Andrew Sandelands

Interview: Marsicans on supporting Lisbon, touring and Twitter jokes

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“Summer in a can,” is how Marsicans’ bassist and vocalist Rob Brander describes their latest single Gone in a Second and his depiction could be an accurate representation of the band as a whole.

Relaxed and in colourful shirts, the quartet lounge around the table, beer in hand, and talk freely, comfortable in each other’s company – life imitating art.

They have travelled to Newcastle to support Lisbon after launching their new single, for Record Store Day, at Jumbo Records in their hometown of Leeds. So there is a strange feel to tonight’s gig.

Brander explains: “When you play a gig normally you either go out and have some drinks or go home to bed and we’ve come to play another gig, so we’re still all a bit post gig rather than pre gig, which is odd, but it was really good.”

But that doesn’t mean they aren’t excited for their first gig in the city. Lead singer James Newbigging says, “The closest we’ve came is Middlesbrough but we haven’t actually been to Newcastle.” Guitarist and vocalist Ollie Jameson adds “It’s my first time in Newcastle ever.”

And their excitement increases as they soak up the Saturday evening atmosphere outside Think Tank they even want to sample the Newcastle nightlife afterwards but frustratingly they have to drive straight home. Newbigging explains: “I’ve got a christening to go to in the morning so I won’t be staying out,”

“Pretty rock and roll is that,” chips in Brander.

It might not be rock and roll but their energetic indie pop has definitely started to get them talked about. A flurry of recent shows, including a sold out gig in Leeds, has allowed the band to pick up plenty of new followers.

“After every gig we’ve just been coming off, not in a we’ve been amazing way, but in an it has felt amazing to be playing way,” enthuses Newbigging.


Brander extends: “It’s been a whirlwind because we played a lot of shows in quick succession so when we’ve played other gigs, they might be a week apart, so you get chance to sit and take stock of the show. But we played like three or four nights on the bounce and you just kind of keep going.

“We play quite a lot of shows where we support bands that play locally in whichever area we are in. So it’s cool that someone who has never even thought about hearing you can turn up to see their favourite band and come away with another band in the ITunes.”

Their support slot for Saturday’s gig with Lisbon is not the first time they have played on the same bill as the Whitley Bay four-piece.

“We’ve played with Lisbon a couple of times,” says Brander.

Newbigging clarifies: “They supported us in Leeds twice at Oporto,”

Brander: “Twice”

Jameson: “Twice”

“How many times?” quips Jameson.

“Twice,” laughs the bassist.

Back to being serious, Jameson says: “They’re doing really well. They have just done a session for Maida Vale, which is exciting,”

“We played with them the first time in Leeds to launch an EP that we put out last year but from then to now they have done Radio One. It’s great to see hard-working nice people doing good things and it’s good to come up and play for them,” adds Brander.

As well as Lisbon, Marsicans have worked closely with Jimmi Naylor, from The Pigeon Detectives, with him remixing the bonus track on their new release.

“They asked us to support them at the Wardrobe (Leeds) in December and we’ve just been speaking to them a bit since and he’s been delving a bit into that kind of area and we asked him if he’d do it and he said yeah,” reveals Newbigging.

But, alongside working with other artists, the band has been working on their own material. Newbigging explains how the process normally works, “Rob and I will usually have our own idea, then we take it to each other and we will work on it, then take it to the rest of them and practice.”

“The words Lennon and McCartney are thrown around a lot these days,” jokes Brander, before being ridiculed by his band mates.

Although they are not The Beatles there are still exciting times ahead for Marsicans. After this run of shows, which culminate at Live at Leeds, there are plans to record another EP before the end of the year.

And for anyone looking for a band to soundtrack their summer, the Marsicans are worth a listen. Their light-hearted personality is further summed up on social media, where they have a regular hash tag – #woefuljokewednesday.

Drummer Matthew McHale, who has been the quietest throughout the interview, runs this section and he finishes with his favourite:

“I used to play triangle in a reggae band.

“I just stood at the back and ting.”

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