Marillion
with Steve Hogarth on Apr 01, 2004


To finance the recording of the new album, Marillion gave their fans the opportunity to pre-order the up-coming album Marbles and make that edition of the album a full double album with a 120 page booklet. How is the pre-sale going?
We have pre-sold around 14.000 copies. Bearing in mind the high price of this ‘campaign edition’ of our album, we`re very pleased with the response. I only just saw the finished package and it`s such a beautiful thing that I think the people who didn`t pre-order will be kicking themselves when they see it. It`s worth 50 euros without the music!

The Marbles album available in the record shops will be a single disc album. How did you decide on what tracks should be on this version of Marbles, and what songs you keep for the special 2 disc album?
This was a really difficult decision, especially as it had to be decided before the songs were mixed. We had to choose between the two really long songs as we wouldn`t have had much room for anything else if we`d selected both. It was unanimously felt that "The Invisible Man" was the strongest and most original of the two, so "Ocean Cloud" was left off the retail version. As for the rest of the songs, we tried to give the retail version a good spread of musical styles. The songs which appear only on the double-album are "Genie", "The Damage", "The Only Unforgivable Thing" and "Ocean Cloud". These are in no way weaker than any of the other songs - in fact some are stronger.

I know that this must be a tough question since Marillion`s music has always been difficult to describe, but what can we expect from Marbles, what does it sound like?
The influences are many and varied. I hear Arabic influences in "The Invisible Man". Also, I spoke to Polish DJ`s who said the single "You`re Gone" reminded them of U2. "Drilling Holes" is vaguely reminiscent of early Floyd and Beatles. "Neverland" has gospel influences but also sounds Floydy later on. "Fantastic Place" sounds like a an old 60`s record - I can hear Glen Campbell in it. Some of the Marbles sections remind me of Crash Test Dummies. "Don`t Hurt Yourself" could be an REM song if MS was singing it. And then there are the classical influences.. and Radiohead, Massive Attack and Portishead have also been mentioned. Oh.. and Talk Talk and The Blue Nile.. and "Angelina" could be Ella Fitzgerald, or Prefab Sprout. I must add that none of this would give you the remotest idea what Marbles sounds like.


The last couple of weeks you`ve organized a couple of listening sessions for fans and media. Looking back at these promotional gatherings, how was the response on the new album?
The response was great (even in Holland - the Dutch always give it to you straight.. good or bad!). I`m really glad we had the listening parties. I think we owed it to the fans, but it was also good to get a vibe back before we start rehearsing for the shows. From our point of view, the schedule was a bit gruelling - 96 interviews in 3 weeks in 10 different cities, and I got sick after food-poisoning in Paris, but I`ll remember most of it fondly apart from some of the gastric details which I`ll spare your readers..

On the last three studio albums there always seemed to be a sort of one-off track ("Born To Run", "House" and "21st Century") which you`d either loved or hated. Which track on Marbles is going to stir up the fanbase most?
If you hate "This Is The 21st Century", there`s definitely something wrong with you. On this new album.. hmm.. I think "Drilling Holes" tends to invoke quite a strong reaction, one way or the other.

The last cd-single that hit the shops was the 1995 song "Beautiful". I for one thought that Marillion had given up on single chart success. Why have you decided to release "You`re Gone" as a single?
The distribution company thinks it would be a great promotional tool for the album. I think they`re right because "You`re Gone" has already picked up a little airplay around the world prior to it`s release, and that can only help us. Also, we realized that our fan base is so "up" for the project that we have a real shot at a good chart position in the UK, and this will help pick up interviews and press for the album. Personally I hate releasing singles, because it`s not really what we`re about and I`ve only ever known disappointment after all the anticipation of it. Oh well, we`ll see..

  Is there a big difference between the writing and the recording of Marbles is comparison to the previous Marillion albums?
The writing process was exactly the same. I write words, the band jam, and we try to create accidents which are interesting. The accidents become the songs. Dave Meegan worked with us during the arrangement process (when the song structures are written). “Anoraknophobia” was written and arranged in this way. The recording process was similar except that new technology enabled us to take work home and contribute to the album via laptop computers. I recorded quite a lot of "Drilling Holes" in my kitchen, including the lead vocal.

  What is the gig you`re most looking forward to and are you considering recording on of the shows for a DVD release?
I`m looking forward to gig number 9 (wherever that is!). By then we`ll be really tight and I can relax and enjoy the moments. We`re planning to film and record the London shows in July.


2004 is going to be the year of Marillion because...
We`re free, we`re in control, we`re on tour, we`re still getting away with it, and we`re out in the world with the people who understand us.

Thanks for this interview, is there anything you`d like to add?
God bless the Dutch!

Photo`s by Carl Glover

(Geert Oldenmenger)

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