venue in London and we can still fit in.
We can be sort of just be thrown into anything and almost mould a set around who we’re supporting as well. A less heavier band we’ll do a less heavier set. A heavy band, we’ll do heavier songs.
MF: Well, that’s a perfect segue into my next question, too. You’ve just opened for Muse on the UK Psycho Tour which apparently happened because they were fans of your band. That’s amazing. What was the experience like and how did the audience respond to Marmozets?
JB: We’ve all been big fans of Muse of years and years and years. So when we got the offer were like “holy hell, this is weird”. We obviously went with it. It was about 2,000 in rooms every night and the crowds were really cool. We played in Ireland for the first time, which is weird. We’ve been to America three times and never played Ireland. We played an Ireland twice, that was cool.
It was nice to play to crowds that wouldn’t have ever had the chance to hear us, and see if we could win them over and crowds were very, really responsive and very welcoming.
I think the crowd almost felt like, we should probably help these guys out because it’s going to be pretty hard trying to put on a show before Muse. Muse are what they are. They’re just phenomenal. We watched them every night.
I think they’re maybe the only band we ever saw where we’ve all sat down and watched their full show every night and just been like, wow. Blew our minds completely. Unreal.
MF: As a guitarist, did you find yourself in awe of Matt Bellamy? The man can shred.
JB: Yes, he’s an amazing guitarist. He’s a very influential guitarist. Like I said, I was learning his riffs when I was a kid or at least trying to anyway and it’s pretty amazing to see him play up close. He’s just great, everything seems effortless, despite the fact that what he’s doing doesn’t even seem like it would be possible on a guitar. It’s like, yes, this guys knows what he’s doing.
Watch: Marmozets – Locked Out Of Heaven (Bruno Mars cover)
MF: Now, obviously, you probably get this question every time you do an interview, but I’m going to ask you anyway. There’s a lot of attention in the band given to the role Becca plays and, obviously, a lot of people’s judgements sometimes are made even before they’ve listened to the music of Marmozets. Has that impacted your career?
JB: Initially, when we first came onto the scene, publications like Kerrang or Rock Sound in the UK were starting to notice and put us in their magazine, it seemed like people looked at pictures of us and thought, they’re just young kids that must sound like Paramore. That’s basically what we got.
So, we were like, okay, just ignore it, it’s going to happen. It’s just one of those things where people don’t really care but they still want to say something about whatever they can because they can and because the internet’s there. Thankfully since the album has come out, we’ve experienced that less and people understand we have our own identity.
MF: Do you feel that that attention, both positive and negative has had any impact on Becca’s psyche or her approach to fronting Marmozets? Have you seen any changes in her personality or in her approach to the band?
JB: I suppose, Becca has obviously really grown into herself as the band has progressed. I think we all have in a way. At first, if we got criticized we used to get disappointed and let it impact us emotionally. We’ve matured since then and now we understand that that’s part of the deal, the bigger you get, the more criticism you attract, but it’s balanced out by the positivity that the fans bring, and their opinions are far more relevant to us anyway. We try to focus our energies on the positives and take pride in our ability to make ourselves and other people happy with what we do.
MF: The dynamic of your band is very different to most other acts in that you’re two sets of siblings. Do you think that’s had an impact on your ability to co-habitate and communicate? And what’s it like touring with your siblings, I guess? I’d probably kill my sister.
JB: It’s all we’ve ever known. With me and Will, we’ve always been like best mates. We’ve always been really close. Same for the other three, always been really, really close. We don’t really know any better, really, in that sense. We don’t know what it would be like to tour with other band members or the problems that might come up. It’s kind of cool. I guess it seems a little bit weird, but that’s Marmozets.
MF: It’s really cool. Imagine the awesome memories and things that you’re going to have to share with you brother for the rest of your life. I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty jealous of that. That’s amazing.
JB: It’s like playing with your best mate, really, but he’s my brother as well. It almost makes it impossible for the band to ever break up.
MF: It can’t be all sunshine and rainbows. Have there been any bust-ups, have there been any fights?
JB: There’s been a couple of ones earlier, but nothing really. It’s like one of those things where if it were like some dudes that were in your band, you’d argue, you probably wouldn’t let it, it wouldn’t settle that quickly, whereas if we have a row, which we very rarely do, we all just chill through it. We’re just like, oh, cool, whatever. We’ll argue and then about five minutes later, we’re all just hugging and each like, sorry, cool, whatever.
MF: I understand you’ve been working on a new record. How’s the writing process going? What’s the difference, so far, between the two records?
JB: We’re just trying to fit the writing in. We had a rehearsal for a week before we started this European leg. It was cool. We wrote like five songs and all five of them were like, these are sick, but are they album worthy yet? We have to go out and find some more time to write. We’ve demoed five songs at a local rehearsal studio, which we got back yesterday and on first listen we’re so excited about them.
It’s very new approach. The songs are better, more structured, dare I say it more mature. There’s a bit less going on, but what’s going on is just on a different level to what we’ve done previously. It’s leaning towards being a bit riffier than the last album, but there’s also some tracks that take a softer, more simplistic approach, and both sides still very much sound like Marmozets.
MF: One more question on some of the older stuff. Your song Move Shake Hide is going to be on the next Guitar Hero, are you excited about that and how do you think you’re going to go trying to play it?
JB: I’m awful at Guitar Hero
MF: Most guitarists are.
JB: Sam and Josh are absolute wizards on it. They’ll play everything at expert level, no problem and get like 90 percent. I get on it and it’s just terrible. I can actually play most of that stuff on a real guitar, but no one cares about that when you’re battling on Guitar Hero. So I dare say that’s going to be kind of laughable when I attempt to play it.
I couldn’t believe it when we found out. That guitar part was something I wrote in my cellar, so it’s bizarre bizarre to think that that’s going to be on Guitar Hero. It’s pretty surreal.
MF: Providing all goes well with the Splendour run, do you think we’ll see you down under again, like say, in the summer perhaps? Maybe on a little festival known as Soundwave?
JB: We’ve spoken briefly with AJ [Maddah, Soundwave Promoter], mostly via Twitter, over the last two years, and he’s said we’re one of the most commonly requested acts and he’d be happy to have us on one time. We’d love to do it. So I’d say more than likely you’ll see us on a Soundwave bill at some stage. Once I get to Australia I probably won’t want to leave.
Catch Marmozets in Australia in a few weeks at their Splendour sideshows, presented by Music Feeds. Deets and ticket links below!
Watch: Marmozets – Why Do You Hate Me
Marmozets Splendour 2015 Sideshows
Presented by Music Feeds
Thursday, 23rd July 2015
Newtown Social Club, Sydney
Tickets: Secret Sounds
Saturday, 25th July 2015
Ding Dong Lounge, Melbourne
Tickets: Secret Sounds