On February 27th, the Marshall Mclean Band will be sharing their music and narrative at our next Seattle Chapel Sessions. As a two part series we were able to ask a few questions on their narrative, music, and creative process.
The Marshall McLean Band was born out of the Northwest, and it carries with it the unique sound that is becoming distinct to this part of the country. The four-piece band, based out of Spokane, has brought forth a fresh idea; that one can merge elements of thoughtful songwriting in folk, the driving force of rock, and the melodic accessibility of Americana and carve out a new genre - a kind of NW Americana Rock.
One of Spokane's favorite songwriters, McLean manages to write songs without pretension. He sets reflective moods and backs them up with a distinctive picking style that travels seamlessly from powered lead lines to dynamic rhythm. It is in the final output, however, where the Marshall McLean Band carves its most solid niche. The method in which acoustical elements are managed through filters and amps gives forth a clean, overdriven sound that blurs the line between genres. The band is unafraid, blending these styles, taking the best of both worlds and discarding the rest.
Joining McLean are veterans of other Northwest bands: Justin Landis from Sandpoint-based "Cedar & Boyer" plays a smoothed-out bass that gives Marshall's songs a strong foundation. Jamie Frost of "The Makers" is on a clean pedal steel, adding a haunting beauty. Caleb Ingersoll of Spokane's "Cathedral Pearls" plays a tight, driving, 60â€™s Ludwig, drum kit that rounds out the complete sound that is destined to become its own genre.
The release of "Glossolalia" - which means "speaking in tongues" - showcases the mature and well-received effort by Marshall McLean Band.
#1. How long have you all been making music together?
A little over 3 years. Me (Marshall) and Justin started playing together in November of 2012 and have been joined by a rotating cast of musicians and collaborators. Jesse started playing with the band in the Fall of 2014.
#2. At what point / how did the vision for the band come to life?
At the time, I was at the end of another band that I had put a lot of hopes and energy into. Being extremely disillusioned with the world of music and songwriting, I met Justin through a series of serendipitous events. There was an immediate chemistry that began to take off and I started writing songs again. It’s crazy how much the right relationships can inspire us to create and take chances again, but that’s exactly what happened. From there, we started playing small shows and within the course of the next year, we had our first full-length record out.
#3. Which song do you take the most pride in lyrically / musically, and why?
There are songs that I chip away at for months or years before they feel right. Maybe it’s an emotional catalyst that triggers it or a slow, steady realization of some truth. That being said, the most recent song that I’m proud of is our latest release, the Badlands. It’s a combination of using the geography of my childhood (South Dakota) as a vocabulary to describe the struggles of my adulthood. There are parts of the song that give brief flashes of the moments leading up to who I am now. There is significance in the imagery that no one knows about but me, but people are still free to attach their own meaning.
#4. What is your biggest challenge in the songwriting / creative process?
The biggest challenge in songwriting for me personally is knowing which ideas to pursue and which ones to leave alone. Creativity and inspiration are things that one must simply live with as an artist. I think it’s a mistake to think that every time you are inspired, there needs to be a creative response. Whichever creative ideas or songs can stand the test of time is a hallmark of the craft. It’s a constant balance of not being afraid to say anything and knowing what doesn’t need to be said. I delete way more that I actually write.
The Seattle Chapel Sessions is a project presented by Artist Reformation that was created to provide a space for local artists to share their stories through music and narrative. Hosted in a former Carmelite monastery built in 1908, the "Chapel" offers a unique and intimate experience for the artists and audience alike.
Giving the artist enough time to share in between their set, than allowing for a Q&A allows for the artist and audience to explore music, their creative process, and humanities in creative community.