Hailing from the picturesque landscapes of Harbor Springs, Michigan, The Marsupials have emerged as a sonic force to be reckoned with. Picture this: a band that seamlessly blends rock, indie, funk, psychedelic, ska, and progressive elements into a mesmerizing tapestry of sound, all under the visionary leadership of their main songwriter, the maestro himself, Tai Jaxx Drury.
Formed in the creative crucible of high school days back in 2014, The Marsupials have not just stood the test of time; they’ve become a dynamic force in the Michigan music scene. As their lineup remains fluid, drawing from a deep pool of seasoned Michigan musicians, each performance is a unique concoction of fresh energy and musical expertise that captivates audiences from Marquette to Detroit.
What sets The Marsupials apart is not just their genre-defying sound, but their relentless commitment to delivering electrifying performances and raucous good times. For almost a decade, they have been a fixture at Michigan’s festivals, theaters, and breweries, carving their own path in the Midwest music landscape. Their dedication to advancing the boundaries of their music is evident in every note, as they fearlessly experiment with new sounds and explore uncharted territories.
Buckle up as we delve into the intriguing journey of The Marsupials, a band that embodies the spirit of Michigan’s music scene with unwavering dedication to their craft. Get ready for tales of musical evolution, high-energy performances, and the authentic sound that has solidified The Marsupials as one of Michigan’s most thrilling and innovative young bands.
The Marsupials are featured on “Progstravaganza: Harmony in Complexity” compilation with the track “Death Knell” off of their most recent album “End Times are Nigh.”
Prog Sphere: Tell us a bit about yourself and your musical journey. How did you get started in the world of progressive rock?
Tai Drury: I’m 27, and have been lucky enough to be a full time musician for 7 years or so, gigging throughout the Midwest U.S but mostly in Michigan. I watched “The Song Remains The Same” live concert film from Led Zeppelin at a young age, and once I saw John Bonham play the drums my fate was forever sealed as a musician. I started on drums, eventually moving to guitar and then singing because no one else did in the band’s early incarnations, which is a pretty classic story.
I’ve always been drawn to more complex music than one typically finds on popular radio, and at the risk of sounding arrogant there’s something really special about having to “work” to understand music, or any kind of art. It’s quite boring to be spoon fed the meaning of anything without some effort on the listener, and progressive rock usually contains a diverse range of elements that achieve this.
Let’s dive into the featured track on the compilation. Can you share the inspiration or story behind “Death Knell”?
“Death Knell” is on our most recent LP, End Times Are Nigh, which is an apocalyptic concept album I wrote mostly during quarantine, deep into the global Covid-19 pandemic during some wildly hopeless times. It’s a kind of desperate plea for the human race to come together to do something about the endless maelstrom of terrible suffering that plagues our world, which is completely our own fault as a collective. It’s an acknowledgement of the bell, the one that definitely cannot be unrung, as we destroy everything because of our utter inability to protect and preserve basic universal necessities like water, clean air, access to healthcare, etc. Not the most bubbly concept, but where we’re at is where we’re at.
Walk us through your creative process. How do you typically approach writing and composing music? What was your creative process like for your recent album “End Times Are Nigh” in comparison to your previous efforts?
As with most songwriters, it’s different every time, however with this album it was a much more cohesive process with a relatively clear destination. While I did the songwriting, I have to deeply praise my bandmate Andy Fettig. He produced, mixed, mastered, and performed multiple different instruments on every track.
This would not have been possible or nearly as coherent without his help. He has an astonishing ability as a producer to arrange my constant barrage of noodling into a (hopefully) meaningful idea.
Who or what are your major influences in progressive rock? How do they impact your own musical style?
For me, it’s Yes all the way. Pink Floyd is also another cornerstone, though I’m not sure exactly where they fall on the “progressive rock” scale. Genres are still pretty nebulous and indecipherable to me. King Crimson as well. For newer stuff, I’ve been really digging on the Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, The Smile.
What challenges have you faced as an artist in the scene, and how have you overcome them?
There definitely seems to be an oversaturation of great talent, and a lack of platforms to showcase it without getting lost. We’ve just tried to network with other great artists and play as many gigs as possible to get out there.
How do you see the scene evolving, and what role do you believe your music plays in that evolution?
I’d hope that streaming services will begin to transform, or that some other way for artists to make art becomes available rather than destroying themselves with the infinite tour. I cannot say what role my music plays in that evolution, as it’s such a gordian knot of a subject, so I just try to keep my head down and make something that’s meaningful to me.
Share with us some of the most memorable moments in your musical journey so far.
We’ve had countless over the many incarnations of The Marsupials, but my absolute favorite thus far has been our most recent album release tour. I’m beyond honored to be performing with the musicians we’re with now – Andy Fettig, Zach Dubay, and Bleu Quick, who all recorded on the album. These were some of the most fun shows of my life, and they all brought it, hard, every single night.
Do you have a personal favorite among your own compositions? If so, which one and why?
I don’t really, but I do have current favorites that change as we perform them. I would say my current favorite from the most recent album would be “Piss On Earth,” just because it’s such an earth-shatteringly cathartic song to play live. There’s a lot of history and emotion behind that song, possibly more than any I’ve written, so it feels like letting the floodgates open every time we do it.
Can you give us a sneak peek into any upcoming projects or collaborations you’re working on?
Nothing too concrete yet – we definitely plan to release a live album hopefully within the next year. Though End Times Are Nigh has leaned into a more indie direction, and is very acoustic at some points, I’d wager the next pool we dip our toes into will be much more distorted, fast, and loud. I think we’re ready to rip.
What does it mean to you to be a part of our compilation? How has the experience been for you?
It hopefully means to get our music in front of a few more people. We’re definitely proud of this most recent work, and are excited to take the journey farther. The experience has been great, we’re grateful to be included.
Is there a message you’d like to convey to your fans who will be discovering your music through this compilation?
Come to a gig! And if you’re in the UK, bring us to the UK so you can come to a gig!
If you could collaborate with any artist, living or not, who would it be?
Josh Homme, Damon Albarn as a close second.
If you had to pick one instrument (besides your primary one) to master, what would it be?
Definitely saxophone. There are way too many guitar players, but I’m already in too deep to turn back now.
What’s your all-time favorite progressive rock album, and why? One album that you always return to.
Fragile by Yes. It’s part nostalgia, and partially just because it’s the fucking best. It contains everything that I love about prog.
Are there non-musical influences that find their way into your music? (e.g., literature, art, science)
I definitely like to read, and am a bit of a book collector. Anything from historical non-fiction to rock bios, religious texts, plenty of science fiction, some high fantasy, poetry. The Great Works.
Any final thoughts or reflections you’d like to share with our audience?
If you’ve made it this far, you’re a real trooper, and thank you dear reader. It’d mean the world to me if you gave us a spin, and may potentially even be worth your time. Cheers!
Where can our audience find more about you and your music? (Include social media handles, website, etc.)