Sharing our recent interview with very talented Marquis Estelle who is based in Mississippi.He is trained as a philosopher and theologian, and have been a musician since age 5. Marquis Estelle is electronic ambient minimalist groove music in longer format songs and collages. The music is smooth and intelligent instrumental that can take you places in your mind, or provide nice beats while you are going places.
Twist Online : Our readers would like to know about start of your professional career.
Marquis Estelle : My professional career started on the Chitlin’ Circuit in Mississippi. I was in college and had joined a rock band playing keyboards, cover band. We we the weekend warriors, travelling all over MIssissippi, Tennessee, Alabama, even Florida. Of course I still had to go to class during the week, but at that age it’s not difficult. Some of the dives we played in were pretty rough, gunshots were nothing out of the ordinary. I became very familiar with the basic rock repertoire during this time, we played
the rock and pop hits of the day all the way back to “Johnny B Goode” and “Louie Louie.” After doing this for several years, it changes you as a musician, you get chops, you get endurance, and you realize that most rock songs are written in the key of A!!
I used a wide variety of gear, but mostly a Yamaha DX 27, which is like half of a DX7, very thin shouding. I also used a Roland SH101, a Korg KR-100, the MIDI controller you can wear like a guitar, that was always fun but the stagves were so small there just wasn’t room to use it. I used a Roland Juno 106 some, but the DX was like the bread and butter sounds, and I used every one of them, that was all I could afford at the time!
Twist Online : Who or what inspired you to get into music industry?
Marquis Estelle : I started out as a 5 year old in a school taking classical lessons, my first ever exposure was public recitals, so that is a far cry for the music industry proper. Much later, in my 30’s, after I had built up alot of electronic compositions and had a sizable studio to record in, I thought about release some of my material to sell on the web. I never did the touring or recording contract thing, never had a desire too.
I really detest the political and economic aspects of the music industry, and have no interest in fame or fortune in any way. It’s just music, making the best possible music according to the values and musical development that happens naturally. I don’t really feel like a grew alot as a composer unti I was in my late 30’s when I did my first movie work. Rather than being entirely negative about the music industry, it is that I’m just a purist when it comes to composing and developing in a free and unexpected way. It is a natural process. I’m a sound chaser, always driven by the possibility of getting new sound, new textures, anything that will add to making a new or different sound.
Twist Online : Tell us about your recent releases?
Marquis Estelle : My most recent release was two weeks ago, a song called “Gadgetry,” it is a 6 or 7 minutes synth, ambient piece with a guitar solo over it, and a slower hip hop beat, it represents a collage type approach where there are alot of sounds going on at the same time, but they all fit together and are very cohesive. I think my music is best listened to on high quality speakers because of all the detailed layering I do.
(And here is the track “Gadgetry” check it out)
Twist Online : What kind of response your music has received so far?
Marquis Estelle : Not much at all. I live in Missisippi, which is all about the blues and country. My music is totally different than any of that, but that’s not why I do it. The most interest so far has been Europe where listeners can handle electronic instrumental ambient music. Here is America is has to have some silly chick singing a vocal and shaking her body, or be on American Idol. I detest that. I’m from a Frnech family, and I feel like I’m very European in my values as a person. My music has yet to find it’s core audience. But, again, I don’t do it for an audience, I do it for music, and I do the music that I personally like and it has to sound like nothing else.
Twist Online : What attracts you more performing on stage or working in studios?
Marquis Estelle : Studio all the way. I normally use around 5 computers for my basic setup. These days I rely heavily on soft synths, with the original Spectrasonics Atmosphere being my favorite, especially to edit those waveforms into some realaly unique tones. I also started using SSL hardware to do processing. The buss compressor is just a wonderful piece of gear and I use both the software and hardware versions of it. Arturia also makes some great soft synths, I think their Minimoog is the best one, especially for being able to edit into new sounds.
Twist Online : What’s your favorite music genre?
Marquis Estelle : Classical, going back to my childhood. Beyond that, Michael Cretu and his Enigma project completely changed my life and gave me a course to follow, especially in terms of doing your own thing.
Twist Online : Have you set some goals to achieve as a music artist?
Marquis Estelle : Very much so. I’d like to get wider distribution, focusing on Europe and Asia, where I think my music will find a place. Americans don’t listen to or buy alot of ambient electronic music, it’s just poppy kind’ve stuff. I’d like to be the first major ambient electronic artist to get recognized in America, but that’s a far goal.
Twist Online : Are you working on any new project?
Marquis Estelle : I always have at least three things going. I define my projects by the type of music. I’m working on a jazz fusion project with a jazz drummer buddy, and we have this interesting “avante garde” type synth and drums stuff that is interesting. I’m also working on electronic projects with various other artists. I’m also working on a project that is more guitar oriented, kind’ve prog rock with alot of synth in it.