If you’re even remotely interested in underground music per se, you should know who Marzia Rangel is. She’s a multi-talented artist, but is mainly a bass-player and a cello-player. Since she started out, she’s worked and is working with the likes of Monica Richards, Faith & The Muse, Christ vs. Warhol, Scarlet’s Remains and the Deadfly Ensemble. One thing that I didn’t know before, was that she’s also performed on the SAW II Original Soundtrack. In other words, she’s an interesting person and have a lot of experience within the sphere she is currently occupied with. In the last couple of years, she’s been more active with her newest band Christ vs. Warhol and the Deadfly Ensemble, releasing an one album from each one of those bands. I thought of interviewing her since she wasn’t included in my interview with the Deadfly Ensemble, which I thought was a shame, so I decided to contact her and write her some questions. This is one of the first interviews I’ve actually conducted that has more to do with the person. I therefore hope that you’ll enjoy this interview as much as the other ones that I’ve conducted. So enjoy this interview as much as you can or would do with any other Invisible Guy-styled interview.
What should one know about Marzia Rangel and when did you get into making music for real?
– I’ve been making horrible noise with anything I could find since I was a kid. My family didn’t really listen to music, but a lot of the old cartoons I watched had elaborate musical scores and soundtracks. I didn’t speak English so I would hum along to orchestras and the melodies of Cab Calloway, the Andrews Sisters, Louie Armstrong etc. I was always ”singing”, though I’d like to emphasize the quotation marks! I started playing cello in school when I was 8. I taught myself a little guitar at 14 by playing along to my punk cassettes, then I moved on to Dick Dale records. I had a little punk band around then, but we didn’t do much.
I started playing bass to help a friends band at 23, I think. When I left school, I really wanted to start a punk band, but couldn’t find people who had their shit together! At some point in 2004 or so, Lucas asked if Id be into doing something for the project he was starting up, the Deadfly Ensemble. Id never composed anything on cello, but after listening to the songs he and James had written, I started to hear parts in my head that weren’t on the cd and that is what became the cello part. We all met up and played together and I’ve been with them since. Anyway, thats how composing started for real and how the horrible noise I used to make as a kid found a place to live!
So the story ends this time with Deadfly Ensemble, but what happened in 2004 and onwards with your musical career?
– I met a lot of people while traveling around the US and Europe playing with DF, and that led to other endeavors. I played cello on some recordings for friends (Monica Richards, Niceville, F&TM) and joined up with Scarlets Remains on bass. I helped them finish up their 2nd album with a couple of songs Id written and also did a short European tour, but not long after they disbanded. DF was moving along, just very slowly at the time as some members were moving around etc. Steven and I planned to start a dark punk band of some sort, and when he moved here from the UK in 07 we spent lots of time trying to make music with various people, none of which were working out. Some was difference in taste, some was just bullshit drama. We wised-up and started over, just the two of us.
The plan was to figure out the music and worry about a singer later! Steven and I beat some ideas into shape and had an albums worth of music ready to go. We looked to William Faith to record our songs along with F&TMs drummer Geoff Bruce, who in the end decided to join outside the studio, too. Those demos are what eventually became Christ vs. Warhols album, Dissent, when eveghost came on board and added the lyrical content, which we loved. Also around that time Steven and I began to play live for F&TM doing cello, viola, guitar, bass, mandolin, taiko drums . We went all over the US and Europe. It was fun, but damn that was a lot of shit to carry, set up, play and re-pack every night. Some nights we two shows, opening up as Christ vs. Warhol for Faith & The Muse!
How did it feel to be included in the Deadfly Ensemble, could you tell me anything about the creative process and the studio times?
– I love being a part of DF more than anything! Those crazy, smelly boys are family. The evolution of the band (first with Dizhan joining, then with Steven) really turned DF into a strange beast and I didn’t see it coming at all! But the collective continues to surprise me in the best way possible. The creative process? I can’t speak for Luc’s lyricas at all, but as for the music, usually someone will come up with an idea; a melody, a whole song they wrote, whatever. They will play it for the band and, almost immediately, everyone else starts to push against it with their own sound. We kinda stumble around, and at first the songs sound like what they will sound like in the end if we all played them really drunk! We all sort of trip on each other till we figure out where everyone is standing and start to find our places. Then after a few attempts, things start to make sense and become organized with each other naturally.
