-Hands' is the new single from UK producer MARSH. From the Forthcoming EP -Hieroglyph' Hands is an electro journey into galactic sex funk... for the dancefloor.
MARSH. (a.k.a. Nick Marsh) is an English electronic musician who began his musical journey at the age of 7. After completing his studies at the London College of Music, majoring in classical guitar and music theory, he took advantage of the rich and varied music scene that is London. Projects include Feely Room ( feat. Members of Jesus Jones, The Cult and The Pretenders), and DCameron feat Marco (ex Young Disciples/Paul Weller)
Now based between Auckland and Sydney, Nick has devoted the last few years to film music, Jazz, and as a producer, most prevalently in the world of electronic music. Alongside his experimental Alter-Ego Sh3D, MARSH is aimed both at the dance floor and post club.
Drawing on a range of influences from House, Dub Reggae, Instrumental Hip Hop, through to Techno, and the Beats scene, MARSH. is a journey into sound and rhythm that traces its roots back to London… one plane journey removed.
Question: How would you describe Hands?
Nick Marsh: The single Hands is from my forthcoming EP titled Hieroglpyh, It's the music that you hear on a dance floor when you're making eye contact with someone you like the look of and you're feeling good about yourself. It's music to shake your ass to when you're feeling just that little bit naughty and flirtatious.
Question: What is your main motivation for Hieroglyph?
Nick Marsh: I just wanted to put something out that people could dance to. the title track is a bit more downtempo though so maybe that's what people could stick on when they come from the club or wherever.
Question: Do you write your own songs? What's your inspiration?
Nick Marsh: Yes absolutely, although they're not really songs in a vocal-led verse/chorus/ sense. I think of it as collage really, I try to bring elements together that may or may not make musical sense in a traditional way, and then try to make something that hopefully other people will engage with. For instance on Hands I cut up some vocals that were quite, er, sexual and put it next to an African thumb piano riff over some fat bass and electro-ish beats… Really I'm coming from the various traditions in electronic music, which is in itself a huge -umbrella term' for all kinds of musical expression, but I'm particularly drawn to working with sounds that try to push the envelope a little bit … whatever that means.
Many many things. People, places, ideas, art, music, philosophy, history… if you're talking about musical inspiration I'm drawn to artists that push the envelope in whatever genre… I love Miles Davis, King Tubby, Aphex Twin, Lee Perry people like Madlib, Ras G and Knxledge and the new hip hop that's coming out at the moment… but there's so much…I'm a searcher when it comes to music and sometimes I've found myself in some very odd places musically… so I think that one has to be open to inspiration and not be tied up in genre -rules' etc… I think inspiration comes from being open to new ways of thinking about things. Music really is about doing it, so its more of a process than some massive -eureka' moment although they do happen, often by accident… which is great… what's the old adage? 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration… I think there's a lot of truth in that…
Question: What music/artists do you listen to when you are not playing your own?
Nick Marsh: Oooh now you've opened up a can of worms…at the moment I'm listening to a lot of hip hop, but I also like -experimental' music…people trying new things musically, I listen to a lot of West African drumming, Jazz.. on a night out I sometimes go to ska clubs because its just so positive, I've just discovered this Japanese artist Masayoshi Fujita who is stunning… I have very wide tastes, I trained classically and in jazz and and also studied ethnomusicology, as well as working at record stores… so I've been exposed to a ridiculously huge amount of music. There's still so much to explore though which is great.
Question: What's next? Tour/Album/Single?
Nick Marsh: Next is the EP release, then hopefully some festivals … we shall see… world domination!! I just want to be able to keep doing what I'm doing and share it with people who connect with it.
Question: Was there a moment you contemplated throwing in the towel?
Nick Marsh: Never seriously. It's part of my DNA I think… I've had some very tough times though, lost my entire studio in the GFC and this year the house I was flatting in burned down and I lost quite a bit of stuff…(always get insurance kids…not a mistake I want to repeat..) but I'm still going, still creating…the only sure way to never get anywhere is to stop.. I've taken this stance from the word go.. you HAVE to keep going… Bill Evans (jazz pianist) said once, and I'm paraphrasing here.. -even if you are making your music in a closet… eventually someone will respond to it' its hard slog when you have to pay bills, eat, work etc but I like to have a bit of perspective, I didn't just get bombed out of my village or had to get on a boat to flee a war… so no, never seriously thought about giving up music, much to my parents' dismay..
Question: Do you prefer performing live or recording?
Nick Marsh: I actually really really like the process of recording, but you do get a completely different buzz playing live… sometimes it's terrifying, sometimes it's exhilarating… usually exhilarating.
Question: What/who was your inspiration to go into the music industry?
Nick Marsh: Well there have been many people who have inspired me along the way, I stated playing guitar at age 7 or 8 but I really got the bug when I was about 11… a guy at school had an electric guitar and I was just blown away by it.. so from that moment on I was pretty much hooked… I was that kid.. then later on I studied classicial guitar in London and played in lots of bands on the scene there… I was always drawn to the magic that happened in recording studios, the dark arts of the producer… so I pursued that and here I am
Question: What is the biggest challenge you have faced along the way to your musical success?
Nick Marsh: In a word: money – equipment is expensive and so is living, but I manage with a minimal setup, would love to have a few more toys to play with though. My manager is awesome, it's a real boost to have someone who's prepared to go out to bat for you and I think we make a great team… before meeting her it was tough, new country with a whole set of quite specific ideas about who and what the music industry is… bit of a culture shock moving from London, but I think I've finally met some people who get what I'm doing , not that it's anything totally outlandish (well maybe my experimental project was/ is a bit niche..) . So the two biggest challenges have been money and meeting the right people
Question: What's a typical day like?
Nick Marsh: A typical day varies… I teach ethnomusicology at the University of Auckland and work in a vinyl record shop as well, so I juggle between making music, teaching about music and selling music… that and being a dad, which is my primary reason for staying in this part of the world…the mother of my child and I split up a few years ago but we are on good terms… spending time with my son is the most important thing to me…
Question: What has been your favourite part of becoming a music artist?
Nick Marsh: Doing what I love... what more can I say ??
Question: If you could collaborate with another artist, who would it be?
Nick Marsh: I would love to collaborate with Flying Lotus, Herbie Hancock, Jon Wayne, L'orange or Madlib, a friend of mine has been working with Pharrel… that would also be very cool…
Interview by Brooke Hunter