"Actually, touring is pretty boring …"
Before they pass through Colorado for a string of shows in Denver, Colorado Springs and Pueblo, the guys from the Seattle-born indie-folk band, Hey Marseilles, broke the monotony of the road by catching up with everyone’s favorite publication (no, not “Good Housekeeping”). We chat with the band as they pass through the mind-numbing landscape of South Dakota, en route to the next stop on a tour across the western US in support of its self-titled new record. The guys filled us in on how people have been responding to their gradual change in sound over the years and confess that life on the road isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Do you guys still like hanging out with each other even when you aren’t doing band stuff, or are you pretty tired of each other at the end of the day?
It’s a little bit of both. It’s mostly just because we all have other people to hang out with, though. We’re around each other on the tour bus 24/7, so there’s really no avoiding each other.
How did you come up with the name Hey Marseilles?
Actually it was pretty arbitrary. Our guitar player has a bit of a French background, and we just thought the name sounded cool and mysterious … and indie.
How would you say your sound has changed over the years?
We were pretty folky at first. Now our new record is a lot more produced and pop oriented. The first two albums we wrote in our home studio with a bevy of acoustic instruments, and this one we recorded with a producer in a studio in Seattle. Actually this is the first time we’ve gone out of our home studio.
Do you think that change is in response to what people are into these days, or do you guys try to stick to what you like as a band?
Those things overlap a bit. Certainly we have an eye towards what’s happening in music currently and we pay attention to that. But we also want to make sure to bring our unique production approach to each record.
So what would you say sets Hey Marseilles apart from other bands like it?
First it’s probably the lyricism. But also our instrumentation is pretty unique. Not a lot of bands integrate a string section as up-front as we do.
Have you noticed any difference in the people that come to see you since your sound has changed over the years?
Well since this is a headlining tour, there are definitely some new faces out there, and of course there are some familiar faces as well, but by and large, people seem to be pretty excited about the new record. There are a few folks that we’ve heard from on social media that feel like we’ve lost our way.
How do you handle criticism like that?
Since it’s usually on Facebook, we just let it sit, and usually our other fans with pipe in and admonish them. It’s encouraging that our fan base will stick with us.
Clearly you guys do a lot of driving; do you have any good stories from the road?
Actually, touring is pretty boring; 9 hours in a van every day. Lots of movie watching, reading, HBO — some of use work from the road. We did run out of gas in South Dakota the last time we passed through here, so we’re trying to avoid that this time. But yeah, unless there are drugs involved there aren’t many great stories, and we don’t do a lot of drugs.
Do you have a favorite song or a go-to song that you turn to if a gig isn’t going as well as hoped?
It’s sort of cop out, but we really like playing “Heroes” — it’s on our new record. It’s the only cover we’ve ever done — obviously it’s a David Bowie song — and the timing of it was completely accidental. Other than that, we’ve been seeing a good response to “Eyes on You,” which is our current single, so it may be because people know it, but it’s also a bit more upbeat and out of left field. That’s a fun one to play.
What: Hey Marseilles w/ Hibou
When: Friday, Mar 11 – 8pm Doors (16+)
Where: Larimer Lounge
Photo Credit: Charlie Schuck