As long time fans of Maribou State it’s hard not to give the English two-piece electronic outfit a pretty warm reception, more so knowing they’ll be here soon for the sold out Splendour in the Grass and a couple sideshows with some other seriously talented artists including James Blake, Tycho, Friendly Fires and Honne.
Their brand of off-kilter yet smooth, jazzy electronica is both easy listening and a welcomed invitation to move for those that have caught them live before. They’ve been behind some massive hits including ‘Midas’, a subtle piano driven anthem from earlier on in their careers to the recent and carefully curated Kingdom In Colours remixes that saw Maceo Plex, HAAi and Manno Le Tough among others rework album favourites.
With the imminent good times upon us came an opportunity to shoot over some questions to Chris and Liam who surprisingly gave some really frank and honest answers to a myriad of topics including just what is needed to make it, the place of streaming, genres identity crisis and some of their favourite Australian acts.
SR: It’;s been a good couple of years for Maribou State, upon reflection, was there a ‘we made it moment’ you could share?
MS: Yeah, it’s certainly been an event couple of years! There’s been many moments along the way that we’ve met with disbelief and shock; big gigs that have sold out quickly, seeing billboards erected of the album artwork etc. but I wouldn’t say there was a ‘we made it moment’. I’m not really sure how you define if you’ve ‘made it’ or not. I will say we’ve been very lucky to have ended up making and sharing music with people as our chosen careers and that gratification is most definitely felt continuously.
SR: Do you put a successful career down to persistence and patience or something else? On- going passion? Luck perhaps?
MS: I think It’s an amalgamation of all of the above. In some cases more of one thing may help you but the truth is it’s completely unpredictable and impossible to be on any kind of path that has a guarantee of success. I wish there was a cleaner answer but you’ve just gotta hit it as hard as you can, never give up, keep positive, keep passionate and hope to hell that you’re served a good slice of luck along the way. We’ve certainly had moments where the stars have aligned, things out of our control have propelled us forward, but we’ve also been working tirelessly for almost ten years now, and I’d still say we’re relatively low down the ladder right now.
SR: Originally a genre defined an act, do you think fitting into a specific genre still has the same effect? If so, why?
MS: I think genre is becoming less relevant today. I think due to new power of connectivity and communication through the internet the boundary’s of musical style are being pushed to the limit, with inspiration, sample hunting, collaborations etc. now spanning the world over, we find more than ever we have an abundance of music that is hard to box into a category or label with a genre, which I personally don’t have any concern for. I don’t think genre’s define acts but I do feel that perhaps they enhance the chances of people discovering them. The new generation of streaming and algorithmic playlisting has almost overnight become the main source where people find their music, so I’m sure from the standpoint of the teams behind these platforms, genre helps them to feed through music to the listener.
SR: Do you think streaming in its current form is helpful for all kinds of artists or more helpful for established artists?
MS: Sadly I think it favours the artists with a larger profile. I’m talking about this from a monetary standpoint. Obviously the amount of money they offer per stream is relative whether you have 1 stream or 1 million but due to the amount of money they actually offer, you really need to be hitting those bigger numbers to actually see any return that is worthwhile. The reality of hitting those bigger numbers on streams, in most cases, simply requires a larger profile and bigger marketing spends. On the flipside, platforms like Spotify and Apple do have these curated playlists, with thousands upon thousands of followers, who are open and supportive of new music. So if you’re a smaller act and you appear on one of these playlists, chances are you’re going to see a big spike in your streams and in return a big spike in your income however there of course is only a limited amount of space on these lists and a complete uncertainty as to whether your music will be included. I think drawing the positives, it allows new unsigned artists to get there music up online, gives them tools to promote it, and pays money out for the streams they generate. Yes, the fee paid per play is far too low in comparison to a physical sale but sadly it’s where the industry is at right now.
SR: Are there any Australian artists you listen to? Any favourites?
MS: Yes of course. Lot’s of great music comes out of Australia. Once upon a time I was completely obsessed with everything that Modular put out. Fast forward to now, we’re big fans of Tame Impala, of course. Harvey Sutherland is also someone we keep a very close eye on.
Those with tickets will be able to catch Maribou State at this years sold out Splendour in the Grass or snap up tickets to their headline Sydney and Melbourne shows below;