Updated: Jun 9, 2020
By Juliette Coleman
Edited by Chloe Gross
We spoke with multi-genre artists, Marley Pitch about isolation and how using this time to get to know himself has led him to create his best music yet.
Where are you staying right now and what was happening in your life before the Covid-19 virus affected your community forcing you into isolation?
I'm here in the states in North Carolina, just kind of going about my regular life, working my day job from time to time. I record from home, so I don't have this situation of having to go to a studio and someone else having to be there. So to be honest before it all happened I was already working on a couple of things but nothing serious. I had no intention of putting out an album anytime soon or anything like that. I just was making songs because I like to stay working, stay consistent. Once everything started rolling out and we're now here, locked up in our homes, I started to work aggressively on stuff, and it has been turning into an album that I think came out of just not having those social obligations anymore.
Having to be at home has sort of blocked out a lot of those times when you have an idea and you’re not at your workstation and you try to get them down and a lot of the times you don't count for the feeling.
You know, when you get back and you're in front of a mic, you don't quite have what you tried to capture. So I've had to me what feels like a privilege to be able to, as soon as I feel it, I just get it down, and it's definitely contributed to the speed of those songs being made and has contributed to, I think, how pure and self-aware they are. You know if you're living with people then you're gonna get to know those people more, but you're also inevitably getting to know yourself more. That's helped me a lot in this time and that's the one little silver lining.
“I think it's a call to action for all artists. You know in times like these, this is when art is the most powerful.”
On a more personal note, how has isolation been for your mental health and how have you been dealing with this bizarre time that we are having to live through?
Man, surprisingly, I'm sounder than I think I've been in a long time and that might be weird to hear. For me I think I've never really feared my mortality so that side of things doesn't bother me. I think also the fact that I am in a privileged situation, you know, my job is still paying me while I'm out, I'm here with my mom and she’s still working. So I don't feel it to the great levels that a lot of other people are feeling it and I am privileged and thanking God every day about that.
I have what I was sent here to do at my fingertips at every second of the day. It's honestly been pushing me and inspiring me to really just speak with purpose I mean I always have, as an artist, but man it's channeling something different out of me for sure.
You know, I've always believed that I was here to make music, but this is kind of like my call to action and I think it's a call to action for all artists. You know in times like these this is when art is the most powerful.
When you look back at times similar to these, say the Great Depression. Here in the States, we had a little guy called Frank Sinatra who was kind of going crazy and his music was predominantly about love and stuff, but that music really carried a lot of people through those times. I read somewhere the other day, I don't know how true it is, that during the black plague Shakespeare was quarantining and during that time he was writing his best works.
(FUNFACT: Shakespeare wrote King Lear while quarantined during the black plague)
I resonate with it because I definitely feel like I'm making my best music. I mean to be real it's like, though I may not fear my death or passing, I am aware of the fact that I still want to be here. You know, being very candid, there were times, you know struggling with mental health that I didn't want to be here. I have a better perspective and a hold on it now so it's very surprising that I actually am in such high spirits in this time. It's because I feel like I have to be strong for other people and make the art that will help carry people through this like previous artists have.
Do you want to talk a bit about the process and concept of your new project that you've been working on while in isolation?
I did have all the intention of putting an album out this year but in my mind, saw it being much later on in the year. Around, probably top of March I began working on the song Metallic (OUT NOW) on a Saturday night around like 1 or 2AM. I had the beat on the hard drive for at least a month or so and I cracked it open that Saturday night and was just gonna write a few lines down ‘cause I was like it's late and I'm not gonna get that deep and…it got deep and a valve broke and I just started going. So I was like I gotta get this done and put this out so I put it out a week later.
Then during that week I was like, man, I feel like it would be cool if I put out an EP. So I was like, okay, Metallic would be one of those songs and I know I need to work with Justice (Der) and Rachel (Bobbitt) on something. One thing led to another and I just started making a bunch more songs.
That's one thing I can say during this time and making this album, like I've never made music this fast. Just in the past two weeks I made at least six of the songs and every song has kind of been like that. It's all been like, I wrote it in one sitting and recorded it in one sitting, and we got it mixed down in like two days or so.
In terms of the concept, you know, it's titled Singularity. In my notes, that's where I write all my songs but I also have ideas, lines, titles for things, things written down for movies that I want to shoot in the future and I have this one page of names that I think are cool and resonate with me. Once I started getting enough through the project, singularity was one that was hittin’ for me. Actually, when it entered my notes was from watching this Anime movie called Akira (1988). It's quite cerebral, and at the end (SPOILER) there is an occurrence of what they call the singularity, which was kind of like, everything that was living kind of came back to one and I thought that was really trippy.
Then obviously just to be singular, and that's kind of more where I lean towards because while making these songs, I felt that I was expressing things that I feel I've never heard artists or rappers really speak on. I feel like I've gotten to a place where I have a lot more control over my voice and I sound more comfortable on these songs than I ever have. I feel like there’s not as much posturing to make my voice sound good, it just kind of sounded good. I literally recorded this whole album just sitting down too, like I usually stand up. But yeah, it was a very laid-back process.
I feel like this album is definitely going to show that I am singular, you know I am in a lane of my own and creating and burning my own path. Even speaking to isolation, it’s definitely something I think people can resonate with because we're all a bit more singular than we've ever been. So we’re having to get deep and the album does get deep.