Interview with the brilliant musician Michael Marquart of A Bad Think

Posted: October 4, 2014 in Entertainment, Feed your Soul, Interview, music, New Music, New Release, Singer, Songwriter
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michaelmarquart

When I listen to an album that has the ability to take me on a journey of emotions and guides me through a trail of experiences, it is a true gift. The music of the brilliant Michael Marquart and his music project A Bad Think is quite magical and precious and does just that. He recently released his fourth studio album, Sleep this summer through Windmark/The Orchard and I describe it as a “zen inducing musical gem” and it is definitely a must have. It is rich in musical tones, emotion and his passion shines through with each note and lyric.

You may be familiar with Michael from his stint in the 90’s as the drummer for British Grammy Award band, Flock of Seagulls but what I really want you to familiarize yourself is with his solo work. He is the sole member, singer-songwriter of A Bad Think. With songs on the album like On and On, Photographs and Happy Little Pills, you can’t help but feel his voice wrap around you and embrace you as you experience his gift of music. I can’t express enough how impressed I am with his work and we recently had the opportunity to chat with him. We are pleased to bring you that interview here:

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Music Junkie Press: Hi Michael, we are very excited to talk with you. We have been listening to Sleep, which came out earlier this summer, love it. Amazing songs and I can only describe it as a zen inducing musical gem.

Michael:  Michael: What a very nice compliment.

Music Junkie Press: I mean it is really amazing, whatever emotions you are going through, you seem to capture this dark place in a beautiful way. How was the recording process for you, was it as emotional?

Michael:  Ya, It really is. I go in the studio, I am in there all day, no one ever comes in, no one ever bothers me, and I just get lost. I start working on something and five or six hours go by and I kind of even forget where I am and I get kind of taken away. You know I really kind of thrown, taking a ride into the music on all that stuff. So absolutely. It is a very emotional process going through all of it.

Music Junkie Press:  I can imagine. It is definitely very passionate. I have to ask, who did the artwork for work the album cover? Where did that come from?

Michael:  You know it is actually this guy, I commissioned this guy to do this painting and he won Album Cover of the Year for last year with a band called White Lies, I think. And he won Album Cover of the Year throughout the world. He is kind of a local guy and you know I heard he was kind of a starving artist in New York and everything and so I commissioned him to do that painting. And then he was a quarter way into it and then he won this Award and then has this big show in Manhattan and now he is like the man right now.

sleep

Music Junkie Press: It is great, the artwork brings out these rich tones and colors which is so much like the music. He captured that perfectly.

Michael:  I know, he did an excellent job and I love it.

Music Junkie Press: Now this is your fifth album for A Bad Think on Windmark Records. What would you say would be more of the inspiration behind this album versus the others.

Michael:  Correct. It is like a nonstop process for me. I keep kind of waiting for the creativity and all that stuff, the writers block, kind of waiting for a dry spell to kind of happen but the ideas just keep coming and coming and coming and I just chug along and it is like I have six songs already going for the next one. It is just something that keeps going on. Some of the albums have kind of a concept feel to them. The Sara Lee album was a concept album but the rest of them were not, they are just songs of where I was at the time and you know what I was thinking about and sounds I was experimenting with so they all sound like they belong on those albums but they are not concept albums. But I just chug along and try to stay out of the way of the songwriting process and let the songs go where they want to go and not get in the way.

Music Junkie Press:  That is it, the songs are so fluid and just flow on the album.

Michael:  I am so lucky or I don’t know if it is luck or a curse. You know, I start thinking about it, thinking about it, day and night and I can’t sleep, I have this melody going through my head and I am just going, “Is this fun or not?”

Music Junkie Press: Yes, it has the pros and cons to it! It is interesting because one of the songs on the album that just grabs me and captivates me is Photographs. What is the history behind that song?

Michael:  Oh, well thank you. I wrote that song on the piano so that is why it is a little bit different sounding than some of the other ones. You know that song is kind of about my daughter, you know she is all about selfies and photographs and all that stuff and eventually all those pictures, these smiles frozen in time, you can’t always go back, so, it is good to keep your eyes looking forward.

Music Junkie Press:  You touched on the fact that we are in this digital age, completely overload it seems but is there something from today’s technology that you wish we would have had growing up?

Michael:  Today’s technology makes it really easy for someone like me to create because I grew up the old fashioned way. There was no autotune, there was no beat detective, none of this stuff. You would have to play stuff from the beginning of the song all the way to the end right and if it wasn’t right, you would have to do it again, and you do it again, again, until you got it right. So you can do so much more creative wise sound sculpturing that you could never do in the past. The stuff in the past is a little more organic and natural feeling and you can’t, you have 16 or 24 tracks or later in the analog world, you could have 48 tracks and that is not a lot of tracks. Most of my stuff, even though it doesn’t sound like it, there is over a 100 tracks on almost all my songs. So, it is, and they are all stereo tracks, you have a click track and an authentic track which uses up two tracks and so there is pros and cons. You kind of lose that kind of natural organic thing, which there is a lot of bands out there kind of getting back into that. Jack White is doing a lot of that stuff. So it is nice to hear that all that is not going away. But it has really given me a way to kind of really express myself. I was a Music Theory Major in College so I understand all the aspects about tones and structured scales and all that stuff. So it works out for me.

