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Band Crush: Marconi

September 7, 2010

Download and take a listen to this:

Grady Calloway’s Heart Of Gold”

Sound familiar? Comforting even? That might be because the group of musicians who make up the band Marconi are almost all Boston music veterans (l-r: Chris Hislop of Piles, Andrew Dole of The Bon Savants and Mystery Roar, Luke Kirkland of Night Rally, James Towlson of These Thieves and Campaign For Real Time,  and Robert Peckham).

Marconi may be your favorite band you’ve never heard of. They sprung up quickly in the local music scene, but frontman Luke Kirkland has been crafting the songs featured on their soon to drop debut release Minutes To Manifest Destiny for well over five years. Musically, there is a lot of space held together by a lone synthesizer or delayed guitar. The lyrical content reflects this notion of space and time as Kirkland makes going from his normal singing voice to a falsetto seem far too easy. Overall, Minutes To Manifest Destiny is a solid indie-pop effort from a band you will surely be hearing more about in the coming weeks, months and years.

BBC: Anyone who follows the Boston music scene knows at least one of the members of Marconi. How did this particular group of talented musicians come together on this project?

Luke: Chris and I kept in good touch while I lived to New Mexico and he had been one of the first people with whom I had shared the Marconi songs. Piles was my favorite band in Boston by the time I left and they actually influenced some of the music on this first album. Chris was game for a change so he committed before I had even moved back. Andy started playing drums with Bon Savants when they were big brothering Night Rally into the local scene. Though Andy had a lot on his plate with Mystery Roar, Bon Savants were going on hiatus when I arrived and I was able to convince him to give it a go. James was an acquaintance from his days as These Thieves, but he was recommended by Andy as a solution to our singing bassist vacuum, for which he’s obviously perfect. Robert, on the other hand, is a rookie I brought from New Mexico. We started working together when I went back to school and he’s been supportive enough to move across the country to work on the project. We’re glad we can offer at least one fresh face to the lineup!

BBC: Luke – You’ve been crafting these songs for over five years. What themes and styles were important to maintain over the course of writing these songs?
Luke: From the beginning, I knew I wanted to define Marconi as a poppy-ish indie rock band with a foundation in somewhat traditional rock instrumentation. Most of the songs take familiar chord structures and kind of fractalize them into involved, somewhat meandering progressions. Lyrically, themes of geography and distance repeat throughout and find representation in larger historical periods and episodes. When writing and arranging the songs, I tried to create characters for the instruments that would give some kind of cohesion to the arrangements in lieu of and in anticipation of a real band. And the sound of a lot of bands I love provided some guidance: David Bowie, Roy Orbison, Neko Case, The Walkmen.
BBC: Though these songs have been in the works for so long, Marconi as a band is relatively new to the music scene. With the release of your debut record edging closer, what are your hopes and expectations for the band following the record release?
Luke: I moved back to Boston primarily to pursue music professionally. In my pitch to the bandmembers, I wanted to make clear the goal of becoming a nationally successful act. That’s something we’ve all dreamed of individually; having worked as hard as we all have in our other projects, we hope to turn that effort towards something that will go further than what we’ve been able to achieve previously. We’re not getting any younger and music is what we love to do, so that’s what we intend. In the short term, I have a lot more songs for us to work on and I’m really excited to develop a band sound tailored to the talents of everyone involved.
BBC: How do you feel it will pan out? Are you nervous? Excited? Confident?
Luke: This is the first band I’ve been a real frontman for and that’s a big transition for me; at times that makes me nervous. But I’ve spent a lot of time on this music and I think it’s going to go great. We all know a good deal about what doesn’t work for for Boston bands and we have a good understanding of the kind of effort what we’re doing involves. There’s no such thing as a magical “break”. It starts with good music and sustains itself through a lot of hard work and we’re capable of it all.
BBC: What Boston bands are you currently crushing on?

Pretty & Nice are great and we’re honored they’d join our CD release festivities. Night Rally played with the old version of Faces On Film and I love how Mike’s developed that music. Banditas and Volcano Kings are awesome. And of course, we’ve still got plenty of close friends here: Big Digits, Animal Hospital, Neptune, Summerduck, Big Bear, etc. And I know there are lots of bands I’m missing from lack of exposure to a whole lot of local music over the last four years. I look forward to discovering what’s popped up since I left!


 Minutes To Manifest Destiny

Grab the record at the release show on Saturday, September 11 at Great Scott as Marconi shares the stage with:
Pretty And Nice, In Cadeo, & Baby Driver

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