Artist Spotlight - Mars Motel
We had the opportunity to interview up-and-coming dream rock band from Brooklyn, NY, Mars Motel! Their sound surrounds you and immerses you into a cosmic musical landscape that is downright addicting. Their debut album Passenger X will be dropping in late 2019. However, they just dropped a brand new single titled "Coming Up for Air" that you've got to check out! Also, check out our interview with the group here!
1. How did you come to pursue music and how long have you been at it?
I played my very first guitar while at a friends house back in 7th grade. He was already playing electric in a young NYC band, but the moment I picked his acoustic, I knew my world was going to change. He taught me Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” that very evening and the rest is history...
I convinced my parents to buy me an acoustic that following week. I played that thing everyday, learning all the tune I could. This was around 2005, so YouTube was just starting out. I had to search the internet far and wide to find videos and clips on guitar playing and theory! I found ways to learn as much as possible on my own via online, playing with friends and ultimately listening to all my favorite songs and albums on repeat.
I started writing my own music by 10th grade and was playing in bands all throughout high school and college. Mars Motel’s first 5 singles are actually from that early high school era, updated refined and modernized to initially get this band up and running.
2. Could you walk us through your process of writing music?
I usually start with a chord progression or riff, record it on my phone and then come back to it at a later date. I like to let things sit and breathe, it helps me gain some perspective. I also sometimes record tracks in Garageband and then work out lyrics / melody immediately because everything is flowing just right.
Other times I have brought early progressions to the band and we build a unique structure together. We have also collectively come up with full progressions with Justin leading the charge on bass. The process certainly varies song to song, and I think you kind of just feel it out as needed. I don’t have a favorite method per say, they all work for different reasons.
3. What artists have inspired you in your career?
When I was in high school, Pink Floyd, Cream & The Doors were some of my favorites. I grew up in
a household of Classic Rock, Prog Rock, New Wave, and World Music. My Dad is a huge music fan and we spend a lot of time discussing and listening to music together. More recently I have been listening to bands like Khruangbin, Cage The Elephant, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, & Shintaro Sakamoto.
4. Do you have any favorite music gear (guitars, amps, effects pedals, keyboards, etc.) that you love to use? If so, what’s the story on them?
Where do I start?! My favorite guitar at the moment is a 1999 Surf Green Fender Jazzmaster. It's been heavily played and modded, and it is an absolute tone machine. I recently added a very unique, one off Fender Custom Shop neck build for a vintage 60’s Jazzmaster. Its massive for a Jazzmaster neck, yet super comfortable for me to play. I have changed the pickups, electronics, bridge, tremolo system, and even pickguard. I don’t think I have found a guitar that I like totally stock or original. There is something fun and special about tailoring them to your specific needs and liking.
5. Can you describe the vibe at your live shows? Also, what do you enjoy most about a venue when you do a show?
Our live shows are always different. This is something I have always aspired to do and it works particularly well in this band, because Craig, Justin and Wes are all great players and willing to push boundaries.
Most of our songs have a section or moment which allows us to explore creatively. Sometimes its very short and others slightly longer, but you can always count on seeing a unique show when watching us live!
The best moments of a show are when the crowd and band are locked together. The audience doesn't always realize this, but we totally feed off your energy. It's a lot more collaborative than it may seem. The band is usually really feeling it when the crowd is focused and engaged!
6. What is one thing that you want the public to know about your music?
The whole world of Mars Motel - the music, the lyrics the art, the videos, are all connected. That’s all I’ll say for now because I want you to find your own personal connections throughout!
7. Do you have any upcoming projects you would like fans to know about?
“Coming Up for Air” is just the first of several singles leading up to our debut album, Passenger X. There is going to be a lot of content coming out in next several weeks / months, so definitely follow us on Instagram, Spotify, & YouTube to be the first to know!