-By Luke Keatinge
If you’re at all familiar with the local music scene of Perth, chances are you’ve recently seen the name Marmalade Mama popping up a few times. An energetic fusion of blues and psyched-up rock, this young trio is still in their early days, playing together just shy of a year and gigging even less – but their live show screams anything but inexperience.
The three piece consists of front man Pat (24 from Bunbury) on vocals and bass, younger brother Brendan (21, also from Bunbury) on drums, and Tom (24 from Kalbarri) on lead guitar. They play consistently and everywhere all over Perth, getting their name out there through live performances before they begin recording and distributing their tracks. And their music really shines in these intimate spaces. Their presence and energy are crazy infectious, making it near impossible to stand still through their shows, and whether they’re playing for fifty people or five, they always have a ball on stage.
With swirling, electrifying guitar riffs, infectious basslines and smooth, snappy percussion, their songs vary from old-school blues throwbacks to modern indie-rock jams. Their songs are bolstered by poignant, powerful lyrics and strong, soaring vocals that effortlessly tap into that bluesy spirit that clearly inspires their sound. And they do have such a defined sound, and it’s really pretty rare to see a band so well-established this early in their career.
As someone who’s seen Marmalade Mama more than a handful of times, I can vouch for how straight-up entertaining their sets are. When you see them once, you’ll wanna see them again and again. With all the bands coming out of Perth at the moment, these guys really shine among the pack as an inspired outfit with a really unique sound and a killer live show.
I had a chat with Pat from the band about where the Mamas have come from and where they’re at.
First up, how long have you guys been playing together as Marmalade Mama? When did you know this was something you all wanted to do?
We’ve been jamming for about a year. We played a house show in maybe like June last year and people seemed to like it so we kept playing. We’d be jamming even if it was only us that listened to it anyway. Good fucken times.
Before MM, had you guys been playing music long? Any previous bands or projects?
Brenny was in a band called J.J Dweeb and the Frantic Billies, they used to kill it down in Bunbury. And we used to play as the Silky Chooks, but our fourth member, Will (drummer) bailed to be a travelling chef, so we had a change up. Brenny had to go from bass to drums cause’ he was the best at it. I used to play guitar but was the worst at it so I play bass now. Tom’s remained steadily in charge of guitar.
Where’d the band name come from?
A few late night deluded discussions.
How would you describe your music for people who haven’t heard it?
Bluesy sorta rock, with some other stuff?
Who are some of your influences? Who did you guys grow up listening to?
Brenny and I are brothers and mum and dad used to pump Creedence and the Stones. All the old blues; B.B King, Muddy Waters, J.J Cale and the like.
What are you all listening to at the moment? Specifically Aussie bands, who are you loving?
Being in Perth, it’s hard to avoid the whole Tame Impala take over. Pond as well. Koi Child are so rad. The Delta Riggs, Love Junkies, Violent Soho, The Wheelers of Oz, Pete Bibby. That sort of thing.
You guys really play all over. Where’s your favourite place to play in Perth?
Shit, dunno, everywhere is pretty loose. The Corner Gallery is a beautiful space. But you can’t beat a sweaty Mojos gig.
You guys have a lot of energy and intensity in your sets, and your stage presence is definitely something I noticed the first time I saw you live that separated you from a lot of other young bands. How important do you think stage presence is at a gig?
Thanks man, we like playing our songs so I guess we get into them a bit. If the crowd sees you boogie they might get encouraged to as well, which is the desired result. Our only real avenue to show our music is live shows (cause’ we haven’t got any decent recordings) so you gotta make it count.
Have you guys always been comfortable on stage? Is it something that just comes naturally and you don’t really think about it?
I’m always shitting myself on stage so I just drink heaps of beers and try not to look at anyone, haha.
Anyone who’s seen you live knows you have Tame Impala’s Half Full Glass of Wine as a staple in your set. What is it about this song that you love, or that speaks to you as a band?
It’s just a killer song, man. If people don’t dig our originals, they’re definitely at least gonna like that one. Call it a failsafe.
Where do you make your music and what’s the writing/collaborative process like between you three?
Tom’s got the cave up in Scarbs. Normally we just jam and throw some ideas around, or someone will come up with a riff or a chorus or something and we just play it til it’s a song. Then I’ll chuck some lyrics and melodies on top. But our songs change every time we jam.
What do you guys do when you’re not playing shows?
Tom’s a sparky. Brenny and I are at uni.
Where can we find your music?
We have a few videos on YouTube. And some real shitty recordings on SoundCloud, haha.
And lastly, do you guys have any plans to work on any kind of album or EP in the near future?
Yeah hopefully real soon, man!
You can catch Marmalade Mama’s next gig at the Indi Bar in Scarborough, Saturday May 7th.
Photo Credit: Marmalade Mama