Charles Marduk is a New York City-based singer, songwriter, and producer who specializes in mixing Hip-Hop, Pop, and Alternative rock who’s passion for music has been for his whole life. Recently, Charles released his 'Fever Dreams' EP and off of it is the opening track “The Sickness” is an ethereal masterpiece of an experience.
From the moment the tune begins it breaks into an exciting groove that constantly keeps going. Charles’ vocal performance is something super interesting, it has such a laid back but edgy mood to it that kinda drives you forward but also kinda just chills out. The whole love story of one person being the only cure to a mental sickness has a deep personal meaning to it that will be able to resonate with a lot of listeners.
“The Sickness” features a super grabby reversed synth, organic synthetic textures that pulse in and out, a steady driving drum groove that holds down the roots of the tune, and Charles’ delicate balance of a vocal performance that can keep us constantly listening for where the tune will lead next. This release shows off the vibey side of Charles and it is a place that we are loving and a thing everyone should check out.
Listen to "The Sickness" here.
Hey there Charles Marduk! Welcome To BuzzMusic! We are absolutely loving “The Sickness”! We are getting a really cool fusion of melancholy and something driving here, is that something that you had wanted to achieve with this song? What kind of emotion did you have while writing the song? Thanks, I'm glad you liked the song. Most of the time I create the instrumental and then try to write a story based on how the beat sounds in my head. For "The Sickness" I was trying to write a love song/ballad that had a moodier vibe thank they typical song in that style. The title of my EP is Fever Dreams because I was looking to take familiar song ideas and present them with a darker, more psychedelic aesthetic. I think about "The Sickness" as kind of a pop song turned into a nightmare. It's hard to pinpoint exactly how I was feeling when I wrote it but I'd say the mood I was looking to evoke is confused yet still driven to succeed.
We are loving those super interesting synth textures that you have, especially that reversed on! What was the inspiration behind these sounds? How did you create them? I create my music through a combination of live and electronic instruments. For this particular song, I programmed the drums and sound effects then recorded over a free stock guitar sample I found somewhere. I took the recording and chopped it up, reversed it, did some creative mixing and added background synths to create the textures you hear. I like using stock samples, but I try as hard as I can to edit them, mix them or recreate them so they don't sound boring or cheap.
It’s really awesome to hear that you learned how to produce yourself, what was that process like? What kind of things would you tell yourself when you started now knowing what you know? It was a long process that happened pretty organically. I started out playing the guitar and writing songs in a more conventional way. But I was never great at singing and playing chords at the same time. I initially started using Garage Band to record the chords so I could sing over them. Then I wanted to add drums so I learned how to program drums. Over time I downloaded Logic Pro and started investing more and more time into learning more advanced techniques like sampling, synthesis and basic engineering. I tried taking some classes online, but it was harder for me to absorb the information that way. I've always been more of a hands-on learner, so I decided to just practice as much as possible and eventually started to figure out what I was doing.
If I could tell myself something back then, I would say just keep practicing and don't get frustrated. Especially early on, it would irritate me if I couldn't create exactly what was in my head and I would quit for a little while. Now I don't really put pressure on myself to make a particular sound or style, I just sit down to work and do what comes naturally. But if I could give myself one piece of advice, it would be to push through those difficult moments, because sometimes the best material comes when you've been obsessing over a song for hours and if you give up, that inspiration disappears.
Your music style really is an interesting fusion between different styles, are there any artists from the styles of Hip-Hop, Pop, and Alt Rock that you draw inspiration from or does it just come from the genre as a whole?
I guess it comes from having an eclectic taste in music. I listen to a lot of music, so it was always hard for me to focus on one specific genre. Eventually, I learned how to infuse all my various influences into one sound. When I was in high school I listen to alternative rock bands like Nirvana, The Pixies, Smashing Pumpkins, Iggy and the Stooges, etc. Plus I grew up in upstate New York where east coast hip hop is pretty popular so I also listened to Jay-Z, Wu-Tang, Nas and stuff like that. As I got older and I got more onto the craft of songwriting I became more interested in Pop artists who pull from different cultural trends like Drake and Kanye or even more classic examples like the Beatles or David Bowie. Now I listen to a combination of underground artists and as well as what's relevant in pop culture and I try to reflect those two influences in my own music.