I recently put up a review of Del Marquis’ solo work to date and his latest release “Runaround” (link). When I asked him if he would have time to answer a few questions for SlowdiveMusic, he was more than happy to take the time to answer our questions. Considering his busy schedule, I would like to thank Del Marquis for Answering 5.
1. Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
I picked up the guitar because of The Cult's 1989 album “Sonic Temple,” up until that point I was listening to Erasure, Alphaville, Yaz and The Cure. There was something slick about “Sonic Temple” (Bob Rock production) but heavy, and nuanced that made me decide I needed to Rock! Subsequently giving up synth pop for hard rock, metal and Britpop. I eventually gave up on this phase sometime around Supergrass' first album ('95), I lost interest in the guitar all-together and picked up albums by Mouse on Mars, Autechre & Aphex Twin. I was still heavy into challenging music by the time I was asked to join Scissor Sisters, that re-introduced me to guitar and many other styles of music that I had previously lost touch with; namely disco, funk, pop and proper songwriters. I pull from all these influences now; it’s all fair game.
Outside of music? I remember seeing a performance by Bill T Jones that made me want to run home and write a song. But as a generalization, I like beautiful things; I consider myself an “Aesthete,” as pompous as that may sound; it upsets me when I see a disregard for harmony. I see this in architecture, design, music. I'm influenced in positive ways by beauty, and in opposite and equally important ways by Chaos.
2. Venturing into solo territory must be exciting; what is the difference between working on your own and working within a band?
I'm an accessory to great songwriting in Scissor Sisters; writing riffs, hooks, solos, and occasionally a song from its inception. Obviously the sound of my own music differs wildly, because I write the lyrics and compose the music. That's the difference.
3. When you sit down and compose, who is writing "Del" or "Derek"? What is that relationship between the artist and the man?
I'm never Derek onstage, but offstage it depends. I was reading an interview with Nick Lowe, where he explained that a song is done when it sounds like a cover. I sympathized with this because most of my heavily produced songs were homages and about creating a world bigger than me as an individual. But the more personal songs are written/performed with earnest intention that is hard to dissociate with Derek.
4. Without giving too much away, what are your favorite pieces of equipment to record with, your favorite pieces live, and what carries over from the studio to the stage?
My favorite guitar to play live is a 1975 Gibson 335 w/ Bigsby tremolo. I was a Suede fanatic, saw “The Drowners” video and HAD to have that guitar. Everyone that plays it says it’s unlike other 335s, and it’s been my guitar of choice for 15 years. In the studio, nothing in particular, whatever is close by or convenient. I get tripped up when things get complicated in translating ideas to tape/computer.
5. Out of curiosity, you have admitted to stalking a few guitarists - why them?
I was a zealous fan of music; it was a way to get closest to what I loved. I'd jump onstage after shows so I could grab a set-list, a drumstick, a guitar pick... and haunt the backstage occasionally to get a photo or autograph. It was a phase; if anything, I have the opposite feeling regarding people I admire now. I'd rather love and respect my image of them and the music from afar. That is why I am ambivalent about Twitter and Facebook; they might be necessary evils, but it takes the mystery away from new artists.
Keep up with Del Marquis at his homepage, MySpace, Facebook, and the Scissor Sister's homepage.
And if you have not gotten “Runaround” yet, click on the link, mosey on down to the iTunes store and purchase it.