Last week, standards released a video for their juicy new single “Papaya.” With golden ‘nanners, cardboard cutouts, and drippy clean tone goodness, we were pretty stoked on how it turned out. In our latest chat, Marcos and FB talk about his process, guitar specs, and what to expect from yum!!, the band’s upcoming EP. Hitch a ride on the group fruit meditation train below.
One thing is for sure, and that’s that Marcos’ palette seems to be broadening. That’s sushi on the table. I can’t even think about sushi right now, but that’s a totally different story. We’re also introduced to Cam, Standards latest drummer. But on top of all that, it appears that track two of the EP is going to be named after… a crustacean?
We don’t actually end up getting into that. Regardless, enjoy our QnA.
FB: Last time we spoke you were on the verge of releasing an album, a process you’re certainly familiar with by now. What would you say is the most challenging part of releasing a Standards record?
Marcos: I think at this point it’s defining what standards is! I love experimenting with this project and trying to retain our bread and butter sound, but also broadening our horizons enough to make a new record sound fresh!
FB: Do you feel like your songwriting changes alongside other shifts in your life?
Marcos: Most def, I always love incorporating new influences from outside genres to keep the music interesting!
FB: You’ve consistently rocked several guitars but in 2021 you developed a relationship with Aristides, a company primarily known for working with players in metal. How did this relationship come about? What is it about those guitars that keep you coming back?
Marcos: I’ve really struggled with finding guitars that I love. I can play anything really but I’ve rarely found guitars that I like. Even custom guitars that I’ve had eventually feel stale to me because my tastes have changed.
I’ve always been hip to Aristides, and when I found out they were offering a Telecaster shape, which I felt was more in line with my style, I reached out to them! They’re a boutique guitar company, and I can tell you, it’s worth every penny. They were nice enough to give me a discount for my first build, and once I got it I knew it was the one! I really love it a lot and prefer it over any other guitar in my collection now. My favorite aspects are the unique arium construction, the feel and of course the customizability!
FB: I noticed the latest guitar only has a neck pickup, something you pretty much just see in jazz or country. How would you say using one pickup has affected your playing?
Marcos: I went with a neck only because it was 1) cute as hell 2) the only pickup I needed to get the sound I wanted. The neck pickup always has a ton of body and fullness, which is important since I’m the only guitarist onstage. I also love the way it picks up harmonics and tapping versus the neck. My guitar also has a split coil option, which I usually leave on most of the time because it sounds super bright!
FB: I did see that you’ve been experimenting with some seven-strings lately – did you come up with anything cool or does it still seem cumbersome and unnecessary?
Marcos: 7-strings are really cool but I’m not sure if I have any use for it in standards. I think I’ll be using it to make some metal music and call it a day haha.
FB: Recently you turned some heads when announcing a new drummer, marking the departure of long term collaborator Forrest Rice. What are some of the qualities you observed in Cam that made you think “alright, this is the one?”
Marcos: It’s always been a challenge finding a permanent member on drums. Forrest stepped in to help me work on the Friends EP (2019) and we’ve been working together ever since. Obviously he’s a huge part of the sound of the band and contributed greatly. Usually we’d only record together and I would have someone play his parts live, but that changed after the COVID-19 lockdowns. We spent a lot of time together during lockdown because we didn’t have anything else to do. We worked on lots of new music together that I really like. However, his main obligation is to Covet, in which he has many duties to fulfill so I felt that it was time to look for someone more permanent.
Cam was someone I’ve known for quite awhile. We met a few years ago and they always expressed interest in having us play together, but I was weary because I didn’t want to be let down. At this stage in the band I had lots of expectations. But I sent them a message anyways and said “hey we should try to play together” and then it clicked. There’s been a lot of growing between us and I’m excited to perform with them and give the fans the best version of standards they’ve seen yet.
FB: We’re in a super bizarre timeline where tours are announced as quickly as they’re canceled. What are your feelings on the whole touring scene right now?
Marcos: I think it could be awhile before stable tours materialize, it seems that this situation won’t resolve as quickly as we hoped. We have a bunch of stuff planned so I’m hoping that things get better very soon, but as we’ve all seen things can go very, very wrong and because of that I don’t have my hopes very high.
FB:How do you bounce back from things like writers block when writing new material?
Marcos: I was very afraid to take breaks or focus on things besides music. I have a lot of guilt when doing other things, but I’ve learned to work with that in order to write better music. If I have some writers block, I really try to turn off the music and stop playing for a bit. I also love to try and listen to some new music outside of my wheelhouse because sometimes my writer’s block stems from lack of inspiration.
I always write a lot, but I think only like 10% of what I write turns into something I’d actually release, because I don’t always feel like everything I write is a worthwhile listening experience, which is the only kind I want to try and deliver. That is really the tiresome part because I obsess over whether something I’ve done will be received well or not, so I work a lot until a song I’ve started reaches a point that I feel is really great.
FB: What are you most looking forward to next year?
Marcos: Touring and releasing more music! Hopefully that works out!
FB: As a “household math rock” act, do you ever find it difficult to just check the boxes on the list of things your fans expect from you? Are there any surprises waiting in the wings we might not expect?
Marcos: Haha, I don’t know if we’re a household act just yet, though I’m super flattered. I think now I’m just focused on making what I think sounds good, regardless of the genre or where I think it fits. What’s really important to me is listening back and feeling that I made something as true to what I set out to do.