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Zechs Marquise’s Marfred Rodriguez Lopez

Submitted by Commandrea on June 30, 2011 – 10:41 pmNo Comment
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El Paso natives Zechs Marquise, prog-rock extraordinaires melding jazz, funk, and experimental noise, have frequently been compared to the sounds of guitarist Omar Rodriguez Lopez’s project The Mars Volta. And with good reason. Zechs Marquise not only features little brother Marfred Rodriguez Lopez, but also fellow musicians and brothers Marcel and Rikardo Rodriguez-Lopez. Marfred, Marcel and Rikardo play bass, drums and keys respectively, and Marcel plays in the Omar Rodriguez Lopez Group & The Mars Volta. We had the chance to speak with bassist Marfred:
FPH - What was the psychedelic scene like growing up in El Paso?

Rodriguez-Lopez - There’s really not much of a psychedelic scene here at all. It used to be mostly punk bands, but now it’s more so synth pop. We’re really one of the few bands to explore those sounds. It did make it a bit challenging to book shows at first…

FPH - Any major musical influences?

Rodriguez-Lopez - Particularly the music of the late 60s, particularly Pink Floyd, the later Beatles records, King Crimson. It’s bands from that time period that made me think about the difference between using an instrument to play certain chords or notes. and seeing what you can do just making sounds.

FPH - What is your creative process like?

Rodriguez-Lopez - A lot of it is seeing what tools are what available. For us, it’s just being there with your instrument, maybe with a few pedals, sometimes without pedals, and seeing what happens. Building on those sounds and just going.

FPH - How is your live show different than what’s on the record?

Rodriguez-Lopez - Well, our first record was practically all improvised. Recorded, chopped up, and then we put it out. Very minimal overdub. For our newest record we have coming out, it was more or less constructed the same way. We went in and wrote brand new songs and tested them on tour. Saw what we liked and didn’t liked, added parts, took some out. We don’t want to get too lost because one of my big things is that when you listen to records and live recordings of bands like say, King Crimson and Led Zeppelin, it’s a completely different experience. We’ve always been very fond of that idea, so when we record studio albums it’s more to the point. But when you come see us live, we want it to be a different experience. I hate going to watch a band live and it sounds note for note. It’s nice to have that extra element and not make things stagnant.

FPH - How do you feel that your music has evolved since you first began making music?

Rodriguez-Lopez - It’s a lot more focused. Before, we used to just get out there and a lot of times when we played a set, it would just be three or four songs. It was expansive and all over the place. Now it’s more consice. As an instrumental band, you have to use the tools available to you. Namely, melodies, solos and harmonies. You have to utilize it well and give it its own voice, even with the absence of a human one.

Zechs Marquise performs Friday July 1st at Fitzgerald’s upstairs with RX Bandits (during their farewell tour), Maps & Atlases and Happy Body Slow Brain $15-17, 6:30 PM, All Ages.

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