What is your name?
Where are you located?
Delco, PA. I actually want to start a band called the DelCopas, mainly because the merch is already out there. I see tee shirts and flags that say DelCo Pa all the time. Delco is Delaware County, in case anyone’s wondering.
How long have you been writing music?
I tried writing something in the style of the Dead Milkmen back in 1986 or so. The first two lines were “Let’s sail away on my yacht. I have a lot of money here in my pocket.” The joke was that I pronounced “yacht” wrong so that it rhymed with “pocket.” I would have been about twelve or thirteen at the time.
What inspired you to start playing and making music?
So many things! My family used to listen to the Beatles’ White Album when I was really young. It was pretty much the only thing we played whenever we had to drive anywhere. I loved that album and still do. To my mind, it was their “greatest hits” because they were the only Beatles songs I knew, and they were all amazing. From there, it was a matter of absorbing influences from everywhere. I remember loving the electronic and new wave music that was on the radio in the 80s–and buying the sheet music to Safety Dance by Men Without Hats with my own money so I could learn to play it on the piano. Then the Monkees started making a comeback later in the decade, and I just loved the idea of four guys going on weird little adventures and making music together. And I think in 1991 or so, I heard the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds and started getting curious about music production.
What are your favorite artists or other artists that inspire you to write music?
Elvis Costello has always been a major influence for me, but lately I’ve been inspired by a lot of underground indie artists like Voodoo Planet, Bottlecap Mountain, Sofa City Sweetheart, Unlucky Mammals, Snap Infraction, Danvers… the list goes on and on. I love that they’re making amazing music, in terms of both songwriting and production. Every time I find a new band, it’s like discovering a hidden gem.
I’ve also had the good fortune to work with a few of the artists I’ve met online. I started chatting with Brian Lambert when he was doing a 52-week song challenge a year or so ago, and we started a band called the Star Crumbles. More recently, I joined up with Scoopski–who makes incredibly smart, funny, and well-crafted songs along with his wife, Mrs. Scoopski. I’m playing bass in their live band along with a couple of other super-talented artists whose music I’ve been listening to for a while–Greg Gallgaher on drums and Jackson Vincent on guitar.
How would you describe your style of music?
Eclectic. When I record under my own name, the music comes across as a blend of Elvis Costello and Belle & Sebastian. With the Star Crumbles,we have more of an 80s new wave sound. I also record with my friend Tim Simmons as Simmons and Schuster; so far, it’s all been instrumental music with a heavy Brian Eno influence. The same can be said for my other solo project, Android Invasion.
How is your personality reflected in your work?
I’m endlessly curious and always trying to learn something new. Plus I have a very short attention-span. As a result of both, I’m constantly moving from one thing to the next, grabbing ideas from here and there and trying to cobble them all together in one way or another.
Describe your creative process when you write new music.
Most of the time, I’ll start with a groove–maybe playing bass or guitar along to a drum-track–and it will grow from there. I really struggle, though, when it comes to writing lyrics. Phrases sometimes come to me early in the morning when I’m making coffee, and I’ll write them down on scraps of paper. I have dozens of New Yorker and Wired subscription cards with weird little phrases scribbled on them like, “Nothing will ever be clean again.” Then I try to mix and match them until something sensible starts to come together. I usually try to work out the connections when I’m out walking my dog. I’ll go through the various possibilities out loud and ask my dog what he thinks. His name is Gordon, by the way. He rarely offers an opinion, but he’s a good listener.
What is the name of your latest release?
What was the inspiration for that release?
I had just read a book about Elvis Costello – Complicated Shadows by Graham Thomson – and it reminded me how much I love his more stripped-down rock records like My Aim Is True and Blood and Chocolate. I suppose it awoke my inner angsty angry young man, which is never very far from the surface.
Can you tell us any "behind the scenes" stories about writing or producing this release?
The chorus of a track called “The Way We Walk” came to me out of nowhere. I just sat down at the microphone and sang “We walk the way we walk, it’s the way we walk.” It was a little redundant, but I liked the sound of it, and then the obvious rhyme was ‘talk,’ so I just went with it. I had that for a day or so and realized that there really is something about the way people talk here in Delco. Outsiders tend to make fun of it, like when SNL did their “Murder Durder” parody of Mare of Easttown a while back, but when you’re out in the world and you hear someone from Delco, you know you have something in common.
What do you do to promote your music?
I think of music promotion as Whack-a-Mole in reverse. You’re the mole–one in a field of millions–and you’re trying to get someone to notice you. So you pop your head up and try to be the one mole that someone notices. One thing I realized, though, is that if your message is “Hey! Look at me!” you’re saying the same thing as 99% of the other moles out there. So I started saying, “Hey! Look at that band!” and “Hey! Look at that artist!” It makes a bigger target – you and the other artist. And, of course, the other artist is looking back at you, and then sometimes some of their fans and followers look at you, too, while all of your fans and followers are looking at the other artist. With any luck, more people from outside those circles start to take notice of all these people looking at and pointing at each other. But I think it has to be genuine. You can’t go in like a mercenary and expect it to be a quid-pro-quo deal. You have to genuinely like the music you’re pointing to–and be cool with the fact that they’re under no obligation to point back!
What are you currently working on?
I have a few things going on right now. I just recorded a track for a Failure tribute compilation that will be coming out later this year or early next, and I played drums on a track that Quizboy recorded for it. I also contributed a song to a compilation of thirty-second songs that the band BEES! is putting together. Plus I’m really excited about playing bass with Scoopski. And I have a weekly radio show called the #Tweetcore Radio Hour where I play indie music–a lot of which I’ve been discovering here on GetMusic.FM. And a weekly blog where I interview indie bands as well.
Is there anything else of interest that we neglected asking about, please include here.
I feel like this is the part of my Academy Award speech where the music starts to play. There are so many cool bands out there; I wish I could list them all! Todd & Karen, Matt Derda & the High Watts, Won’t Say Rabbit, The La La Lettes, Thee Rakevines, The Chairman Dances, Joe Peacock, Crooked Forest. Like I said before, the list really goes on and on, and I just want everyone to know how much it means to me that we’re all making music. I really feel like I’m part of a community – a genuine scene that spans the globe. How cool is that?
How can folks get in contact with you (socials / email / websites etc.)
My website is https://www.marcschuster.com/. There’s a contact form at the bottom of the page if anyone is looking for an interview on my blog or they’d like me to play their music on my show. My blog is called Abominations: https://marcschuster.wordpress.com/. There’s a contact form there as well. The #Tweetcore Radio Hour is on AMS Radio every Wednesday night at 7PM EST: https://live365.com/station/AMS-Radio-a15527. And Spreaker is probably the best place to find the podcast, though it’s on pretty much all the podcast platforms: https://www.spreaker.com/show/tweetcore-radio-hour_1. For social media, I’m usually on Twitter: https://twitter.com/marc_schuster.