The San Diego home-body performing under the cognomen "Marc Creek" has an ethos that revolves around helping others actualize their artistic intuitions.
Whether it be through media, or composition, or sound, he's had the opportunity to blossom as notoriety in the world of production through these supportive means.
With a plethora of instrumental talent at his disposal and a nomadic travel history that's seen the budding producer in LA., NYC, and Australia, Marc Creek is more than just committed to the Music Industry; it's part of his essence as a creative facilitator.
His latest EP, 'Acres,' is an indie-folk daydream encapsulated in a seven-track archipelago of sonic passageways and features collaborators of all characters and aesthetics. This is unsurprising since Marc Creek believes that music is the most reliable mechanism for collaborating with others; he has his hand in countless global projects and continues that trajectory with this latest release.
With his latest EP, 'Acres,' Jonah Levine—the mastermind behind the well-garnished moniker—is continuously pushing to develop his diverse and embracive catalog, featuring more budding and individualistic artists than ever before.
The inaugurator track, "Valley Fire," is like a meditative mantra that dissolves into reality as quickly as it fades, hugging you like a long warm embrace from an old friend before chaperoning you into "Lanterns," a phenomenal track that sways with a cadence that anyone can get behind.
With the soft-tempered incantations from Natalie Brooks laden amongst a multifarious soundscape that features; earthy percussion, crystalline guitars, and a deep bellowing bassline; this track starts to feel like a thick and foggy daydream.
Throughout the slow-breathing nature of this warm-hugging single, Brooks croons with an elegist-like style, never wavering in the face of her dismal melancholy, and presenting her sung libations with a silver-tongue: "hide your food inside your throat, give it to your brother's ghost, sleep inside a bed of salt, free your legs but never walk."
What comes next is a kaleidoscopic glide into a river of folk-resounding sonics titled, "Unfamiliar." It's a track that gains momentum from the dusky meanderings forming a marching beat across robust drums and silky cymbals. Here, much like its predecessor track, a welcomed guest feature takes the limelight—"Gerdie" in this case—who sings with an emollient tonality that resembles something like a half-whisper.
It's a fitting overlay as he sings with sullen-tinged backdrops of shapeshifting electric guitars that bounce from left, to the right, and then center, much like the ominous-sounding echoes that diffuse from Gerdie's tired lips.
The song comes in waves, simmering with forwarding momentum in the verses and mustering up the strength to inflate in the chorus, where he sings, "weigh with me my dear, oh Max won't you please, capture me, I don't know, I heard it crow. Last night, I thought I was home." "mellow tivings and strings tie shoes to our feet, bada bing, trapeze, jitter shake, that feeling of love."
If you were to take an amorous number from Fleet Foxes and combined it with the essence of melancholy from someone like King Krule, you wouldn't be far off with the type of aesthetics and sentiments that you'd find here; it all comes festooned with the fleshy notion of being lost in an unfamiliar place you once called home.
As you are chaperoned from one brume of inductive daydream cloud to the next, it's clear that the instrumentals decorating the backgrounds of 'Acres' play a substantial part in the immersive experience behind Marc Creek's record.
Songs like "Apple Trees" stand out as a testament to that notion; it glides across the stratospheres of the EP's super-charged air with a distinctive and bewildering statement of perpetual hope; in-laid by the sounds of infatuating guitars that fade just when you start to feel familiar with the intensities they diffuse from their warbling echoes. It's a stratagem to marinate listeners in the fountain of stillness that comes next in "Will." Here, Natalie Brooks resurfaces for another cherubic rendition of a steamy mantra, and this time, it's surrounding the growth that comes through life's turbulence.
"Screams will soon be heard, and you will learn, It's the pain that we possess that makes us burn," she sings with a forlorn-hue amongst the soft-landing instrumentation that settles for support behind her. The entirety of the track resembles something like a soundtrack to walking in the woods alone; when you need a moment solely to look inwards for the sake of decompartmentalizing the turbulences related to your own life journey. It's this type of emotional power that Marc Creek embellished 'Acres' with.
The slow-burning, mid-tempo breaths that each song takes fills listeners with a sense of melancholy, yet somehow, you come out with a sense of release after each number. The final moments on this EP are the most impressionable in this way.
"Shallow" buoyantly collapses inwards like a floating feather falling back down to the earth, building with energy as it falls, and soundtracked by gliding steel-string guitars before the swelling cymbals of the drums explode into the central melody. It features Heavy in Pocket, who commands the microphone as he bellows and croons with rambling lyrics, which still manage to land healthily on your heart: "mellow timings and strings tie shoes to our feet, bada bing, trapeze, jitter shake, that feeling of love."
Although it sounds like a love song, it could be interpreted as something more profound, and that's where the instrumentation takes the cake. They arouse and suit your curiosities, uncovering the fleshy bits of your inner vulnerabilities, allowing you to interpret the meaning behind his words whichever way they communicate to you best.
The final brush of folk-soaked orchestrations comes in the form of a song titled "Summer." It's one of those cuts that leaves a distinctive after-glow effect when it passes, feeling like it could have stayed for a moment longer before it evaporates. Featuring a diverse array of howling sonics; horns that mourn, guitars that fester and rouse over their revelations, and cymbals that wash over the atmosphere like a monsoon downpour; this song is a farewell, a call to take what you have heard, and to interpret it the way you please.
