Last week, when Brisbane sibling duo Ministry Of Mars unveiled their incredibly infectious debut single Breaking Me, we were immediately hooked on their shimmering electro-pop sounds.
As far as debut singles go, Breaking Me is as good as it gets. So we caught up with Alistair and Jon Marsden to chat about the new single, recording in a hotel room, and plans for the future.
Fresh off the release of their debut single Breaking Me, we caught up with Brisbane duo Ministry Of Mars to chat about the track, hotel rooms, and what the future holds.
HAPPY: Hey guys, how’s it going? What are you up to at the moment?
ALISTAIR: Hey hey! We’re pretty good! We’re just having a music planning session over coffee.
JON: At the moment we’re contemplating our next move. We’ve been sitting on a lot of projects leading up to the release of Breaking Me and it’s just a matter of reading the audience and figuring out what “vibe” we want for the inevitable follow-up single.
HAPPY: We’re loving the new single… could you tell us a bit about it?
JON: Cheers! Yeah for sure. Breaking Me was the culmination of a couple years of work, back and forth between songs we’ve been working on since 2016. This song was the one we felt hit the mark on exactly what we needed as a debut single. We felt it was complex, deep and groovy enough to really show what we’re all about and we hope to expand on the themes we’ve set.
HAPPY: How are you feeling about the track now that it’s been out for a little while?
JON: It’s been great! We were very anxious to begin with, not being entirely sure if this was going to be the one to lead with but we’ve had positive reception from everyone we’ve played it for and it’s made us feel very welcome thus far. We can’t predict how people are going to react when they listen to the song, all we can do is dive in the deep end and hope to float.
ALISTAIR: The overall response we got from Breaking Me has been very positive. We’ve received a lot of messages of support which has been very flattering. I think the song lyrically people have been able to connect with and the instrumentation has an Australian summer vibe so it’s all come together quite nicely.
HAPPY: With the track, you emerged with a really fully-formed sound… how long had this project been in the works for before you released Breaking Me?
ALISTAIR: While I was mixing Breaking Me, I actually looked back on an old folder on the computer and found the first demo we wrote together which was in 2016. But at the start of this year, we started taking writing together more seriously and worked on our sounds, writing process and started to shape what this project was going to be.
JON: Breaking Me, however, started production in October 2018 and we were super excited to share it so as soon as it was done we ran it right out the door and into the audience’s ears.
HAPPY: You recorded the song in a makeshift studio in a hotel room, right? Could you walk us through what that setup looked like?
ALISTAIR: We did indeed! We packed like a production bag which had a laptop, portable soundcard that we used for recording all the guitars and vocals, MIDI keyboard, microphone and some portable studio monitors so that we could still get a pretty good mix while working in the hotel room. By the time this interview comes out, I’m sure there’ll be a picture of the set up on our social media.
JON: It’s always easier to write when you set boundaries and get rid of all the bells and whistles. Setting limits let us really focus on and exploit what we have for its full potential. Usually, when I’m placed in front of hundreds of instruments and synth sounds I get overwhelmed with ideas and different directions the song can take. Having a minimal set up really put the song on a steady path.
HAPPY: Do you think that process had any effect on the overall sound of the track?
JON: For sure. Especially being in the hotel room with the view of the beach, really gave the track the summer vibes.
ALISTAIR: Yeah particularly that environment overlooking the ocean and being in the heart of Surfers Paradise had an impact on the writing process. Having that setting was pretty inspiring and allowed for the song to come quite naturally and quickly.
HAPPY: We’re picking up a stack of different sounds in your music… are there any particular artists that are influencing you right now?
ALISTAIR: The 1975 are a massive influence for us. Breaking Me came out the same day as their third album (which is amazing by the way) so that was pretty cool. We’re seeing them play at the O2 in London in January which we are stoked for.
HAPPY: What else in the works for Ministry Of Mars? Any other exciting plans?
JON: We’re working away at our live show for the start of 2019 which is really exciting for us. People will be able to see that in hopefully February or March which will have a lot of new music.
ALISTAIR: Our next single should be ready by that time as well. We’re also travelling over January to Asia and Europe for more music writing so there will definitely new music from that adventure.
Breaking Me is available now. Listen above.