Hamburg five-piece The Mars King Tapes, which we have featured on The Planet Of Sound before, have just finished recording an amazing live session through Tide TV. The live stream was available on the Tide TV website and has just been uploaded to their YouTube channel. As the interview is mainly in German, we thought we would catch up with the guys and have an interview session ourselves and therefore a chance for you lovely readers to get to know the band. Answering our questions are:
Lou Moriarty – Vocals/Guitar; Gáspár Gold – Guitar; Aodh Séamus – Bass/Backing Vocals; 2Face Rossignjol – Trumpet/Percussion; Django H. Chajòn – Drums
But watch the stream first:
What or who, do you believe, contributed to you becoming a musician?
Lou: Tough question. I think it was the first instrument I got. I mean, it was there so I had to play it. In the beginning learning an instrument is comparable to learning vocabulary, washing up, or waiting for a train to arrive. So I started writing songs as a means of learning to play and at some point, I figured out that writing songs was a good way to deal with puberty and a perceived weight of the world too. It ended up just feeling like the right thing to do.
Aodh: I’m not a musician. That’s not faux modesty, or a bid to endow the label of musician with a special status. I just don’t feel qualified calling myself a musician. I’m a writer, if anything, with an avid enthusiasm for the magic that real musicians, like my bandmates, are able to pull out of their arses. I used to mess around with a guitar in my youth but my lack of talent quickly assigned that hobby to the bedroom. Growing up in New Zealand, however, I was surrounded by real musicians. That old adage about sheep in New Zealand would be more accurate if it was about musicians. In Dunedin, my home city, if you throw a rock over a fence you’ll either hit a guitar or the muso holding it. Either way you’ll get a nice sound. If anything contributed to my trying to be a musician, it would be the immersive experience of my formative years in the antipodes.
Rossignol: Lou Moriarty and the pressures of society.
Django: The fact that I can’t do anything else other than smash things with two sticks in my hands.
When did The Mars King Tapes start? Can you tell us a bit more about the history?
Lou, Django & Gáspár: The Mars King Tapes started in a little messy flat in hamburg. We were three musicians living together before it occurred to us that three musos living together without having a project was like a three-way sans sex. So we started a project that turned into a band and then things started to happen very quickly.
Aodh: For me The Mars King Tapes started when these drunken fools invited me to play with them. Little did I know those fools would soon count amongst my dearest friends. I was the last piece of their puzzle: a bass player who’d never held a bass guitar. Our first practice room was in the basement of some bizarre, David Lynch style, sub-star hotel. I still have lumps on my head from repeated collisions with its low ceiling. What struck me most then, and still does now, is how quickly I fell in love with the music. I had been expecting some low-rent, sub-par, rock tunes, and I was really only there to remind myself of the joys of the jam. I hadn’t expected to become a fan.
Who are your influences?
TMKT: Influences are a difficult thing. What we wanted to do is write the kind of music we had always wanted to hear but hadn’t yet heard. It was more like imagining the soundtrack for specific circumstances. Of course we were influenced by other bands and artists, but I really can ́t say by which ones. We recently had a songwriting session where we wanted to make it sound more like a Frank Sinatra tune. It then occurred to us than none of us knew any. Still, we ended up with a vision for the sound and turned into something unique. Maybe that’s the trick. We should keep making music that sounds like something we know nothing about.
Could you list your Top 5 albums of all time?
Lou: Bathazar – Rats
Gáspár: Fantômas – The Director’s Cut. I still love going to sleep while this record’s on. It somehow puts my mind at rest. I don’t know why.
Aodh: The Strokes – Is This It?
Rossignol: Manu Chao – Clandestino
Django: Queens of the Stone Age – Songs for the Deaf
How do you feel about playing live?
Lou: I think that ́s why musicians bother getting up at all. Spending hours in a stinking car, carrying too much gear, eating awful meals and sleeping somewhere on the floor, and then having to wake up way too early with a headache wouldn’t sound like fun if there wasn’t that moment where you go on stage, play your songs and look into the audiences’ faces to realise that it’s all fucking worth it.
