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Interview with Von Marlon

Von Marlon's alias was formed as a solo project after living abroad in Berlin. The name derives from a Mike Skinner lyric, whose music along with other underground alternative pioneers of the UK scene greatly inspired Von Marlon’s sound, which offers a mix of Hip-Hop, Ambient, & Dance inspired alternative pop songs. On Friday, Von Marlon's latest single 'Together Forever' was released and it's about the dreams and hopes one can have for a relationship, not only when dating someone but also with a greater sense of connection in general. I was lucky enough to ask Von Marlon some questions about 'Together Forever' and the process of writing in lockdown.

Hi, how are you?

I’m doing alright thanks! Life was a bit weird when the whole world shut down last year, but I have somehow grown weirdly accustomed to it at the moment. Not to say I’m not looking forward to the return of ‘normal’ life whenever that’ll be.

How would you describe your sound to the readers?

That's a really good question, and also quite difficult. All of my favourite current artists tend to be defined merely as ‘electronic’ but that’s such a mediocre term isn’t it?! Anyone with a laptop could make something electronic. I’m currently really vibing with the term alt-pop, although this new track definitely has some RnB inflections.

Who are your biggest musical inspirations?

It’s really hard to say (wishy washy I know) because my mind always changes. My old flatmate was a huge Prince fan and that really rubbed off on me in recent years. I grew up with my Dad listening to British rock bands from the 70s, early era Queen, Peter Gabriel, Led Zeppelin etc. I think in direct terms though my sound is hugely inspired by London electronic acts like Sampha, The XX, James Blake, Ghostpoet, Mount Kimbie and so on.

Your new single ‘Together Forever’ has just come out, can you talk us through the process of making this song? I actually wrote three different versions of the track. One was more indie guitar rock, the next a bit more of a funk groove focusing on the bass riff. I settled on this third version as it felt a bit more sultry and I’m happy with the Rhodes keyboard part that sits in the middle of the arrangement. Definitely more 80s inflections in this than my last material.

Can you explain the main inspiration behind the song?

The main hook came to me in the past year as some good friends got married and it was hard not to get excited about the whole thing. The idea of matrimony is quite interesting… till death do us part and all that. There are so many emotions at a wedding! The song really was birthed from that, that anticipation of being with someone for the rest of your life. Equally romantic and terrifying to me to be honest!

The lyrics really evolved though from the lockdown. We celebrate two people getting together but this same emotion can also be doubled by the idea of friendships reuniting… hoping that moment of having a beer in the pub with your mates will last forever!

How has the pandemic affected how you make music? Has it meant you’ve had more challenges than before, or has the extra time let you be more creative?

Well my old MacBook died literally two weeks into the first lockdown about this time last year… I recovered lots but I lost a lot of momentum on an EP I was going to release, which I have now binned and started again actually. March and April 2020 were pretty traumatic to be honest. I’m definitely not the only one who felt like that though and I was never lesser off financially so I can count myself thankful compared to others, I really feel for friends in the live music industry it’s a shit situation right now. It took a while but I’ve now got into a better routine with songwriting, I have a little home studio setup that I am now happy with. I feel like we’re on a bit of a home straight now, we’ve just all got to behave ourselves and the social distancing rules will ease up. This song really is about that anticipation.

What’s next for you? Are there any more releases on the way? Yeah I need to finish the next EP off. I do have another single out in the next couple months, which is a bit of a B side to this one you could say.

What have you been listening to recently? Anything you can recommend to our readers?

The production on this one was really inspired by listening to Alt RnB stuff, Arlo Parks, Cleo Soul and Sault. Spotify has this cool playlist called Butter that has a lot of those. I have two mates that are mad into the London jazz scene at the moment, they always send me stuff. From those, I like Mansur Brown, Yessef Dayes x Tom Misch, Henry Wu and Moses Boyd.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer those questions for us!

You should all go and give 'Together Forever' a listen, add it to your playlists, and make sure you follow Von Marlon on Spotify and social media so that you don't miss any future releases.

Thanks for reading, until next time...

Listen to Together Forever on Spotify here.

Follow Von Marlon on Instagram here.

All other Von Marlon links here.

All After Midnight links here.

Follow me on Instagram here.

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