PRICK AND DING #21:ROB MARR

Each week Fresh On The Net invites an artist or band to answer a short series of questions in Prick & Ding: the two and a half minute interview. It's convenient and quick - like enjoying a tasty microwave meal!

THIS WEEK-ROB MARR

Rob Marr is a singer/multi instrumentalist based in Brockley, South East London.

What is it about Rob‘s music that is so damn listenable?

Quirky offbeat beats,rhymes & vocals? Maybe but quirky is a tag that has a habit of following you around when you are not so easily defined as a musician so I won’t put that one on Rob.

Is it the playful dynamic top layer of his songs that are a canopy to a canny songwriting ability and a cool judgement on where to land the notes? Very possibly.

Is it the fact that he so damn funky for a white boy with one of the fruitiest sounds around? For sure but alongside all of these things what I find so listenable about Rob‘s music is it so special(in that lovely slip under your skin way ,into your membrane & beyond kinda way) .

His songs are so well thought out so that no notes are wasted & melody is allowed to find its own channel without being over egged.He also happens to write great songs and sings and plays like a man who owes nobody nothing-a relaxed troubadour who is only too happy to tickle your fancy(and your ivories given half a chance;).

I am not one to hark on here about my own glories but for once I will say this-I’ve made music as Snippet which likes to find its own path,is different from the other kids in the neighbourhood in its funky,chunky,bounciness with plenty going on under the bonnet should you care to lift it and because of that I feel a real affinity with Rob in the music he makes.

This is not a comparison,the fruitful music of Rob Marr is very much unique in its own right but the spirit of making it is a shared one.It is not easy to stick to your guns when all the other kids are pointing at you and I am thrilled and intrigued by the path Rob is carving for himself.

Check out ‘Fat & Happy’ below for living proof of what he can do.Great ‘sticky in your head’ voice & tone,a sublime keyboard groove and a drum groove straight out of the Bernard Purdie & Steve Gadd school of funk.

About 5 years ago there was a great album (imho) by Mr Hudson and the Library called ‘A tale of two cities‘ that was played endlessly in our car and not a little on our kitchen stereo.

I am not going to guess the details of what happened next but following the album Mr Hudson resurfaced from time to time but the recorded output was never anywhere near as good as that 1st album,the songs not as strong,the guy never being(it seemed from a casual obseerver) the same relaxed person he once was.

I say this because for a time Mr Hudson held the light for many (probably without knowing or maybe because of knowing it and feeling the pressure) to a future with much promise of a British Pop music with a splash of funk & a dash of soul,not some wishy washy elevator music but music that would have a pop bite that could reach out like Madness once did.

I think Rob is that good an artist he has the potential to greatly prosper in the pop game which is imho crying out for unique individuals such as himself.

Rob’s great new single, Summer in the City(above) came out on 21st September (the last day of summer).
His new album, anatomy, is released on Monday 15th October. It will be available via iTunes and Bandcamp.
If you have the opportunity I urge you to get down to his album launch on Wednesday 17th October at The Roundhouse ,with the rather wonderful Fiona Bevan supporting it promises to be a great night.

Find Rob online

Twitter  Web  YouTube  Facebook  Soundcloud  Bandcamp

What are you up to at the moment?
I’m busy getting ready to release my second album, anatomy. It’s been a couple of years in the making so it’s amazing to get to the point where it’s out there for people to listen to. There’s a launch party at The Roundhouse on Wednesday 17th October with a full band, which I’m very excited about.

Favourite childhood memory?
Weekend after weekend of sleepovers at my mate’s house when I was 13 and 14. We’d raid his parents’ fridge for cheese on toast with HP fruity sauce and drag mattresses downstairs into the sitting room. In the morning his mum always made me eggs and bacon in the morning, with Radio 4 burbling away in the background. Beautiful times.

Hero?
When I was a kid I idolised Steve Cram. His commentary on Mo Farah’s 5000 metre Olympic gold reminded me why I liked him so much. Cram never won Olympic gold himself but he was rooting for Farah along with the rest of us – “the arms have got to pump, the knees have got to come up high… beeaaauuutiful”.

Villain?
Right now – and I’m aware this is shooting ducks in a mixed metaphorical barrel – it’s David Cameron. When asked why he wanted to be prime minister, he replied, “Because I think I’d be rather good at it”. That kind of arrogance should automatically preclude you from doing the job. Good leaders have an acute awareness of their own failings and those of the institutions within which they serve, not a self-assured belief in their own superiority.

What/who makes you laugh?
My best mate, who’s no comedian, never fails to cheer me up. And Henning Wehn, self-styled German Comedy Ambassador to the UK; I saw him at the Soho Theatre on a whim a couple of years ago and he was very funny indeed.

Describe what you do?
I write songs about what happens when our extraordinary hopes, fears and dreams collide with everyday reality.

Who’s hair would you like to have for just one day?
Fiona Bevan’s (you can Google her). She’s supporting my album launch at The Roundhouse and she has the most amazing headful of blonde corkscrew curls I’ve ever seen. Best hair in London.

Best musical experience to date?
Spending a month recording drums and keys for this album with Andy Newmark was a massive kick. He has total commitment to helping you bring a tune to life, he grooves like crazy and he’s a bit nuts. What’s not to like?

What artist inspires you?
I’ve been a Stevie Wonder fan since university. Pre 1980 mind you. Great songs, great playing. Boogie On Reggae Woman is absolutely monster. Short story writers Raymond Carver and Annie Proulx have also been a big influence.

What Does Fresh On The Net mean to you?
It means there is a forum where I can upload a song and if other people like it, a DJ on a national radio station will play it. For us independent artists, that’s encoura

Johnno Casson

Johnno Casson is a London-born/Colchester-based singer, musician, songwriter and show-off. He also compiles and releases compilations and is a serial supporter of new music. Johnno releases his own music as Snippet ,Old Tramp and also under his own name Johnno Casson.. As far as we know he was the most-played artist ever on Tom's legendary late night Fresh On The Net radio shows on 6 Music - having been featured no less than 18 times and appearing as an interview guest. You can also find Johnno on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube...

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