Marconi Union: The Redwall Sessions
24th January 2013

On 25th Nov 2012, Marconi Union recorded a live session at Red Wall Studios. This short documentary, filmed by DOTCA, gives an insight into Marconi Union and their music.


In November 2012, Marconi Union recorded a live session at Redwall Studios in Manchester. Continue to read the transcript of what they say.

Read the transcript of what they say in the video:

Richard: The Redwall Sessions were really eye opening, because it was something we hadn't really done before. Just getting in a live room together and playing with all the other stuff going as well and making music off the cuff as it were. I know we were playing songs that we know well and that we play live, but it somehow seemed different doing it in that setting.

I'd like us to play live more. The problem is always finding the right kind of setting. The music we make doesn't always easily fit in with people's idea of what a live band should do. But I think a lot of people would be surprised if they saw us, particularly now that we’ve added Phil on drums. They’d realise that it's not just something that needs to be studio based, but actually with the visuals and all of that stuff happening all at once that it can be a pretty good experience.


Duncan: We try to write music that doesn't sound as if it’s from a particular point in time. There’ve always been composers and jazz musicians, and the cliché about sort of playing what’s not there; it’s true to certain extent. The way I play is just about finding the right notes. Sometimes we’re a little bit suspicious of music that sounds as if it has been written to showcase the talent of an individual performer. Some music that is written with that in mind can sound soulless. You'll never find a solo on a Marconi Union track.

There's a lot of ambient music which doesn’t have a musicality. What we try to do is bring a sense of music to the ambient genre if you will, but that's not all we do. I think most musicians would say that they would want listeners to be able to identify them through what they play. With Marconi Union you have to leave any sort of musical ego you have outside and just focus on what is required by the sound.


Jamie: “My first real big influence came from the punk scene. Which is ironic because I've never actually played in a punk group. I guess there are no written rules or strict formula to what we do but there's a continuity in what we end up achieving and I think that is just a natural thing in the way we think and play. I tend to play guitar in a minimal fashion. The less notes the more you concentrate on the notes you're playing.

Working with a rhythm section has been really interesting, especially in a live situation. It just feels more comfortable to have more people playing and relying less on sequencers. I'm not even sure what ambient music is anymore; I'm not too sure whether I ever knew what ambient music stood for. I think there's so much music around these days, it's really difficulty to find something that's different and unique. Maybe that's what our music is now. It’s reflective as opposed to looking towards the future.


Richard: I do like the sampling of everyday items. I like to bang things together or maybe go out with a little recorder and just record sounds in my garden or whatever. There's nothing exotic about it but then you kind of get those noises. You treat them, process them and resample them and things, and suddenly they kind of throw up pictures for you and that's the moment that really excites me. I guess one of the things that works really well between us is that we all have different areas of what we do and we all have enough respect for each other that you're willing to go with that person's judgment about what they're doing and just piece it together. Usually it just seems to work out fine.

I guess on a musical side of things I've been influenced by just loads of stuff but you wouldn't necessarily know it from listening to what we do. It's not obvious because it's kind of the spirit of something that's in there that I want to recreate rather than the individual notes and chords. We often get called enigmatic, but we are not enigmatic in the sense that people say. We're not particularly difficult, we're straightforward. We just want to do things that are only related to music and we just want to do them to the best of our ability. We’re not really happy to settle for second best. We value the Marconi Union name and we are not going to release anything that we think is substandard. We have too much respect for what we do.


The tracks that feature in the documentary are taken from the album Different Colours:

1) First Light

2) Flying (in crimson skies)

3) Always Numb