Marc with a C continues our discussion (you can read Part 01 here) on his new album, “MFers be BSin” including the album’s concepts of technological paranoia, the message that should be taken away from it, and where Marc’s career heads from here.
Now, when it comes to homages, the album art itself is obviously an homage to something else.
Yes, the initial idea, which was quickly abandoned for the record, was that I had just seen the sequel to my favorite film of all time – The Jerk, the classic comedy starring Steve Martin. The sequel was a made for TV movie called The Jerk, Too. It really wasn’t very good; there’s pretty much nothing about this film that’s worth recommending. Not even a really great scene in it. My wife and I were joking around about what a shame it was that there would never really be a third Jerk movie. And since that was the case, why not write a musical version of The Jerk?
It didn’t inspire me as much musically as I thought it would, but The Jerk itself is such a ridiculously timeless comedy and absolutely not something you could do today, I thought it might be nice to, in my record, to make a lot of responses to The Jerk that could work in 2011 but maybe couldn’t get away with 10-20 years from now, such as the technological paranoia that runs rampant through the album. Whether it’s concerning myself on the internet or something that I observed through the internet that scared the living hell out of me. it seemed like, why not make that the cornerstone of the record? The Jerk got away with a lot of racial jokes in that film that you couldn’t necessarily do today. Visually, the album looks very 1980s because I love that period. But, thematically, this record is completely 2011.
Yeah, I was going to bring up the themes because a lot of it seems to involve things that are done online, whether it’s tracking somebody on Facebook or Twitter or going at somebody on a message board. That seemed to be rather prevalent listening to this as well.
For sure. I have to admit that I have quite a bit of technological paranoia and I have to admit that, if I weren’t a musician, that there’s a good chance I wouldn’t use many social networking sites. It can be a little bit addictive, but the anonymity we currently have on the internet is a blessing and a curse. It can allow you to learn pretty much as much as you would want to learn about anyone as they are willing to tell you but, should you take the time to actually read what they’ve said without their expressed permission, they will absolutely drop everything to call you the creeper even though they are the ones that decided they wanted a whole bunch of anonymous people to read it in the first place. That duality absolutely fascinates and terrifies me at the same time.
A lot of that seems to come out in the two main characters in the record, Brian and Jenny. They communicate a lot online, but the interpersonal communication in that relationship seems to be missing. I could see how that would play in to his arrogance as well.
Absolutely. I have to take this time to explain that the songs on the record are very personal to me, but not in any way that you might expect. They are in no way a indication of where I am at with my personal relationships or anything. That being said, I do know more about relatives that I haven’t talked to in two years than I should based on social networking. I should probably call my relatives more often than I do, but I feel as if I know what’s going on with them thanks to Facebook and Twitter. It stops me from actually calling them and having a one-on-one connection. And I think they feel the same way because they’re not exactly calling me, either. [Laughs] And it’s not that we don;t like each other; there’s just really no need. What would we talk about? We would just reiterate what we typed out on social network. That’s pretty scary; I know about, say, some of my cousins than someone I met exactly once at one of my concerts.
One thing I wanted to mention, too, is that people are quick to drop the “creeper” card. Unless you’re paying a whole lot of attention to the responses you’re getting online, unless they’re going out of their way to ruin your life, you probably wouldn’t notice unless you’re doing a fair amount of creeping in return. There’s a very “it takes one to know one” theme to the record, and that’s absolutely how I feel in every day life. If you don’t want something you’ve done to be public, there’s a real easy way to avoid that, and that’s to simply keep your mouth shut. Twitter really does not care about how you feel or what you ate for breakfast. But, should you type it, uyou really shouldn’t be mad when someone says, “So, how was that eggs Benedict you posted about?”
Well, yeah. If you’re going to put it out there, certainly. I also saw with this record…it seems that, with concept albums – well, let’s use The Wall as an example. In one song, you may hear a lyrical reference to another. Or, in this track, there’s a passage of music that’s used somewhere else also. I notice that’s not done on “MFers Be BSin”, but there are tied to earlier work that you’ve done. When I first heard “I Am Going To Hit You Where You Live”, the first thing I thought of was your song, “Amy, It’s Kevin.” How much of your earlier work was drawn upon to put this together?
Well, I’ve got to be honest with you – I did not connect the dots between “Amy, It’s Kevin” being similar to Brian and Jenny’s situation until you mentioned it. But now that you did, thanks! Made my life a lot easier! [Laughs] But, in a much bigger way than I could explain without giving away too much of my personal history, there are lyrical nods. For example, in “Why Are You Keeping Tabs On Me?”, there’s a very direct line that references my 2009 album, Losing Salt. This is, in many ways, the summation of everything I’ve ever done. That includes all the way back to my first single, “Why Don’t Girls Like Me?” People like when I just make references to pop culture. There’s a ton of that in this record. Do you like when I talk about cover bands? Great! You have the Kindergarten Steeley Dan to look forward to. This is the summation of everything I’ve worked on as Marc with a C. And visually, that is really seen in the back cover. I’d also done some very low-fi videos towards the end of last year, specifically “La La Like You” and “Shine Avenue”, and they were leading up to things you were going to see in this artwork. There’s actually a point in the “La La Like You” video where, you had mentioned The Wall earlier…I built a very low-fi wall in my kitchen that eventually obscures my face, but when the wall is built I very quickly show the DVD of The Jerk over the top of the wall.
Yep, I remember seeing that.
I kinda gave away the cover art very early on. I’ve known what I’m doing for quite a while. It’s quite a good wrap-up of what I’ve done and it sounds so similar in many ways to the first record I put out called Human Slushy – which I completely disowned – that I’m actually a little bit nervous about what I’m going to do next. [Laughs] It ties it up so well that I had to sort of take stock and call my doctor and ask, “Am I dying? Because I’m tying up way too many loose ends.”
[Laughs] Hopefully not! But that’s something else I was going to address – where do you go from here?
There are two options you have once you’ve made your full-blown concept album. You can either go back to basics, which is very common, or you go in to a completely project altogether that couldn’t be further removed from what you’ve done in the past. There’s a side project I’ve been talking with someone about that I’d like to give a try and see if it works. Also, I did so much more work recording and writing “MFers Be BSin” than I have in the past that, right now, the most appealing thing to do as Marc with a C is to at least attempt a very back-to-basics, guitar-and-voice record and give it away on the web to just go, “No guys, this is really me. This one’s on me. Thanks for putting up with the really pretentious thing I did this year.” [Laughs] Whether or not that’s what the album would actually sound like, I don’t know. The last thing I wrote was for this record, and I believe that may have been a song that did not go on the album called “Fanboy”, which was excised because I did not like it at all and I didn’t know hot to make it work with the story. After that, the last thing I wrote was the title track, “MFers Be BSin”, and that was it. It was done. I don’t know where I’ll go next. The songwriting tells me what to do, not the other way around.
Is there anything in particular you would want people to take away from “MFers be BSin” after listening to it? Are there any goals set as far as what you would want the listener experience and the overall reaction to it to be?
Beyond hoping that people just get the songs stuck in their head and it makes them feel a little bit better and makes their lives a little bit easier like music does when it’s at its very best…truthfully, what I would like people to remember most is a line that comes very early on in the record: “When trolling and negativity are the styles of the times, the most punk rock thing to do is just be nice.”
Be sure to catch the video for the title track here, and head to this link to pre-order your vinyl + CD copy of the new Marc with a C Album, “MFers Be BSin”, set for release on June 21.