Gabriel The Marine Talk "Stars Collecting"
Mon, 15 Oct 2012 11:25:10
"I write freely with no boundaries and come back to the center when we're ready to record," says Gabriel The Marine singer Mike Desmond of his creative process.
That freedom informs the music with a universal palatability that's immediately engaging. Gabriel The Marine conjure up an ethereal brand of alternative that dips into folk on their new Stars Collecting EP. Desmond's voice echoes over warm instrumentation that's simultaneously vibrant and vulnerable. The group's latest collection is a must-have for 2012, and a sign of amazing things to come.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Mike Desmond of Gabriel The Marine talks Stars Collecting, influences, movies, and so much more.
Did you have one cohesive vision for the Stars Collecting EP?
It's really funny how that works. The last two songs of the EP, "Honest" and "Like a Child", were written and recorded two years ago. The first two songs on the EP were recorded last July. They were written at completely different times. We have a full-length done, but we decided to take the best four songs and put them together. These are the tracks we chose. They work together well.
What's the story behind "Honest"?
I wasn't really trusting a lot of people in my life at the time. I was actually working as an assistant pre-school teacher at Tutor Time, and I was a bit depressed. That's where the song came from. I was trying to figure out what I was going to do with my life. There are a whole bunch of emotions that go into writing a song. Sometimes, you don't realize what a song is about until it's over, and you learn something about yourself through the process. That's what a lot of these songs are. When I start writing them, there's no set idea, "This song is about that!" It's more like, "I'll run with this concept". By the time it's done, there's something very personal like a journey I went through, and it's in words. I let it flow and then I organize it. I make sure the music makes sense to me and, hopefully, to other people.
Is it important for you to paint visual pictures with the lyrics?
I tend to be a very visual person. I guess that does come across in the songwriting. That's how I've been my entire life.
What fosters that?
I started painting when I was a lot younger and doing things like that. I took a lot of art classes at a young age. I got into music in eighth grade. Even through high school and college, I was a visual learner. I guess that goes hand-in-hand with the lyrics.
What films do you come back to?
There's a movie called The Science of Sleep by Michel Gondry that I definitely come back to. I'm a big fan of Pulp Fiction. I'm really into Wes Anderson films.
Where did the title track come from?
It was a combination of a bunch of different feelings. Our lives revolve around technology. Where are we headed? What are we getting ourselves into? How does this affect our minds and bodies? It seems like the world is falling apart. I guess it's that feeling of growing up in a society where there's no more culture. The only thing we have is jazz music, and it's a dying art. Hopefully, there will be something that turns it around soon.
What artists shaped you?
I'm a really big Elliott Smith fan. I'm obviously very into The Beatles. I'm into a lot of singer-songwriters like Nick Drake, Bob Dylan, Donovan, and Joni Mitchell. I dig a lot of jazz like Coleman Hawkins, Ben Webster, Charlie Parker, and obviously Miles Davis. I'm all over the board. I literally listen to everything. It's over the map.
What can we expect from the forthcoming full-length?
There's a wide variety of songs on the full-length. Some of them are darker. Some of them are lighter. You've just got to listen to it for yourself.
Have you heard Gabriel The Marine yet?