With the release of their latest LP ‘Tragic Valentine’- out today via Knotwright Lane Records- Dallas, Texas musicians Marquis Of Vaudeville took a moment to speak with us folks here at Kill The Music. Check out below as we speak about the band, the new record, as well as the foundation of the band!
Could you tell us your names and what you do in the band?
Toby Lawhon – vocals
Bryan Geddie – guitar
Geneva Arena – Bass
Noah Falls - Drums
As musicians, how have y’all matured from your previous work in comparison to your upcoming work?
Although we had punk elements in some of our previous work, this album is more sophisticated, yet at the same time, has a more punk feel to it. In comparing our previous album The Great Promenade of Fools & Ghosts, each song stood alone with that record, but our new album ‘The Tragic Valentine’ is essentially a tragic love story told through 13 tracks. We took our musical theatrics to new heights with this one. Flecked with elements of mystery, magic, intrigue, and revolution, the album’s story is somewhat our own lovelorn fantasy akin to ‘Romeo and Juliet’. Although the songs, as a whole, have an underlying theme which lays the framework for the story, the lyrics were written in a precise way to create duality and instill each song with its own identity & individual meaning as well.
Your latest album ‘Tragic Valentine’ is to be released today via Knotwright Lane Records, what made you all pursue a Halloween release?
Simply for the fact that All Hallows’ Eve is our favorite and busiest time of year, the release worked with our timeline, and the music lends itself immensely well to the Halloween vibe.
What should fans expect from the record?
An alternative rock opera full of anthems, ballads, and waltzes. Our songs tend to touch on recurring themes revolving around dreams, rebellion, love, loss, hope, understanding, oppression, outcasts, isolation, mental illness, the internal struggle, perseverance, self-destruction, death, loneliness, self-acceptance, sometimes drawn from personal experience, and other times have written from another’s perspective. One of the stand out tracks for us at the moment is the single We’re All Mad Here - an Alice in Wonderland-themed song on the surface about spiraling downward & out of control. The song presents a glimpse of mental illness and losing one’s mind while touching on being lost, but not alone - as everyone is a little crazy in their own way. We released an amazing video for the song on Oct 2nd, and are immensely proud of the video as we conceived, produced, directed, and edited it 100% independently.
In an industry where musicians tend to folk towards what’s sells instead of what they want to create, how do the members of Marquis of Vaudeville stay true to what they want?
We don’t pander to the masses. We do what we love. We write what we feel, and stay true to that. It’s that simple. In our imaginative and expressive way of writing, we’re not very straightforward as we want listeners to interpret and to get what they need out of the music without being coerced into how to feel, or what it should mean to them.
What do you want listeners to take away from your music?
We like to tell stories, and music affords us a way to tell them. We want to give people something to daydream about, give them hope, open their eyes, hearts, & minds, and we've found that messages can be more profound and persuasive when woven secretly within the melodies of music.
Who would you cite as influences of the band? Anyone musician(s) or band(s)?
We find influence in all sorts of varied sources: dreams, art, literature, film, theater; typically, indie, cult, fantasy/sci-fi, classic works, the fantastical, the out-of-the-ordinary, as well as the cosmos, love, liberty, mythology, mysticism, mystery, & magic. A great many of our influences can be dark, yet playful because that’s a bit of who we are. As for music, we’d say the top 5 are Bowie, Beatles, The Cure, Pink Floyd, and Queen
What was the writing process like for ‘Tragic Valentine’? Has it changed from the band’s previous writing sessions?
Our music has always been written to be an escape, yet still, contain cryptic messages regarding the real world. That’s why the songs are quite often wrapped up within, & somewhat veiled behind, an imagined story dealing with some sort of fantastical idea such as discovering other worlds & alternate universes, Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, vampire lovers, vengeful stage magicians, mysterious whimsical circuses, plundering gentleman highwaymen, intriguing labyrinthine under streets, mad scientist toy-makers, or the anthropomorphic personification of death. As we've said, dark, yet playful. The writing process for The Tragic Valentine differed in having the continuity of a story flowing throughout the entirety of the album. We hadn't done that before. Writing every song to fit within a story, and yet at the same time having a stand-alone dual meaning is a fairly complex way to write each song, but it worked out well.
Could you take a moment and give me a rig break down for the band. Any brands you all endorse? Any brands you personally recommend?
Toby - Shure 55SH Series II (mic), Ibanez (guitar), Martin - Marquis (strings), Latin Percussion Cyclops (tambourine), Jim Dunlop .73MM (pics)
Geneva - Ernie Ball (bass), DR (strings), Ampeg and Markbass (amplification), Markbass, Tech21, and Blackstone Appliances (pedals)
Bryan - Fender, Ibanez, Warmoth (guitars), Ernie Ball (strings), Marshall (amplification), TC Electronics G-System, MXR, Dunlop, Chandler (FX & pedals), Dunlop Jazz III (picks)
Noah - DW (equipment), PDP(drums), Sonor (drums), Zildjian (cymbals), Vater (sticks).
Do you have any words of wisdom for budding musicians?
Don’t ever stop. Do what you love. Have a vision -focus -purpose. Stay true to yourselves. Be genuine.
New work aside, what else can fans expect from Marquis of Vaudeville?
A comic book for The Tragic Valentine that coincides with the album is currently in the works and we’ve been toying with the idea of a musical revolving around the album’s story as it was somewhat written with this in mind. Check us out/follow on all social media and on movmusic.com for tour dates and other announcements.