Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Magik Markers interview

Comic by Ben Haggar, Beard #4

An expert in what The Wire, god bless ‘em, term “non-interventionist guitar techniques”, Magik Markers’ Elisa adopts the persona of a weary cave-woman unfamiliar with the concept of musical instruments as the audience whoops and the feedback blares. Noise-rock and no wave might have made us familiar with the concept of great bands who can’t play their instruments, but the Markers are kicking it one stage further by being a great band who WON’T play their instruments. “It’s not a guitar – it’s an alien engine I pulled out of the ground – when I hit it it makes noise – it makes good noise.” Lyrics, as is usually best, are shrieked pop culture references and swear words. Magik Markers are fucking inspirational – they may be the emperor’s new clothes, but this emperor rules with fists of iron.
Ben Haggar, ATP review, Beard #4 2005

'Taste' from Boss (Ecstatic Peace, 2007)

Magik Markers’ latest yowl, Boss, sees the duo of Elisa Ambrogio and Peter Nolan blossom as a more structured noise-rock band, albeit one whose songs retain the unpredictability and danger of their wild, improvised live shows and earlier sides. In anticipation of their UK dates, including two shows as part of Scotland’s Triptych festival, I posed some questions to drummer/noise maker Peter Nolan via email.

Beard: Tell me about how Magik Markers started.

Peter Nolan: Started in the most killer basement ever in Hartford, CT. Elisa's dad used to be the king of the block back in the sixties. His basement lair was adorned with insane blacklight paintings and a wall of collage art from the first blooms of the rock and roll era. We dusted off the scene down there and began hosting sick shows with bands like Tart, Double Leopards, and the Bunny Brains.

B: Your live shows are renowned for their intensity. Are you trying to break down the barrier between band and audience?

PN: We're just trying to be right there as it happens.

B: What shows over the years do you consider highlights?

PN: We played a show one time in the worst blizzard of the year back in ‘95 at Tonic in NYC. I was hallucinating that I was an Octopus and that my arms could reach to the back of the room. Elisa flipped everyone's chairs over.

One time we played at an ancient opera house in Castille, Spain at 4am total creep style. That was the show that made us Kentucky Colonels.

B: Your albums have gradually moved towards being structured and more melodic, culminating in Boss. What inspired you to move in this direction?

PN: Our minds, our hearts, and our spirits.

B: Did the songs on Boss develop from improvisation or were they written before being presented to the group?

PN: Both.

B: How different was recording Boss to previous albums?

PN: We were in a studio for many many hours... so it was way different. We got a chance to make it sound exactly like we wanted it too, and it came about gradually and flowered beautifully just like Baudelaire would want it too.

B: Has working with Lee Ranaldo as producer affected your working methods?

PN: It was like partying on the Millenium Falcon.

B: Axis Mundi and Taste seem to explore different aspects of sexuality and desire. Would you consider these feminist songs?

PN: Elisa wrote them so I'll let her talk about her icky lyrics. I'm pretty sure they're super feminist as well as communist and Un-American. Someone should lock her up.

B: A number of songs relate to the corporeal – 'Last Of The Lemach Line', with its striking image of 'the secular Pentecost' suggests a celebration of the body, which contrasts with the horror of 'Body Rot'…

PN: Oh ... I know the answer to this one... damn.. I forgot

B: Is there any significance in the title? What is the Lemach Line?

PN: I know this one too... I think it has to do with Elisa having a parasite.

B: That song seems quite apocalyptic. How important are Christian and Occult ideas to your songwriting?

PN: Yeah, I think Elisa's a devil worshipper too... someone should lock her up.

B: The album references Pat Garrett and Updike's “Rabbit” Anstrong – do American archetypes interest you?

PN: Just cowboys and rabbits.

B: You've recruited a new member for live shows. Do you plan to recreate Boss live and is there still space for improvisation?

PN: We did but after she found out what big losers we are she decided to go to jewellery school. We made her put all her parts on tape and we'll play along with them. We might bring a 'Julie' doll so it looks like there are 3 people onstage.

B: Any further Spectre Flux/Folk (Peter’s solo project) releases planned?

PN: Just did the Blackest Medicine lp on Woodsist, as well as Black Bones cdr on Arbitrary Signs. New record in the works...!!!

B: What's next for Magik Markers? There was talk of a DVD a while back?

PN: I don't think the DVD will ever happen. We're working out the material for a new record... some of it you'll hear on this tour!


Magik Markers, Human Bell, Kitchen Cynics
FRI 25.4.08, 7.30pm
The Tunnels, Aberdeen

Mogwai, Clinic, Dirty Projectors, Malcolm Middleton, Errors, Frightened Rabbit, Magik Markers, Correcto, RememberRemember
SAT 26.4.08, 3pm
Tramway, Glasgow


1 comment:

Gia Music's said...

THANK GOD!!!!!!!! YAAAAA-AAAAAAYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanks Beardguys!