An Interview with Carl Marah

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THE MUMBLE : Hello Carl so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking

CARL : Where am I from? I’m proud to say I hail from the seaside musical melting pot that is Dunbar, East Lothian. Nice wee town with plenty of colourful characters that I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know over the years. Gloss artists, radge grannies and an abundance of sound folk, it’s a pretty tender place to call my hometown. But geographically speaking? Well last year I made the move to Edinburgh and it’s been well good. Living in the big city is absolutely essential for any muso wanting to take their muso-ing to the next level and it’s definitely helped progress Logan’s Close to where we are now. At the inevitable cost of my flat now becoming our musical storage unit.

THE MUMBLE : You play lead guitar, harmonica & singing – where does your love of music come from

CARL : From an early age I got used to my parents playing tunes in our flat every day. It was always filled with music. I suppose that must have embedded itself deep, but the real moment music became a big thing in my life was when my little brother got a guitar for his birthday. My entire family started learning how to play guitar and with our entire guitar education being drawn from an Oasis and a Beatles chord book, we all managed to get the basics of guitar playing down. However I was the only one who really persisted with the instrument and it became an increasingly important part of my life. Naturally, guitar-based music appealed to me, and after delving into guitar music from the 90s, 80s, 70s, 60s and beyond respectively, the different flavours that guitar has been presented in over the years have heavily influenced the kind of music I create with Logan’s Close.

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THE MUMBLE : Can you tell us about your band, Logan’s Close, how did they come together

CARL : Logan’s Close came about between myself and two good friends I’ve known since school. Mr. Scott Rough, and Mr. Michael Reilly have both been friends of mine for many, many years – even before the band was even a thought. The protagonist for forming a band arose when we realised we each shared a love for the same kind of music: rock n roll and rhythm & blues. It combines the power and passion of blues music, with a driving, energetic pace that always invokes a boogy. We loved this kind of music and felt there weren’t any bands on the local scene that played in that style. We also realised that myself and Scott play guitar, and Mike plays drums – so we took it upon ourselves to be the band we wanted to listen to. We’ve been lucky to have the prodigal Mr. Ollie Turbitt join us on bass recently, who is on the exact same wavelength as the rest of the band. Voila! Logan’s Close.

 

THE MUMBLE : What’s the story behind the band name

CARL : Well in our humble hometown of Dunbar there is a certain close (or alleyway for non-Scottish readers) which we used to frequent on our journeys about town. It was a handy shortcut between mine and Scott’s part of town to the High Street. Also, it was (and still is) a grotty, dirty close that drunks often take liberties in late at night – pretty grim – the way we like it. One day as we were walking down this close, Scott mentioned that its name – Logan’s Close – would be a great band name. So when we decided to form the band it was the obvious choice.

THE MUMBLE : Your sound is very 60s-esque- what are your personal influences from this era.

CARL : From the 60s, one of my main influences was the British blues scene and the various bands that were a part of it.  Guitarists like Clapton, Page, Beck and my personal favourite Peter Green were all dotted about in a bunch of different projects during that time and many of them have heavily influenced my playing and songwriting. Of course each of those players were inspired by guys like BB King, Elmore James, Muddy Waters and other American blues guys, who in turn were influenced by blues from the Mississippi Delta so there’s a natural progression of influence / inspiration going on there, which I’ve followed in depth. The other big influence for me personally is those four blokes from Liverpool who overhauled the entire musical landscape time after time. In Logan’s Close, myself and the guys want to combine both of those main influences: tight, snappy well-structured and melodic songs, with hard, raw, improvisational grittiness and energy. In addition though, we want to take those influences and shed them under a modern light – drawing ideas and sounds from modern music to create a fresh yet old-school sound.

THE MUMBLE : Can you tell us about your appearance on STV Glasgow

CARL : STV Glasgow came about in the midst of a whole load of other major moments for the band in November 2016. The week beforehand we’d just supported Martin Stephenson and the Daintees at the Cavern Club in Liverpool. Martin told us that by chance he was in Dunbar one day, strolled into the local record shop, and as he entered the door our debut EP was playing on the speakers. He asked who the band was, and soon after we received a message from him offering us a support slot in Liverpool on his tour. He’s a top guy and a great musician. A few days after Liverpool we then supported The Rising Souls at the Liquid Rooms, where they were launching their tasty ‘Set Me Free’ EP. Our first time playing there, we got a great response from the audience and enjoyed every minute. So then the following week, we headed through to Glasgow in a hired van with all our gear tossed in the back, rolled up into the studio, got set up and played two of our tunes – “Listen To Your Mother” and “Ticket Man”.  We’d been on STV Edinburgh the previous year,  but being on STV Glasgow felt like a real step up and the response the video got after we posted it was pretty incredible.

THE MUMBLE : One of the songs you played on TV was “Listen To Your Mother” which you’re releasing next month. Was the TV perfomance the spur behind recording the song.

CARL : As a matter of fact, it’s kind of the other way round. Scott and I wrote that song a long time ago and we actually recorded it last year. It’s been sitting in our vault for some time and we’ve been very confident in it since recording it. It was the obvious choice to perform on STV Glasgow and given the response it received after its broadcast it became clear that it was now time for it to be officially released. We’ve booked the lovely venue that is the Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh on April 15th and tickets are a mere £5.00. We’ve got Soldier On – a proper authentic mod influenced band from Ayr supporting on the night – they’re top notch. And naturally we’ll be selling CD copies of our “Listen To Your Mother” single accompanied by our recently recorded B-side “Ticket Man” on the night. We’ll have a few more surprises arranged for the night I’m sure, so I highly recommend being present for it.

THE MUMBLE : What does Carl Marah do when he’s not making music

CARL : When I’m not making music I tend to be working or sleeping. I work at a Scottish souvenir shop on the Royal Mile by day – which is actually a pretty interesting job (once your brain has managed to tune out the constant sound of bagpipes). I’ve got great friends there and I’m constantly meeting people from all over the world which is pretty sweet. Also, a fundamental part of Logan’s Close is our appreciation for a pint, which we regularly take time out of our week to include. Add band rehearsals and songwriting sessions and that just about leaves time for some sleep each night.

THE MUMBLE : What does the rest of 2017 have in store for you & the band

CARL : I’m not at liberty to go into details yet, but I can say that we are already confirmed for some pretty tidy gigs and that we are at work in the studio as we speak, so our next release will be on its way before the end of 2017 I reckon. Keep an eye out for Logan folks.

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