Folktales and Music

In Austin, Texas, there are many bands that strive to reach that good-old pure folk sound, a sound which emanates from the group’s creative interior to relay certain uncommon thoughts and concepts to the listener. Marmalakes strives to create something authentic and true to their own aesthetic choices. Having recorded their first EP, Wonder Winds, the duo's single "Vittoria" has already garnered much praise and appreciation from the local community. The band was formed three years ago in Austin, but their attention to detail is uncanny and unparalleled, which would explain why they've only released one EP thus far.

The band is currently at work on their second EP, which is due out in spring, and they are also currently working on the first full-length record. Two members of the band, Max Colonna and Josh Halpern were able to share a few words with Jupiter Index about their success so far, and what they have planned for the future.

Mark Lopez: Tell us how your band came up with the name Marmalakes?
Marmalakes is the setting from several folktales by Henrietta Awn, based on the idea that songs are the external reflections of the everyday life of its residents. Chase came across Henrietta's [unpublished] journal in a used bookstore in DC, and we really liked the idea.

There are many bands, especially locally in Austin, Texas, that delve into the whole folk scene, such as The Blue Hit. What do you think distinguishes your group from other folk acts out there?
Marmalakes has been around for 3 years now, and that time has allowed us to shape and reshape our sounds over again. Our listening taste in music has changed, and along with the opportunity to play with lots of local acts, our songs and attitudes have developed in a really positive way.

Recently the band performed at The Parish. How was that performance for you, and how do you make your performances stand out for the audience members?
Our show at the Parish was a blast! We got to play with our good friends The Frontier Brothers and Mother Falcon, and work with the best sound and light crew we've ever had. Every time we play, we're working for that "best performance." When we're lucky enough to get to play at a venue like the Parish, it's easy to love what you're doing on stage, and it feels like the audience really responds to it. People singing and clapping along doesn't hurt either.

Some of the musicians of the Marmalakes are students. How is one able to balance being a student while wanting to have a career as a musician?
Being able to coordinate and communicate effectively makes the difference. We all rely on our calendars and spending a lot of time planning out rehearsals and future shows at times that don't too heavily interfere with school. It's difficult sometimes, but we make it work the best we can.

Some people view music today as being progressive and some people view music as lacking the soul and spirit of past generations. What is your take on music today and where it's headed?
Both are true. The Internet makes it possible to find anything you want, so there will always be new and progressive music that is accessible. People create, make things together that have never been made, and push the limits of their creativity, which is what sustains the spirit of all musical generations.

From listening to your music, it’s not hard to notice how poetic your lyrics are. Who in the band writes the songs and what is the writing process like?
Chase writes the lyrics for the group, though editing has become more of a group effort over time. The arrangement of the song is a complete group process where we build, with different musical ideas based around the more specific lyrical ideas already in place. As the song gets played more both in rehearsals and at shows, the song continues to change and move forward as we develop newer musical ideas. "Vittoria" is a bit different than most of our songs as it was based on a movie, "L'eclisse" by Michelangelo Antonioni instead of on a personal or imagined experience.

Your first EP, Wonder Winds, is already under your belt. What can people expect from your debut full-length release?
Well, they can expect to wait a little while for it. We're currently halfway through with a second EP and a split seven-inch with our good friend, Box of Baby Birds, both which will be released around SXSW in March. As for the full length, the gears are already in motion.

Would you like to add anything else to what you have already said?
We've enjoyed every single show we've played in Austin and are very thankful for our friends and fans who have been coming to our shows for the past three years and who continue, and will continue to support us. It's an amazing feeling to know we're surrounded by such inventive and warm-hearted people.

by Mark Lopez