I looked you up and found out that you’ve also contributed to Monica Richards solo-album “InfraWarrior”, how was it working with her on that album?
– Monica is awesome. Warm and gifted. You might not guess it, but she’s also goddamn hilarious. I was one of several guest musicians on her albums (Infrawarrior and Naides), but she certainly didn’t need any help from me! She does it all; the writing, recording etc., I only really embellished certain moments with organic cello. I completely love her as an artist and as a person.
How has Christ vs. Warhol affected you as a musician, what have you learned when being a part of this band and what kind of obstacles have you faced, both good and bad?
– CvW let me indulge my love for punk. Weobviously have a heavy dose of Banshees-style goth in the mix, but after our first live show it was clear to us and everyone there that we were a damn punk band just with slower, moodier songs here and there! CvW has always had obstacles, but all bands do. There was boring stuff like money and deadlines, stupid stuff like drunken fist fights between band members, and then day to day things like work and school. Eveghost is currently studying in Norway, Geoff is making a living on tour as a technician for drummers, and Steve and I have been putting most of our free time into Deadfly, who are very, very active at the moment.
Still, we have a lot of new material, and the way Dissent was written (all the music first, then the vox) makes us very confident we wont have trouble getting things done with eveghost in Norway. It probably means we will be playing more gigs in Europe than in the US, which is fine by us… A lot of new bands have a hard time getting started but we were very lucky to have a lot of support. We all had experience with this band stuff, but thanks to our friends F&TM (and our mutual booking agent Patty Motherdance), we got our music out there and had a chance to play some crazy gigs from early days. The F&TM Euro and US tours helped us spread Dissent around the map so we got very lucky!
Do you, personally, do anything else than play in different bands and create music? Have you been involved in something besides it or have you got anything else planned?
– I’ve been working a night shift job, full-time, for the last 10 years…so I really have a small window of free time! I try to balance that time between music, friends/family, and a bit of fun! I like to make and/or alter things, especially clothes and jewelry. My father is very DIY and when I was young he would make me cool toys and games out of practically nothing. And when I was older and started to like antiques, he would restore them for me. That had a heavy affect on me and I would make dolls out of mud, yarn and things like that. Recently, I was selling some of my handmade jewelry online, but I get too frustrated listing things on the smelly internet!
What kind of music do you prefer to listen to yourself, do you have any recommendations for this blog?
– I like a lot of stuff, but my #1 musical love is punk, especially some of the protopunk bands like the Stooges, NY Dolls, Johnny Thunders etc. I like the heaviers stuff too, though. In fact, I met Steven when I went to see Chaos UK in 04 and he was playing bass for them. I dont like bands with a new punk sound, crust that is too metal (though I do like some quite a lot, like Amebix) and bands that are “spooky” in a cartoon type of way. I love stuff that is trippy and even a little scary, but not in a non-goofy way (Diamanda Galas, Coil, Neubauten).
I’m not saying that all music should be serious (not by any means!) but bands that are all about bats and zombies really rub me the wrong way! What else. I really like bands that sound chaotic and weird but still have songs, not just noise (The Phantom Limbs, Strip Mall Seizures, Punishment of Luxury). I love Classical music and sounds that I can best sum up as traditional Eastern music. As far as current bands, I recommend our friends Ciril, Fangs On Fur and Soriah, especially live! And if you haven’t heard Phantom Limbs and Strip Mall Seizures, they’re worth a listen though I believe they’ve both disbanded.
So what’s happening for you in the near future?
– Both Steven and I sometimes get distracted by helping out and playing in friend’s bands, so that sucks time up on occasion, but as of recently neither of us are helping any bands that are not the two we actually write music for. DFE has a lot of momentum right now. A couple of friends have made videos for us, and we’re getting started on our 3rd video in the next couple of weeks. We’re also working on an EP and possibly releasing our second 7inch vinyl. We have nearly a whole album worth of ideas, so another good portion of our focus will be ironing those ideas out. CvW is also inching along and we hope to release an EP in the next few months. We will probably continue to release EPs with 3 or 4 songs on them instead of full albums. As for anything else…well, things have a way of falling onto my lap, so who knows what else is coming up!
Well, thank you for letting me interview you! Do you have anything else to say here in the end?
– Thank you for supporting underground music on your blog! All I can say is I hope other people help keep underground music alive by going to shows and having a good time. Don’t be lazy, motherfuckers!