If there's one thing that's true about Marc Creek's 'Acres,' it's that it will make you feel something. Whether it's sadness, hope, relief, or a sense of haze and confusion, this record has the innate ability to take you on a journey that leaves a notable impression.
From tunes that feel like a slow inflating air-balloon to wafting feathers tumbling down into an amalgamation of strings, reverbs, and saturations, 'Acres' finds a cohesive path and seldom wavers from that route; it endlessly inspires and commingles emotions throughout its steady-paced drift from start to finish.
Can you run us through how you managed to find the featured artists you collaborated with for 'Acres?' What influenced your decisions to choose these unique characters?
I originally recorded an acoustic version of “Will” and “Lanterns” with Natalie Brooks at Studio West recording studio in 2014 as part of a project. I spent years and years toying with the tracks and trying to figure out how to expand them, but I could never pin anything down. Back in September (of 2020), I decided to have a go with those 2 songs, and came up with some parts and sounds I really liked! “Unfamiliar” was very similar, except the instrumental was recorded in 2015 in my room with an SM57 (all the drums, the guitars, and the original bass), and only recently did I re-record a majority of the parts and add sounds to develop (what I would consider) a much better-finished project. Once I had “Will”, “Lanterns”, and “Unfamiliar” mostly done, I sent to a good mate Luke Davies in Melbourne, Australia to put some bass on them. When I got his stems back, I realized I should really try and write some more tracks to make this EP a little longer.
Gerdie (Jason Wallace) and I grew up together in Florida, and have played in many bands together as of recent. Another project I play in and co-produce is called Papamummy. Papamummy consists of myself on drums, Jason Wallace on guitar and vocals, and Isaac Brodsky (Heavy in Pocket) on bass and vocals. I always like to work with as many people as I can, and I generally develop a song's sound or “vibe” knowing who I want to feature on it. “Summer” was written and recorded around the same time as “Unfamiliar”, but was re-recorded and rearranged to work for this project. The interesting aspect of “Apple Trees” and “Shallow” was that I had reached out to a pedal steel player (Jy-Perry Banks) to see if he wanted to lay some parts down for me, and he said yes! But at that time, I only had the three songs that were already wrapping up to be finished. So I quickly wrote and recorded “Apple Trees” and “Shallow” a night before I sent the tracks to Jy and he gave me back the most beautiful parts. I knew I wanted Isaac Brodsky to put vocals on “Shallow” as soon as I recorded it, so it worked out quite well.
What were the primary underlying emotions that you found yourself channeling for the majority of 'Acres?' Was that the intended sentiments you were trying to convey to your listeners?
I have always loved the sound of Bon Iver’s “Beach Baby” and Aero Flynn’s “Crisp”. I don’t know what it was, but I think the feeling I got from those tracks (among other tracks by those bands) was of the past. Not in a nostalgic kind-of-way, but more like when you have a memory you are struggling to remember. I intended the songs to channel a bit of those memory you struggle to remember, whether good or bad, and to acknowledge that those things happened, and may happen again, but that it will be ok. After finishing the EP, I felt as if I remembered those thoughts, and came to terms with them, and woke up from the dream back into reality. Basically, it is a convoluted way of saying, “It was what it was, and It is what it is.”
Where did most of the songs from 'Acres' start? Does your production process commence with a melody, a lyric, a few MIDI notes in your D.A.W., or something else entirely?
My production process always starts in Protools or Ableton with a guitar part. If I like the part that I play/record, I’ll immediately add bass to fill out the sound. At that point, I add textures like slide guitar, percussion/drums, horns, and so on. I love to send a song as “finished” as I can make it so that the vocalists have something they can enjoy as an instrumental. Although “Will” and “Lanterns” had vocals recorded first, I found it was best to work those songs out on guitar too. The originals of those 2 songs were different chord progressions and arrangements altogether, so it was nice to re-imagine them into a new sound. Sometimes getting parts back from a collaborator will really inspire the rest of the sound of the song. For example, when Luke Davies sent me some bass parts for 3 of the tracks, I scraped all my drums and half of my guitars and re-recorded them to make them fit with his parts better, and I’m so glad I did.
What was the central underlying meaning behind 'Acres' and its cohesive playback as a whole? Do you think the way you curated the flow from one song to the next played a factor in how you wanted to present those anecdotes?
Pre-pandemic, Jason, Isaac, and I were going to move to upstate New York and rent a house so we could put together a recording studio and work on projects for ourselves, and our friends. At the time, we were living in the city and had taken a trip with our friend Jack Butler to Shulls Farm in North Carolina to record for Papamummy with our DIY set up. The space we had in NC, compared to the non-existent space of NYC, was incredible. That really inspired the name of the EP. We had acres and acres... As for the flow of the record, the EP is best listened to all the way through in order. It is (in my mind at least) as an 18-minute short story of my feelings when experiencing the creative space (of NC or where I’m currently working in San Diego) and imagining being there forever.
If you could give listeners a few words that would act as the prologue to the experience behind 'Acres,' and the way you intended it, what would you choose to say, and why?
The best way to experience art (or music) is with an open mind. It is very easy to have thoughts come into your head and distract you. I would hope that the journey of the EP can distract you from all of life's distractions, especially now. I can’t wait to take long road trips again and travel, but if I’m stuck in one place at the moment, at least I can be free in my mind. I’d hope we can all be free like that.