Aodh: It’s the only reason the whole charade still works, despite all the bitching and moaning we hear about from those in the music industry. Even the biggest pop-stars on the planet are earning fuck-all from the music itself. That means that even for the biggest names, playing live has an incredibly important role. As much as we despise capitalism, there’s a disturbing elegance to how well this works out for music fans, as well as for unknowns like us. There has never been so many festivals or opportunity for gigs as there are right now. We love playing live: it’s where everything happens.
Rossignol: I was made for that shit!
Django: For me playing live is better than the best shit you’ve ever taken. It’s like that moment, when you’ve been waiting in line for the toilet and you finally get in, and then for whatever reason you struggle to get your pants down, and then, finally, you get that release. That feeling, times ten, is what playing live is for me.
How would you describe The Mars King Tape’s sound?
Lou: A vision of the future from the past? A mixture of three-chord jazz, anarcho-pop, and disco punk?
Aodh: Like an episode of Doctor Who set in a collapsing circus tent where Jim Morrison, Julian Casablancas, Alex Turner and Isaac Brock are all trying to impress the only member of the audience, me. I was talking with my mother the other day, trying, as sons are wont to do, to impress her despite my chosen life-style, with some of the tracks we recorded live for the Tide Session. She said the songs set a scene in her mind of a smoky bar in 1920s France, with beautiful, deep-voiced women, cabaret style. My mother is less solipsistic than I am.
Tell us about the process of recording the songs?
TMKT: We have two demos on Soundcloud that we recorded like amateurs by ourselves. They were done with shoddy equipment, in our spare time, without anything resembling a budget. Fortunately, our guitarist, Gáspár, has many hidden talents and the demos turned out alright. There are also some live tracks that we have pre-released from the Tide Session that will be broadcast this Saturday.
Which work of your own are you most surprised by?
Lou: I surprise myself every time I write a song because I never remember how it happened. I always feel like the songs come to me instead of my having created something. I don’t know what the hell is going on, and then surprise! ‘It’s me: a new song idea.’
Which new artist/band would you recommend to our readers?
Lou: They are not new, but an all time favourite: Nihiling. Another band we played with is Tamed Tiger Trio, I really like them.
Gáspár – Nihiling.
Aodh – There is an amazing band that I’ve been following here for years by the name of Nihiling (def; Nihilism and -ing, the doing of nothing, I suppose). They’ve been making incredible, genre bending music for nearly a decade. I almost don’t want to mention them because they’re like a well kept secret. Also, a band called Adult Jazz, out of Guilford I think. Their album ‘Gist Is’ is one of my favourite records at the moment.
Which band/song would you love to cover?
Lou: I am a huge fan of recycling so I would love to cover an awful trashy tune and make it awesome. At this point though, we haven’t really had time to think about a cover.
Gáspár: I guess I’d love to do an agnostic grind-core version of The Girl from Ipanema.
Aodh: There’s a track from Devendra Banhart’s ‘What Will We Be’ called Rats. That would make a sweet cover.
Rossignol: I wouldn’t say that there is one particular song I’d like to cover, more like a lot of songs that express my feelings or in which the text tends toward specific topics that are exactly what I have in mind. I have real difficulties expressing thoughts in a clear, understandable way. Covering these songs and letting them speak for me is something I like, even though I don’t think that the band will be covering songs in the near future. If you play in an orchestra, most of the time you are playing monumental master pieces that have a lot of energy. I like that as well.
Django: I have no interest in cover songs. What would interest me would be work with other musicians to create new versions of their songs or ours. A best of mash-up including the Arctic Monkeys, Queens of the Stone Age, The Who, The Strokes and The Mars King Tapes would be my dream.
What does the future hold for The Mars King Tapes?
Lou: Visions and plans we’ll have to give up, wrinkles and dark rings under our eyes, less perspective and more uncertainty, economic crises, watching the world going down the drain, weathering a revolution or more political repression, climate change. Besides all that we’ll be making a record that will be released in the beginning of next year and then we will be touring anywhere and everywhere that will have us.
Any parting words?
TMKT: Thanks, and stay tuned, there’s a lot more to come! Greetings to all friends of The Mars King Tapes.
Listen To The Tide TV Sessions via SoundCloud:
Also on SoundCloud:
Put On Your Hood, Robin HERE
Cracked Stones On Memory Lane HERE