Marconi Union

Aural bliss courtesy of one of the most atmospheric albums of the summer

In the realms of modern-day late night ambient exploration, Marconi Union often draw comparisons with Brian Eno and Biosphere, perhaps Sigur Ros, but the graceful manner with which their richly melodic compositions unfold and the emotions these evoke sets them apart from their peers. The new album is out now, Richard Talbot gives DMC’s the lowdown…

Words : Ben Hogwood

On ‘Different Colours’, are you consciously reflecting different colours in your music?

“It’s more a figurative thing, colour is often used to describe music or emotion somethings and we were trying to capture that idea of reaching for something new.”

What’s your favourite colour and why?

“We don’t have a specific favourite colour. Colour is like sound, it’s about the interactions and harmonies. You would struggle to paint a great picture using only one colour it only gets interesting when you have different colours working together.”

Would you say it’s actually hard work making music that is ultimately very relaxing?

“We don’t set out to make music that is relaxing. In fact much of our music has undercurrents that are quite dark. I think it would be impossible to write music that everyone finds relaxing – what one person considers calming others find infuriating.”

What’s your approach to analogue and electronic – do you try to combine the two elements in your music?

“We have always wanted to produce music that balances both these elements, in a way that ensures that the electronic side is not alienating and the analogue side does not become sentimental. The electronic elements of our music often have a human feel, and in fact on Different Colours the majority of the parts are played rather than programmed.”

Who in music do you think achieves pure ambience?

“We’re not sure it is desirable to aim for pure ambience. We prefer music that engages the listener on a particular level. How do you think they do it? Why would they do it?”

Do you listen to classical music much, and does it inform your own music making?

“We each have our own specific preferences with regard to classical music however generally we are wary of music that sounds as if it has been written purely to showcase the technical virtuosity of the performer. Collectively we listen to composers such as Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Eric Satie and Arvo Part. What unites these composers is their mastery of space and creation of atmosphere. These are the things we think about when we are making music.”

What feedback have you had on your music – does anyone listen to it in unusual places?

“We do get some feedback – which is mostly positive, I guess people who don’t like what we do are not likely to go to the time and trouble of contacting us… Sometimes, we are surprised and gratified by the intensity of some people’s reactions. We are one of those bands that few people have heard of but those that have really seem to like us. We don’t know of anyone who has listened to us in extraordinary places, perhaps somebody will contact us now with some amazing location where they played our records.”

When you’re not making Marconi Union music do you listen to faster music?

“Yes, we listen to a variety of music covering most of the tempo range. The perception of our music as being down-tempo is not exactly accurate some of our tracks have a similar beats per minutes to techno and dubstep. We listen to all sorts of music whether it’s Miles Davis, The Buzzcocks, Basic Channel or King Tubby and aspects of them influence our own music.”

Your record label Just Music seems well loved. Is there a secret behind its success?

“For us, it is the people involved that make a successful label. We find the people behind Just Music are easy to approach and unlike some record companies, pick up the phone when you call them.”

Now that you’ve made six albums, how do you keep finding new ways of expression in music?

“We are always eager to make new music. The process of discovering new forms of expression is something we all love.”

Does your music get better as you get older?

“I’m not sure it’s about age, experience certainly helps you to make music but I see a lot of older musicians who seem to lose their enthusiasm for trying new things I hope we never get to that point.”

Is a perfect day for you a day in the studio?

“Depends how the session goes…”

What are your plans for the rest of the year?

“Not much unfortunately. We playing at the Punkt festival in Norway at the beginning of September and there a couple of things waiting to be confirmed. Ideally we’d like to playing live more, but opportunities to do so seem to be limited.”

Which record could you not be without?

“We could never narrow it down to one, and our choices constantly change…”

Marconi Union’s  ‘Different Colours’ album out now on Just Music         

Follow DMCWORLD Magazine on twitter and receive exclusive weekly dance music news – @dmcworldmag
Join our fan page on facebook –