Q&A: Why Matt Bishop and Hey Marseilles Love Starbucks Far More Than They'll Ever Admit"/>
Seattle band Hey Marseilles has been described a number of ways - cabaret pop, lit rock, and "Lil' Decemberists" (mine) are among my favorites -- but "Starbucks rock" isn't a tile that would be accepted with thanks. But with the septet's inclusion on the coffee giant's annual album of love songs, Sweetheart 2010 (a cover of Daniel Johnston's "True Love Will Find You In the End"), the tag is worth considering.
Hey Marseilles, featuring Matt Bishop, right, plays The Crocodile on Saturday, Jan. 30, with Loch Lomond.
Frontman Matt Bishop met up with us at what is probably the closest Starbucks you can get to Starbucks headquarters without being in the building to discuss the challenges of being a homeowner, his day-job at Seattle U, and what it means to have their song sold alongside biscottis and teddy bears.
Bishop: I've been trying to figure out how I can integrate the wows of the housing crisis into some sort of contemporary, 21st century singer-songwriter angst. But I haven't figured it out yet. It's still kind of a middle class problem.
SW: I think the Starbucks crowd will feel you.
That's true. I don't know if the Starbucks crowd is ultimately the crowd I want to be writing to. Maybe I shouldn't say that as we're putting out a CD on Starbucks.
What do you think that says about Hey Marseilles' music that Starbucks thinks that their audience will drink it down?
The same thing it says when my mom and her friends love our CD, and my sister and her 4-year-old kid loves our CD, and 18-25-year-old women love our CD. I think it's palatable and accessible in a lot of ways, just because it's softer, and it doesn't have a lot of edge, necessarily. It's pretty clean. I think that it just says that it can be appreciated by a wide variety of crowds. Even in the Starbucks crowd is not the intended demographic necessarily when we're creating the music.
Do you guys practice in this neighborhood?
We practice in a building called SoDo Pop. It's right across from Starbucks headquarters. It's literally across the street.
So, they just heard it out the window and wandered over ...
Actually, we've got an '80s glam band that practices right next to us, so I'm sure they didn't hear anything, because we can barely hear ourselves when we practice. Maybe it's the Seattle thing. The Starbucks thing has, like three Seattle bands (Grand Archives, The Long Winters). It's super exciting for us.
If you can get on a Starbucks compilation without a label, is there any point in having a label?
That's a big question these days. The alternative to that is funding everything yourself, and promoting everything yourself. It's gone well for us so far. We'll see how well it continues.
Now that we've got some proper management, we're re-releasing (To Travels & Trunks). We've remixed it, and we're gonna give it kind of a proper national promotional push. But just looking at the numbers associated with what it entails there, it's a pretty daunting task to go out on your own. And it's definitely a community effort. We're probably gonna have to find some unique funding options. The label is always going to be compelling.
When are you going to re-release the record?
It's looking like early May, late April.
Does it sound any better?
To me, it sounds fantastically better. And we're releasing it on vinyl, and we're adding a track, too.
Did you pick the Daniel Johnston cover for the Starbucks CD?
We got word that Starbucks might be interested in us recording something. So we demoed a few different songs. And that one really stuck. It really worked well with our style.
So, you guys rehearse in the neighborhood, and fueled by Krispy Kremes?
Fortunately not. We come to Starbucks more than we go to Krispy Kreme.