Popular Austin trio returns from tour to ready its debut LP
By Abby Johnston,
3:30PM, Thu. Jun. 5, 2014
Marmalakes rounds out its seventh tour with a homecoming fête Friday at Cheer Up Charlie’s. This might not require a parade, but there will be fanfare: Hereticks, Sweet Spirit, Grape St., and Genuine Leather share the stage. We caught up with the headliner’s singer/guitarist Chase Weinacht about life on the road and the band’s debut LP.
Austin Chronicle: Where am I reaching you?
Chase Weinacht: We’re in a van just outside of Fort Worth. Or a couple hours outside of Fort Worth, I guess. It feels like we should be closer.
AC: Where were y’all coming from?
AC: That’s a haul.
CW: It’s a haul, yeah. Eleven hours if you don’t stop, which we did. We’re getting back on Friday.
AC: Where all have you been this time around?
CW: We went to Asheville, North Carolina, and Chapel Hill. We went to New York and played three shows and came back down through D.C. and Nashville, then back to Texas. We’re doing Fort Worth tonight and tomorrow.
AC: Any tour stops that stand out?
CW: I really enjoyed Asheville. We’d never played there before. Asheville was good. We also met a bunch of really great people there in a band called River Whyless. The guy we played with is Dan Sheerhan, who plays bass in that band. We ended up getting to stay at his house, which is kind of this cabin mansion with a hot tub in the forest, half an hour outside of town. It’s beautiful.
AC: Sounds amazing.
CW: Yeah, we were fortunate. Cool little bar, too. A little place called the Mothlight. New York was more fun than most of my New York trips. I just kind of soaked it up, just the energy, instead of feeling overwhelmed.
AC: Do you like being out on the road?
CW: Very much, absolutely. Playing shows in other cities is so fun.
AC: How do you feel about your reception? What parts of the country show the most potential for Marmalakes?
CW: We didn’t hit the Midwest on this run, but I think initially we made more of an impact on crowds in Kansas, Illinois, Wisconsin. New York is always good because we have a lot of friends up there. It’s kind of full of good art and musical energy. But I really like the Midwest: Lawrence, Kansas, and Kansas City. Good folks.
AC: I didn’t realize Lawrence had so much good music coming through. I’m in graduate school in Missouri right now and went down to catch a show.
CW: Yeah, I guess because of KU. The original reason we went there was because of the radio station at the university. The folks there were just super enthusiastic music fans and have been kind of our main crew of friends in Lawrence, along with a couple of people we’ve met. Where do you go to school in Missouri?
AC: Columbia, at Mizzou.
CW: Columbia’s cool. We’ve played there a couple of times. I feel like it’s a little sleepier than Lawrence, maybe.
AC: You band’s headed into the studio with Danny Reisch soon, right?
CW: We’ve actually been in the studio with him since last fall. We’re almost finished with the record itself.
AC: Tell me about working with Danny.
CW: He’s so detail oriented in a way that no other producer or engineer has been with us. He’s really made us think about our arrangements and our parts – our energies and vibes for each song. He’s made us be thorough in a way that we didn’t have the time or the know-how to do before working with him. We’re really lucky to work with someone who not only has experience working with bands, but has toured a lot and understands the rock & roll experience from the perspective of seven or eight years longer than we have.
He’s also super enthusiastic and always brings a kind of energy more than we do. I’m very pleased with what we’ve gotten to do with him.
AC: It’s a full-length, correct?
CW: Yeah, our first full-length.
AC: What prompted an LP rather than another EP?
CW: Well, we’ve done three EPs and we felt like we needed to go for it, you know? Jump into the lake and understand the songs as a larger batch. Make something really cohesive. We needed to make an LP. We hadn’t made one yet, but we had to take that step.
AC: What was the biggest difference, aside from having more songs, between recording a full-length versus an EP?
CW: Just trying to think about something that’s going to be entertaining to someone for a longer period of time. You know, make it interesting from track to track, while also giving it a momentum. Instead of just writing a short set-list to play at a show, you’re trying to fulfill someone’s replay ability. Hopefully your record will be played over and over by someone. You want it to be entertaining.
People think of LPs as a standard of a band’s releases, and the first one has a lot of pressure on it. After having made three other studio recordings, we felt like we had to thoroughly go through and pick which songs we wanted to make work together. The biggest difference is that Danny has had a huge producer role. He’s engineering, but he’s made lots of decisions with us. We didn’t come to him with finished songs. We came to him with songs that he helped us finished.
AC: Now that you’re nearing a release date, how are you feeling about the album?
CW: Nervous. But since we’re getting so close, it’s starting to feel like something that we’re proud of and something we want to share. We really want to get going with it but not rush into things. We want to take our time and make sure that we’re not just rushing it out. But I’m anxious, for sure.