Interview by Ash Wallace.
Indie pop rock artist from Sydney, Marcus Hoon AKA East Denistone has recently released his beautiful new single River. The track focuses on themes of choices and their consequences, reflecting back on those times where you thought “what if I did that differently…” The track, paired with film clip showcases a cold yet electric, almost nostalgic audio and visual combination which is sure to get stuck in your head…for all the right reasons.
His music is a reflection of personal struggles and emotion all rooted in the human experience. An understanding of the world around him, blended with rich vocals, full bodies instrumentals and catchy hooks, Denistone is proving himself an emerging artist to keep our eyes on. GC live had the pleasure of speaking with Denistone to talk about his new single and his musical journey and inspirations.
Firstly, I just want to say congrats on the release of River quite recently, can you give us a little insight into what that songs about?
“I’ve had that floating around for a while, I was in a band before this, so River was one of the songs I’d brought. So, once the band broke up, I held onto it, I guess it was about time to record it and then we ended up recording it with the old lead singer of the band. So, he works out of a studio so I bought it to him and he was like ‘“Yeah, I know it.” So that’s kinda the gist of it, how it came about.”
The music video accompanying the single is beautiful and quite nostalgic almost, what was the production like and inspiration behind the clip?
“I had the song ready to go, but then we ended up needing a video clip and we had no money so I went to my bassist who helped me out. I’ve had this idea at least as a backup to go around and do the shot around my house, I like my house because it’s weird. It was renovated when my parents moved in when I was young and it’s got a lot of different features in it. One part of it looks pretty modern another part looks pretty faded, so you get some good variation out of the shots. For me, the scene was not so much depression, but in that sense. You see me lying there, you see my standing there, moving slowly. It’s a little surreal, a bit dramatic where I’m not doing too much. There was a little joke going around that of course I made a video where I’m not doing too much because the whole song is about choice and consequences my friends think I’m lazy. So, I was really looking into doing something that showed doing not too much because we all have those moments where you don’t wanna do anything, where you need to stop. And trying to get that on camera.”
Just want to touch on some of the lyricism in the track, a quote that stood out to me; “…traded your years for minutes of life in the clouds…”, do these lyrics have any special or deeper meaning to you?
“Not to a specific moment in my life, it was more so, a lot of my songs are allegorical where sometimes you might take the less responsible option. I guess something that your parents wouldn’t approve of, where you take something up that’s risky and you end up trading the longevity of your life for doing something frowned upon. The whole song is about choice and consequences and the kind of choices you make in your life that maybe one day down the line you regret it and think why did I do that 5 years ago? 10 years ago? why did I waste all my money on that? why did I end up de-friending that person? Yeah so, it’s about looking back and I guess would I make the same choice that I made then, and would I make it now? And present it with the same dilemma.”
When people listen to your music, what do you hope they feel and take away from it?
“Hopefully its relate-ability. I prefer to maybe undermine the quality of my own character just so people go “oh ok I see, he’s only human.” And isn’t that what arts about? I guess a lot of artists try to not maybe relate their own experience to a wider audience, that’s what they do when they’re writing music and releasing it and it’s not always great. Obviously, you have artists talking themselves up and they’re boasting and you have the opposite end of the spectrum where everything’s not always great. But there’s some strength in knowing a lot of people go through the same thing and maybe that’s why music’s so brilliant in that everyone can find what they’re looking for. Maybe they want an artist that can put into words or music that sometimes it’s just pretty shit.”
From what I understand, you started exploring music from a young age, what or who were your influences during that time? And are they different from who you draw inspiration from now a-days?
“Yeah there’s kinda two different angles of that where I’d have the music I was learning in the very early days, and got in Beethoven… most people who learn piano and classical music come across these people like Debussy, Pachelbel, Beethoven, Mozart. But also as a kid it’s pretty not cool to be into them. I guess I also had my dad put on music and radio-he’ll have CDs laying around the house of what he had. He had some Lionel Richie, Leo Sayer, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac. They were my first bits of exposure. I didn’t think I’d love or thought about creating music until maybe around high school where I got and mp3 player and started loading my own songs onto that. Then I guess my really early days were made of The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Offspring, Green Day, Oasis. Then I had a bit of a hiatus during uni and then going into music which is like where I am now, your looking to diversify so I’ve gotten onto a lot of local artists now seeing how beautiful the scene is at the moment. They kinda draw the same influences as I do or they have the same story of listening to the parents records and putting those influences into them. So, for me at the moment you’ve got guys like Julia Jacklin and Stella Donnelly, you wouldn’t say their music futuristic though, it’s quite vintage in a way. They’re making the old new again. And I guess I’m well into that kinda stuff now so with my music taste I’m more open in that regard.”
Are there any hobbies outside of music that you turn to, to somewhat rejuvenate your musicality and spark up that creativity again say when you’re feeling uninspired or down?
“I do photography on the side, that gives me an excuse to go out and see other live music. I draw so much from other bands just around the scene, in the song writing in the performance, I take away so much even if I’m not exactly into their sound, I’d generally find something they’re doing well. For me that’s always been the biggest catalyst of jumping back into being creative is seeing someone else do it and go “maybe that’s what I needed”, and then every other hobby seems to be getting away from being creative and allowing yourself to take time off the music so in that regard I play a bit of snooker as well which is and ‘old man sport’ not exactly exciting, but its worlds away and really quiet. I guess you have to be quite reserved and almost unemotional when you play because it’s like golf.”
What’s one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced as an artist?
“More or less striking that balance between what I think I should be doing and taking on board what other people think I should be doing. Because I love getting criticism, obviously constructive criticism-when someone calls me a dickhead it doesn’t really help. But I love getting honest feedback with it. It’s always been this fine tuning of “okay I might do part of that or I might not do that” and that was the same story with my old band, just because three out of the four of us had really strong personalities and had strong opinions and would always have to compromise on that. Being more or a less a solo artist with a backing band now, all the creative decisions go to me, so you’re kinda looking elsewhere for that feedback.”
And just to wrap up What direction do you see your music going into the future? Do you have any plans you can tell us about?
“At the moment, I’m writing an EP but I’m not sure if ill release it as an EP. My last few releases have been a bit rocky whereas now I might pull that back and be a bit more reserved. That will allow me the space to be more creative with my songs. And I think one of the biggest criticism I’ve given myself is I haven’t given the depth in music, I’ve definitely put the good energy into it and got the vibe out of it but now it’s time to really apply higher concepts of music that I know I’ve got but maybe I didn’t give enough time in the previous works to put those concepts in, also to more subtle in my music going forward I think.”
East Denistone River release launch
Thursday 30th May, Lazybones Lounge Marrickville
With supports Lummo, Spruced Moose and Bowling in Japan.
Tickets on the door, Facebook event page HERE
You can stream and purchase River HERE.