Toronto born musician/songwriter/producer, Marlon Chaplin, recently released his EP, Wanderer By Trade, but is already moving in new directions. His latest singles, Fossils and Annabelle + Someone take a step away from the acoustic EP to psychedelic folk, finding a way to be mammoth - yet subtle.
We catch up with Chaplin about what brought about this progression, undertones to his new singles, what he wants you to get from his music and much more.
Marlon's Current Playlist
1. Iggy Pop - Sunday
2. The Good, The Bad and the Queen - Nature Springs
3. Jerry Leger - All Over Again
4. George Harrison - Run of the Mill
5. THE NAIVE - Saw the Sun
6. The Beaches - Give It Up
7. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds - Do the Damage
8. Beck - Ghettochip Malfunction
G: What brought about the progression from the acoustic based Wanderer By Trade to new singles, Fossils and Annabelle + Someone?
MC: Wanderer By Trade has a very distinct identity to it. I like to look at projects as little worlds, little bubbles. Those six songs exist that way, and at the time of recording I’d become immersed in the Cameron House/Dakota Tavern sort of scene in Toronto, which is heavily dominated by a country/roots/folk aesthetic. I found myself surrounded by intensely adept musicians specific to this style. The Band, Bob Dylan and Neil Young have always been a big part of my heart, so I wanted to do a record that honoured that while I had the opportunity to do it right. The two new singles exist outside of that EP’s world, but there’s still a link. They’re like distant cousins to that record; you can find certain parallels but it’s a different beast. Annabelle + Someone and Fossils are another side of what I have to say.
G: You mention that Annabelle + Someone is underscored by cautionary regret, can you speak more to that?
MC: The lyrics reflect the idea of somebody, a tragic figure, who gives for the wrong reasons. They have a lot to give, but they don’t give any to themselves - and the attention they give to others functions more as a distraction for the shit that exists inside they don’t want to deal with. Not that different from a drug. It’s a tale of cautionary regret because I’m saying, hey - I get it, it's ok. But stop. Look after yourself. Don’t disguise obsession with love.
G: What’s something you want your audience to get from listening to your new music and style changes?
MC: To be moved.
G: How have people been receiving the new singles?
MC: Very well. They’ve become press darlings, which I have no problem with. I took a very different approach to recording these two songs than I did with Wanderer By Trade. The EP was ragged, loose and the bed tracks were recorded in one day with a full band in a room. The singles were done pretty much the opposite way. Less musicians, meticulously constructed parts multi-tracked and a more liberal approach to production.
G: Do you have a favourite new song to play live?
MC: Right now, it’s The Circle, a new song that’s going to be a part of my next project.
G: Do you have a favourite live show you’ve played?
MC: It’s hard to pinpoint one gig. There's been a mammoth amount since I’ve started playing music, but recently my band and I were at Lee’s Palace and that show was wonderful. We got to work a lot of new material into the set and there was a certain indefinable energy coursing through the air that you just can’t plan for.
G: Where can people see you over the next few months?
MC: February 3rd The Drake Hotel Underground 1150 Queen St. W. Toronto and March 25th Cadillac Lounge 1296 Queen St. W. Toronto.
G: Finally, what are some Toronto bands people should be checking out?
MC: The Beaches. I caught them opening for Eagles of Death Metal at the Opera House last year. I didn’t know who they were. But they strutted onstage, and lit the fucking room on fire. Fan gained.
Jerry Leger. One Canada’s most underrated and prolific songwriters. He has a subtle penchant for melody and his band, the Situation, are some of the best players you can dream up.
At the risk of sounding biased, because we play together, Sintja’s band THE NAIVE. They’re releasing a new record very soon. I love music that defies genre and expectation. They do both.
G: Thank you for chatting with us!