LIFE CHANGING INTERVIEW: THE BLACK TIE REBELS


by petercortle | April 18, 2011

Exclusive LCA Interview with Marcus Hogsta from The Black Tie Rebels.

LCA: Who or what inspired you to start making music?

The Black Tie Rebels: I think the basis for my musical education took place from the ages of 11-14. That’s when I picked up the guitar and really started to appreciate music and, to some extent, started to write. John, Jeremy, and I were listening to a lot of The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Police, Supertramp, and The Clash at the time.

LCA: What do you hope to achieve with your music?

The Black Tie Rebels: Until recently we haven’t been that goal oriented. We used to write music solely for our own personal gratification, I think. We’d just get together and write songs on the weekends, for no other purpose that to hear ourselves play and improve. Recently—what with recording our EP and playing at The Roxy—I’d save we’ve become more ambitious and really want to excite other people with our music just as much as it excites us. By ambitious though, I don’t mean that our sole focus and goal is getting signed by a big label. We do, however, want to spread our music so that as many people as possible can hear it and, hopefully, enjoy it. No one wants to play to an empty room; being noticed and enjoyed is nice.

LCA: What has been the single most life changing moment that affected your music?

The Black Tie Rebels: There is a very specific moment in 7th grade that made me realize how much music meant to me. I went to middle school with my band members John Rockwell and Jeremy McLennan, and our school went on a cross country skiing trip in Sequoia National Park. And I remember a moment when John and I standing on a plain of snow and we were singing “Walking on the Moon” by The Police. That was a really powerful and surreal moment for John and me.

LCA: If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?

The Black Tie Rebels: I’d say I want people to be more open about the appreciation of the arts, not just music but literature and cinema. Nobody’s in a position to tell people what art to appreciate. But I think a lot of people “use” music for a certain goal like pumping you up, for example. But music shouldn’t serve a purely functional purpose. People should take time to appreciate music aesthetically—just sit back and listen to a song and listen to the heart that went into it. That ability to simply “appreciate,” exercises some part of the mind or heart or something that simply can’t be termed.

LCA: What artists have influenced the sound or your songs today?

The Black Tie Rebels: I’m sure that all the bands we listen to affect us in some way, though I wouldn’t say that we sonically emulate our favorite bands necessarily. Bands that inspire us to keep making music though would probably be Fleet Foxes, The Strokes, The Shins, Radiohead, to name a very select few.

LCA: How did you meet your band members and describe your relationship?

The Black Tie Rebels: I met John R and Jeremy M in 7th grade, when I joined St. Matthew’s Middle School. We met through our similar interest in music. Jeremy and I both played guitar so we became friends and Jeremy was friends with John, so we all quickly became very close. Powell Robinson, our lovely drummer, had the same drum teacher as John, so they knew each other through that. John wanted to start another band (we were already in two other bands together) the summer before 12th grade, so we called up Powell to ask if he’d be interested. We started getting together and started writing songs. We’re all best friends—there are very few people I’m as comfortable with as the guys in the band.

LCA: Describe your song creation process.

The Black Tie Rebels: Usually, for the majority of songs, John R writes a vocal melody and a guitar part, and that’s the foundation. Then I write my bass part; Powell writes his drum part; Jeremy writes his guitar part. Then we kind of shift and change the song as we develop it together in practice.

LCA: Anything else you’d like to add?

The Black Tie Rebels: Check us out on Facebook, our EP is on iTunes, and come see us live, tell your friends. We’ve got big plans for the future and will, hopefully, record an LP over the summer.

by CORTLE