Recently I got to sit down with Andy Marsh of Thy Art Is Murder before they played their sold out show at Studio Seven in Seattle. Andy and I sat down outside during our chat. It was a nice day out so he wanted to enjoy it. Anyways, on to the interview.
YesterdazeNews, Patrick Burt – How has the tour been going so far?
Thy Art Is Murder, Andy Marsh – So far the tour has been good! We’re in the Pacific Northwest about two weeks in, three weeks left to go from here. Lots of fun and a lot of good shows and a lot of cool bands to play with.
Have there been any insane things that have happened along the way?
So far the craziest shows have been Denver and Portland. Which is kind of odd because Denver was on a Tuesday night. So to have 700 something odd people at a show on Tuesday night is insane for us. Most insane thing though was probably Texas because we were right in the middle of hurricane Harvey. It touched down in Houston the night we played there. So we were very grateful for the people that did show up to that. There were still hundreds of people there which is insane because we have all seen the state of Texas and New Orleans at the moment. It was also in Austin the night we played Austin, so it was just raining and flooding. Made it very chaotic.
That’s pretty nuts! Did they have to make you cut your set at all?
No, we played our entire set and we packed out really quick. A friend of ours is a guitar player from Australia, and he was playing the same days in Texas and the same cities as we were. And we are friends with the guy who is driving his bus. And he told us “Hurry up, hurry up, hurry up, get all of your shit out of the venue and get on the highway now it’s starting to flood on the highway to Austin. So we packed up real quick and just made it before the highway got closed.
Have you ever had to deal with anything like that while touring before?
Yeah, a bunch of times. We’ve dealt with hurricanes, venue changes due to terrorist activities, just heaps of things. One time we got evacuated off stage and into a bunker because there was a tornado. So we’ve done it all. It’s hard to get rid of us.
Was the recording process for Dear Desolation any different from recording Holy War?
A little bit different, but really fun. When we did Holy War, CJ (vocalist), went home for two months while we were writing and recording and then he came back and did vocals at the end. This one, everyone did that. So they would come just to record their bits and then go home. Sean (bassist) and I like kind of put the record together over the course of a month unattended, and then we whittled it down with a producer over a couple of days. And then he recorded most of the guitars and bass in like four days, then he went home for Christmas and I stayed through the new year working on guitar parts and finished writing the extra bits of the songs. Then Lee (drummer) came and started recording drums then he went home. CJ came and recorded the vocals and then he went home. And then I had some more guitar stuff to finish too, it was interesting. I was there the whole time for like three months and everyone just kind of came and left, and then I was really lonely and sad. A lot of late night watching Netflix and writing lyrics.
Just curious what were you watching on Netflix?
Mostly nothing. Whatever was on the suggested for whoever’s account was left logged in at the studio. I did watch all of Black mirror. None of it really influenced the lyrics or anything of the album though. But, there was also a lot of going to bars and not trying to work on the album because we’re real lazy. After that worked on the album!
So I know with recording processes there are some songs that don’t get included on the album because there wasn’t enough room for it or it just didn’t fit the tone the band wanted. Do you have any songs that were recorded that didn’t get put on this album that may make a debut on another album down the road?
I don’t think they will appear on another album, they just didn’t fit with the songs on this album. Same reason why some people complain there is no “Absolution” on this album, it just didn’t make sense on this record. We have two completed songs with vocals and everything totally done. They just didn’t make sense in the sequence of how the track order goes because, musically they are a little bit different. Then we’ve got another song that was recorded but we didn’t have any lyrics for it. We started with like 30 odd bits of songs, we got it down to like 15 and recorded 13 then we recorded vocals for 12 and then 10 made the record.
Onto a totally different subject here, so you guys have been on tour for two weeks already. What do you guys like to do to keep sane during touring?
Anything really. Today we went out to Pikes Place Market, got a bunch of seafood, now we’re cooking inside the bus. So that takes up a fair amount of time. We lift weights, I have a bike I bring on tour. Like a road bike for cycling and I do that a couple of hours a day. I actually just bought another bike so now there is going to be two bikes inside of the bus. The guys are gonna hate my guts but oh well. Some of the dudes play video games and some of us have other jobs that we work remotely. Nothing like full on, just bits and pieces that we do with a laptop which is great. Otherwise we are just really funny people so we make jokes about each other. And as the tour progresses, the humor descends into this vicious targeted aggression towards one another and it’s really funny but, the person who is the victim really feels it. In the beginning it’s just really casual and as it goes on we just get sicker and sicker and start to dissect each other psychologically and that’s really interesting. Then we talk amongst ourselves about the best way to roast the other guys in the band and vent out jokes about each other like “Oh I’ve got this joke that’s going to be really good when should I do it?”. Otherwise we like grocery shopping. Most bands get a buyout or catering budget or whatever you call it for beers, liquor, McDonalds or delivered pizza. We just prefer to ask them just to give us the money and we’ll go to the grocery store and buy our fruits and vegetables and stuff like that. That takes up like an hour or two as well and then you have to make fresh food for yourself and that take up another hour or two so it just takes up more time than a pizza delivery or unhealthy food for four months. A lot of dudes on tour gain weight just because of being able to get that stuff so easily. We try to eat as healthy as we can afford.
So do you have any more tours planned after this one?
So we finish this one in three weeks, have two days off then a production day in Dusseldorf, Germany. Then we do a tour there for four weeks. We have a few days off there and go to Israel, then back to Germany for a day, then we fly to South Africa for a day or two and play a show Johannesburg. Then we fly off to Hong Kong, we don’t have a show there we just have to go there. Then Bali for vacation, like a group vacation. We’ll get home in the middle of November and have maybe 10 weeks off which is great for the Christmas period.
Apart from Bali, do you have a spot you are looking forward to during all that?
Well it just past in Portland and then tonight in Seattle. The Pacific Northwest is really where I like to go. The northeast as well, Boston and New York are always great. Besides that we already hit all the great spots. We are going to California so maybe we’ll get some cool Mexican food or something. We got a lot of barbecue in Texas last week. Like a lot. The barbecue down there is unbelievable. Funny story actually, our favorite place is Franklin BBQ which is like the most famous Texas barbecue or barbecue spot in general. So you have to line up to go there. Now the line is only a few hundred people long but it takes like five to six hours on a good day. Normally it’s like seven hours. So I got up the other day after we got through the flood and the hurricane and I woke up at 5:30 AM and went to Franklin BBQ in the rain and I got stopped by the police because it was burning down. It was on fire in front of my very eyes. It didn’t even register because it was raining and I was telling the cop “No you’ve got to let me in I’m the first in line. This is unbelievable I’m never the first in line here.” He goes “Dude, the place is burning down” and I looked and it was on fire. So we had to go to another place called La Barbecue. Which was also good.
(trying not to laugh too hard) I can’t imagine what that must feel like.
It’s like watching your wife die or something it’s pretty hard to watch. It’s just terrible.
Thank you for your time Andy!