A Bad Think consists of the sole member of Michael Marquart who has just released his 5th album SLEEP via Windmark/The Orchard on June 17th, 2014. produced by Marquart and mixed by Jason Elgin (Collective Soul, Creed) and recorded in Los Angeles at Windmark recording and in WIndmark’s east coast studio, the album is a collection of 12 songs of modern alternative music that is the glimpse of the singer-songwriter.The 12 tracks on the album are a culmination of life, love, hope and loss,fueled by powerful heart-felt lyrics, hypnotic undertones, huge choruses and infectious melodies. The honest nature of songs like “HappyLittle Pills”, “On And On”, “We All Fall” and the album’s title track captures the essence of the process and adventure of life, taking the listener on a journey where beauty and darkness can exist side by side.
Maquart has spent a lot of time in recording studios throughout his career. In 2012, he bought the world famous Flyte Tyme studio in Los Angeles from superstar producers Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. He gutted all of the offices on the first floor to build a new Analog tracking Room that includes Les Paul’s personal 2” ampex 16 track mm1000 and rebranded the studio as Windmark Recording. Windmark’s impressive client roster reads like a who’s who of the music industry’s power players including Timbaland, Rihanna, Young Jeezy, Epic, Universal Records, Def Jam Records, etc.
In the 90’s while recording some solo material with former David Bowie guitarist/producer Stacy Heydon, Marquart was recruited by British Grammy Award winning band A Flock Of Seagulls to fly to New York and play drums on a new album they were making. After the session, he joined the band briefly, but decided not to continue so he could focus on his own music. His previous albums included A BAD THINK (2006), SIMPLY RHYMES (2009), SARA LESS (2010) and MEDICINE (2012).
Jason Price of Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with Michael Marquart to discuss his musical roots, the creation of his powerful new album, his songwriting process, longevity as an artist and much more!
Take us back to your earlier years. What are your first memories of music in your life?
My parents had a record player and my Father had albums by “the Washington squares,” “Frank ifield” and “Roger Miller”. I can remember sitting on the floor with my head pressed to the speaker cabinet listening for hours at a time.
Who are some of the other influences who have impacted you?
Anthony was a neighbor of ours with a mild case of Down syndrome but was a really good guy and a great drummer. He taught my how to play on a set of drums with all of the independent limb coordination at an early age. I wish I could remember his last name. I got into Bill Bruford (Yes) and Andy Numark (Roxy Music) later in my teens. I was really into the way The Beatles wrote music, they always wrote what they felt, and didn’t care what people thought.
They say a career in music isn’t a journey for the faint of heart. What made you take the plunge and pursue a career in the music industry? Was there ever any other route you considered?
When I was a senior in High school I was seriously considering an acting career. I was in a lot of plays in high school but decided on a music theory major in college. My dad owned a construction company and I spent summer vacations working for him. I could have taken over his business if my music didn’t pan out.
You experienced plenty of ups and downs on your journey. What has kept you inspired throughout the years as an artist and fueled your creative fire?
I would say that it’s the music itself that keeps me going. I have always been in it for the music, not the fame or the fortune or the party. Creating something from scratch that people respond to in an emotional way is very rewarding for me.
To what do you attribute the longevity in the ever-changing music industry?
Everything is always evolving and changing and the music business in no exception. The business is in a state of flux right now. Everyone expects to get music for free these days, so it makes it tough for a musician to make a living playing music. Live gigs seems to be one of the few ways left, so music has turned into something you do for a few years before you get a real job.
You just released your fifth album, ‘SLEEP.’ What were your expectations going into the process of creating the album?
To create the best album I can, lyrically, musically and sonically. I always hope that it will be successful but that is not the driving force behind the music I make.
What can you tell us about the songwriting process for this album? Was it different from what you have done in the past in some way?
My songwriting process is pretty much the same. I start with a couple chords, then start working on a melody, then I just let the song go in the direction it wants to go in.
As a songwriter, where do you find yourself looking for inspiration these days?
All around me. My life primarily, but there is an endless amount if inspiration out there if you take the time to look around for it.
You shared the production duties on ‘SLEEP’ with Jason Elgin (Collective Soul, Creed). What does he bring to the table for a project like this one?
He was key in my project. Mixing is the final creative link in the chain and Jason did a great job of seeing where my music was coming from and gave it the right touch and polish it needed to make it sound like it does.
What made you select ‘SLEEP’ as the title for this project and what does it mean to you personally?
“Sleep” started out as a lullaby I use to play for my girls before they went to bed when they were younger. Half way through the song, it goes into a waltz. I envisioned that they were dreaming about being the bell of the ball at a lavish party scene in the 1800’s, having the night of a lifetime, dancing the night away with a perfect prince charming on an evening just for them.
What do you consider some of the biggest challenges you have faced in the studio?
I am very comfortable in a recording studio. It’s my environment, but sometimes the track doesn’t sit right and it needs something, but trying to figure out what that something is can be very trying, but its usually worth it in the end, and if not, The song gets shelved.
How do you feel you have evolved as an artist since first starting out?
I have been doing this a long time and have come a long way since starting out as a drummer. Learning how to be a professional on stage and learning how to record and develop a sound is a long journey, but a good one. I find that my songwriting has been interesting to watch evolve, though sometimes I get in the way of that process.
As a musician, what do you consider your biggest milestone so far?
That I am still here making music. It’s easy to give up and I know many great musicians that have given up or have turned sour on the music industry, though I can’t say that I blame them. I remain inspired to this day for some reason.
Is there any musical ground you are still anxious to explore and where do you think the future will take you musically?
I don’t consciously go after certain areas to explore, I kind of just let the music happen and try to stay out of the way.
What is the best piece of advise that you can pass along to someone who wants to pursue a career in music in the industry’s current climate?
Do not try to follow the music trends of the day. Follow your own path because at the end of the day the music you make is unique to you and no one else. You can always take pride in that no matter if your music is successful or not.
To learn more about A Bad Think, visit the band’s official website at www.abadthink.com. Connect with them on social media with Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Check out the music video for “On and On” below.