We’ve been so impressed with the Marsh Family recently that we decided it was high time we asked them a few questions and got to know them a bit more! Read on to find out more about this charming and hugely talented family band.
You guys are knocking it out of the park at the moment and getting some huge publicity for your music. Who’s the driving force of the band?
We find that driving forces come from different places. Ben (the Dad) usually gets the ball rolling with lyrics and arrangements, but everyone brings something to the table – song choices, instrument preferences, video ideas, and different kinds of energy. Ella brings the sunshine and warmth but is capable of occasional monumental strops. Tess, in spite of being the youngest, probably brings the most professionalism once the tape is rolling, and is always ‘on it’. Danielle (the Mum) has a voice that can deliver amazing vocals but also very loud instructions to keep people coordinated. Alfie has incredible musicality and versatility, and Thomas brings character and humour and much-needed patience. So it takes a team effort, and the mix is a bit unconventional, but a lot of it comes from just enjoying working together on projects.
You’ve raised a crazy amount of money for charity. Tell us more about it and how you’re managing to win everyone’s hearts!
We’ve supported some causes that have resonated with us, or been a natural fit because of issues in our own family or lives – like the pandemic, prostate cancer, the menopause, or children-oriented charities. It’s not really something we’ve had to think about because we didn’t set out to have a public or commercial presence in the first place, but the crazy response to “One Day More” showed us we could make a bit of a difference, even just by raising a smile or sharing a sense of solidarity, and it’s grown from there. A lot of the music business and the influencer stuff remains alien to us – because (as we’ve discovered) it’s not always wired in healthy or fair ways. There are networked worlds of permissions and gatekeepers and rights and practices that are pretty hard to penetrate – especially with full-time jobs and parenting. But if you put a worthwhile cause at the end of a project, and you set priorities, then that’s very energising, and we’ve found some great people to work with and an amazing response. So we tend to try to flip the Godfather movie line, and think about things or campaigns we sing about as “personal” or “family” and not “business”. That’s been a form of self-protection that perhaps somehow comes across in our music and ensures it is authentic. But you never know, we may need to rethink that line if the kids want to take things forward as they get older, or opportunities arise (or the kitchen continues to fall apart).
How on earth did you manage to pull the kids in on a song about menopause and not make it cringe-worthy at all?!
The word ‘cringe’ is probably the most used in all family music or video discussions! The kids’ mates are amazing and largely ignore our content, but we know that they each have to walk into schools and sports teams and deal with any fallout, so it’s a big deal to avoid some subjects or antics – for example, the boys preferred to hide behind puppets for a video about UK sewage discharge. But to be honest it wasn’t too tough to get them on board for “Biological Clock” because the whole point of that song was confronting the fact that menopause – for so long – had been a taboo topic, and yet it’s a feature of their own lives and family. They obviously have a veto on what they sing, play, or do – so it’s on us to persuade them of the value sometimes – but the good thing about having six of us is that usually, someone’s up for taking a risk or putting themselves out there. It probably makes it easier if it’s a track with a good groove!
Do you guys even own a TV, or do you just spend your evenings making up new ways to impress the British public?!
Ha! Yeah, with the number of screens and devices around it’s an increasingly Herculean task to get everyone rounded up. In fact, it factors a bit into what we choose to pre-record, play live, or register for release with all the bells and whistles. The hardest thing is sometimes keeping the house quiet, since everything is recorded at home, and it’s a busy place with the kids sharing bedrooms, a loud water pump, and dogs and cats. The nicest bits are when the music just happens organically – two people sharing a riff, and then a third singing a vocal line and then figuring out what it might become. We try to catch up on TV or films when we’ve got something in the bag – but we have a long list of recommendations like Happy Valley that we still haven’t got to!
Tell us about your latest single, My Storybook, which we have on our reviews pile at the moment. What can the listener expect?
“My Storybook” reminds us of our two-year-old Golden Labrador, Boo. She is very simple, but also very lovely, and brings a kind of warmth and shimmer into how we all feel, and makes us want to get up and hang out together when she wags her tail. We wrote it to mark our Newcastle grandparents’ golden wedding anniversary in summer 2022, and it needed to be something we could play live, so it had to be pretty stripped back and acoustic compared to “In the Bleak” or “Biological Clock”. There needed to be space for everyone’s voices, but the hook had to send a message that celebrated the way that we feature in one another’s life stories, even if we’re not there forever. So listeners can expect a kind of Graceland-meets-Disney, with bongos and ukelele wrapped around ideas of memory, nostalgia, and innocence. What we love about the responses already is that people are personalising how they hear it – talking about dementia, holidays, or a sense of walking with us on our journey. I guess established artists get that already, but it’s new to us and a cool thing to experience.
Who are your biggest influences?
Ben: Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Maceo Parker
Danielle: Annie Lennox, Fleetwood Mac, Alanis Morissette
Alfie: Sting, Led Zeppelin, Muse
Thomas: Peter Gabriel, R.E.M., St. Thomas
Ella: Kate Rusby, Dolly Parton, Aretha Franklin
Tess: ABBA, Bruno Mars, Steeleye Span
What’s the dumbest interview question you’ve ever been asked? (We remember one time, The Corrs were asked how they met each other, so wondered if you’d had anything similar)
We were once asked: “Is there another Marsh Family child who’s kept off camera because they can’t sing or aren’t musical?”
What do you see in the future for the Marsh Family Band?
We asked ourselves this question on New Year’s Day! We reckon we’re going to reach a tipping point soon where we need to either fully commit to a vision, set some objectives, and take ourselves a bit more seriously – for instance by doing some livestream gigs or even live gigs if we can get the right support, and seek to make our music and activity financially sustainable. OR we decide that the experience has been a great part of navigating this phase in our lives, and we’ve got lots to be proud of, but we can treat it as a weird kind of musical photo album of the kids’ adolescence – and potentially a platform for one or two of them to jump off if they wish to in the future. I guess we’ll partly be guided by what listeners think of our original music and what we’re producing!
What is the most useless talent you each have?
Ben: Wii Golf.
Danielle: Can double roll her tongue.
Alfie: Baby alligator impersonation.
Thomas: Silent clicking.
Ella: Binge-watching Friends.
Who’s the crazy one?
Thank you guys so much for taking the time to chat to us! Our readers can find out more about The Marsh Family by clicking the links below;