When it comes to music, we like to pretend our world fits neatly into black and white, hip-hop and r&b, rock and rap. But is it possible that one artist can bring the rock, the soul and the pop music lover together in one blissful Technicolor orgy? If anyone can, it’s Chris Marsol. On his bold debut album, “Butterflies, Lipstick and Handgrenades” (Hiero Imperium), Marsol fuses together rock, soul, pop and electro, resulting in a record where no two tracks sound the same. Arranged and produced by Marsol, “Butterflies, Lipstick and Handgrenades,” drops March 30, 2010.
Marsol and his band made this record the old-fashioned way: they got together at FM studios in Berkeley, CA.
“It was a 24 hour recording session split up into two days,” explains Marsol. “Before the session, we rehearsed over a period of months to solidify the arrangements. Then we all tracked our parts simultaneously, in one huge recording room so the music had an organic sound because. We recorded it exactly the way we play it live at shows.”
How this rock artist ended on one of the Bay’s most esteemed and successful hip-hop brands? “In 2007 my business partner gave Hiero’s owner Tajai (of Souls of Mischief) some of my music. Unknown to us, Tajai had been listening to it while on tour. When he got back, a meeting was set up and we decided to work together.”
“I want my label to represent quality music in general, not just underground rap,” explains Tajai. “Chris has talent and energy that the world needs to see.”
Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, home of Haight-Ashbury, Marsol is the product of the hippie movement, Psychedelic Rock, the Black Panthers. Admittedly, he wasn’t around during the revolution, but the spirit of art, freedom, and progressive thinking still illuminates the Bay Area — and Marsol’s music.
“As a child, I didn’t discriminate between genres of music,” notes Marsol, who includes Pink Floyd, Cream, Stevie Wonder, Nirvana, Genesis, Stone Temple Pilots, D’Angelo, Radiohead, and Hall and Oates among his favorite artists. “I only distinguished between what I liked and what I didn’t like.”
At 6, Chris was singing in his church choir and stealing the spotlight, dancing at his family reunions. By 11, he was locking himself in the bathroom, writing and recording his first songs with a Radio Shack tape recorder. At age 17 he taught himself how to play the piano and eventually taught himself the guitar.
When asked about the meaning of the album title, Marsol shrugs, “There’s no meaning until you create one.”
“Butterflies, Lipstick and Hand Grenades” drops March 30, 2010.
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