The Vine interview: Marcus Whale of Collarbones, March 2011

An interview for The Vine. Excerpt below.

Interview – Collarbones

Marcus Whale lives in Sydney. Travis Cook lives in Adelaide. Combined, they form Collarbones, an electronic-based act fascinated with pop and R’n’B, who cut, paste and loop sounds and voices atop one another to create dense, uniquely compelling music. Whale and Cook had gone by their respective experimental music monikers Scissor Lock and Cyst Impaled for several years before they connected online. Though they bonded and began sharing song sketches immediately, it was 18 months before they met in person.

Following a string of appealing single and EP releases – ‘Beaman Park’ wasForkcasted in July last year, and their EP Tiger Beats was a collection of pop covers, remixes and reinventions – Collarbones’ full-length debut, Iconography, is released on March 18 via Melbourne-based, artist-run label Two Bright Lakes.

TheVine connected with Marcus Whale to discuss interstate collaborations, getting Collarboned, Bieber, and male models.

At what point did this become a public project? When did it move from just you two exchanging ideas, to putting your music online?

In the ‘Myspace generation’, you can basically be public as soon as you finish a track. Even with sketches and demos; they can be already up there on the internet, it’s just a matter of whether or not people actually know it. So technically, about an hour after we finished our first track, toward the end of 2007 [laughs]. It’s been a while, but at the beginning, it was just for shits and giggles.

You were comfortable with sharing even just rough sketches? There was no hesitation?

The idea of making music public nowadays is way less intense than it used to be. I guess I never really thought about it; it was just like, “Hey, we’ve got some music. Let’s put it on the internet.” We’re both pretty used to that sort of thing. Knowing that it’s not necessarily going to be widely listened to; it’s just there.

Has making music always been a solitary activity for you?

Not really. I grew up playing in the school band, and that sort of thing. I played in rock bands when I was in high school. I’ve sung in choirs. It’s always been a fairly group-based thing. I did do a lot of solo stuff; have done, and still do. I did have a lot of fun collaborating with people.

Travis and yourself currently live in different cities. Are you happy with that arrangement? Do you hope it stays that way?

Funnily enough, I feel like we’re more productive when we’re just doing little bits and pieces on our own and then sending it [to each other], rather than a really intensive situation where we’re both in the same room, but doing stuff at the same time. I found that if you invite someone over, and say, “Hey, we’re going to make some music,” it takes quite a long time to get something happening. In my experience. Unless it’s really improvised, jammy music.

We’ve only really successfully collaborated in person twice. I think we’re getting better at it. It’s becoming easier, I suppose. But Travis has generally made music on his own. He has a fairly strange way of going about things sometimes. He has quite an obtuse taste in music. It’s very trial-and-error. He’s come up with some really awesome stuff using devices in a way that’s not standard. I was listening to some of his old music the other day; it’s probably some of the weirdest music I’ve ever heard. He had a very strange mind as a teenager. His project is called Cyst Impaled, and it’s completely different [than Collarbones]. Basically, it’s a combination of really fucked-up ranting about stuff. Brutal noise, flamenco guitars, lots of sampled stuff, and occasionally some really hot dance beats. But then it became a mash-up project. Some of it is truly disturbing.

For the full interview, visit The Vine. For more Collarbones, visit their Tumblr. Music video their song ‘Don Juan‘ embedded below.

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