In a world of guitar screaming rock, dope beats HipHop and sexy blazing horns Soul, once in a while I get something in my inbox that makes me wanna sit back, relax and reflect.
When I got a sneaky-peek copy of his album, it was this stripped down Americana sound and his emotional clever songwriting that grabbed me. While you can hear John Mellencamp influences, he added these pinches of soul to make it his own!
With dropping his new album ‘Nothing And Everything‘ 12 days ago, I want you to introduce you to the man who got me spinning my chair with my eyes closed while listening to his entire album, Philip Marino:
The Dutch Guy (TDG): Can I borrow 20 bucks?
Philip Marino: That’s only like £13… Yeah, what the hell. Spend it unwisely.
TDG: When you looked into the mirror this morning, what was your first thought?
Philip: I need to clean that mirror.
TDG: What was the last furry thing you touched?
Philip: My beard. I’ve let it grow unfettered for many months now.
TDG: Can you describe yourself in one sentence?
Philip: I tried, a number of times, seriously, but wasn’t happy with anything.
TDG: What are your (musical) roots?
Philip: Going back, it’s John Mellencamp, Jim Croce, Neil Young, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan.
TDG: How would you describe your sound?
Philip: Uncomplicated alt-country/Americana. Straight-forward music and lyrics. Honest.
TDG: What’s involved in your songwriting process?
Philip: It varies, of course, but typically I start playing around with a small riff or chord progression and just keep at that for a while.
Once I lock into a basic idea/melody there, I’ll often start free-flowing lyrics to see what the music has brought to mind. Sometimes I get something good right away, other times not so much.
I do keep a document on my computer where I jot down ideas for songs, such as specific lines or even just titles, but I don’t rely too much on that when actually writing a song.
I’ve never written a song lyrics first… It always seems to start with music, even in the most basic form, and then the two (music and lyrics) get completed in tandem.
TDG: Which aspect did you enjoy the most while working on your album ’Nothing And Everything‘?
Philip: The very best thing about making ‘Nothing And Everything‘ was bringing together a number of dear friends who I’ve come to know over the years on ‘the circuit’ so that they could play and/or sing on the tracks. My first EP was pretty much a solo effort. The co-producer of that CD did play some extra bits and do a few BVs, but this time I was fortunate to have many of my friends add their talents to the songs. That was truly special. I was made better by the experience, and the album most definitely was, too.
TDG: Who or what inspires you the most?
Philip: Talent and authenticity. When I see/hear artists with (what I perceive as) talent, I get seriously moved, especially if they’re expressing something real and personal. I’ll usually make a joke at the moment about how I hate talented people, but then I leave knowing that there’s more work to do and more progress to make in my own music.
TDG: What is the biggest misconception people have about you?
Philip: Wow, I don’t know. Probably that I’m a miserable git. I certainly do have my down moments, but I am not nearly as unhappy as some people might think. I often get serious, reflective, and quiet, and that can probably be misinterpreted as miserable. Sometimes I need to be in that space. Other times, I laugh so loud and so often it’s embarrassing!
TDG: How important is connecting with fans for you? What kind of connection do you have or do you like to have with them?
Philip: It means everything. For me, making and playing music is an interactive experience. It’s not really meaningful if it’s just me playing songs in my living room. It’s about connecting with folks through the music, either online or in person, and hopefully, having them see something about their own lives and experiences in something I’ve written. The songwriters who have always mattered to me have the ability to write in a way that leaves the listener feeling as if the song was written especially just for them. It’s pretty cool when someone tells me that a song of mine has connected with them in that way.
TDG: And social media is a big help in your opinion?
Philip: I think it is. It’s difficult to know for sure just how connected you are in the social media context.
Sometimes, I feel like social media sources definitely allow for direct contact with listeners, and that’s great.
Other times, it seems like a vast empty space filled only with echoes of people shouting… About themselves and at each other.
TDG: What do you do to stand out from all the rest on social media?
Philip: Well, I don’t know the extent to which I stand out, but I try my best to post fairly regularly about shows, press, thoughts, etc. I also try to respond as fast as possible to all comments and messages. There’s probably a fine line between keeping your social media connections interested and pushing them away with too many posts.
TDG: Talking about social media and fans, your album is also available on CD, which you’ll probably will sign and smooch when needed, but why did you feel the need to have physical copies?
Philip: It’s a way to interact with folks after a show, selling them a CD and talking to them about the songs. It’s also because I’m old school. I still get physicals of every new album/EP that I buy. I prefer to make my digital copies for devices from the physical. It doesn’t feel real to me unless I have the actual album (CD) in my hand.
TDG: Who is currently on repeat on your iPod or Spotify playlist?
Philip: First Aid Kit, Jason Isbell, Ryan Adams.
TDG: What’s the best piece of advice you ever got when you started out and you think it would help other aspiring artists/bands?
Philip: Don’t hold back and don’t focus on mistakes. Remember, you’re not nearly as bad – or as good – as you might think. 🙂
TDG: Besides dropping your beautiful album ’Nothing And Everything‘, what else can we expect of you in 2015?
Philip: Thanks for that… Well, the year’s coming to a close faster than I had hoped. Lots more shows, of course, and more radio play (hopefully). I’m always writing, so that’s a sure thing. Just moving forward, as always!
TDG: Got any last words of wisdom you wanna lay down on us before we wrap this up?
Philip: I guess it’s to be where you are now. Not where you were, and not where you think you ought to be. Of course, I fail at this all the time…
Check in with Philip Marino on:
Bandcamp: Philip Marino’s album ‘Nothing And Everything’