Older, wiser and knowing what they know now, Marmozets return to Portsmouth

If ever a band could be forgiven for suffering from that '˜difficult second album' syndrome, it would be Marmozets.

Wednesday, 1st November 2017, 9:43 am
Updated Tuesday, 12th December 2017, 9:10 am

If ever a band could be forgiven for suffering from that ‘difficult second album’ syndrome, it would be Marmozets.

Their exuberant take on punk and alternative rock gave debut album The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets an energy that few could match when it was released in 2014. Among the accolades and praise, heavy music bible Kerrang! picked it as their album of the year in 2015.

But frontwoman Becca Macintyre was consigned to her bed for a lengthy spell in 2016 after she needed operations on both knees. However, it forced the group to stop for a moment and take stock.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Guitarist Jack Bottomley says: ‘During that accidental two-year break – at the time we were like ‘we need to get going!’ But I think we needed that time to recoup because we’d been relentless, touring non-stop for two years before that.

‘It was a nice time to recharge our batteries, but there was obviously a bit of misfortune when Becca had to go in for the operation on her knees, so we had to cancel an American tour.’

And when their record label came knocking for the second album, the five-piece realised they had nothing left to give.

‘Because things had been so nonstop, it’s a bit of a lame excuse, but we hadn’t been writing much on the road – we’d never had to before.

‘We weren’t touring much when we wrote the first album, it was all done before the touring, so it’s been a bit of a learning curve for us this time. We’ve already started writing for the third one to try to get ahead of the game.’

Was this really the difficult second album, then?

‘Yeah, that was a bit of a motto that was flying around at times. We wrote so many songs, like 70, and there were moments where we thought that’s kind of cool.

‘But we sort of lost touch with what we wanted to be writing, not writing from where we’ve written before, but then we eventually got back into it.

‘It had been three or four years since we’d written any music properly. It was a weird one getting there, but we got there.’

So talking on the brink of their first tour in ages, and with new album Knowing What You Know Now lined up for release in January, Jack says the band’s spirits are high.

‘It all feels better than it ever has done, it’s at a better level than it has ever been, between us as people, and where we’re all at ourselves.’

The album was recorded with famed rock producer Gil Norton.

‘He actually got in touch with us before the first album, briefly, but timing-wise we’d already locked in with [Hundred Reasons guitarist] Larry Hibbitt.

‘But he got in touch again, so when we got the call to say Gil had the time, Pixies are like my favourite band ever – that for me alone – and he’s done my two favourite Foo Fighters albums...

‘It was an amazing experience to work with him. He had a completely different formula and way of working things out. He really listened to us, there was no ego, and he’d be perfectly entitled to given what he’s done, but he had his opinion, we had ours and we were all equal.’

Jack says having to wait to reveal the new album is ‘crippling everyone’.

‘We are genuinely so proud of it and how it’s turned out. When we recorded the first album we were still really young and listening to completely different music to what we are now, I think Will [Bottomley, bassist], was like 18 when we recorded the album – he’s the youngest, I was 21.

‘You grow up so much in that time as well, and we were tour-hardened and you listen to new music. We were just writing to where we’re at, but we’ve naturally matured too.

A lot’s changed in our lives in that last three or four years, but it still sounds more like us – a clearer, straight-down-the-line, no-messing-about version of us instead of going here, there and everywhere, which we have done previously.’

Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea

Wednesday, November 1

This show has been moved from October 30. All original tickets remain valid.