Black Marble just wrapped up their first West Coast tour and they are officially back in New York City in cold rainy weather. The Brooklyn darkwave duo is made up of singer and guitarist, Chris Stewart, and synth master Ty Kube, who just released their new album A Different Arrangement. They kicked off their tour in Seattle, then worked their way to Portland, Northern California, then down to Los Angeles to play in Echo Park. I first heard the band on KXLU (Part Time Punks) and was immediately drawn to their radiant and synth-crafted sound, which combined with Stewart’s baritone voice makes deciphering full lyrics virtually impossible. And although I am a keen observer of lyrical content, it is always the music itself that draws me in. So when I heard they were coming to town I got myself a ticket and contacted them for a possible interview.
Although Kube had previously been playing in an electropop band, it was never Stewart’s original ambition to play music let alone go on tour. While in art school, he studied other subjects, and it was only after he went to a house party and observed a few bands playing with minimal synthesizers and drum machines that he was impressed by the independence of one person having the capacity to master the entire arrangement. With extra time on his hands, a longtime interest in coldwave and punk music, and a fierce dedication to perfecting his sound, the band was formed. The name is taken as a form of satire about an inflated ego where someone would spend a lot of money on a black marble kitchen, and after a while becomes baroque and what the band maintains as “sleazy.” So I give you the interview with Ty Kube at The Echo.
W: The Remixes cover has a picture of a Karl-Marx street. Can you explain the significance?
BM: It’s from a Goddard movie, the French filmmaker, it’s a picture from one of those movies.
W: Yeah, I was interested because I have a picture of myself in Germany on that street, so I was wondering what connection it had.
BM: We just like the picture basically…and his films and stuff.
W: What do all the beautiful, partially nude females represent in your “Backwards” video?
BM: To tell you the truth, the director made that video and we didn’t have that much influence on it. His idea was to have all these girls that live in a house and they lose their mind, playing with dogs…you know, play in a cake. The content of that video is directly from a director friend of ours, he came to us with that idea, we didn’t give it much direction…it’s all him.
W: Can you provide some insight into “A Great Design” lyrics?
BM: I can’t because Chris wrote them but he can’t talk. I know what they’re about, but I don’t want to say for sure because they’re his lyrics.
W: Your music has been described as coldwave, do you agree with that genre?
BM: We both like coldwave music a lot, but I don’t necessarily 100% percent agree with that but I don’t disagree with that either. Our first stuff was more minimal and more along the lines of the coldwave stuff. I think some of the stuff on this album is a little bit different and we don’t really have an idea that we’re going to come across when we decide on making something, the songs just kind of come. Some songs sound like coldwave songs, like A Great Design sounds more like ’80’s synth music, and it’s like a variety of stuff…I mean we all like coldwave, 80’s French synth music but it’s not just supposed to be like that. Basically we make the music with a certain amount of synths and see what those can do.
W: In a previous interview, you’ve mentioned that you would move to London, what are some of your British influences?
BM: That’s Chris, I don’t know. I don’t like it in London. Nah, I’m just kidding, it’s okay, but I would move to Berlin or Paris, if it was international. I like New York City, I want to stay in New York City forever.
W: That leads to the next question. Do you have a favorite venue to perform at in New York?
BM: 285 Kent.
W: Do you ever play any covers?
BM: We’ve never played a cover song, we’ve thought of it, for a second Chris was thinking of doing a Phil cover, we were also thinking about doing a Robert Reynolds song, but we’ve never really got it together. We haven’t played a cover, we can’t play a cover, maybe someday we can play a cover.
W: What has been your biggest challenge as a band?
BM: The band’s really new, it’s hard to say. no real challenges yet. Just getting the live band going cause’ there’s so many different chords, everything is going live with Black Marble, there’s nothing pre-recorded. It’s all live sequencing, just getting to figure out how to get it to sound the right way…all the leveling, all the chords, with all the technology and things like that.
W: Lastly, what have you been doing since you arrived in L.A?
BM: We just got here like 2 hours ago so just sound checking, you know, just sound checking.
For more information about the band check out: http://www.blackmarblenyc.com/
and A Great Design video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYLsiCJ1MVw