By Georgina Langford

Finally, it’s here. After years of being championed by those with a keen ear for Yorkshire-based-math-rock-metal-punk-bands *cough* Tom Aylott, we’re looking at you *cough*, Marmozets finally release their debut LP, ‘The Weird And Wonderful Marmozets’, on 29 September. Whether you are a long time lover or a new recruit to the Marmozetian revolution, it’s been fascinating to watch this very funny, very tight knit gang of siblings and mates blow up over the past 12 months – before some of the members even turned 18. They are getting played on daytime radio, smashing big tents at the festivals, and getting served coffee by members of Underoath. Guitarist Jack Bottomley explains…

This must be a tense week for you, leading up to the album release. How are you keeping yourself occupied?

Jack: We’re just about to start a band rehearsal. We’ve just been jamming through the set all week trying to get it ready for this tour that is coming up.

I noticed that on Facebook, the mum of one of your fans invited you guys to go along to his rollerblading birthday party in Rotherham. I just wondered if you went along to that earlier this week? I could just see Marmozets at a rollerdisco, somehow.

Jack: I do remember seeing that…I think she asked if we could play it. It was just a bit short notice, I think. Sadly.

Your recent Bruno Mars ‘Locked Out Of Heaven’ cover in the Radio 1 Live Lounge: why did you pick that song?

Jack: That started because we were having a tweet-off with the rapper Tempah T. We said that for our London show, we wanted Tempah T to benchpress Josh WHILST he was drumming, just…because, why not? For the Live Lounge, originally we were going to cover ‘Feel Good Inc.’ by Gorillaz, so we thought about getting Tempah T down to rap on it, but then we realised that probably wouldn’t happen. You have to be quite clever about the Live Lounge, because you want to do a song by a big name, because that means you are always going to get fans of that artist tuning in. Will, my brother, is a massive Bruno Mars fan, so we jammed that song out into about six different versions; we usually mess about with that song when we are practising anyway. We decided to do something different to the original, and we finished the version we ended up doing literally the night before. It was a bit ‘to the wire’. We were happy with it.

It’s had a fairly Marmite reaction, with some people not getting it at all because they are diehard Bruno Mars fans who maybe don’t understand what you guys do.

Jack: That is the benefit of doing something like that, when we get to be involved in a mainstream thing, we do want to divide opinions – not that we want people to hate us, at all, but it’s still good that people will express their opinion on it, rather than saying nothing, which is what you don’t want.

Speaking of mainstream, I remember chatting to you about Reading and Leeds earlier in the summer and how much of a big deal for you that was going to be, so in the end, what went through your mind before you walked out on the NME tent stage?

Jack: That was a big deal for us. We did Download, and that was pretty big, but then before Reading, we’d just done a run of European festivals, that were all quite big stages. It was good to be able to do those, because if we’d just gone into Reading cold, then we would have shit ourselves. So walking out on that stage, we still felt like we were in a different country or something. We were in France the day before, or somewhere daft like that, so we were a bit weirded out as to where we actually were. We walked out and were all just like: “This is nuuutttssss”. Absolutely loved it, it was really cool, and then to do the second set as well [on The Pit stage], that felt like a gig then, which was fun.

Not many bands get that kind of Reading and Leeds experience, and you had Warped as well this summer of course, and by all accounts you went down a storm – does it feel like mission accomplished for Marmozets in the US?

Jack: We’d only ever been to America once before this, to sort out the deal with Roadrunner. We played in New York for like, one show, so that was more like a mini-holiday. New York is just like a bigger, taller, hotter, sweatier London, so with Warped, to get to actually go around America, we realised just how big the country is. We were doing 22 hour drives, which is the equivalent of something like driving from the top of Scotland, down to London, and back, maybe twice, in one day? We haven’t even scratched the surface as far as America goes, but at least, say, 100 people in each of the places we played on Warped know about us now.

Did you feel like the new kids at school a bit on that tour?

Jack: It was a strange experience. Before we even went, we were stuck in Heathrow airport for a week waiting for our visas to arrive, and it’s pretty boring around there…

What did you do with yourselves that whole time?!

Jack: We went into London a few nights, went to a bowling alley there that was godawful, and watched some of the World Cup. Then when we got to America, our internal flight was cancelled, so when we finally got to Warped, it felt bizarre. Luckily, when we arrived, we’ve sort of met the Enter Shikari boys a few times before, which helped because we got really friendly with them straight away, and then met a bloke called Rob Lynch, an acoustic artist who is smashing it as well. We sort of had this British Embassy thing going on…! The next day it got really weird, because we were hanging out with Every Time I Die, who are one of my favourite bands ever, and seeing Keith Buckley just walking around and waking up in the morning, going for coffee with him, I was thinking “This is just bizarre now”. It was a long slog, the longest tour we’ve ever done, and so far from home.

