ALL MUSIC MAGAZINE UK SPOTLIGHTS “MODERN MARRIAGE”
July 6, 2023
UK Music Interviews
Desh Kapur UK-Editor/Photographer
images by Paul Dulac
It’s that time again, when our man on the ground Desh Kapur Editor/Photographer All Music Magazine UK/Europe spotlights a bands or artists he thinks are going to have a big 2023 ; bands and artists we think you should check out to stay ahead of the curve
So welcome to MODERN MARRIAGE
Modern Marriage are ..
Ben Savage- Vocals/Guitar
Lewis Hall- Bass
Danny Johnson – Drums
The band release their debut single and music video ‘Gerry And His Pacemaker’ on 30th June.
Band was formerd in Winter 2020 and has played over 25 gigs now, sharing the stage with Mexican Dogs, Alan McGee and Hot Wax amongst others.
The band are still unsigned and their first album is due for release next winter.
1/ What first got you into music? or Who inspired you to make music?
Dan – My Dad got me into music when I was a kid playing the likes of Donovan, Pink Floyd, Eminem etc in the car all the time,
then listening to Tenacious D in my teen years is the reason I went on to learn the guitar then drums after that.
Lewis – I think Arctic Monkeys was the first music I ever listened to that made me go “wow, I wish I could make that!”. Since then I’ve had a whole host of influences on creating music in different ways.
Ben – All my mum’s fault, she’s grade 8 recorder and hence insisted I learn some much cooler instruments as soon as I could walk in order to ease the shame on the family… My nan, who could play the piano but only in the key of F sharp, felt similar pain. Disturbingly, this is all completely true
2/ tell me about your music journey
Ben – I play about eight instruments (nine if you include blowing your own trumpet…) so, to avoid everyone reading this falling asleep, I’ll keep this very brief and instead transcript my attempts to become a virtuoso on the kalimba that the lads got me for Christmas: “plink, plonk, plink!”
Lewis – I learned guitar at around 13, began learning bass around a year afterwards and jammed in a couple of bands in school, but got serious about bass after uni and looked to join a band from there, then helped found Modern Marriage!
Dan– I started on guitar at 14, then drums at 16, struggled getting into a band for years then finally landed in the best band I could’ve wished to be in at the ripe old age of 23.
3/ How would you describe the music that you typically create?
Ben – Many of my songs are lyrically leftfield, possibly as I consider writing songs about oddball subject matters more interesting than writing about either a generalised nothingness, or Taylor Swift’s long line of exes. I also love a good character song. Musically, we’ve covered a lot niche territory, such as sporadic forays into latin and even dub, but we’re predominantly a good ol’ guitar based rock’n’pop band. Influences: all the Captains – Beefheart, Sensible and Birdseye!
4/ What is your creative process like?
Ben– Once I get an idea into my head, I usually try to write a song in one go, whilst the ideas are fresh. Once the template’s there, the ideas have then expanded a little as we’ve gone to record them – I’ve worked out all the keyboard parts and harmony vocals on the fly, and it’s been interesting watching the songs mutate in the studio. Hopefully into something beautiful, as opposed to mutating into the musical equivalent of the Creature from the Black Lagoon (Keith, to his friends)!
5/ If you could go open a show for any artist who would it be?
Lewis – For a laugh: Britney Spears in Las Vegas, for real: Probably Pulp, I think their fans would dig our music and it’d be great playing with our sort-of namesake.
Dan – Tenacious D would be the ‘dream’ band to support for me.
Ben – Beethoven. Rumour has it his deafness was brought on by an excessively violent bout of moshing, when our 19th century German ancestors Der Olde Marriage opened for him one night in Vienna, and debuted their new single “Helmut Und His Harpsichord.”
6/ What is one message you would give to your fans?
Dan – Thank you for sticking by us and supporting us for the first year of playing gigs, I think I speak for the band when I say it honestly means the world to us that people are willing to come and listen to us and spend time with us at our gigs, long may it continue!
7/ What is the most useless talent you have?
Lewis – I can name every country in the world, pretty useless until you’re chatting to someone from Sao Tome and Principe. Although, I don’t speak Portuguese, so I don’t know…
Ben – I’ve got perfect pitch, which is admittedly quite handy for musical stuff, but is otherwise absolutely useless at getting you through life unless your friends are curious what key they sneeze in.
Dan – I can turn Everton into European heavyweights on Footy Manager.
8/ Do you sing in the shower? What songs?
Dan – Of course, recently it’s been Kodachrome by Paul Simon but it’s usually Modern Marriage tunes hahaha.
Lewis – Sometimes, recently I’ve had Government Hooker by Lady Gaga stuck in my head so that’s had a little belting in the shower once or twice.
