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Marietta: From the Basement to the Big Stage.

April 7, 2015

MariettaOnline01Text by Jenny Kerrigan. Images by Jessica Flynn.

Despite the overcast weather and their killer hangovers, the members of local emo band Marietta remain cheery and upbeat while sitting beneath the mounted deer head hanging in the living room of frontman Evan Lescallette. The guys have been friends for a long time now. In fact, bassist Ben Johnson and drummer Andrew Weigel were bandmates before the formation of Marietta in their high school pop-punk band, The Putdown.

“We were pretty bad ass. Check us out on Bandcamp,” laughs Weigel in a jokingly cocky tone, followed by chorus of “Oh mans” from the rest of the group.

Marietta started as a three piece until Johnson came out to see Weigel’s new band with Lescallette and guitarist Ethan Willard, fell in love and “snuck his way in.” Now, they call Johnson “band dad” and swear he’s the one who keeps them on track. Like many Philly bands, they got their start in sweaty, packed basements that reek of old beer. Now, they’re playing larger venues with green rooms and free alcohol, alongside big-name bands like Braid and A Great Big Pile of Leaves.

“We had to actually think of what to say on stage,” jokes Johnson, referring to the most intimidating aspect of tour.

They all agree that it is definitely a different environment than playing house shows.

“There’s just a different mentality about the band,” says Lescallette. “If you’re watching a band on a stage you’re like, ‘This is the band.’ If you’re in a basement, you’re on the same level and you’re like, ‘Here’s that guys who’s going to be upstairs drinking a beer later.’”

Through these experiences, the band has made various connections within the Philly music scene. They recorded their first full-length album, Summer Death, partially in Michael Jordan House and partially in a place they call “Ron’s House.” Michael Crino of Soft Speak Records liked their album so much that he personally contacted them and asked if he could press it on vinyl. In October, they pressed Summer Death for a third time. Marietta is finishing up recording their new album at Sleepless Sounds Studio in Germantown. The album will be released early next year.

“Marietta wouldn’t be where we are today had we not started in Philly,” says Lescallette.

MariettaOnline02Marietta records its music by tracking the individual instruments first and leaving the vocals for later, as opposed to recording live. They write the lyrics at the very end of the process and record vocal as the last step. Johnson and Weigel don’t know what their songs actually sound like until they’re mastered. When they listen to a new album, it’s almost like hearing new music to them too. It is a process where the bandmates joke that they are “Marietta’s biggest fans.”

Lescallette says he feels confident that the new record will reveal a more realized Marietta.

“I think we’ve really settled into our writing styles,” adds Willard.

The guys describe their new sound as more “party rock” and less progressive and “twinkly” than Summer Death. “I just hope we get big enough so that I don’t have to have a real job,” Lescallette jokes.

Marietta has come a long way in the last four years. They swear, despite Summer Death’s popularity, that they had no idea what they were doing in the beginning. Now, they’re planning a national tour, releasing a new album and settling into their individual styles.

“I just like playing music with these guys so if I could base my life around this band that’d be so awesome,” says Johnson. If it doesn’t work out however, the guys have a back up plan.

“We have a bunch of stand-up on Netflix,” Willard says with a shrug.

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