World-inspired indie act "Delicate Steve" Marion is following his debut LP, Wondervisions (for which Chuck Klosterman penned a hilariously incorrect press release), with the forthcoming Positive Force. To tease the album's July 10th release, MP3 players with single songs were individually installed at various scenic locations all over Manhattan and Brooklyn. There was even a play button attached to a converted NYPD truck (The Morris Truck) cooking up a special "Delicate Cheese" grilled cheese!
I met up with Steve at the Morris Truck to talk about his unique "live stream" of the new album.
What inspired the play button installation idea?
The biggest thing was to get people talking. It’s fun if you take the time to do it, or make an effort to get out and see the city. For me, it was really cool because I got to ride my bike around. I don’t live here, so it was cool to see places that I’d never seen, like Red Hook. It’s just a fun excuse to get out.
Why did you choose these locations?
Mostly for the scenic quality of them. We got a bunch of my favorites together and fit the songs to the location. It worked out really great. I really liked the Creative Little Garden on 6th Street. I’m just happy it all worked out.
Did you have other ones in mind that you didn’t get to include?
I had a couple. Like, the top of Luaka Bop building would have been cool, but there would have been a logistical problem getting people up there. It would have been really fun to put them in more extreme locations, like on a basketball hoop or something. But these made a little more sense, rather than make people climb somewhere. The Williamsburg Bridge location was cool because, until someone pointed it out to me, I didn’t know about it.
Would you consider the installations a form of an art exhibit?
Totally, yeah. Streaming a record now has become so uneventful. I was trying to think of other ways to do it.
How was the Terminal 5 show?
It was really cool. It was a lot of fun for us. We played one other show with tUnE-yArDs and we love them. She’s a lot of fun. The next day, we got to play our friend’s birthday party on Lorimer and Metropolitan, right in the middle of the city block. We played his birthday two years ago in his basement, so it was really fun to go from Terminal 5 to a secret little fun show for our friends—just, like, 30 people in a basement. They were both fun shows though.
How did you meet everyone in the band?
We were in bands together back in New Jersey. Some of the guys went to high schools together and we were all kind of in the same area. Probably not a very interesting story compared to whatever Klosterman wrote about us. [Laughs]
Do you see similarities between your music and tUnE-yArDs’ at all?
I would like to think that. I think the music feels like life-affirming, empowering, exciting music. She puts it all out there when she sings. When I saw tUnE-yArDs at Terminal 5, it dawned on me how weird it was—just someone up there with two drums next to her, a ukulele, a bass player, two saxophone players, and all these loops going on. Now it’s this thing that everyone knows about, but I was watching it for a couple minutes as if I’d never seen it before and never heard it. That’s when it dawned on me how weird it actually is. It makes so much sense and it is its own thing.
How did you get involved with Luaka Bop?
We were at our friend’s basement two Junes ago for his birthday party that year. A friend of mine’s roommate used to work at Luaka Bop and he invited this guy, Wills Glasspiegel, to the show. Wills is a real life guy, not one of the made-up guys of Chuck Klosterman’s press release. That was the first time he had seen us, so it was through that. I would attribute our involvement with Luaka Bop to that show. My friend’s mom and I were bonding over Shuggie Otis, [laughs] which is how I got turned on to Luaka Bop.
Tell me about the Morris Truck’s “Delicate Cheese” grilled cheese.
Mike Jacober is the founder of the Morris Grilled Cheese Truck, and he used to be in Fang Island. He left that to pursue the grilled cheese/food truck industry. We did a tour with Fang Island and we’re good friends with those guys. I don’t really know how it came about; I think we were just joking around. He made this really decadent grilled cheese sandwich—the Delicate Cheese—and I had it for the first time last week. He told me it’s a best-seller! It’s got truffle butter, truffle cheese, caramelized shallots, and you can get it with bacon and duck fat. It’s pretty insane. And now I’ve got a lifetime hookup! [Laughs]
Would you ever start a food truck?
I might! I want to start a restaurant with my cousin when I’m 50. That’s my 50-year plan. I’m going to move out to Tucson and start a restaurant. I’ve got 26 more years in the music game, though. Our latest idea is to be open from 6 AM to 10 AM breakfast as a little hole-in-the-wall place—try to get a regular crowd coming in. We’re going to have a special and change it up every couple of weeks. And then from 4 to 6 PM, it’s going to be happy hour, hors d’oeuvres, and a really nice tequila bar. We have it pretty well thought out for being just a joke idea, so it could happen.
Do you guys have a name for it yet?
We have a silly name. It’s, like, "Breakfast Drunk" or "The Breakfast Drunk" or something. We’ve gotta work on the name.
Do you cook a lot?
I’m a breakfast guy. All the guys in the band and I used to live together in upstate New York for a summer and we made dinner every single night. We made our own bread. There’s this book called Bread In Five Minutes A Day or something like that. I stole it from my mom and brought it up there. We learned how to make our own pizzas and it was awesome.
That’s impressive to make your own dinner every night!
Yeah, I’m surprised! Six guys. I think we were doing it out of necessity, too. It’s pretty cheap to throw some stuff together yourself. We had a lake and caught a fish once and cooked that, so that was free!
Anything else you want to add about Positive Force or the upcoming tour?
I’m excited that [the album] is done. I’m excited to be playing on this tour. It’s going to be fun. It’s a live thing now so I’m just looking forward to playing every night. I’m going to bring my fold-up bike. Two of the guys got into working out so now I’ve got work-out buddies and that’s going to be fun. That’s another reason I’m looking forward to playing with these bigger names: it means nicer venues, which means they have showers there, so I can run during the day and then shower. That sold it for me for this tour. I’m sad that we’re not going to Tucson, because I love to play there. I’m looking forward to the home town shows in New Jersey toward the end, too.
Other Positive Force Installation Locations:
Prospect Park, N 6th Street/North Williamsburg Ferry Stop, Grand Ferry Park, Valentino Pier, The Morris Truck.
Positive Force is set for release on July 10th, 2012 on Luaka Bop.