Part of Nov 2011 by
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Marmalakes Celebrate Album Release in Austin

Austinites Max Colonna, Josh Halpern & Chase Weinacht — collectively known as Marmalakes — released their sophomore EP EvenClothed on November 15th. They will be celebrating with a record release show at the Blue Theatre (916 Springdale, Austin, TX) on Saturday, November 19th with Buxton and DanaFalconberry opening. AdobeAirstream sat down with Max last week at Quacks — Hyde Park’s iconic bakery and coffee shop — to chat about all things Marmalakes.

A2: Even Clothed is Marmalakes’ second EP — is there a reason you choose to release EPs over LPs?

MC: The biggest reason is financial — the cost of recording and processing that many tracks. And it was a process just to get all of these tracks together. There just aren’t that many songs that we want to record at any one time. We go in and out of phases in terms of which songs we like, which songs are new and fresh and we are really excited about, and what people want to hear. And, of course, between the time of recording and releasing you’re already sick of the songs. Finding enough material to make a cohesive LP is difficult. When we put out a LP we want to put out a real album. How would we approach that? Would we write all of the songs around the same time? Or would we try to piece together a LP of songs that we have already written?

A2: EPs also seem easier to sell now that MP3s have become the norm. It was much more difficult “back in the day” to get people to buy a CD with only six songs on it.

MC: MP3 technology definitely does make it easier; but we still print CD copies of our EPs because we want the physical thing to give to people at our shows to have evidence that they saw us — a reminder. Sure, we can tell our audience at a show to go to our website and download the album, but you can never guarantee that someone is going to remember to do that.

A2: What are the benefits of giving away music for free?

MC: Really, just spreading it around and having as many people listen to our music as possible. Most of the time we will have our six song EPs available for download for $5.00, with one or two tracks as free downloads. Sometimes, after a big show, if a lot of people are asking about how they can hear our music, we will post the download of our EP for free. The reality is that playing live shows and touring is really how you make your name and any money. Record sales these days don’t really count for a whole lot, because it is so easy to proliferate stuff for free without any of the money actually going to the artist. Which is fine, it is something you can’t really fight now because that’s just the way it is, so you have to adapt.

A2: What are the benefits of being a three-piece?

MC: Having just the three of us really increases the level of cohesion we can have together. And we have been playing together long enough now that we can play off of each other really well. A lot of people mention how close and tight we are and that really comes from it just being the three of us.

A2: How do you, as a band, approach songwriting?

MC: It’s usually a joint effort. Chase is the primary lyricist and he comes to me and Josh with a song written on acoustic guitar. Then, we will talk about what kind of vibe we are going for, sonically what we are envisioning, what pops into our heads as we are listening to it. We then arrange all of the parts together as a group and make sure we all like it.

A2: How do the vocal structures get integrated into the songs?

MC: We do all of that together too. And it depends on the songs — there are some songs that are very centered on the vocal structures. Josh often comes in really quickly with some harmonies that he likes and then we discuss where we want those harmonies to be. We typically work on the overall song structure first, then we add the frilly stuff — the knickknacks — like vocal harmonies and interesting musical twists that we like to throw in now and then to keep our listeners on their toes… It keeps us on our toes too.

A2: I’ve heard that Marmalakes practice three times a week. I would imagine that is a necessity, considering the complexity of your songs.

MC: We definitely like to keep it interesting for ourselves and for whoever is listening. It is just fun to add new things, making it more complicated and interesting for ourselves while we are playing the songs. We really like to challenge ourselves.

A2: How did you decide to have your record release at the Blue Theatre?

We wanted to play somewhere we never performed before because we like to explore new places, new territories. We were thinking about places that we thought would be good and would book us on short notice. The Blue Theatre is a really cool space in East Austin, on Springdale near Airport. The layout really makes people pay attention to the stage, and we like attentive audiences!

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