Tomatrax – Interview with Pieter Van Dessel from Marble Sounds

Following their crucially acclaimed debut Nice Is Good, Belgium’s Marble Sounds have returned with another collection of amazing indie sounds in the form of their second full length, Dear me, Look up! Tomatrax spoke to Pieter Van Dessel, the lead singer of the band, about the bands’ latest music.

Where did the name “Dear me, Look up” come from?

It’s a title from a blog post by Tanya Sa, someone I knew when I lived in Montreal. She had this blog where she posted one post a day for a whole year. It was hard to find a good title for this album. I was desperate for a good one until a few days before mastering, but when I read this title on her blog I loved it immediately.

Given the critical acclaim you got for your debut album, did you feel any pressure putting this album together?

Not really. On the contrary actually! The reactions on the first album gave us confidence to make a good second album. The lack of time pressure also helped. I thought it’d be good to have 3 years between albums to make the best album possible.

Was it hard to pick what went on the album?

I always use everything I have. We had 11 songs recorded, and kept one as a bonus track for the vinyl. I don’t work like many musicians, who have like 60 tracks and select 10 or 12 for an album. I do the selection in the early stage of the songwriting. When I start writing and I don’t feel straight away that the material could end up on the album, I trash it immediately and continue with another idea. So if the song survived it’s very likely that it will on the album. I don’t write that many songs.

The album has an Autumn-like feel to it, was this the feel you were aiming for?

I didn’t think about it. This is the music that comes out of me without thinking about it. It’s in the DNA of marble sounds I guess. Although I think it’d be nice to go for a particular atmosphere on one of the next albums.

What inspired you to cover Sophia’s Ship In The Sand?

First of all, I love Sophia. I know them since their first album “fixed water”. Secondly, Ship In The Sand is one of my favorite Sophia tracks but there’s only a live version out there. I don’t think Robin Proper-Sheppard ever recorded a studio version. So I decided to make a studio version myself.

marble sounds

Are there any cover versions planned for your next release?

I never plan to include cover versions on a Marble Sounds CD. They’re happy accidents. Come Here was recorded for my wife for Valentine’s Day but ended on a tribute album for Kath Bloom, and later on Nice Is Good. Ship In The Sand was recorded for my own pleasure. It wasn’t the plan that this would end up on the album, but the version turned out nicely so we included it in the track-listing.

You preciously said you’d like to be on a Bruce Springsteen tribute album, are there any plans to cover Bruce Springsteen?

Thanks for reminding me! Yes, Bruce Springsteen has some amazing tracks. But as I said, I don’t really “plan” cover versions… If the opportunity comes, I won’t say ‘no’…

What was the inspiration behind the video clip for No One Ever Gave Us The Right?

NORAH+BIRG was the team behind the video. They were inspired by the song and that’s all I know actually. We give freedom to the video makers. They know their job.

A number of people fans have created videos for your songs, what’s it like to see video clips made by fans?

It’s fantastic! It’s an honor if people get creative with your songs. Some people uploaded their own version of a Marble Sounds track. Sometimes people ask me if they can use a song of ours for their personal films. I’m totally fine with that, as long as it’s not for commercial use.

What’s it like to have one of your songs used on a car ad?

I didn’t see that one on TV since it only played in Italy and Australia. But having your music in ads is a good way to compensate declining record sales. And you reach a new audience. And it’s even better if the ad itself is nice.

You’ve been playing a number of acoustic sessions lately, is it hard to transfer the full band sound to an unplugged one?

Sometimes I’m afraid that it won’t work but there’s always a way to make it work. It just takes some fiddling around to find the right acoustic arrangement in some songs. I like doing these sessions. The biggest issue is to remember my lyrics when there’s a camera in front of me that captures every little mistake. It stresses me out, which makes me forget even more lyrics.

Now that the album is out what do you plan on doing next?

Our priority is to play live now. Hopefully we can cross the border more often. We had our first show in Italy and a tour in Germany and it’s been amazing. France is on the list. Basically we’re eager to go on the road.

Check out Marble Sounds website or blog to find out more!