Houston Calling

10 Questions for Manda & The Marbles

August 29th, 2003 · No Comments

Columbus, Ohio is home to some great bands, a great number of which are relatively unknown outside of their city or the Midwest. Kopaz comes to mind, The Miranda Sound, 84 Nash, countless others.

I was recently turned on to another great band out of Columbus, Manda and The Marbles. Mainly, I was told about Manda’s beauty, but I decided to try to look past that and concentrate on the music. The band is great fun–poppy and catchy songs without pretension or cheese. The band gets great reviews everywhere they play and are now on a western USA tour.

Manda and The Marbles will play their first Houston show when they open for meoWcifer at Mary Jane’s Fat Cat on Monday night, 9.1.03.

Manda recently agreed to answer a few questions for Houston Calling. Enjoy.

10 Questions for Manda and The Marbles

HC: How did Manda and The Marbles get started?

We formed in 1998 and started to get really serious about the band after the release of our first album, Rock’s Not Dead, in July of 1999. That was when we started to play shows regularly and began to play shows outside of Columbus. Joe and I were in band called Dick Jane and Sally (DJS) before the Marbles. I played the guitar and sang in that band and Joe played guitar also. I met Joe when DJS was recording some songs at this studio where Joe was a recording engineer. Joe and I had the same kind of goals and had a similar idea of what we wanted to be and where we wanted to go, so that kind of changed the dynamic of DJS. To make a long story short, DJS self-destructed after a show one night. As Joe and I were leaving, we headed out to this crusty punk rock party. There were kids lying in the yard, fights going on and there was Mark. Joe actually got hit with shattered glass from a bottle that somebody threw against a wall, but it was the “beginning of a new era” so to speak!

HC: What do consider to be your musical influences?

My musical influences vary widely–I have multiple personalities when it comes to music. I grew up listening to Duran Duran, the Eurythmics, the Bangles, and Sinead O’Connor. Then I went through a Guns and Roses phase, which was followed by a Cure, NIN, Helmet, Fugazi phase. Then I started to get into Jane’s Addiction, Mazzy Star, Jesus and the Mary Chain, and Hole. So it’s all over the map I guess! And I still enjoy listening to all of that music. But recently I have been listening to bands like Missing Persons, 999, and Suburban Lawns.

Strangely enough, even more recently I have been getting into some early goth music–in particular the Southern Death Cult and Christian Death. So who knows what the next song I write will sound like.

HC: Columbus seems to have a pretty good music scene and a lot of supporters of local music. What do you think of the music scene there?

I guess it depends on who you ask. I agree that there are a lot of supporters of local music in Columbus, which is great for the bands that they support. Our following in Columbus has been growing and we definitely appreciate the fans here that have been around from day one and supported us. But with that said, we tend to do better outside of Columbus (as far as getting a following and selling merchandise, etc). We never necessarily found our niche, so to speak, in Columbus. I will admit that maybe that is our own fault because we have always tried to keep our focus on a broader spectrum rather than narrowing our focus on Columbus alone, which we don?t think is a necessarily a bad thing. I guess we never really locked down on Columbus and tried really hard to get attention here…we?ve only tried as hard as we have everywhere else. But we plan on doing what we have been doing and will continue to focus on the bigger picture. One thing I know for certain is that one of the best things about living here and being in a band is that a lot of major cities are in easy driving distance, so it’s easy to hit the road.

HC: What is the one description that you hate to hear about your music?

I hate when we are compared to No Doubt because we sound nothing like them. The only similarity is that a girl is singing and we both have blond hair. I?m not even a fan of their music. I actually had some guy after a show tell me I should change my hair color so people wouldn?t think I was trying to look like Gwen Stefani. Give me a break! I could have slapped that guy. Besides my hair is too uncooperative to ever set nicely in a 1940’s coiffure! šŸ™‚

I am who I am, and I honestly really don?t want to be anyone but me…although I wouldn?t mind Gwen’s boyfriend or her money..ha ha! So unfortunately that utomatically pops into some people’s head I guess. I also don?t like the focus to be on the “female” aspect of my band…or when someone says it’s a “chick rock” show?Yeah…it’s just a frickin rock show okay? You never hear, “Hey, let’s go to that ‘dude rock’ show tonight!” do you? It seems like a girl in a band is still perceived as a novelty. We are just 3 kids out to have fun and make fun music. We are not out to make any political statements or focus on the sex of the band members, but that inevitably seems to happen to us.

HC: What’s your take on the state of the music industry?

Right now..it sucks. I don?t know what the hell is going on. What happened to all the real bands? Oh, they are all on independent labels. My prediction is that if things continue like they have been, indie labels will start to make more money while major labels continue to lose it. How much more fake manufactured music can the mainstream take? It seems like the majors are waking up and trying to sign more real bands now, but I don?t think they remember how to do it right or remember that it takes patience to build a band’s popularity. They want a quick buck and they aren?t willing to put the time into real bands.

I hope this changes–it almost has to if they want to survive.

HC: Are you for or against the MP3 “revolution”? How are you using the internet as a tool to market yourself?

I think the internet is an excellent tool for bands these days–it’s a necessary tool. It has helped us tremendously in getting our name out there. You can reach the globe without stepping out your door. We have been contacted by people in Japan, Scotland, England, Italy, Portugal, and so on and a lot of the time it’s because they found us on the internet. One of our songs is going to be used in a low budget horror film just because they found it on MP3.

As far as using the internet to sell your music, I think that it?s the way of the future. We are interested in doing this with our albums–getting them online and selling them as a download–and have started to look into it. It?s just the next phase in the whole process of music technology. It scares some people…but then again, so did cassette tapes.

HC: If you could have any band cover one of your songs, what song would it be and what band?

I would love to hear The Cure do a rendition of “Sex Object.” They could probably add a lot of cool stuff to it that I never would have thought of adding.

HC: How’s the tour been so far? Have you been getting good responses?

Touring has been great for us. The first time in a city can sometimes be rough, since you’re new there. It’s when you return that you see whether or not you made an impact. Fortunately, touring has been working for us and that’s why we decided to set out on this tour out west. It’s our first time out there though, so it may be tough, and we’re ready for the hard work that is involved with touring new places. But we know the protocol–inject the cities with a little Manda and the Marbles and hopefully they will become addicts.

HC: Does touring get you guys any money to live on or do you just do it mainly for exposure?

At this point, touring pays very little and we are just trying to get our name out there. Hopefully soon that will change, but it?s a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll.

HC: What is in your CD player right now?

The Best of Glenn Miller — now that will really throw you for a loop, won?t it!? (I am a romantic at heart…)

Be sure to visit the band’s website here. For great information and reviews of the band, download the PDF of their press kit.

Please make a point to come out to the show at Mary Jane’s Fat Cat on Monday night and support Manda and the Marbles and meoWcifer.

Tags: Music