Timbrrr! Fest Series: Hey Marseilles
Seattle-based sextet, Hey Marseilles, have been churning out polite indie pop since 2006. Their modest output is highlighted by well-crafted songwriting and an orchestral fullness that suggests a mature intentionality behind every note.
While Hey Marseilles may categorically fall into the stylish whimsy of The Decemberists or The Lumineers, they are noticeably dissimilar. Their hooks are elegant and subdued, memorable but not ingratiatingly transmissible. The Pacific Northwest may be known for quietly intelligent songwriters, but Hey Marseilles continue the tradition with aplomb.
Hey Marseilles began after several band members spent their college years jamming in Gasworks Park when they weren’t attending class at the University of Washington, an experience that brought forth the track, “Gasworks”.
Since then, the band has made a name for itself by touring across the country, performing at music festivals like Bumbershoot and South By Southwest, and appearing on NPR’s “Tiny Desk Concert” podcast. Their latest album, Lines We Trace, came out earlier this year to an overwhelmingly positive response from fans and critics. The reaction may be unsurprising to longtime listeners since Hey Marseilles’ fixation on creating even-keeled baroque pop makes it easy to fall under their spell.
NM: Have you been to Leavenworth? If so, what impressions did it leave with you?
Hey Marseilles’ lead singer and guitarist, Matt Bishop: Many times. I love it. A good day in Leavenworth involves exploring the hat shop, encouraging unsuspecting friends to try the hot sauces at A Matter of Taste, and getting beer and schnitzel at the Keller.
NM: Since the festival happens in early 2014, what are some of your New Year’s resolutions?
MB: To make headway on our next record, to continue to write and record and find inspiration that compels the writing and recording. After that: 1) lose the weight I gained after last year’s touring, 2) figure out how to pay the rent now that we’re not touring, and 3) sleep more.
NM: Timbrrr! advertises hot toddies. What are some of your favorite recipes?
MB: Anything that involves plenty of whisky will make me happy.
NM: The festival features snowshoeing and other winter-related activities. Do you have a favorite snow sport?
MB: I only learned to ski a few years ago, so the snow sport I really excel at is sledding. I’ve had some pretty fantastic runs sledding up at Stevens Pass.
NM: Leavenworth in January calls for warm clothing. What is your essential gear for the winter?
MB: In Seattle winter typically means more rain than snow, so my wardrobe bends toward preventing exposure to the moisture. I’ve got a really fashionable Eddie Bauer rain jacket for that purpose. But I’ve also got a hearty pea coat, a nice retro (and warm) bomber hat, plenty of wool socks, and a pair of Palladium boots. It’s also likely that anytime someone sees me in the winter months, I have long underwear on under my jeans, since I ride a scooter year-round.
NM: Which of your songs would you recommend listening to on a brisk winter day?
MB: The whole of Lines We Trace (our last record) feels like a winter album to me. It’s somber, stoic and a bit grey. I think “Madrona,” “Heart Beats,” “Tides,” “Building Glare,” “Dead of Night”… any of those would be appropriate soundtracks for a dark Northwest January day.
Timbrrr Fest! takes place January 10-11 in Leavenworth, Washington.
More in this series:
- Wild Ones
- Barna Howard
- Lotte Kestner
- Joseph Giant
- The Moondoggies
- Full Lineup Announced
- You Me and Apollo
- Radiation City
- The Lonely Forest
- Timbrrr Fest Preview