One of Roadrunner's newest and most exciting signings is the British band Marmozets, made up of two sets of siblings: Becca, Sam and Josh Macintyre, and Jack and Will Bottomley. The band is currently in the studio with producer Larry Hibbitt, finishing up the recording of their Roadrunner debut for release later this year. (Watch the video for the first single, "Move Shake Hide," above—you can buy the song on iTunes!) But we got vocalist Becca on the phone to talk about the sessions, their writing process, making it in the UK versus the US, and more.
I understand you were sick when you were initially supposed to be recording vocals. What happened, and how are you feeling now?
Basically what happened was—we’re only here for four weeks all together, and the boys did all their parts, and it was my week for singing, and I got flu really, really bad, just completely out of it. My mum had to come pick me up from the studio, and take me to the doctor’s. But now, I’ve gotten better…my voice has come back better, and it’s going really, really well.
Have the sessions been going well other than that?
Ah, yeah, we can’t even get our heads around how awesome it’s sounding and how it’s all coming together. It’s mind-blowing; we’re really excited about it.
This is your first time really working with a producer and everything, right? How is it different from when you recorded your early singles?
Well, to be honest, we’ve been doing this since we were, like, kids, and going into the recording studio and just doing things—we thought that was the way it was. But working with Larry [Hibbitt], it’s completely different. We did “Move Shake Hide” with him, and “Born Young and Free,” and from that we were just like, we want to work with this guy ’cause everything’s been amazing.
Is it going quickly? Are you doing, like, a song a day?
It’s different every day, to be quite honest. Like yesterday, we’d just gotten to London, we’ve evacuated to London from where we were, ’cause things were just not working out at all, and we were like, let’s get into Larry’s studio and do all the singing parts there. And from day one, when me and Sam got here, it just worked massively. So we got one song done yesterday, we’ve done two songs today, and we’re gonna bash out another one probably later on this evening. Three songs in a day is quite a lot to sing, actually. That’s pretty good work, right there. But tomorrow could be completely different—we might get one song done.
Did you have all the songs written before you went into the studio, or did you write once you got there?
Well, we felt we did, but then things change in the studio, which we’ve learned. In the past, we’ve written a song and gone in and recorded it and been happy, but since this is going to be our album, there’s so much more to think about; you really want it to be the best that you can make it, so that when you come away you’re just so excited and happy with every song that you’ve got. So yeah, there was more work done with a couple of songs, which was quite stressful to begin with, but me and Sam managed to get together and spend some time on the melodies and putting better words and phrases in…it’s much different from how I thought recording would be. It’s not like you just get behind your instrument, or get behind the mic, and sing your little heart out. You’ve got so much more to think about.
What’s the band’s writing process like? Is there a primary songwriter?
It’s like jigsaw pieces, and it all comes together nicely and there’s a beautiful picture at the end of it. Literally, that’s how it is. Individually, we all come—every song is different, but mainly how it does work is one of the boys, one of the guitarists will come with a guitar part, and then from there one of the other guitarists will write a guitar part for it, and then Will the bass player will write a riff, and then Josh puts his drums on, and then Sam and me—at the moment we’ve been writing together, which has been a lot better. Before, I just wrote everything myself, and mine and Sam’s minds together, and our voices, can be quite an awesome thing, we’ve discovered on this journey of the album and writing these songs.
At what point do you share your lyrics with the guys—when a song is done, or when it’s just starting to take shape?
Only in the last year have I been getting ideas before hearing a song, like I’ll get an idea that might be just a phrase or some words, and I always write them down in my phone. But how it normally works is, the boys will come with some music and straightaway I’ll be inspired by what they write. That’s how I get my inspiration. I’m not really someone who’ll go away and write a whole song, you know what I mean? I’ve tried to do that before and it just doesn’t work. I have to be influenced by what they write and straightaway I’ll get lyrics and melody, we’ll get a chorus and just build it and build it. And maybe Sam’ll help on one verse if I’m stuck—we don’t really have a specific way, but it seems to work.
“Move Shake Hide” is a really catchy song, but the B-side, "Go With the Flow," is this 35-second blast. Is there a lot of that kind of material?
I definitely agree—have you listened to our EPs before? It’s a mix of the two put together. Because we did get to a point after our EPs where it was very Dillinger Escape Plan, all mental, like the B-sides we’ve got at the moment. And we realized we don’t just want to do that. We’ve got songs that are catchy, so we wanted to put them both together. There’s lots of mental-ness and there’s a lot of stuff with the poppy chorus—it’s a big mix of everything. It’s very us, because that’s all we know, is just to write our music. We’ve always just done our own thing, and we think it sounds good. Hopefully, you guys will think it sounds good.
You guys are pretty well known in the UK now, because you’ve toured there a lot, but you’re almost unknown over here. Do you think it’s easier to break out in England, since it’s such a small country?
Well, I kind of see England as an airport where every band from all over the world comes in and out, does a show and leaves. The thing about England’s music scene, I believe, is kids change their favorite band every couple of months. What’s the newest thing, what’s the coolest thing, what’s the best thing, or bands that they genuinely love and will stay a fan of. We’ve toured England quite a lot, going up and down the country, because it is such a small country, but there are so many bands, and I believe it’s one of the hardest places to break, because we’ve got big, established artists from America coming over. I don’t know what to say about America, because we’ve never toured there, so I don’t know if it’s easier or not. But just being in America and turning on a music channel, it’s completely different because there’s so much rock, which was quite shocking. Everything that’s played on the chart shows or the radio [in England], it’s all the mainstream pop stuff that makes all the money. And I’d gotten used to that, I thought that was just the way it was. But then going on American music channels which are on 24/7, there’s so much rock and country, it’s just like a breath of fresh air. So hopefully we can come to America and big things will happen for us!