KID 4077 - NILE MARR
A few months ago Nile Marr was offered the main support slot on the UK tour with a major UK artist playing to 4000 people a night and then they found out he was 15. Insurance related gubbins got in the way, as it had previously with other support slots, and it was back to the drawing board again for the songwriter who goes under the name Kid 4077 and prefers listening to Bob Dylan and John Martyn rather than the Arctic Monkeys or The Libertines.
The son of Smiths and Modest Mouse guitarist Johnny Marr, Nile has always been around musicians, but its not until June 1st that he'll be playing his first official solo gig following the disbanding of his previous group which also went under the Kid 4077 moniker and featured Tom Abbott, son of Shameless writer Paul Abbott. After several years of wrestling with the idea of being a producer, pianist or drummer it's not until recently that Marr felt happy with the idea of being a guitarist and songwriter.
As Designer Magazine leave Nile Marr, the Broadsheet paper The Telegraph are calling him later that day for an interview about his first gig which has virtually sold out and he has plans to meet up with Paolo Nutini at Glastonbury and then later in America to co-write some songs together. The future's bright
Q: It's your first official gig on June 1st as a solo artiste with Kid 4077. Despite critical acclaim from the industry how are you feeling about getting on stage alone?
A: I'm excited. Actually i'm seeing this gig as one big opportunity for myself to improve as a musician and as a performer so I am really looking forward to this gig. As far as doing it on my own is concerned, its actually I feel a relief. I feel as if im free to play the way I want, I see this as a chance to really be as creative as possible, on the night if I want to play some bits in the song longer than usual or change bits or just add new bits according to the vibe im getting off the audience I can without a problem, so playing it solo as far as i can see can only be a good move. When i write all my songs, even the rocky ones I write them on an acoustic by myself and play them over and over again obsessively until im happy with it so playing them how they were written and intended to be played is a bonus.
Q: Your band used to include Tom Abbott on drums, son of Paul Abbott who wrote Shameless. How did that come about and did you feel comfortable with the tag of next generation supergroup?
A: Tom is my best friend at school and although we were in different classes when we started secondary school we got on the same bus, and pretty much as soon as we spoke to each other for the first time something just sort of clicked, we just got on really well. We had a laugh and had such a great time together, and I didn't even know who his dad was when I met him and so it never really mattered.
We both decided to start playing drums at the same time, after one day tom came round and had a go on my drum kit, and so we both started to learn. Tom was more of a drummer than I was, I just always had the mentality of a guitarist and a musician, not a drummer so the way I played reflected that, as I knew how to write a song I played drums not to be the drummer but to just take the song to another level.
I'm glad I gave in to the urge to be a guitar player when I did, because carrying guitars around is much easier than lugging a kit about every where, so we played together coz he played drums and I played guitar and we were mates and wanted to play.
And as for how we felt about being the next generation supergroup or whatever I don't think it matters. I always knew that if I played guitar some people are going to compare me to my dad but he plays his stuff and I play the way I want to play. I mean as far as I think most people are concerned i'm just a band they like or don't.
Q: Lets take it back to the beginning - weren't you a drummer in your first band the Waves? Were you a drummer first or guitarist first? When did you first start playing music?
A: I grew up around music and musicians and so music has always been a huge part of my life and always will be. I've always known when I hear a record why it sounds great, I've really had the mind of a producer all my life, so if I tried to play an instrument it would come quite easily. I actually started off playing the piano at like the age of 6 or something because my parents thought it would give me a good understanding of chords and how to read music, I played piano for years, but at this point I never thought I would want to be a musician, I just played the pieces the teacher gave me and that was that.
After a few years i decided to quit it just wasn't for me and I could never read music, but I never abandoned playing it, i still play play it alot to accompany my songs if need be. Then at around 13 started playing drums, I never learnt how to read drum music then or follow a piece, having that ability makes you play a certain way, too straight for my liking and the drummers I knew never did that so I didn't bother playing drums like a drum teacher would. I played drums like a guitar player. When I got good on the drums the singer in The Waves who was in my class at school asked me to play for them so I said yes because it would be a laugh and they were the only real band around with people my age. When I joined however they weren't called the waves they were called The Void. I know a awful name right? But I came up with the name The Waves and it all sort of started from there, I brought in a new bass player and played drums for them. After a while the guitar player in me took over, as i was playing guitar more and more I started to write some songs for them and get off the kit and play. Then I knew it was time to pack up the drums and just enjoy being a guitar player.
Q: Children normally go against what their parents have done. Were you always into music from as young as you can remember or did you first try not to follow the footsteps of your father?
A: I never really thought i would be a musician, not because my dad did it just because that's not the thing I saw myself doing, but when you grow up with music playing all the time and musicians coming and going all through your life, your bound to love music and everything about it.
