Scissor Sisters guitarist Del Marquis definitely has enough talent to be a star in his own right.
Using the group’s downtime, the out guitarist has ventured on his own for a solo project. One listen to Marquis’ new-wave coolness mixed with retro funkiness is all it takes to wonder how the rest of the Scissor Sisters let him get away with songs this good.
“I have to answer this question very diplomatically,” he said. “Baby Daddy and Jake [Shears] are definitely our Lennon and they write most of the songs. This was a chance for me to do exactly what I want, for better or for worse. The songs are always going to find a place on a Scissor’s album. It’s just my opportunity. I have the time and I have the means. They’ve heard what I’ve done and they’re really proud of me, but I don’t know if they’d fit on a Scissor Sisters album.”
Marquis is taking the road less traveled to distribute his music, choosing to ration out his songs as EPs, beginning with “Hothouse” released last December and “Character Assassination” released in March. His latest release, “Litter to Society,” recently hit the Internet.
“It’s a bit of a throwback and it’s also a progressive idea of how people buy music in today’s market,” he said about releasing EPs. “There’s different pockets of consumers. Some people just want the single. Not everybody wants album tracks. Some people can’t really absorb an entire album. I kind of did it for two reasons. Stylistically, I had so many different types of music that I felt I could group them thematically. Then, another reason was if I put them out as an album with my means independently and promoted with a small budget, it falls under the radar. This is a way for me to stagger and make an event for it each time I put one out.”
Marquis said that “Litter To Society” is a progression into more intense music and themes than the guitar-driven “Hothouse” and the synth-heavy “Character Assassination.”
“The first one was me getting out of the way of the melodic songs that were the most earnest and emotional,” he said. “Then it kind of gets progressively darker and more schizophrenic. ‘Litter to Society’ is definitely the darkest of the things that I’m putting out. It kind of starts out with the most hopeless song I did for this collection. I don’t want to end on that idea. The end of this release, the last song, is kind of the redemption. All the songs leading up to it on this release are about questioning your place in society and urban and emotional decay. I definitely want to come out of the end of that with some kind of sense of hope.”
Marquis’ EPs pull from a number of influences, sounding very ’80s and modern all at once, echoing artists such as Prince, David Bowie and Gary Numan, to name a few. He said there are elements of all of those sounds in his DNA.
“As a child of the ’80s, you grew up listening to a radio that would play just hits. It wasn’t about the genre,” he said. “You’d hear a Dolly Parton song next to Prince next to Hall & Oates.”
He added that the complexity of the music probably means you won’t be seeing him perform these songs live before he returns to the Scissor Sisters.
“If you listen to the music, it’s a fully fleshed-out band,” he said. “It would be a huge production for me without tour support [from a record company] to put together a band. I have done one live show and I have plans to do a couple more, but they’re pretty much re-imagined versions of what you’re hearing. We stripped them of most live instrumentation. It’s me performing on vocals and guitar with two people on laptops and some synths.”
For more information on Del Marquis or to download any of his EPs, visit www.delmarquis.com.
Larry Nichols can be reached at [email protected].