INTERVIEW: Mars Hall

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
Extremely well,  Covid might have actually been a blessing for a rock band that needed less distractions and more time to concentrate on creating music.  That said our hearts desperately go out to everyone affected by Covid over the last couple of years. Our thoughts are with you.

From all the songs out there, why did you choose to cover The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby”?
WOW..  so many reasons…  The song was a natural fit for how lonely people were feeling during Covid and it was the first song our lead singer Perry ever learned how to play at about 15 years old, so he had passion for the song.  We all knew it was a risk to pick Eleanor Rigby as a cover, that’s for sure.  If you are going to cover a Beatles song, you better nail it. 

What was the approach you went after and how did you go on balancing the original with your own take?
As you know… the original Beatles version has no drums or guitars at all, only strings.  Other rock bands have tried to cover Eleanor Rigby with their own genre or style, but we sat down and tried to be as true to the original version of Eleanor Rigby as much as possible, only with guitars.  The beginning guitar and the bass lines come right from the violins and the cellos in the original version.   The only thing we added to the song was some lead guitar work that turned out unbelievably well.  Jef is one of the most musically trained guitarists you will ever meet, and it shows.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?
Too funny…  The video was shot at the largest and oldest cemetery in Madison Wisconsin.  It is so beautiful and pristine.  We were going to ask permission but decided to just do it and pray lightning didn’t strike us down.  We rolled in at 5:30pm, just after all the maintenance and office people left.  It was an army of cars and people.  It probably looked like a late day funeral procession without the hearse.  There were so many neighbors to the cemetery walking and bicycling through, we thought the police were going to show up for sure.  We shot the entire video in 35 minutes and got the hell out before we all went to hell, lol. 

The single comes off your new album Is Anybody Out There? – what’s the story behind the title?
Geez you ask very insightful questions, almost more true information than we want to give up.  Honestly, the song comes from Perry’s turmoil with the beginnings of time, religion and his love for all things extraterrestrial.  If you watch the video, I think you will get it.  It starts with a salute to the ancient Aborigine culture in Australia, moves through to the question of if there is life after death, and then to space exploration. 

The reason it became the title track to the album was the Mars Hall music style…  we were really wondering if there “Is Anybody Out There” waiting to hear a brand new 80’s classic guitar rock band?

How was the recording and writing process?
Can I say “easy”…?   Is anything actually easier these days?  I really think the bottom line is Mars Hall has some of the most talented and experienced musicians & music writers in the country.  That might be a bold arrogant statement, but not really…  we are just kind of the last men standing from the old guard of rock & roll.  Music has moved on in a lot of ways.  I think we are just trying to reel it back a little bit.

What role does the Midwest play in your music?
Did we hand you these questions?? (lol, I assure everyone we did not)   The midwest was huge to us…   REO Speedwagon, Cheap Trick, Steve Miller, Boz Scaggs, Styx, John Mellencamp, Bob Seger, Grand Funk Railroad, Prince and throw a little Bachman turner from Winnipeg Canada on top.  We probably can’t explain it any better than that list of artists, and I’m sure we missed a few.

Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
I suppose it’s cliche, but Life… and most often the people that come and go from your life.  I think it’s the going that drags the songs out of you.  At this point it’s not necessarily the new experiences in our lives, it’s the irony of how things turned out.  Saying that actually just made me chuckle.  We are all glad we can look back and smile now.

What else is happening next in Mars Hall’s world?
We are in the studio working on the 3rd album right now and we have a new music video coming out every six weeks for the rest of the year and at least until April of 2022.   The visual medium of video seems to be the way to cast the widest net for our music and then we can only hope enough people in the far corners of the world that have heard the music will show up at shows wherever we are.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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