Music Junkie Press:  It is nice to see that you bring out the honesty in the music. It seems that it has made it simple for people, it is so easy for anyone with a computer can make music or put a song together but honestly, they are missing something. They can make it, make a song but they can’t bring across that emotion through their music.

Michael:  You are absolutely correct and that is the problem with people that are making music. A lot of people, you know they are trying to catch on to that thing that everyone wants to hear now.  It is like Mumford & Sons, Oh My God how many Mumford & Sons bands are out there. They are everywhere and nobody can think for themselves and that is what keeps it for me because I do my music and you may not like my style of music or you may, or you may not like the sound of my voice or you might, or whatever but it is truly mine and it doesn’t sound like anyone else. I own it, come good or bad, it is mine and a lot of people don’t look at it like that. They try to jump on the hot bandwagon and try to coattail someone’s success.

Music Junkie Press:  So true. Exacty, the uniqueness is gone and it is the thumbprint identity is missing from it all. Now, with the music so emotionally filled with layers, have you been performing it live or can you perform it live?

Michael:  Well, funny you should ask. I just got back from LA and did a week of rehearsals and you know to try and see if I could put this thing together and actually do some live shows and naa, it didn’t go so well. It is hard, you have to understand my music and kind of believe in that stuff. You can‘t just hire a really good sessions player and go, “ok man, this is it, here it is, now go figure this out and play”. I mean they chart it all up and they are playing these parts and it just doesn’t sound right.

Music Junkie Press:  Exactly, I can’t imagine how they can replicate it. Because your music is so wrapped in your passion and emotion and I don’t know how they can capture that as well as you do. That is why the people enjoy the albums so much because you get so much out of it and your mind takes you to wherever you need to go when you listen to it.

Michael:  See, and that is exactly what I hope to achieve. It is people like yourself that really know how to listen to music, it truly is an art to know how to listen to music, to be able to listen to something without judging it and just let it take you where the music goes. You just find yourself going to the places that you never thought were there.

Music Junkie Press:  That is so true. I thank you for the great music! Are you currently working on any videos for the music?

Michael:  There is the On and On single, and we have a video out for that. I don’t know if you checked that out other than they lyric video. We have that out. That is the video for this album and the guy that did is a movie director and the video just came out great. It should be when you go to A Bad Think, it should be on that channel and be the first one that comes up.

 

Music Junkie Press:  How about if you could go back to your 14 year old self, what advice would you give to yourself at 14?

Michael:  Well, I would tell myself to not deviate from what you really believe in musically. Because when I started playing and started playing in bars at 14 and we were writing music, and we were doing songs that were 20 minutes long that had all these passages and we had all this theatrical stuff going on and it was truly  an experience. Then you kind of, like the band breaks up or something, then you get hired to go and do this other band and you just kind of start band hopping, and you start working your way kind of up the charts and then you find yourself playing Foreigner or Journey songs to make a buck. And you kind of write music that is kind of the music that people are signing so to do exactly what we talked about earlier, to really stay true to yourself musically, because nobody, everyone is unique and every musician has something to say and don’t be afraid of saying what you have to say. Whether people like it or if it fails or not, it is yours and there is no excuse.

Music Junkie Press: Just own it and be honest. So true and great advice. We have to get a lot more of today’s youth into that belief and not follow the cookie cutter bands and such. Then you see a select few who are doing exactly what they want to do and making their own sound, doing what they like, doing what they want. You stick with them for a while and you follow them and then people will find the beauty in it.

Michael:   Plus, even if you don’t like them, but have respect for a band that is not trying to make a buck, they are making the art that they truly believe in. I am not kind of into Country, or that is not kind of my big genre but I really respect those artists, that, that aren’t just trying to cry in my beer with another bad lyric song but are actually taking it seriously and not trying to make a buck but trying to express what they really have to say and I respect that in every genre.

Music Junkie Press: I love it! I like trying to get people to listen to a variety of genres. It has become a checkbox of genres, even sub-genres created but it is neat to see some youth, I know in our area, where they are listening to a variety of styles and not labeling it, or classifying themselves by the genre they listen to. To just listen and it could be many moods you have throughout the day and to listen to a variety of music that encompasses all those moods or emotions and to be open to music.

Michael:  What a nice trend. I could only hope it keeps going in that direction.

Music Junkie Press: Lastly, is there anything that you would like to share with our audience and your fans?

Michael:  I would just like to thank them for listening to my music. I mean that is really the only thing that I can really say, to thank them for listening. I don’t know what else to say. Anyone that listens to my music, I know everyone’s minutes on this Earth is valuable and to spend it listening to what I have to say is really important to me and it really means a lot to me.

Music Junkie Press: We thank you for your gift of music and for Sleep. It is definitely the zen inducing musical gem that everyone should listen to.

Michael: Thank you so much and I really enjoyed speaking with you.

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I truly hope you head on over to his social media sites and check out his work. If you don’t already have it, head on over to iTunes, Amazon, or Google Play and pick up your copy.

~ Marisol

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