Meet the main man of indi-rock band, A Bad Think, one-man wonder Michael Marquart, formerly of A Flock of Seagulls and Alias. Michael is a talented drummer, guitarist, keyboard player, singer, and producer (pause to take breath) who has been in numerous bands, but has now ventured out on this solo project. Their latest album, Medicine, was released at the end of June and is their fourth studio album. Marquart's daughter, Samantha Marq, has also gotten involved in his solo career and can be heard singing on a majority of the band's tracks. Joonbug got the chance to chat with Michael and here's what he had to say.
Amanda Mactas: How and when did you learn to play all the instruments that you do? Which is your favorite to play?
Michael Marquart: I started learning how to play different instruments when I was a kid- around 5 years old. I distinctly remember how I used to play on a neighborhood guy’s red sparkle drum set. I would sneak in the window of his basement and play along with his record player when he wasn’t around. Drums were the first instrument that I really got into and then I progressed to the guitar when I was a teenager. I taught myself how to play the classical guitar and a 12-string guitar. I never had a guitar lesson. I just picked up things from the guys I was playing with. I always hung around musicians and as a kid started playing in bars at 14. Drums have always been my passion and learning to play the drums was like riding a bike for me. However, I tend to I gravitate towards guitar these days since I am doing a lot of songwriting. I am always trying to be a better writer in creative ways.
AM: How is it to work with your daughter Samantha?
MM: It is great working with her! She has a maturity well beyond her years, and hardly ever forgets a line. Whether she knows it or not, she has a great feel for this kind of music. I started out asking her to try some background vocals and she was amazing so I asked her to continue working with me. The songs she sings I wrote specifically for her. I used to own a major recording studio, and she grew up in the studio around Justin Timberlake, Jewel, and Britney Spears, so recording came easy for her.
AM: What can we expect from your upcoming album?
MM: There are 16 tracks on the new album Medicine and there is quite a wide range of styles. My music is very introspective and cinematic, but I tried to lighten up a bit on this one. The way I write, it’s like painting for me. I start with a few chords and a melody line, and just kind of let it go from there. I am constantly experimenting.
AM: You have previously played with other bands...how is it working on your own project now?
MM: I love doing my own stuff. I can take my time and not rush the music. There is also no one to let you down or fight with. It’s so much less of a headache and you don’t have to deal with timing, scheduling, or people not learning the parts. When you are in a band there are a lot of different dynamics to deal with, and those dynamics are constantly changing. It’s also very challenging to replace someone. A band often times is never the same.
AM: What is your craziest fan story?
MM: I was in Monte Carlo coming out of an apartment when two girls from China came up to me demanding my autograph. Well ok, I said, and then they started saying something about Nicolas Cage over and over again. I said wait, No, no, I'm not Nicolas Cage. They thought I was lying, and kept following me. I had to eventually run away from them, and that wasn't easy. They were fast!
AM: Do you have a favorite song on your new album?
MM: I love all of my songs in different ways. They are all like my children! However, if I had to pick one I would go with “Comforts Me.” I have a mild case of OCD and a lot of things bother me, and the airy feel of this track just seems to comfort me.
AM: Do you have any future projects we can look forward to?
MM: I am currently writing new material, but I think I am going to take a little break. I have been going full speed for quite a while now. I have a place in LA, and I am toying with the idea of opening another multi-room recording studio.