Interview with Marcus from Near Myth

Near Myth describe themselves thus ” a band of pioneering fantasy-noir academics based in Melbourne, Australia.” Fantasy-noir is a sister trope of “neo noir” or cyberpunk. It’s a relatively small sub-genre that blends the setting, characters and plot structure of a film noir mystery with the more colorful elements of fantasy and science fiction. It usually stars a hardboiled detective (private dick) or in the case of film-noir academics may give the leading role to a hardboiled egg(head). He/she/it is possibly called Lummox. Maybe this makes sense when you listen to their excellent debut album “Idiot Mystic”. It was our LP of the week not very long ago and it’s pretty special. We caught up with Marcus to find out a bit more about the myths of Near Myth.

Why did you decide to be in a band?

I guess because we each had a bunch of ideas we could only make together. You need people to make them happen, and you need people you can trust to work with one those ideas. So you need to be in a band together to do that. And once you start it’s kind of hard to stop.

What was the first piece of music you loved, and why?

Deep question. Probably the Star Wars theme. Pretty self-explanatory why: because it was the soundtrack to fantasy and escapism. Also it was in the library in my hometown when I was a kid and the cover looked awesome. I used to borrow it out all the time and listen to it on headphones over and over.

What is your favourite song that you’ve written and why?

My favourite song Near Myth has written is probably ‘I, Lummox’. Before that song came along we had recorded a bunch of other songs we thought were OK. But then ‘I, Lummox’ happened and we immediately knew it was different, and above and beyond what we had before – it was spare but it moved, it was the sum of its parts, it felt a bit nervous and off. Also it wasn’t a linear narrative, which is how I usually write lyrics. All of which was great. So when we wrote that one we ditched all the other ones that had come before it and used it as the template for the whole band, basically.

How do you know when a song you’ve working on is complete?
We’re very bad at knowing when a song is complete – which is why our album took five years. We never think it’s complete. It’s really only complete when we’re exasperated with it and ourselves for thinking about it all the time.

Do your songs change much when played in front of a live audience?

Yeah they get a bit tougher. A bit thumpier. and livelier. Which I like.

What song by another artist do you wish you had written and why?

So many. The ones I can think of now are Talking Heads songs like ’Once in a Lifetime’ and ‘Naive Melody’ and ‘Born Under Punches’ because they’re weird pop genius. ‘Africa’ by Toto because that chorus is hilarious and incredible. ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling’ by The Righteous Brothers because I’d be rich.

What artist(s) has been your biggest influence and in what way?

The three biggest influences on Near Myth have been Talking Heads, Spoon and the album ‘Black City’ by Matthew Dear. Call it a moment in time, I’m not sure. But they were our signposts of sorts. I suppose because those artists are informed by trying very much to deconstruct pop music and rebuild it in their own skeletal, moody, slightly odd image. The second tier for us are similar in that way, artists like Chromatics, Handsome Furs, The Cure, Liars, Prince etc.

Name a song that makes you happy and why does it have that effect?

‘Close to Me’ by The Cure or ‘Work It’ by Missy Elliott. Both are rusted on to good times. Both exemplary strange pop songs.

What is the best new band that you’ve heard recently?

Operators, the new band from Dan Boeckner, who’s also in Wolf Parade, Handsome Furs, and Divine Fits. They put out their debut ‘Blue Wave’ this year. I love that record and anything that guy does.

What do you think of music streaming sites like Spotify and Deezer?

They’re good? I use them all the time so I like them enough. I guess I don’t like how they’ve brought the tangible music experience down to the level of tabbing across to a new spreadsheet. But give and take.

What’s your idea of success?

Not having to work so I could make music when and how I wanted to. Oh well.

*the playlist

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