Can you pinpoint the most surreal moment for you personally?

Jack: Yeah, there was one moment that made me feel like I was actually so far from home. We were driving to Salt Lake City from…I can’t even remember where, and it was a hell of a drive. That was a 21.5 hour drive or something daft. We woke up, and had six hours with no phone service, desert all around us, in the middle of absolute nowhere. We got out the van for a little breather, just for five minutes, and there was sand everywhere, and hills – it was like when you go off the edge of the map in GTA or something. Like that, but for real! We were all freaked out.

If you think back to where you were at that point last summer, that probably would have added to that feeling.

Jack: I was in Bingley!

Pretty similar places, Bingley and the US desert.

Jack: Haha. The other weird moment was in Florida. It was different to the other shows because this one was actually in a city, rather than a car park on the outskirts. I had this new ritual of getting an iced coffee every morning –

Oh wow. You pretty much became an American.

Jack: Yeah! I saw this coffee stand, and the guy who served me, I really recognised him but couldn’t think where from, but I realised it was the guitarist of Underoath, another of my favourite bands. Serving me an iced coffee. Tim McTague, it was. With an apron on. I was like, what the hell is going on?! Chris from Underoath came down to watch our set, and we swapped numbers – this is the band that got me into heavy music, it was the strangest feeling. But you do realise that they are completely normal people. That tour almost ruins your heroes, in fact, because they are no longer gods to you.

So the album comes out on 29 September; where was the photo of all of you huddled, on the artwork, taken?

Jack: We took that at The 100 Club, just before we played there. We ended our last headline run there, and even though it’s not that big a room, maybe 350, 400 people, it felt like a strange gig. That picture was taken in our dressing room. Tom Barnes the photographer had come down to hang out for the day. We always have some kind of huddle before we go on stage, to try and get in some sort of zone. We were a bit nervous before that gig. It was weird walking out on stage and seeing so many people there for our band. From Bingley. So that picture is a nice memory for us. Even if we hadn’t used it for the album cover, it would have been one of those photos that you always look back on. That was a good moment.

The album has already got brilliant reviews and everyone’s news feed has been full of Marmozets this past week; that must make you feel pretty good, before it’s even been released?

Jack: Yeah, we were a bit worried about streaming it, and we didn’t want to put people off before it is even out, but we’ve only seen good comments. We’re just dying, dying, dying, to get it out now.

Having listened to it through, there are so many softer, more emotional moments than people might be expecting. What prompted those? Am I right in thinking that?

Jack: We always get seen as this mental, really heavy band, but if you actually look a bit deeper at our music, there’s a lot more than what it initially seems like. Even on the ‘Vexed’ EP, like the song ‘Arrive Alive’, that is a really dark, slow song and we have always done songs like that. Before we went into the heavier, more technical stuff, we always used to just do songs like that anyway. And when one of us comes up with an idea, we try to see what we can do with it. For the song ‘Cry’ on the album, Sam came up with a piano part at home one day, and even though we thought it sounded brilliant that was actually the hardest song to nail and get right.

Becca’s vocals are pretty astounding, on this record. And also, seeing the frontwoman that she has become.

Jack: Yeah, it’s a big leap. In the old days, we’d all be so nervous, and she’d be all shy on stage, and now she’s like this…animal! It’s strange for us as well because a lot of people are judging this album on the ‘Vexed’ EP, whereas for us we have been this band, this band who have just released this album, for a year. These tracks were recorded over a year ago. So in our heads, we are this band, but people are judging us against the older stuff. I think Will was 14 when we recorded that EP, so we are obviously going to have changed in that time. We think that we are not even there yet, with the sound, we believe that we can do even better than this album. We’ve started to write stuff for a second album already.

Even though this record, to Marmozets, is a year old, what does it represent about you as a band, right now?

Jack: It’s a bridge, from the last EP to where we are going, I guess. We don’t want to be the kind of band that just pops up and is then forgotten about. We are in this for the long run. We want this as a career, not just a hobby, or like “Great, they were on a major label for one album and then we never heard from them again”. We want to do this properly. Hence why it’s probably taken so long for it to come out, we’ve been biding our time because we are still, realistically, a small band.

You are finishing up this year with some pretty big stuff; going out on tour with Issues in the US, playing Royal Blood’s homecoming show in Brighton, and the UK dates with Taking Back Sunday. Which are you most excited for?

Jack: They are all going to be different, because you’ve got a brilliant UK rock band, who are sort of changing the face of the UK music scene, with Royal Blood; Taking Back Sunday who are like, legends, they’ve been smashing it for years, then Issues, who are up and coming, doing really well for themselves, and that one is in America. It will be nice to do the Taking Back Sunday tour because it means club shows in Europe, which we’ve never done before, but the Royal Blood show, I know, will be a really crazy end to what’s been an amazing year.


Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]