As I step inside Bully’s Recording Studio, the smell of stale beer hits me straight in the face, followed by a rush of drone metal leaking from recording rooms. Up the stairs, past a set of vending machines that haven’t worked in 10 years, and past a few more dilapidated rooms is Marry Me’s studio. The New Westminster outfit is a force of rock and roll nature. Influenced by groups like the Clash, Led Zeppelin, and Eric Clapton, the New Westminster outfit is a force of rock and roll nature. Known for their DIY attitude, fist-pumping pop/rock tunes, and high-energy live shows, the group brings old-school grimey blues to a scene that, at least on the surface, is dominated by indie pop.
The band arrives barely a minute after I do, and at first sight, it’s hard to believe they are one group. Guitarist and lead singer Danny Lovelock was born a punk rocker, with long hair, tattoos, and clothing to match. Drummer Kenny Dietrich wears simple glasses, a hoodie, and a baseball cap, and pianist/vocalist Adam Jeal is wearing a jacket that seems more suited to the Queen Elizabeth than this small studio. They are still waiting on bassist and singer Natalee Fera; she’s gone to pick up some cymbals. Kenny cracks some jokes, Adam warms up his vocals, and Danny complains about the subpar studio gear and explains how low my odds of staying sober working in music journalism are. As different as they may look, the band act like they’ve known each other since grade school.
Danny gets a text from Natalee; she’s almost there. We head outside, past the metalhead studios. A sign on the door warns musicians “No beer outside; police no likey.” Natalee is there in no time; Just like the rest of the band, Natalee’s style is completely her own—she’s full glam rock, with a KISS shirt and a black jacket. As it turns out, she also picked up some beer on her way, though the group decides to obey the sign. The band might be pure rock, but they don’t have the recklessness that holds so many other acts back. Just like the Clash—one of Danny’s idol bands—they have all the energy of a punk group with enough maturity to hold the package together. We take a look back at Bully’s, where the stoner metal is still going strong, and begin the interview on the slightly quieter street.
LotusLand: Hey, this is Zak from LotusLand Magazine and I’m here with the members of Marry Me. Can you go around and introduce yourselves?
Natalee Fera: I’m Natalee.
Danny Lovelock: Danny.
Kenny Dietrich: Kenny.
Adam Jeal: Adam.
LL: Welcome, guys. You had a show on CTV just this morning, right?
NF: This morning, yeah.
LL: How did it go?
NF: It was pretty good. It went as well as could be expected, maybe better.
AJ: Really good, it was fun. Good energy.
LL: Adam, you’re the newest member of the band?
AJ: I am, yeah. I’m very excited.
LL: What’s it like playing with Marry Me? What’s the best part of it?
AJ: Definitely being part of a band, these people are good friends of mine and I get to see them all the time.
DL: Don’t forget about Sunday dinners…
AJ: Yeah, Sunday dinners are the best. Natalee is hands down one of the best cooks ever. Danny as well.
LL: Natalee, what do you cook up for the band after a night of rehearsals?
NF: I don’t know… what have I made?
AJ: You did a roast.
NF: We did a Halloween roast last night.
DL: Chicken, garlic mashed potatoes, steak…
LL: Can I join your band? That sounds pretty good…
LL: You all come from very different musical backgrounds. Adam, I understand you got your base in pop and soul; Kenny, you’re a metalhead; Danny, you’re the punk; and Natalee, of course, musical theatre. Can you tell me about your individual music backgrounds going into this band?
NF: I did musical theatre most of my life, and something cheesy like Tony and Tina’s Wedding… It definitely helps, there’s no stage fright, but it’s hard to chill out and be cool… Danny wanted me to be cool this morning on CTV and not cheesy. Two clashing styles, for sure.
DL: I grew up on things like the Clash and Rancid. It’s always been really important to me to be able to hit a guitar chord and that electricity from it, rather than DJ music… No, I take that back. I don’t have any problem with DJ music, I just prefer the sound of electricity from a chord.
KD: Well, I’ve been playing drums for ten plus years now, and metal really helped me be very technical in drumming, and also having a very solid foundation in being able to comfortably play.
AJ: I came from more of a dance background, I danced in Calgary and around Vancouver. I started working on my own music, pop and soul – like Bruno Mars, Anthony Hamilton, Marc Broussard, John Mayer – just mainstream pop. There’s some good stuff there.
LL: Jason Derulo, who’s kind of in that same vein, recently released a song called Marry Me. Is that some sort of sign?
AJ: I haven’t heard it yet, I’ll have to listen, but I do like him as well.
LL: You said you had a dance background, what kind of dancing?
AJ: I was trained in everything. I trained in Calgary for about 9 years, then I came out to Vancouver and did an intensive training program at Harbour Dance Centre. I trained in jazz, ballet, hip-hop, tap, lyrical, contemporary, a little bit of everything. I started dancing on cruise ships for a couple of years, then came here to pursue music.
LL: Well, some people have said that those four different backgrounds don’t fit together, especially since your music is in a sort of Jack White-esque, soul blues combo. Are there any difficulties in piecing together all those backgrounds in rehearsals.
NF: I don’t think it’s difficult. Everyone respects and admires each member’s different strengths. I don’t think there’s any clashing, I think it complements. I think if we had two people from the same musical background, it might be more of a problem, whereas we all really appreciate each other and our styles.
AJ: Especially for me, being new to the band, I figured it would take a lot longer to bring me into the songs and make sure I know what I’m doing, but it’s been easy-breezy so far.
DL: It’s just one of those things where none of us really have egos, we just put in 25% each and everyone has their say.
