We catch up with guitarist Jack Bottomley from Marmozets as he chats being fresh back from their US tour, their hugely anticipated album, the Big Cheese UK Tour, mysterious monkey creatures and why Math Rock isn’t always just about bearded hipsters.
You’ve just got back from touring the US on your ‘Warped Tour’, how was that?
The tour’s been great. Loads of fun. We got to play some amazing places. It was actually quite easy. We had heard a lot from other bands about how hard touring is in the US, you know the minimum driving time was about 5 hours, with only one day off it was a long slog but it was fantastic. It was funny getting back to the UK and getting home in about 4 hours. It felt quite good. It made us so excited for our UK tour to get around everywhere not traveling so long and having more to put into our gigs.
It looks like a very busy time, you’ve got a lot happening with your debut album, ‘The Weird and Wonderful Marmozets’, coming out in September 29th. What can you tell us about it?
Just buy it. The album shows exactly what were about and what we can do. People can hear us and think were really heavy but the album will be different to what people may think about us. It’s just our music and our style.
And you’ve got a UK tour coming up, I saw many of your fans were asking about playing closer to home, are you going to get any time to get home? Do you want to return to Bingley?
Of course, we always try to play as locally as possible. We’d love to play the places where we started off, it’s great to go back, but it’s just difficult with traveling agendas. But we’d love to and were playing Leeds very soon which will be great.
So, Math Rock. It’s a genre with certain stereotypes, so I wonder if you’ll be able to give us your professional opinion on them? The most common – ‘Math Rock is an elite musical club for guys with beards’.
It is true that some Math Rock is quite unique, it gets linked to beards and hipsters but it’s not that at all. It’s funny, we actually didn’t intend to make Math Rock music. People just said that’s what we sounded like. We started from progressive rock. It’s all in the process, we just love to play our own music. Nothing is designed, we still use 4/4 then other times don’t, we love what we do.
I love the name. I’ve got to ask, why Marmozets?
It’s quite a funny one. It came about from a mate when we were about 13 said to me and my brother in an IT lesson, ‘you should call yourself Marmosets like them little monkey things’ and it just stuck. We thought it sounded cool at 13. We also got the spelling wrong. It’s S instead of Z. Later on we found out in french it means ‘grotesque figure’ so that sort of makes up for it. In America people kept asking us as they had no idea what a Marmoset is. We had to explain it’s these little monkeys that are proper cool. We actually had a photo shoot with Kerrang with this little monkey that kept jumping around and bouncing off our heads.
Ok then, how much do you actually know about your namesake? The animal is best known as the smallest monkey in the world. Where can the Marmoset be found?
Sorry, but it’s actually Brazil or Peru. Is it true that its tail is longer than its body?
How many degrees can the monkey rotate its head?
78 and a half.
Wrong again, sorry. It’s actually 180.
Like an owl?
Indeed. So like the small monkey that can turn its head fully around, looking back, give us your favourite place you’ve played, or the top few?
It is a hard question as we like to play every gig like it’s our last. We can sometimes be tired or hungover, but there’s nothing more than we love so we just go out and make it as big as possible. We love doing this. I really enjoyed in the American tour performances in Nashville Tennesse, and Denver Colorado. It’s so great watching other bands that you listen to and getting to hang around with them. We also had some great gigs in Exeter. We once played a Tuesday night, so we obviously thought it was going to be dead, but it was just electric. When there are floods of people there to see your band… it’s really weird. It makes it all seem real. It was such an eye opener. It was never our intention to a big band. We just do what we do, we love what we do. We get to travel the world and play our music you know. It’s all I ever wanted.
Scanning through your Facebook I saw an image of what was described as ‘the crab’ move; you had your head on the floor and bum in the air. Explain.
The first time I did it, it happened by accident, then I thought that looks sick. The second time I went to do it again, I slipped and knocked myself clean out, I came round just as the next band was starting their set with no idea where I was and my ears ringing. It was a lot of fun.
Looking through your Facebook page you definitely have a lively fan base and I very was surprised to see how dedicated you are at replying to them, it must be great to have such a lively and positive group of people supporting you?
The support is great. At some gigs you’ll even get a lot of 14/15 year olds, and their parents come along. Then their parents end up buying t-shirts and the vinyls. It’s really nice to see such positive things.
As a band, one thing that stands out about you is your work ethic, Sam has been quoted saying “The only way you’re going to go up is to keep training yourselves, both individually and as a band,” but what is it you all like to do to relax?
We hang out loads. Like right now we’re just having some time, walking around Leeds.
Head to weird.marmozets.co.uk to pre-order their album, ‘The Weird And Wonderful Marmozets’, out on September 29th.