Backstage with Marsicans at Kendal Calling


With their upbeat, infectious indie pop records, there’s no wonder this bunch of down to earth Northern lads are on the up.

We caught up with Marsicans backstage after their set at Kendal Calling festival last weekend to discover where it all began.


We loved your set earlier at the Calling Out stage – the energy was crazy! Did you have fun?

We had a blast! A few times we accidentally laughed down the mic cause we were having such a great time. We messed around quite a lot, had some fun and the crowd were well up for it!

Is there anyone on the line-up this weekend you want to catch?

We were gutted to see Declan McKenna was on at the same time as us today for a number of reasons – we thought everyone would be there watching him and we wanted to catch him ourselves! We want to watch Catfish and the Bottlemen tonight then there’s a few bands tomorrow we want to catch like The Orielles, Yonaka and Black Honey.

Marsicans began in Leeds – how did creating the band come about?

Part of the band formed in school – we used to mess around doing Arctic Monkeys covers and want to be the Arctic Monkeys (and we still do want to be the Arctic Monkeys!) We didn’t do anything serious for a few years besides gigs in Leeds, until we met Rob who was playing in another band at the time. Then we formed Marsicans. It was post-university where we were all trying to decide what to do with our lives and we were like “hold on, let’s just be in a band.”

It must be so difficult to choose a band name, how did you choose yours?

We were looking at animals and we liked Marmozets (which are monkeys) but obviously they’re already a band, so we went to the next one down – Mariscans – and thought, “ooh we like that!” Matty didn’t like it but he eventually gave in to the moaning and we’ve never looked back.

Who are you listening to at the moment?

Cassia! They’re friends of ours. We played Tramlines festival in Sheffield with them last week. We were listening to them this morning actually on our way to the festival – so good.

How did going from playing local gigs to being signed by LAB Records come about?

We knew somebody that worked for them and they recommended management to came to one of our London shows; then they approached us like “do you wanna make records?”

Why is it that James (main vocalist) plays on the right hand side of the stage rather than central like most bands?

We don’t want to be a band that’s focused on rules; we all have an input with vocals and so we just go whatever we want. We’re just evenly weighted silly lads in colourful shirts playing gigs. We just decide whoever wants to maximise disaster and they get to go in the middle! We think about the stage too and who’s got instruments where because we need as much space as we can to do laps!

What’s your new single ‘Pop-Ups’ about?

It’s about pop-ups like life coaching that try to say ‘look how much money I’ve made’ or ‘look how good I am, you could be this good too’. It’s about those bullshitters that you can see a mile off.

Why did you write about that?

We had a pop-up and it pissed us off. Matty wrote the guitar riff first. Whenever we go to make a cup of tea, he gets inpatient so leaves the drums and plays about on the guitar. We came back in and he was playing that riff so the lyrics just happened. It is quite a misleading song because of the chorus though; “It’ll always be sunny at the weekend…” It sounds quite cheesy but realistically, it’s very sarcastic. There’s a video coming soon which makes things a bit more apparent.

You’ve previously supported Clean Cut Kid and Hippo Campus – did you enjoy both tours?

Yeah both of those tours were amazing because both bands were really fun. They were so friendly! Hippo Campus are American, so they had quirky sayings which we’ve adopted. You know when you meet people are you just click? It was like that with both of those bands. We’d spoken to them a lot just through online interactions so to actually meet and support them was really cool. Clean Cut Kid are hands down the nicest bunch of people we’ve ever met.

Who inspires your sound, are we right thinking Little Comets have an influence?

In the early days, yes! We still really like them. There’s so much that goes into creating your sound… it’s hard to know where it’s come from. In the last couple of years we’ve become comfortable with where we’re at and where we’re going – we keep changing stuff up, but we aren’t worried about sounding too similar to other bands or other artists. You just have to stick to your guns and decide what sounds good to you, then hope that people like it. We’re fortunate enough that people like it!

What’s happening next? Tell us your secrets!

Lots of writing, recording and touring. We’ll also be releasing new music very soon – probably next month! Festival wise – we have 110 Above, Neverworld and Reading & Leeds Festival. We’re also headlining a festival in Ireland which will be our first time there, so that will be great. We’re spending a few weeks away this Summer too – we can’t wait to catch some sun!