LL: There’s a very heavy blues-rock influence, at least in my ears, on your EP. Where did the blues come from in the mish-mash of musical talent?
NF: Well, I appreciate every form of music, and I found the blues super chill and really classic. It’s where rock came from anyway. When we met, it was the first thing we’d turn on to chill out to.
DL: I always find that if we really like an act, I’ll look up what their inspiration was, and keep going back, and you’ll usually end up in blues. So why not start at the basics and evolve your own sound that way?
LL: Building off of that, you have a 70s and 80s vibe to your music, a more old school style. Do you find being in a scene dominated by electronic and new wave music at all intimidating?
NF: If you look around Vancouver and you see the up and coming bands, everyone that’s underground is very bluesy-rock right now.
DL: We’re very proud to be part of that.
NF: Totally. Whereas a couple years ago it was definitely folk, and although folk is still strong, it’s the dawn of the blues-rock revolution, I’d say.
LL: You’re part of the revolution, then?
DL: Starting it.
NF: [Laughter] We’re starting it.
LL: You did a great music video for the song “Ignite.” Natalee, you have an acting background, could you speak to that music video?
NF: Danny has an acting background, too. We all came up with the concept, although it was mostly Danny, and he directed it, he had the vision for it with the whole rockers versus mods idea. It’s funny because when we filmed that in the spring the big fashion trends were mod and, on the other end of the spectrum, a very rock and roll style. It was sheer coincidence.
LL: Danny, apparently you have an acting background. Care to share a little?
DL: [Laughter] No, it’s okay.
NF: Come on, a little bit.
DL: Okay… I had a couple episodes on a TV show called “Chop Shop,” where I was a hair stylist. It was like a mockumentary drama. Looking back, it was okay.
AJ: It was fun, when we filmed the video, I wasn’t even in the band yet, I was one of the models on Natalee’s side. Natalee picked me up in the car and then I was hanging on the car in the video, I was hanging off a dock, too. It was cool.
NF: Danny and Kenny were on the rocker side, and it just worked out that Adam and I were on the mod side, and now he’s in the band.
LL: It was foretold.
LL: Marry Me is based in New Westminster, which a lot of people from Vancouver consider to be the ‘burbs. But you haven’t shied away from that image at all: your “Ignite” video was filmed in New West, and you don’t hesitate to mention it. Has it been intimidating to be coming from New Westminster onto the Vancouver scene.
KD: I think it’s awesome. There’s not a lot of bands from New West, and people want to support New West, which makes this rock and roll community. We embrace it.
NF: I don’t think it’s the ‘burbs until you cross the bridge. I think it’s the city. None of us were actually born in New West, we’re from all over, but we’ve definitely adopted it as our hometown.
DL: Before we moved out here, we were second guessing it, we thought it was so far away from Vancouver. But once we got here, got into the community, started rehearsing locally and spending a lot of time in New West, we really embraced it as home. It’s a great city.
NF: It’s been called the Brooklyn of the west coast
LL: Well, I love Brooklyn, so I’m 100% behind that. I have a question about the song “Rude” off your EP. It’s such an old school blues jam, it’s got that gritty, slower feel, especially at the beginning. Where did you get the inspiration for that? There’s a lot of contrast because of how smooth it is, especially compared to some of the other songs on the album.
NF: It was kind of inspired by how we met.
DL: Lyrically, yeah. I think that “Rude” in particular is kind of our baby. It’s not a pop song, it doesn’t even have a chorus, it’s just a song that we all listened to and we all loved the tune. We all put a ton of work into that tune and it all came together. Lyrically, musically, especially since Adam joined and added his music to it, it’s been a baby of ours that we consider to really be our roots.
LL: You’ve been playing a lot of local shows recently, what about tours?
NF: We toured to Alberta at the end of August. We were in Calgary, Edmonton, and Cold Lake, Kenny’s hometown.
LL: How was that?
KD: A lot of driving.
NF: I think a lot of people really embraced this style of music.
DL: One thing about the Alberta crowds is that they really like live rock music. We noticed that they were very supportive.
LL: Anywhere you’d like to tour?
DL: The world.
AJ: I think in terms of Canada, I’d like to tour around Montreal and experience that.
NF: The east coast as well, I feel like they’d really embrace us. In the south of the United States, too.
DL: We’re definitely in the talks – nothing’s concrete yet – but we’re in talks to do Europe this coming summer.
LL: That sounds amazing. I’ve got one last question for you. Warning: it’s a band name question, but not the generic one.
LL: We’ve already seen that on CTV.
NF: Well, you know it’s coming.
LL: Most bands usually have a lot of really bad names before they settle on their final title. One band had the name Redneck International Airport. You’ve got to top that… So the question is this: what’s the worst name you considered before Marry Me?
NF: There was no name before Marry Me. We all met and Danny said “Don’t you think Marry Me is a good name for a girl-guy band?” and I was like “Yeah.” And that was that. No other name.
DL: I was in a band when I was like thirteen and we were called Lock Up Your Daughters.
DL: That was the high point of my bad band names.
NF: I think that’s a wicked band name.
LL: Kenny, do you have any?
NF: You were in the best band ever, man.
KD: I was in a metal band called They Killed Kenny.
LL: Well, that’s all we have for you guys. Is there anything you’d like to say for the fans?
NF: Fans? Fans, you should come out, fans. You should be around us more often, fans. Come to our shows, fans. Who are you, fans?
DL: Come introduce yourselves, so we know you exist. You know what, if anybody’s turned on by our music, then that’s right where we want to be. Making connections.
LL: Perfect. Well, I’m Zak from LotusLand Magazine with Marry Me. Thanks guys! That’s a wrap.