Cat On The Wall’s very own Jo Whitby caught up with Tom Marsh, drummer extraordinaire, who is currently hitting the skins for IAMX…
Cat On The Wall: What inspired you to pick up the drum sticks?
I don’t know if it was inspiration or an act of divine intervention. I was a very hyperactive kid and drumming seemed to use up some of my excess energy. I guess I just got addicted and never managed to kick the habit.
COTW: When I’m in the moment whilst drumming my head disappears into my neck, not very flattering I must say (I have evidence of this somewhere). Do you have a ‘drummer face’ and if so can you explain what it is?
You can’t beat a bit of gurning on stage. Actually my ‘drummer face’ is playing with my mouth open. I tried to combat it by chewing gum but that had to stop when I almost choked during a performance with IAMX.
COTW: You work with Sarah Maguire. How did you meet? Any upcoming projects we should look out for?
Well, Sarah and I go back a long way. We met in Rotherham, South Yorkshire. We both lived there at the time and met through a mutual friend. She is very much like family to me now. I am looking forward to continuing to work with her and watch her grow. You can check myspace.com/sassymaguire for upcoming dates.
COTW: Sarah says on her myspace that you play guitar and drums at the same time when performing with her. I’ve had a go at that too, turned out to be quite a funny experience for me! As a musician what importance do you give to versatility? How does it translate in your collaborations with other musicians (Sarah/IAMX)?
At the moment I am pushing myself to try new things with music. I am not very comfortable being away from the drums and being at the front of the stage so it is a challenge. Versatility is important to me because it means I get more enjoyment. I can experience music in different ways and from different perspectives. I like the feeling of growth it gives me to try something new.
COTW: How did you get involved with IAMX?
Actually I was on tour with another band supporting IAMX and they sort of poached me. It was really a case of right place, right time. They were going through some line up changes and I happened to be right in front of their noses.
COTW: Do you enjoy playing live? Any memorable experiences?
TM: I love playing live. I have so many great memories. New Year’s Eve 2007/08 was very memorable. It was a show with IAMX in Berlin but most importantly it was my first ever sober show. Also my first show with Sarah Maguire was very memorable. It was the first time I had ever played guitar in front of an audience and I was terrified. That is definitely one of my most memorable, if only for the trauma I went through.
COTW: What type of drummer do you consider yourself to be? Do you intend on artistic creativity when playing, both live and in the studio (i.e. do you have creative input), or is drumming a more physical matter to you (you’re the beat backbone – loud and in time)?
In IAMX I would have to say that I am more ‘loud and in time’ than anything else. In the rest of my musical life I have a great deal of creative input and I like to be as colourful as possible. For me, it is important to keep a balance and keep all my creative outlets serviced regularly.
COTW: What are you listening to at the moment?
I really like Get well soon right now. The instrumentation is great. And Does It Offend You, Yeah? are really doing it for me too. I listen to them if I need a mood pick -up.
COTW: We said goodbye to 2008 recently. Any personal highlights from the year?
It is hard to pick a single event that stands out from the many wonderful things. I guess the last show IAMX did at the El Rey theatre in L.A. was pretty special. Also I was my first year of sobriety so everything was kind of new to me. I enjoyed my short time in New York City very much also. I hope to spend more time there in the future.
COTW: What are your plans for the near future?
I will be off on tour with IAMX again come March. I will also be continuing to work with Sarah Maguire and hopefully book more shows with her this year. I am always on the hunt for fun people to play and create with so who knows what else I will be up to.
Interview by Jo Whitby