Posted On 21 Sep 2017
Nashville alt-rock musician, J. Marco will be releasing his new album, Days of Surrender on September 29th.
Long before moving to Nashville and kicking off his songwriting career, J. Marco listened to records in his Massachusetts bedroom, moving between the fast-moving fuzz of punk-rock and the hard-hitting hooks of pop music. Years later, he combines both of those genres and more on Days Of Surrender, his second album as a solo artist. Days Of Surrender finds J. Marco pulling triple-duty as singer, songwriter, and lead guitarist. Gluing the entire album together is an emphasis on guitar riffs and undeniable melodies, the same two ingredients that connected most of Marco’s childhood influences.
Learn more about J. Marco in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! How has 2017 been treating you? Musically, did you approach this year any differently then you did last year?
Thanks for having me! 2017 has been excellent, it’s been full of great shows, and i’ve been lucky enough to get to record another album. I think I approached this year with more confidence than previous years. In 2016, my first album, Myth, came out, and I had no idea what would happen. The response that I got from it was positive beyond my wildest dreams, and I feel like it really gave me a huge burst of creative energy.
Where does this interview find you today? Is there music playing in the background? If so, what is it? What kind of music do you listen to when you are working? What music gets you instantly out of a bad mood?
Right now, I am sitting in my living room with some dogs that I am watching for a friend. So, I’m in a pretty good place! In the background, I have the new The War On Drugs singles playing. I’m a big fan of that band. I don’t really have a “work” playlist, or anything like that. It really depends on what I’m in the mood for. Sometimes it’s Paul McCartney, sometimes it’s noise rock. When I’m in a bad mood, i’ll put on Julian Casablancas’ solo record Phrazes For The Young. That album reminds me of a particularly fun senior year in college, going on road trips, and having no worries.
Growing up, have you always wanted to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory?
There was always music in my house growing up, and my dad is a musician. So, it just kind of came natural. Some of my earliest memories involve music and wanting to play and make music. Growing up in suburban Massachusetts, making records can sometimes feel like a pipe dream, but that didn’t really matter to me. My earliest musical memories, I think, are hearing Tom Petty and Fleetwood Mac on family road trips. I still listen to that same stuff today.
If you weren’t a musician today, what else could you see yourself doing?
That’s a good question, and I don’t really know. I went to college for business, got my degree, but didn’t feel particularly pulled to any of the careers that became available to me. If I weren’t a musician, I think I’d still want to work in the industry in some sense. Whether that be at a record label, a guitar pedal company, or a radio station. I think I just want to be around music & creative people as much as possible, which is why Nashville is such a great city right now.
I always like to ask artists about where they came from and how that city or town has influenced them as an artist now. So how do you think being from Massachusetts who you are as a musician and the art that you create? What was it like moving to Nashville?
Growing up in Massachusetts, specifically the suburbs of Worcester, there wasn’t a ton of music around. In my teen years, there was a pretty cool hardcore and punk scene, but beyond that it was pretty much nothing. I grew up listening to punk, but I also listened to a ton of other things that shaped my creative influences. I think the bleakness of Massachusetts is great for making music with some bite to it. Moving to Nashville, looking back, was a pretty crazy thing to do. I didn’t have any connections here, as far as the music industry. I just knew that I liked it here, from a post college trip with some friends. Something about Nashville just felt right, and I was in my early 20’s and crazy enough to move 1,000 miles from home by myself. In retrospect, it was the best decision I’ve ever made.
This fall, you will be releasing your newest album called “Days of Surrender.” Can you talk about what it was like putting this collection together? Did anything surprise you about the process?
Days Of Surrender was written in a span of about 6 months following the release of my last record, Myth. I didn’t have a template for what I wanted it to sound like, or what it was going to be called. I’m always writing, and after awhile I found myself with a collection of songs that I was really excited about. I was surprised at how quickly these came together, to be honest. I think it was due to the response from my first record. It really gave me a huge creative push, and I still feel that today.
How do you think you have grown on this collection? How is it different or similar to your debut album?
I think this is a much more personal record. I’ve definitely grown as a songwriter since writing the first record. I tried to incorporate more of what I was feeling and thinking into Days Of Surrender. It’s more of a rock album compared to my previous record, and I like it a lot. I took some chances, sound-wise, and included some stuff that I probably wouldn’t have on my first record, like “Bad News”. I don’t ever want to put myself in a bubble, and only release songs that are geared towards a certain audience. I want to release music that excites me, and I think doing anything else would be disingenuous. I had the specific sound in mind, and worked with Jeremy Ferguson of Battle Tapes Recording here in Nashville, who mixed the last record, and he absolutely nailed it in Days Of Surrender.
What are your plans for the rest of the summer? Do you have any tour dates currently lined up?
I have an album release show planned for 10/7 at The High Watt here in Nashville, and am working on a tour as we speak. I do have some tricks up my sleeve for the rest of this year and 2018, so stay tuned!
Who are some of your very favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? What musicians would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
I love Tom Petty and Bob Dylan pretty much above anything else. I think they’re kind of ingrained in my creative software. Both are amazing songwriters, and I hope to one day be 1/8th of the songwriter that they are. At the moment, I’d love to work with Julian Casablancas & The Voidz, because I love the experimental stuff they are doing. I’d also love to work with Bob Mould. I saw him in concert in Nashville this year and was absolutely blown away.
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
I want people to find their own message. Days Of Surrender, to me, are the days when you don’t want to get out of bed, and are tired of trying. I think we all have those days, but we don’t like to talk about them. It’s important to know that those days do end.
What advice would you give to someone just getting started on this music path? Or even to someone young that is thinking of becoming a musician one day?
You have an intuition, and it’s always right. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s not. Create something that’s inarguably yours, not what’s popular, or what you think people want. Be authentic. Find a team of people that you can trust. These are all things I’ve struggled with, so cut yourself some slack from time to time. And if you’re not in a place that you like, go somewhere else.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
I’d just like to say thank you for reading this, and if you want to know more about what’s happening in my world, join the email list over at J-Marco.com You’re the best, and I really mean that.