Del Marquis' Sale Of The Century
By Chris Azzopardi
No matter how adorable Scissor Sisters guitarist Del Marquis looks in high-trousered pants, he�s usually getting upstaged. Such is the life of being in a band fronted by a playful vocalist -- the flamboyantly magnetic Jake Shears -- who has a thing for stripping on stage. But now all eyes are on the oft-sideburned Marquis. After releasing two EPs in the last year, he�s debuting the third disc, Litter to Society, a collaboration with visionary videographers Embryoroom, from his four-installment solo project. Out caught up with Marquis, who lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., and got the 411 on his ego-driven disc, the upcoming Scissor Sisters� LP, and why, lately, he feels like a whore.
Out: What are you up to?
Del Marquis: I just came back from the gym and I�m just working. I have a home studio in my house.
Haven�t you done enough in the last few months?
[Laugh] You would think. I�m involved in the production and distribution of the music that I�ve been working on, so it�s the after-the-fact business thing that�s time consuming and less gratifying.
With this solo project, the attention is all on you. As part of Scissor Sisters, it�s obviously not that way because Jake gets most of it. So how does it feel to be the attention whore now?
Whore is a good word, because I really do have to [laughs]. Unfortunately, you really do have to know that what you did is worth something. You can believe in it from the get-go, but it�s really about convincing other people, and you kind of are wearing all these hats. It�s like, �Look at me!� and trying to find a way to get people�s attention without being just a complete whore, and sometimes the attention is nice and sometimes it�s negative. I think that I recognize my role in Scissor Sisters now by being at the center of a different project. It�s just such a different world. It�s a different set of responsibilities. So I don�t know how I�m handling it. I think I still want more attention for this project, that�s for sure.
I fell for �I Believe in You� immediately.
It�s kind of the odd song. It�s actually a Bob Dylan cover. I did it for a specific reason, but I don�t really want to -- I feel like it�s kind of evolved beyond that, so I don�t want to nail it down to why I recorded that song. I�m not the biggest Bob Dylan fan. Not that I dislike him, but I wasn�t as familiar with the original, so it was kind of easier for me to record my own version. I think that gave me a bit of freedom.
How did it feel to work without the groupies?
I didn�t do this project by myself completely. I had a co-producer who was integral in getting the sound, and I�m really happy with the production. I think it sounds like a really big and expensive record -- and it wasn�t. It wasn�t cheap, but I think we made it sound really big and really expensive [laughs]. And then as far as the production end, the post-recording, I have some friends I�m working with on the video aspect that also helped me. We distribute directly to iTunes, and we do the artwork, so I�m not alone. But it�s definitely a smaller machine, and the energy it requites to keep it moving is kind of intense.
And you�re also not working with the people you�re used to working with, the Scissor Sisters.
No, and I miss them [laughs]. Not that I don�t see them, but it makes me miss that experience in that I�m really happy I was able to do this, and I�d still continue love working on it, but it made me appreciate my role and what that band is about. Being in a band is a really special thing; it�s not an easy thing to just make and make happen, and I truly enjoy the company of my band members.
Why did you want to make a solo project in the first place? Was it to fill in the gap between Scissor Sisters albums? Musical withdraw?
Just so many reasons. For the first time I felt like I had something to say. I had never really written lyrics and I just felt like I had to do this. I don�t know what concrete reason there was, but I was compelled. It was like, �I have to do something, I have to do something with my name [on it] and a statement from me.� It�s a bit of an ego fulfillment, but it�s necessary.
There�s a real �80s vibe to the album. Who were some of your influences from that era for this album?
There are so many. For this record I had a few touchstones -- Trevor Horn productions, like ABC and Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Welcome to the Pleasuredome. Also, Tears for Fears records, [like] Songs from the Big Chair -- it�s a great album, it�s a big sounding album, it�s really melodic. There�s surprisingly some really experimental sounds on there, but it never scarifies melody. Thomas Dolby, a lot of blue-eyed soul, like Style Counsel and Prefab Sprout. I was a bit all over the place, which is why I kind of decided to group them as EPs, because I ended up with a collection of songs that I wasn�t sure made an entirely cohesive piece. There were like 16 or 17 songs and I was like, �I think this will make better sense in smaller segments.