A Journey with RUMOURS [Interview]

Updated: Sep 14, 2019

Interview with RUMOURS

photos by William Freeman

“Get out the way, I’m here to see the sunset and contemplate the beauty of it all // I don’t need somebody else’s guidance, just want to lose control…”

This lyrical mission statement, from the chorus of a track titled “Ways”, epitomizes the essence of London-based, Italian-Norwegian trio RUMOURS. “It embodies the need of doing or experiencing something you love and enjoy without having to worry about other people’s perception of it,” says vocalist Mark. But they’re not just here to contemplate the beauty of it all - they’re here to create beauty along the way. The band’s ability to establish insistent, pulsing beats juxtaposed with melodies of liquid makes for an irresistible palette to melt into.

Mark, Fede, and Marion came together at university, meeting at an intersection of their international backgrounds, influences, and ideas. “It was a pretty natural process. Although we are very different as individuals, the energy between us has always been positive, and we found that our differences, personal and music-related, could compensate each other very well,” instrumentalist Fede describes.

The name RUMOURS, chosen seemingly at random to begin with, has a resonance that became apparent at a later time. “We really grew fond of it only once we opened a conversation with Paul Venn, a friend of ours who designed our logo,” Marion explains. “We brainstormed ideas about what the word meant to us and how it could relate to the music we were making. We found it interesting and intriguing how rumours distort and morph while spreading, and also how not knowing if something is true or false triggers people’s curiosity.”

Longtime friends since high school in Italy, Fede and Mark’s passion developed together. “Our friendship grew stronger through the experiences we shared while making and performing music,” Mark elaborates. “Once we moved to London, we felt like starting a new project, but knew that finding an additional member could elevate our potential. Once we met Marion, we knew that she was the one.” And the addition of her silvery tones is not only complementary, but brands the trio’s music in a way that is unmistakable.

“We thought that having two lead singers instead of only one could be a distinctive feature of our sound,” continues Mark. “When we met Marion, we knew that her voice would work very well with mine. Most of the time the two vocals are equally important, but if a song is leaning particularly towards a style that suits one better than the other, then that person will take the spotlight.” In the moments containing the duality of both vocals, they ring out as inseparable layers, octaves intertwining.

Their first musical venture as a three piece was a song called “Feel Me”, which was also their first release into the world. “We still have an emotional attachment to it, but it’s pretty safe to say that our skills as songwriters have definitely evolved and improved since then,” notes Fede. “We write, as well as realize if an idea has real potential or not, much more quickly now, and we know our strengths and weaknesses better so it’s much easier to steer through them.”

Their tracks - “mellow, soulful, and electronic” - are the result of a determined yet fluid mindset. “We usually lay the core of the song first - top line, lyrics, and a chord progression,” Fede details. “Then I often play around with the structure to see what feels right, and proceed to find the main sounds that I’d like to use. At this point, we can really see a track taking shape and decide if we’re happy with the direction it has taken, or if we want to try to give it a different twist.”

According to Mark, compromising during the creative process leads to the songs that they’re collectively most proud of. “Our artistic self-awareness has increased over the years of working together, which helps in knowing when one of us should take the lead - for example, if a track needs a melody that we know Marion would easily come up with, or if we should let Fede develop the instrumental further before finalising the vocals. [It’s about] finding the right balance.” And the tracks truly seem like an integration of thoughts, with variated, expanding forms.

This diverging nature particularly comes across in the band’s live shows as well, where they feel more free to experiment, enveloping the audience in a monochromatic glow. “We strive to keep it as interesting and captivating as possible,” Marion relates. “Our music is generally chilled, but during our live shows we try to enhance the dynamics of it and exaggerate both the quiet and loud moments. You could say that we try to be elastic; to be small and delicate at times, but to become very big and powerful at others. More musicians join us on stage during our live shows, especially when it’s a headlining show. That gives us the chance to have a much more human feel and also to rearrange and play around with the records. We really enjoy connecting different tracks and building bridges from one to the other, almost as if our goal is to take the audience on a journey with us.”

Even if you haven’t had a chance to make it to one of their recent shows in London, it’s still easy to experience the journey of their music through the lyrics alone. “Lights Down”, their most recent release, exemplifies the complexities that they examine. “[The song] is about finding reciprocity in relationships. Timing, external factors, and many more things make it something hard to achieve, and we can often find ourselves hurt or hurting someone because of it,” Mark reveals.

And only days after releasing “Lights Down”, an oversight unintentionally generated excitement around another track. “There is a song in particular called ‘Glaciers’ that we can’t wait to release, although we’re not sure when that might happen,” says Fede. “The funny story is, I mistakenly activated the Soundcloud as link as public when the track was still at a very early stage - it was supposed to be a private link for only us to listen to. People started listening and even reposting it, so that’s how we noticed. We had to take it down, but can’t wait to share the final and complete version.”

In between phases of putting on the finishing touches, they might be exploring other territories. “Fede’s developing an interest for sailing; he loves to travel and see new places,” Marion tells us. “Mark has some unexpected sushi-making skills, and I, loyal to my Scandinavian roots, often spend long periods of time in Svalbard, an island very close to the North Pole, where I take inspiration from enjoying the moonlike landscapes.”

The band might be taking their time to get inspired, but it’s going to be worth it. “We are now in the process of writing a lot of new material, so you might have to wait a bit longer to hear something new, but be prepared for loads of RUMOURS tracks coming your way.”

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