For those of you who don't know, (and really, if you don't, then I'm quite concerned) Del Marquis is the guitar player for Scissor Sisters. He's just put out a series of EPs and the latest one is called "Litter To Society".
These EPs are utterly brilliant – an experimentation of musicality through funk, electro, soul and pop. They are wildly epic in a 1980s-meets-the-year-2009 kinda way. I highly recommend you give them a whirl. They are a bit different – not your usual pop fodder. Just completely uber cool – a sonic trip through the complex and interesting mind of Del Marquis.
I got a chance to catch up with Del to talk about this special music project, some of the artistic influences that pop up on the EPs and his trademark Scissor Sisters look. Enjoy!
Hi Del – thanks for chatting with us. Your new release "Litter To Society" is out now. What was the process like for you to realize your solo music coming to life? At what point did you decide, "hey – I'm gonna make my own solo music?"
Key Factors – tragic end to relationship, identity crisis, having something to say. I was compelled to do something, to say something that was the statement of the individual verses the band. The process was a huge learning curve, ego bruising and enlightening.
Why did you choose to go the “EP” route? You could have quite easily made an entire album out of the 3 EPs?
Stylistically, the songs are varied, and made more sense to me in groups. I like the idea of the EP as a short, but powerful statement and felt that I could use the staggered releases as promotional tools, as opposed to 'dropping' one big album. Once I teamed up with Embryoroom (my visual component) We saw the potential for an episodic multimedia project. Without a major label, you might as well experiment with formats. There is nothing to lose.
Your sound is reminiscent of 80's alternative folk like Psychedlic Furs, The Cure, Blow Monkeys and even Peter Gabriel to an extent. Are those accurate comparisions or completely off the mark?
Those bands are in my DNA! They are what I grew up with. For these sessions, I listened to early Trevor Horn productions, early Peter Gabriel, funk and R&B. I wanted to re-address blue eyed soul; Its such a great marriage, R&B and alternative rock. Some people might do it as a send-up, but I LIVE for those bands. ABC, Prefab Sprout, Style Council.
Tell me more about "Any Kind Of Love". I love the big horns and the funk of the track. What's that one all about?
It started with the Clavinet riff, which was aiming to be an aggressive Stevie Wonder reference. It grew from that, i wanted BIG BIG BIG, Horns, lady singers, bombast! But also to have weird guitar sounds, dark lyrics. That is my favorite juxtaposition; taking funk and bright melody, but writing lyrics that are hateful and twisted. Its a 'fuck off', anti-love song.
What's your favorite track from the EP project – any standout track you're especially proud of.
"Litter To Society". Its epic, if I do say so myself. The production is fantastic, the vibe is just right. It has all my favorite elements to a song.
"I Believe In You" is very subtle and very romantic. The type of song you'd serenade someone with. How did this song come into your life?
Its a Bob Dylan cover, for people who may not be a fan of his. During a bad fight with a lover, years back, he said "listen to this song, this is how i feel, ..we can get through this". It was the first song I recorded to completion, with my voice. I was living in the attic of a run down apartment, and did the vocals in the closet. I was upset, and wanted to make that song be the bridge to rebuilding our relationship. It worked for a while. It still makes me sad to listen to it, but at the end of the day, I also find it hopeful.
What's the latest and greatest with Scissor Sisters? Any new material coming soon? Are your fellow Scissor Sisters worried that you got a taste of the solo spotlight now and are they worried you're not gonna comeback?
I think they know I'm not leaving anytime soon, I miss being in a band. It took this process for me to realize how special it is, and I'm excited to tour behind the new music that is being written. Sorry i can't say more!
Have you bought any new Del Marquis trademark waist-high hip huggers lately?
That look is relegated to the archives I think. I look back at photos and i am proud to have dressed to the 9's. So few people make the effort, and most miss the mark. I have no idea what image I want to project for the next album. But I could certainly do with less constraints this time, I want to be able to eat more dessert at the festival buffets.
If you weren't doing music, would you go back to being a cool furniture designer? That seems like a tough trade to learn.
So rewarding, just like music. You create things, things that give people pleasure, that add beauty to the world. I have tricks up my sleeve for a future career path – landscape architecture. I love working outdoors now.
Popjustice recently called you the "most tidest man in pop". Is that true? Are you a neat freak or absolutely normal with your level of cleanliness and personal hygiene?
Live by the Virgo, die by the Virgo. I'm afraid I can't change that about myself, although the edges have softened in the last couple years.
That's all Del – any parting words for our EQ readers?
Thank you. goodnight.
You can download Del Marquis' first two EP's from iTunes via the links below;