Interview: Marcus Buser
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What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I grew up playing music in church. My dad was the music director, and the guitar professor at a local college. So in a lot of ways I didn’t really have a choice. It’s hard to imagine my life without music, but if I had to do something else I think I’d like to be some sort of public servant. Like a lifeguard or a firefighter. Not a cop though. Fuck the police.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
When I’m not playing music I love to go surfing. I think of surfing as an art form more than it’s a sport. It’s about rhythm, grace, patience, spontaneity, and listening. It helps me stay healthy and centered, and it informs my artist practice.
How long has music been your career?
Music was my first job, and I hope it’ll be my last.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I grew up in Seattle, taking in lots of grunge and folk music. I think that definitely influenced my taste. But moving to California had a huge influence too. Made me appreciate hip hop and RnB a lot more. At the end of the day it’s all just music though, different accents of the same language.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
Besides doing my own music I spent many years playing as a side man for other projects. One time I was playing in this country band and we got hired to do this big sporting good outfitters corporate party. They put the stage right next to the shooting range, so people were firing shotguns during our whole set. That was crazy. At least we got paid.
The coolest gig I’ve done was Lollapalooza in 2018. That was really tight.
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
My favorite spot in LA was always the Bootleg theater. That was taken as a casualty of Covid. Which is a bummer, but I’ve heard they might reopen under new ownership. Idk. A dream would be to play Red Rocks.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
I’d love to open for Sade, that would be crazy.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into music?
Play slowly. Listen deeply.
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?
Release your expectations.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
My most recent single Fresh Air is a very personal song for me. It’s about trying to break up with myself, or the worst parts of myself. I’m essentially calling myself out. I try to confront the most difficult parts of my life in my art, and so I hope the answer to this question will change with the next record.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
I’ve written a few songs in the style of Tom Jobim. My own wannabe-be Bossa Nova. I love Brazilian music. I studied jazz and latin music in college very extensively. People have really seemed to bond with these tunes and they often get requested. But it’s hard to pull off, just cause they’re so quiet.
What is the creative process for you, and what inspires you to write your music?
My process is manic. It usually looks like me with a guitar and a journal and four cups of coffee trying to write down the ideas as fast as they come out, and rewriting the chords and lyrics 8 times.
When it’s time to record if I’m with other people I’m much more collected. But this last record was all recorded by myself and so much of the same. Empty beer bottles, cups of coffee, notes everywhere, guitars everywhere.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
I’m interested in love without expectation or selfish intention. People, and especially men, often meet romance or friendships with a multitude of expectations and act shitty when they’re not met. They expect things from themselves and from their partners instead of really listening and seeing where each other is at. I believe a lot of pain is caused by this. On a feminist side too, I’m interested in male vulnerability. I was born in the 90s. It was a very misogynistic time, and it’s taken a lot of personal work to unlearn that behavior and mindset. I think the next generation is better than mine was, but the work isn’t finished and it’s up to us to set an example and lead the path.
Do you ever have disagreements when collaborating and how do you get past them?
I go by a band name, but this is a solo project. When I disagree with myself I fire myself and then once I’ve apologized I get rehired. When I work with other artists, it’s usually on their stuff (I’m producing or playing instruments) so I do my best not to be too stubborn.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Looking forward to releasing my new album and a handful of singles. Also working on the next record already.
Social Media Links:
Tik Tok @sunkissmarcus