Thursday, March 13, 2014

Featured Artist: Marlon Alarm

"It’s a sort of fantasia, and sounds like Disney at the club." 
-Marlon Alarm on his new album
Marlon Alarm: remember the name. Not too many pop stars arise out of the grit that is South Florida. A true extraterrestrial visionary and talent shares insight into his life and upcoming album. Jacked Fashion has had the pleasure of working closely with the Marlon Alarm universe and all we can say is stand by and get ready for take off.

Full name: Marlon Alarm. Don’t believe my ID!
Birthplace: Miamiland.
Occupation: Singer, songwriter, producer, and tutor at a university, of all things.
Early musical influences: 
Chopin and My Chemical Romance.

What was it like growing up in Miami: 
For the most part, I grew up thinking there aren’t people like me, with a disdain for the status quo. Had I grown up without the internet, I’d probably still think that. Miami’s very spread out, and most of the weirdos are cooped up in their houses being creative ‘cause we don’t imagine we’ll run into each other out in the “real” world.
What inspired Marlon Alarm: 
The name, you mean? It was just a moniker everyone got used to calling me in high school. I was in a band called The Falling Alarm, and the guitarist, bassist, and I all took on “Alarm” as a surname, as a sort of pseudo-family thing. No one ever stopped calling me Marlon Alarm after the band broke up, so I just went with it. There’s no reason, really.

photo by Zeravla Damarys
First musical encounter:
I’m sure I can’t remember my first time hearing music. That would be insane! The earliest memory I can recall is getting my parents to buy me Britney Spears’ “Oops!… I Did It Again” record. It was either that or a Pluto plushie. I think I made the right choice.
Aliens of Suburbia, the inspiration behind the track: 
It’s an ode to all the weird, creative kids who are forced to grow up – usually due to socioeconomic issues – in the sort of environment that’s not meant for artistic expression. Suburbs are usually a place where you’re born, get an education, find a job, get married, have kids, retire, and die. They’re designed that way (thank you, urban planning!). There are no record labels or venues or fashion houses or studios in a classic suburb. “Aliens of Suburbia” is about fighting those odds by appropriating things about suburbs in an artistic way. It’s about flipping the bird at a world we don’t want to be in, yet is undoubtedly a part of us.

Talk about your up and coming album:
This album is definitely the most concerned with story-telling I’ve ever been. Since other musicians have stock narratives about their lives (i.e. rappers coming from shitty circumstances, hustling the streets, acquiring success, and ultimately giving back to their loved ones), I wanted one for queer pop artists who are more punk than punk kids. They give young artists something to identify with, and I think it becomes especially important when those narratives are missing. Because the story I’m telling is the result of my own, largely untold experiences, the upcoming album is a kind of modern mythology. Like the myth of Narcissus or the myth of Medusa, the album is the myth of the “showboy.”
What is the title and what can we expect to hear: 
The album is called “Showboy Opera,” as tribute to gender-bending, old-fashioned entertainment, and theatrical grandeur – something I would consider an accurate summation of my life. The album consists of three sections, or acts.
The first act is a sort of tribute to the life I live – you can expect grittier vocals, guitar-centric songs (yes, I play guitar!), and live drums. The second act descends into more of a reaction to reality. It’s a sort of fantasia, and sounds like Disney at the club. The third act draws upon the results of constantly pitting reality against fantasy: broken relationships, impatience, and feeling, ultimately, like you’re some sort of alien, somehow less – or hopefully more – than human. There are heavy electronic beats, piano, strings, and shimmering pop.
Your view on the marriage of fashion and music:
I think fashion and music are two languages that express a lot of same things. When they’re working together, less is lost in translation.
Something that most people don't know about you: 
That I’m a boy! I’m totally kidding.
Sometimes I wonder if people know how serious I am about music. I sing, play piano and guitar, and write and produce my music. I think it’s really dumb that a lot of people can’t see past what I look like. A look usually happens that day, whereas a record takes not only more time, but more emotional and creative energy. It’s draining. I really think art’s the exhibitionism of a soul.

Book: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. 
Boy band: N’SYNC. 
Girl band: The Runaways. 
Film: I usually can only remember the last one I saw, so Heathers. 
Fashion icon: I can only choose one? Boy George.
Era: Realistically, whatever this one is. If we’re being romantic, the 20’s and 80’s. 
Color: Black, usually. 
Quote: “It’s very easy to look outrageous. To do it well is another thing.”

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