Artist Spotlight - Black Marble
(Photo Credit - Ashley Leahy)
We had the opportunity to interview singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Chris Stewart, AKA Black Marble! His newest album 'Bigger Than Life' dropped in late October, which you should definitely check out. But first, check out our interview with Black Marble!
1. How did you come to pursue music and how long have you been at it?
"Previously before I made music myself, I moved to New York and became friends with a bunch of musicians. Got an inside perspective on what it was like and how they were doing it. I was trying to be a graphic designer, all of my friends were getting famous in bands and I wasn't having luck with a day job. Then I had time on my hands and started making songs. It was really helpful to live in New York when a lot of people were being supportive and successful. It was always something I wanted to do anyways."
2. Could you walk us through your process of writing music?
"I really don't have a set process. What I'm trying to do is trying to find a melody. Trying to find something familiar that you haven't heard before. Something that you feel. Once I have the bass, the melody, and the vocals all working together for like eight bars I know it's going to be a song. It could be a day, a week, a month, or a year later."
"A lot of times stuff I hear in my head, if I can write that down, I usually have more success that way. I do get interesting results just sitting down and playing around. But I'm far more successful when I have something come to me. I just try to be open and hear more than I write in a weird way."
3. What artists have inspired you in your career?
"I don't have artists' careers that I'm trying to emulate. Up until 15 years ago, artists were seen as rock stars. I never really felt like one of those people. I guess I really tried to concentrate on making music and then people would embrace or tolerate the music that I made. Or that they would have a connection to it. I haven't tried to emulate anyone really. I sort of think of the question as, "Who has done things the way I think they should be done". I think of some people like Robert Rental, late 70's bedroom pop artists who made one album and were never heard from again. I want to be thought of as an artist and let the work speak for itself, I'm not trying to be a character." 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?
"Not one particular thing. One thing I have responded to in other people's music is hearing the residue of how something was made. That has an interesting way of stamping a time and a place on music. When I first started making music, I had no idea what I was doing, I was using GarageBand. My first synth I ever had was a Juno 106 and I still have it. It's sort of a nice starter synth to help you understand synthesis because it has everything you need without not a lot of extra bells and whistles."
5. Can you describe the vibe at your live shows? Also, what do you enjoy most about a venue when you do a show?
"The live show is mostly me and the songs. There was a time when I was paranoid that the live show needed to be a lot more complicated. The live shows are intimate, there's not a lot of fanfare. I'm definitely up there trying to have an honest performance. I'm not trying to get you think I'm a certain way or wow you with anything. The songs are there, if you like them, I'll play them honestly, you'll either like them or you won't. I would like to get more into some lighting, I'm getting more into it now. For either the European Tour or American Tour coming up, I can trigger lights just like I can trigger the song. I'm excited to dive into that, but I'm just now start work on it."
6. What is one thing that you want the public to know about your music?
"I feel like that when you hear music that is made by one person, if someone is left to their own devices, they can do something really great. That's not to take anything away from bands, I love bands. But I like the idea of having one person's musical idea so it's more like individualized art. I'm really careful about the visual elements, etc. because I feel like it's art. It's my personal vision and I think that's cool just as a fan of artists and that people can have a unique point of view, and that your point of view is uniquely valuable."
7. Do you have any upcoming projects you would like fans to know about?
"I'm going to Europe for a month at the End of January, so look out for us in Europe. Then I'm going to come back and work on the next record. Then we're going to be doing a U.S. West Coast Tour. Also look out for the new lighting show. I'm just chipping away at the next away at the next record, I don't know if I'll be able to get it done in 2020 but we'll see."