Ben – True story, I once managed to wake up the entirety of my ex’s household by singing Back In The Night by Dr Feelgood in the shower at 6am. I was adding three part harmonies and all, I was expecting them to look impressed, not furious. I blame a lack of sleep, I’m never usually conscious before 10 if I can help it.
9/ What would you be doing right now, if it wasn’t for your music career?
Dan – Probably even more hours in a shitty hospitality job.
Ben – Lying in a shallow grave at the side of the M53, the victim of a life over-indulging on wine, women and other people’s songs. My own musical aspirations have naturally put pay to all of that.
10/ Where have you performed? What are your favourite and least favourite. venues? Do you have any upcoming shows?
Ben & Lewis – Yes, we’ve got some really exciting shows lined up for the end of the year and we’ll be announcing them on our social pages very soon. We’ve also got some HMV instore sessions to be looking forward to this autumn. Our least favourite gig mighta been us busking in Birkenhead, we didn’t make any money and even the pigeons scarpered as we started playing.
We havn’t got a “least favourite venue” as everywhere we have played has offered us something different and we enjoy playing a new venue. A couple of standouts, in a good way would be The Cavern Live lounge, we really liked playing there and hope we can return one day soon, also we’ve found Round The Corner on Kempston Street, Liverpool to be really cosy and welcoming towards our band, we’ve become good friends with the team there.
11/ What is your favourite song to perform?
Ben – Dear John is always enjoyable, especially watching the faces of people who’ve never heard it before and aren’t expecting the twist at the end.
Dan – Even though its a recent edition to our arsenal our latest song Terry’s Last Fag is loads of fun to play, can’t wait to bring it out again at future gigs.
Lewis – Radnor Canned Water is the most fun bassline to play, but, as Ben just said, Dear John always gets quite a big pop at the end, so I enjoy that for the crowd engagement.
12/ Which famous musicians do you admire?
Lewis – In terms of just embodying pure musical talent, Bjork is seriously the most impressive I know of. There’s plenty of musicians who are arguably more talented that I appreciate, but in terms of someone who’s star power matches their talent, definitely Bjork.
Ben – Alex Chilton from Big Star, Nigel Blackwell from Half Man Half Biscuit (hi, Nigel), John and Paul from JohnPaulGeorgeandRingo, and the lead trombone player in Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass!
Dan – Ben Savage, Lewis Hall, Serj Tanakian and Freddy Mercury all in that order.
13/ What is the most trouble you’ve ever gotten into?
Ben – I once got blackout drunk in Wigan and was rescued by a girl who found me fast asleep on my feet, clinging onto a lamppost like a confused mammal hugging a tree. To this day, she still calls me “sloth boy.” I don’t know if that counts as trouble though, I’m usually quite well behaved. Rumours that I’ve received a lifetime ban from Port Sunlight Garden Centre for assaulting a member of staff with a sprig of aloe vera have been grossly exaggerated.
Dan – I once missed a lift off of Ben, got stranded in Seacombe then had to run, ferry and borrow a bike to make it on time to a gig back in Liverpool City Centre.
Lewis – I’m not much of a troublemaker really.
14/ What is the best advice you’ve been given?
Lewis – A random man stopped me in the street one time when I was a teenager and asked if I want to know what the secret to longevity was. He told me… but I forget what he said now. I remember that it was pretty good advice, though.
Dan – “Let Go” is something I think of to get through life, relatively stress free.
Ben – In the words of Jack Bruce, never tell your mother when she’s out of tune.
15/ What’s next for you?
Dan – We’ve done over a year of gigs at some really great venues around the north west of England and with the single just out, our next step is to be getting even more songs out there, to play some bigger gigs all over the UK, hopefully get on some festivals next summer too and fingers crossed we finally get our album finished and out by 2024.
Ben – Can I mention our single ‘Gerry And His Pacemaker’ which was just released on June 30th, it’s a song about real life character, Gerald Williams and it’s a tribute to him as he’s no longer with us, Gerry played his banjolele all over Merseyside and I’d bump into him at gigs sometimes and join him on stage. So we’ll be promoting that a little bit more and then we’ll be on to single no 2 which isn’t too far away for us, we’re starting to think of ideas for a video and stuff like that.
Lewis – A trip to Aldi, tea, a bit of telly and then bed for me, I believe.
My life is a soundtrack, i track my life through music, photography is my passion, my escape, my expression. Without both i have pieces missing, thankfully i’m blessed and get to combine both.
Born in Manchester, lived in Australia for 22 years where i was heavily involved in the Australian Music Industry, firstly in bands (Singer) and then managing bands (all original), I moved back to the UK, Wales specifically 10 years ago and married my childhood sweetheart and life is good.