Thursday, February 28, 2019

A Visit with Austin Durry of Marah in the Mainsail. Performing at the Red Herring Lounge a Week from Friday

This past week I was notified that Marah in the Mainsail will be performing at the Red Herring Lounge next week or Friday, March 8. I checked out a few of their tunes on YouTube and felt motivated to introduce our local readers to these veteran musicians. Let's give a warm welcome to Marah in the Mainsail.

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EN: Where are you from? Are you all from the Twin Cities?

Austin Durry: We're all home grown Minneapolis kids who've been raised in and around the Twin Cities music scene. Except for Kian (Drummer) he reigns from Wausau, WI.

Fan frenzy.
EN: What was the unifying influence that brought you all together?

AD: We each come from very different corners of the music world with different tastes to contribute to the sound. One of the things we love about this band is the versatility of the sound. We can have a classically trained trombone player along side a crazed theatrical metal head bassist and find space for both influences in the music. My influences come primarily from stories, and movies, heavily inspired by Spaghetti Western sound tracks and movie scores.

EN: During the Exodus in the Old Testament, Marah is the name of a place where the waters were too bitter to drink. What does Marah in the Mainsail mean?

Austin Durry
AD: Marah roughly translates to bitterness. When we started we were in high school and wanted to essentially make a rock and roll pirate band. So the name came about pretty naturally. We wanted a name that was relatively abstract, and foreboding, but that didn't sound like just another band name. Over the years we've changed a lot, and completely abandoned the original pirate motif. But the name has always stuck with us, along with the taste for the dramatic, with adventure-based story music.

EN: How long have the five musicians been together? The group has a nine year history. Has it always been in this iteration?

AD: I started the band with Wilder (bass/percussion) in 2010 when we were in high school. Cassandra (female vocals) and Johnny Bones (Trombone) joined a few years later, with Kian (drums) rounding it out in 2017.

EN: What caught my attention is your statement about striving to bring a literary and cinematic depth to their work. Who are some of the literary influences you might cite?

John Baumgartner
AD: I grew up as an avid comic book fan, and as an adult have found a lot of writing inspiration in folklore stories, and vintage horror concepts. That mixed with a love for iconic Western sound tracks is kind of what the band's style is based on. We're trying to make a music experience that's more immersive than your average listening experience. Trying to make a bigger, multi-medium universe behind the lyrics that people can delve into after the album is over. I always thought it was strange that music is so often resigned to back ground noise while you do something more important, or a back drop to a movie, or a work out. Why can't the music be the story. The movie. The book. Why can't the music have action, drama, violence, intrigue. Ya know?

When we were first starting out my dad (a life-long musician) asked me "If your lyrics were a movie, is it a movie you'd want to see?" and that idea has stuck with me ever since. Basically the way we execute this is by writing albums and fantasy stories simultaneously. So each release is paired with a written novelization of the story that guides the listener through the album and all of it's characters and plot points. We've been lucky enough to have some amazingly talented visual artists that are avid fans of the band that create their own visualizations of the characters from our stories that really bring everything together in a very tangible way. It's really amazing to see the art community creating together and feeding itself.

Cassandra Valentine
EN: And musical influences?

AD: Musically we take a lot of inspiration from the band Murder By Death, kind of a dark western sound in the same vein as ours. And My Chemical Romance, who sound completely different from us, but we love their high energy, theatrical approach to live music performance, and the way they created stories and comics to pair with their albums.

Vocals/guitar - Austin Durry
Vocals/bass - Cassandra Valentine
Alternative percussion - Austin Wilder
Trombone - John Baumgartner
Drums - Kian Dziak

Marah in the Mainsail will be performing at the Red Herring Lounge on May 8, a week from this Friday.

Learn more at their website:

Youtube “Wendigo”:

Photos courtesy Marah in the Mainsail

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