Q: How has your dad helped shape your musical style and what records did he give you and say you must listen to these?
A: Well I feel that everyone is influenced by their parents in some way no matter how hard they try not to be, but in my case I just know him as my dad. Obviously he helped me to be the guitar player that I am and other people when they hear us play say we play alike, I cant quite see it but that's just me
In the early stages of me playing guitar I would ask him if he could show me how to play a track that I liked and he would then I would just keep playing it until I got it and then I move on to the next one until it got to the stage where i would just be writing my own stuff and if I wanted to work out a track I would do it myself, and I would just jam with my dad doing whatever felt right when we played. When I think about it know every time we played together we would be writing a new song that would come to nothing, as its just a spur of the moment thing.
I was always into music as kid and I think the first album my dad ever bought me was Bob Dylan "Desire" and that record just changed my life. I would listen to it all the time and fall asleep to it every night. So listening to Bob Dylan since as long as I can remember made me play a certain way. My dad would get into a track and then he would play it me it was as simple as that really some tracks I would like some I didn't and some would lead me to the next stage in my life. That's one of the things I think that makes me love music so much, just the face that one song or artist can change a persons life forever, nothing else has the ability to do that.
Q: I notice a lot of your influences are the classics or American bands. Would you say the likes of the Arctic Monkeys, Libertines and the new Brit sound passed you by? Who are you biggest musical influences and how would you describe your playing style?
A: I like the Arctic Monkeys but I cant handle listening to them a lot if you know what I mean, it just gets all too much. But as for this new brit stuff like the Libertines and bands like that, it doesn't do it for me its too straight too samey not creative enough. But if a band comes out playing music like that I wont immediately avoid listening to them because they fit into that genre. I might love them it just depends on their songs.
One of my biggest musical influences would have to be Bob Dylan his songs have changed my life and so having constantly listened to him just the way he writes songs has had an effect on the way I play. But the biggest influence would have to be John Martyn, i'm obsessed I already felt i played a bit like him but that just happened by accident really but when I started listening to his stuff it showed me a whole new aspect to playing the guitar he did things that I didn't even dream of doing and I think he is the one that really inspired me to play as a solo artist for a while. But as for the way I play, I play like Nile Marr i'm always going to have my own style unique to me and its up to other people to decide who I play like.
Q: Your influences on myspace list Modest Mouse but not the Smiths...that your preference?
A: The Smiths was before my time and so their stuff couldn't really influence me that much, Modest Mouse is much more my time and im a huge fan of the band
Q: What was the first song you wrote as a solo artist / band? How is the debut album coming together?
A: All of my songs were written as a solo artist and then just taken to a band, but I think the first proper song that i wrote was Bethany Joy and in so a way that's always going to be one of my favourites, I am currently recording my debut album, I am recording it using my laptop in my bedroom and im loving every minute of it. Its just a chance to be creative and express myself. Im recording every minute I get but school does have a nasty habit of getting in the way. But its getting done one way or the other, and right now im still exploring what I want to do and so once its done I don't know what ill do with it, but I do know that ill just keep recording my stuff as I write it and see what happens
Q: Why did you decide to go under the moniker Kid 4077 and does the name have any significance? Where did the name come from?
A: The name kid 4077 was just a name I thought of it sounded cool so i kept it. its got no real significance or meaning
Q: The June 1st gig is an All Ages Gig. Didn't you have to turn down a large UK tour due to your age and do you believe All Ages gigs are the future? Have you had any other major support gigs you've had to turn down as well?
A: Me and Paolo Nutini are dying to play together and are meeting up at Glastonbury and at a festival in America to hang and play together so I don't know what it will lead to but I guess we'll all have to wait and find out. The age thing is very limiting as gigs are so hard to get if your underage I really hope that the underage gig thing will take off as it gives bands a great opportunity and I can only see it helping bands in the future.
Q: What do you think of the other bands (El Policia / Little Engine / The Sidelines) that you're playing with on the night?
A: Im really looking forward to playing on the same bill as the other guys as were all in it together and its just going to be a great experience for all of us and I cant wait to see what's going to happen.
Q: Finally you're doing this gig with a loop pedal...is that how Kid 4077 are going to work from now on or are any collaborations lined up?
A: I don't know what Kid is going to be like, for a while I just want to play on my own doing the troubadour thing for a while but who knows if I meet the right group of people we might do some stuff together we might not. Right now I just am enjoying the fact that I don't have to make a choice right now and i still have the freedom to do what i want to do at this point in time.
Kid 4077 play Bar Amp, Manchester on Friday June 1st
An early All Ages Show (Stage time: 6pm)
Extremely limited tickets are available here
(Note: At the time time of going to press less only 30 tickets are left)
To listen to Kid 4077
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