After a stint in Germany, the Peckham-based Von Marlon embarks on his first self-produced EP, Closure, an intimate record saturated with gritty underground of Berlin techno. CUB caught up with Von Marlon to dig deeper into the inspiration for his exciting, emotional new record.
Let’s start with the basics: what made you want to become a musician?
I grew up with music around me. My grandparents were music teachers, my uncle worked in the biz and my dad fed me on classic rock till I was old enough to make up my own opinions.
What do you find most inspires your creative process?
This record came out of a period of travelling. I agree that the idea of ‘finding yourself’ whilst abroad is completely cliché but I would recommend anyone to spend at least a small part of your life moving around alone, foreign or domestic. Having time to myself was a luxury for my writing process – hard to find in London sometimes.
Can you name one artist who has influenced you the most, and why?
I think the most influential album that changed the way I listened to music was ‘In Rainbows’ by Radiohead. I had watched them sporadically on MTV (who can’t forget the ‘No Surprises’ video) but I was 15 when the record was released. The way it was distributed was truly evolutionary, and I listened to it avidly to/from school for months. That lead to discovering their back catalogue, which then really opened everything up for me.
It says here you’ve spent some time in Germany over the past couple of years. In what way has that influenced your music?
Spending time away from home can give perspective no matter where you come from. I would find that period of limbo back and forth during my life was as influential as the time in Germany itself. Sitting in airports and packed Ryanair flights. Putting your phone on airplane mode. Switching off is reflective. Musically, Germany has a big electronic underground scene just like the UK. Dance music from both countries really shaped this EP into a more electronic sound than it was originally.
How does the music scene there compare to the UK?
What LA is to actors, Berlin is to DJ’s. There is an obvious over-saturation, however I do feel that underground electronic artists are valued slightly better there than London – although one must make a name for themselves first; easier said than done. However, in terms of the live gigging circuit, I would say London is hard to rival.
How do you feel about nightlife in London right now?
They say that the scene is dying a bit, and whilst you hear older Londoners talk about the golden age of clubbing, I feel like it’s got a bit better in the last few years. Local areas near me in South London have great spots like Phonox or the newly opened Peckham Levels. East is doing good too, with the re-opening of Fabric and clubs like Pickle Factory or Oval Space doing really well. Plenty of warehouse raves knock around near that area too if you keep your ear to the ground.
Describe your sound in three words.
Reflective, rhythmic and tropical.
Your new EP, Closure, is out February 3rd. What gave you the title?
I think that whoever listens to the lyrics and music close enough will hear pretty clearly the underlying context behind it. We all have to deal with finding closure in our lives: death, relationships and change are obvious examples. I’d like to keep that part ambiguous, but the main message comes from the title tracks last repetition: ‘accept that it’s over’. Sometimes it’s just best to accept it and move on however hard that can be.
In what way do you think you’ve evolved as a musician since going solo?
The courage of conviction. People always ask questions (small and big) whether they’re particularly interested in you or not. It’s easier to share as a collective in both praise and criticism. I’ve improved with how to deal with that, for better and for worse.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?
If you’re still studying take the time to really focus on playing/writing – it gets harder to find time when you have to support yourself with a day-job which, unless you’re very lucky/talented, happens to every unsigned musician. Surround yourself with positivity, get rid of any naysayers in your life. Most importantly… enjoy it!
The lead single from Von Marlon’s new EP, Closure, is out today (February 3rd), and is available on Youtube, Spotify, iTunes, Soundcloud and Bandcamp.
The launch party for “Closure” takes place Saturday 3rd Feb at The Lighthouse in Shoreditch. Follow the links below for tickets & info: