What makes Basque so unique? Perhaps it's the simple combination of vocals and bass, or the talents behind that said voice and instrument. Either way, the music that Maryasque and Brandt make is quite remarkable, even in its simplicity. It paints aural pictures that are ephemeral and mist-like, or impressionistic, for lack of a better term. Maryasque's voice sounds like a soft stringed instrument, more so than someone singing. Her vocals lift and lilt above the tone-setting bass of Brandt, which are sometimes a barely audible undercurrent and sometimes plucky and bright. Their latest album, Falling Forward, is full of these abstract examples, a melange of sounds which seem to rely more on what's not there, rather than what is. As their music is somewhat difficult to comprehend, it also seems to be equally hard to get a grasp on how these artists think, as I found out in an interview with the enigmatic Maryasque.
Having just a bass with vocals, your sound is somewhat unique. How did your collaboration come about?
We thought it would be a great way to explore both our instruments a bit more intimately and we thought it sounded cool.
Maryasque, you use your voice more like an instrument, using tones instead of singing in a "traditional" fashion. I think of it as creating an impressionistic feel in your music. Is this how you see it?
Yes. Though there are words, it is absolutely a more abstract approach to singing. It fascinates me that we can be moved by song and voices we do not understand intellectually....I wanted to explore that as well as to sing the words in a more emotionally expressive way for me...and hey, after all, the teletubbies do it.
How does your songwriting process work? There's a beautiful off-the-cuff feel to your songs, do you improvise in the studio, or are your songs planned out beforehand?
We improvise as we are writing and again when we perform...when we record it's all very set.
How does your music change in a live setting?
I think it is a richer experience...that is, if we are not playing in a bowling alley...one goes for more.....more sound, more prescence, more intimacy,more dynamic, more of what the aim is....a bowling alley can wreck that.
What are your main influences? Do each of you bring something different to the table?
As we get on, brandt's playing has influenced me greatly, but i've got to stop listening to him because he's just too power pop and i am starting to get comparisons. it's a nice thing to be able to say truthfully and we are such different people that we do bring two different sides of the coin into the world of basque.