Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, four-piece Mars Motel have spent the past few years developing their self-proclaimed sound of dream-rock. The band have been plugging away in the local indie circuit with a string of EPs and singles and are set to release their debut album Passenger X later this year. If you like guitar-heavy, inspired by nineties Britpop, then Mars Motel will totally be your jam. We had a chat with frontman Sarik Kumar in the wake of releasing their new single Coming Up For Air.
Can you talk about the roots of Mars Motel and how you all met?
Mars Motel actually began as a series of psychedelic bedroom demos I wrote during my last year of high school. For almost ten years, the demos sat on an old computer, until the summer of 2016 when I rediscovered them while visiting my childhood home in Long Island. These demos were special to me, so I went about recording them with producer Tommy Eichmann at Mission Sound in Brooklyn and then recruited a full band to bring this to life live. I knew Wes Wynne (Guitar) & Craig Stauber (Drums) through different circles of mutual friends but met Justin Lieberthal (Bass) via a Craigslist ad. You never know what you are going to get or whom you are going to meet during a Craigslist hang, but I am happy to say Justin and I got along just fine. The rest is history. The band vibes extremely well together. We are super close.
How would you describe the sound of the band to people who aren’t familiar with you?
I call it dream-rock. Like dream pop, but no synths. We are a guitar and rhythm driven band, and use our instruments to create layers of sonic soundscapes. I think of the guitar as an extremely versatile instrument; one just needs to utilize it creatively.
There’s a huge independent art and music scene in Brooklyn, how inspiring is it to be around artists from such diverse musical backgrounds?
It is certainly inspiring, but also competitive in ways. I am always looking to push us to the next level musically, and luckily, with so many great bands around us, we are always finding new ways to challenge ourselves. Being at the pulse of the scene keeps us sharp and on our toes. If you aren’t putting your best foot forward or booking that next big gig, someone else certainly will.
You’ve just released your new single Coming Up For Air. How has it been received so far?
It has been incredible so far. We are so happy people are vibing with it. We have received tremendously positive feedback from so many fans, new and old. It’s been fun to finally have it out in the world. The song lives as its own entity now.
How did you go about recording the song?
We recorded this single and our full debut album at Virtue & Vice Studios in Brooklyn with engineer and owner, Rocky Gallo.
We actually recorded every track live in a room together. That aspect was very important to me. I wanted to make sure that the human touch was present throughout this cosmic and expansive record.
Could you talk a little bit about the inspiration behind the new track?
The song is about an android-like being longing to be human and attempting some sort of alteration. Overall, I was trying to capture the universal need for connection, and the loneliness one can feel in being viewed as an outsider. This concept will be expanded upon within a music video, coming out in a few weeks.
What’s the most unique venue you’ve ever played?
Hmm, I’d have to say Greenpoint Gallery in Brooklyn. It was a wild art exhibit in a massive old warehouse. We played for like three hours straight that night.
Any backstage rituals?
Mostly just warming up and chilling. We always try to get in the zone off the bat so the full show is an immersive experience throughout.
What’s the future hold for Mars Motel?
Lots of shows and new singles leading up to our debut album release. We are playing Firefly Festival in June and then back for several NYC shows throughout the summer. Definitely follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Spotify to be the first to know.