Marcuss Hall Interview

I just did an interview not to long ago with Marcuss Hall and we discussed his new project 10,000 Rad. You may remember Marcuss as the original lead singer of Side Walk Slam (he can be heard on the Rock Anthems..., 2 Steps..., and Past Remains).

Click Read More to check out the interview and find out about his new project. He also answers a few Side Walk Slam questions.

10,000 Rad

First off thanks for the interview
Thank you! It was totally out of the blue and unexpected, I think it’s awesome and it’s greatly appreciated!

For those unfamiliar with you, you used to be the original front man for Tooth And Nail record’s Side Walk Slam. You recently started working on this new project 10000 Rad which is a really different sound from Side Walk Slam. Can you tell me a little about what influenced this material and kind of where you head was at while making it?
I guess the original artists from back in the day. The real 'punks and greasers', ya know? There's so many bands and artists from the mid 50's on through the 70's not a lot of people have heard of really unless you are die hard and really start diggin through the archives, which I did. So to start off was the obvious, Link Wray, I’ve listened to him for yrs, his approach to guitar and the rawness just blows me away every time I listen to him. There are so many others, Ronnie Dee, Ronnie Allen and Ronnie Dawson, lots of ronnies! Stuff from Buddy Holly and Elvis to Hasil Adkins and 007 and The Sonics and Love, but the real gems are more obscure and underground than those but why should I tell who they are? That just takes the fun out of discovering them. So 50's and 60's rock, punk and garage and the rawness of the recordings too, that’s why the 10000RAD album sounds the way it does, not that I don’t know how to record, I wanted it loud and peaked on purpose to make it sound like it could fit in with all those old albums I love to listen too. And where was my head while making this? All over, man. It’s always going too fast for me to keep up with. And even though this was recording over a couple of months time it only equaled a few days and something like 44 hrs and besides the covers all songs were written and recorded on the spot. I guess that’s why I titled it ANXIETY! ANXIETY!

With 10000 Rad you handle all the instruments. When you are writing a song and you know you are going to be doing all the instruments yourself do you have a general way to write so that it all fits together?
No, not really. I do everything totally opposite than professionals. I write the song or most of it, make a click track, hit record and do the guitar, make a scratch vocal then do drums, other guitars, bass, vocals and whatever else. Then I put a lot of reverb and/or echo, max the volume, drop the bass and up the highs and its ready to go, lo-fi 10000RAD style. I can usually turn a song out in around two hours if I’m grooving on it real good.

While listening to the 10000 Rad album I noticed you had a ton of different vibes some western tinges, surf tinges, garage rock sounds, etc… What inspired you to incorporate all these different genres into one album?
Before 10000RAD I was in a band I put together with a good friend, Randy Hill on upright bass called Gypsy Rose, there’s only a couple of songs that ever got recorded and one live show but that band was what I called spaghetti western, real twangy stuff. Before, during and after that and now I write and record all instrumental songs that are mostly surf inspired under the name No Coast Surfers. So put those two together and add the 60's garage sound and you get the 10000RAD album. Basically, I recorded this album with one thing in mind, myself! I wanted to do what I wanted to do and if people liked it then awesome!

Aside from making music you also do some tattoo work. How did you get into tattoos and was that always something you were interested in eventually doing? If anyone wants the official Marcus Hall tattoo where can they get one?
Well, I got my first tattoo when I was 19. Since I was a little kid I was drawn to them basically because of my love for rock n roll and a lot of the band I listened too then all had tattoos. As I got more work done I fell in love with the art itself. No, I never thought I would be trying it and doing it. I got the stuff I need and after a friend bugged me long enough I put one on his arm and it was horrible! I’m trying though and I am by no means anywhere I need to be! Luckily for me, I have a lot of good friends that lend their skin to me and people that do tattoo professionally that lend advice and criticism. If you want a tattoo, you come to my place; the house my wife and I bought had a beauty salon built on to the back so it makes the perfect little tattoo shop.

You left Side Walk Slam after the Tooth And Nail debut and during the writing and recording process for the second album Give Back. Why did you decide to leave the band and are you on good terms with those members these days?
I left because I was a newly wed and it was causing great strains on my marriage. It was my responsibility as a husband to suck it up and be a husband! I am on good terms with them. I mostly stay in touch with Matt, the drummer, we jam from time to time and back in Jan. we played a show together under The Marcuss Hall Duo It was a blast!

The way I understand it is that all of Give Back was originally written with you and you were slated to play and sing on that album. How much do you think you wrote for that album that actually ended up on the finished product?
Yeah, the whole album was finished when I left and I could not make the recording session because I had already started a full time job. I believe all the songs except for 2 were written by me. Of course, Josiah and Matt put their touch to them since I was not in the studio with them but most of the songs maintained their originality.

With 10000 Rad focusing on kind of a different sound for all those old school fans of the sound Side Walk Slam had, do you ever plan to possibly write a record with that similar style again?
Never say never? I don’t know man. I’m hitting 30 this year the stuff on the SWS Debut was written from the ages 15-20. I had a whole different view on music and life then. But if I did I would have to say it still wouldn’t be the same, I mean, I could do pop punk again but I think there would be more structure, more musical ya know and all the songs wouldn’t be a minute and a half with machine gun drumming!

I have a line of my own and it’s always cool to see some of the underground fashion that kind of pops up in subcultures back in the early 2000’s you started a line called Alleycat Threads. Do you ever have any plans to bring that line back?
LOL! Dude, do you work for the government? You really did your homework for this! No, man, no plans to bring it back. I was poor looking to make a quick buck that was the whole reason for that line.

The music scene with the internet becoming such a big tool has really grown. It seems like during the Side Walk Slam days you kind of new what bands where from what scene (for example you guys as well as like Youth Misled, The Buffys, The Redemtion Song, The New Jerseys, Frontline, etc…) Where well known as being good friends and had a good camaraderie, do you think with the massive internet culture those type of scenes have kind of got lost in the shuffle?
I feel odd commenting on this since I really haven’t been in a real band for a while. I would say though for the most part it’s still the same and the internet has just helped to expand it even more. You still have all the local bands rallying around and supporting one another which is so so important and with the net now and digital downloads it brings scenes together and helps to join forces with them. When you are from the Midwest it seems small around here, man. So from myspace, facebook, purevolume, etc you are meeting up with bands from other college towns and cities, helping them with shows and vice versa, it’s been a big big help to bands with no ties to a label and even those that are on small labels.

Well man I guess that wraps it up, thanks so much for answering the question it was really cool of you. Do you have any closing comments you’d like to make?
Well, of course, thanks to you for having interest in what I’m doing these days! It means a lot to me. Everybody needs to get out support the local bands and not be afraid to write and record your own record, heck, I did! And If I can remember the login to the 10000RAD myspace page, the first 20 to send a message saying they read this interview will get a free download of the album! I’m slow so don’t get mad if it takes me a month to send it to you.

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