Hey Marseilles
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Hey Marseilles

Seattle, Washington, United States | INDIE

Seattle, Washington, United States | INDIE
Band Rock Pop


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Photos & sounds of the day: Hey Marseilles at KEXP"

We were lucky enough to catch up with our friends Hey Marseilles this past weekend at KEXP for their Audioasis in-studio. Stopping by for a few songs before heading off to their sold-out show at the Neptune Theater {with Nick Jaina and Bryan John Appleby supporting}, they managed to wow the airwaves with some gorgeous new sounds that left us chomping at the bit for their next release.

Check out the archived performance over at KEXP, and more photos in KEXP's flickr pool here.

Did anyone catch the Neptune show? Was it everything you hoped it would be? Let us know in the comments below!! - Three Imaginary Girls

"Today Reverb Recommends Getting Tickets for Saturday's Hey Marseilles 7" Release Show"

The new "Elegy" 7" from Hey Marseilles comes out on Tuesday, and to celebrate its first release since 2010's To Travels & Trunks, the band will perform Saturday night at the Neptune Theatre with Bryan John Appleby and Nick Jaina. In this week's Short List, Todd Hamm describes the band's upcoming release:

The title track from "Elegy," the new 7-inch by Seattle's orchestral, Mediterranean-tinged songsters Hey Marseilles begins with a poppy vocal "na-na-na-na, oh" intro and ends with an uncharacteristically spacey post-production blip. In between, though, frontman Matt Bishop is the valiant troubadour from the band's much-loved To Travels and Trunks, and he and the backing instrumental crew practice their traditionalist romp-style as well as ever. The B-side, entitled "Cafe Lights," is a heavier, more resolute number than the carefree jauntiness of the flip side. The contrast of style is a welcome innovation, and perhaps a sneak peak into their next full-length (which should be out early 2012).
Saturday's show begins at 9 p.m. and advance tickets cost $12. - Seattle Weekley Reverb Blog

"Hey Marseilles: Fall Folkestra"

When instruments outnumber the players in a group, you begin to contemplate the kind of genre the music falls in to. Does music versus voice make any difference? A soliloquy versus a cellist’s interpretation of what love means; does it really matter? Not to the members of Hey Marseilles, voted one of Seattle’s most influential and popular Northwest groups.

The seven-member band includes everything but the kitchen sink including a guitar, mandolin, cello, accordian, trumpet, viola, and drums. Initially started by two University of Washington students, Nick Ward and Matt Bishop, the group was eventually followed by Ward’s roommate Philip Kobernik, and after a few jam sessions at Gasworks Park, new players were added to the already talented roster. The band’s album To Travels and Trunks, released in 2008, ranked as one of the Pacific Northwest’s best albums of the year.

Hey Marseilles has enjoyed much acclaim for their wall of percussion denotation that draws upon the likeness of Broken Social Scene, where each member is involved in the evolutionary music process. Majestic orchestrations featuring guitars, horns, woodwinds, and violins, curious song structures, and an experimental, and sometimes unruly production style, Hey Marseilles enjoys telling its story with a set of brass balls, er set of trumpets, that is. Not surprising, as Bishop describes the band in three words as, “detailed, neurotic, and melodic.”

“With seven of us, we draw from a pretty wide range. I’d say our instrumental foundation lies in Nick and Philip’s fascination with traditional European folk music,” explained Matt Bishop, the band’s lead guitarist and vocalist.

According to Bishop, Hey Marseilles draws from influences such as Andrew Bird, Beirut, Page France, Dave Bazan, and Grizzly Bear. “I lean toward an appreciation for straightforward pop melodies,” he said.

Bishop described the band’s sound as something called “Folkestra,” or Orchestral, Folk-pop. “Our basic formula is to lay a foundation of nuanced instrumental riffs below an appealing pop melody, with some introspective lyrics sprinkled above,” revealed the lead singer.

However, therein lies much more to Hey Marseilles version of Soft Pop Rock, the group’s lyrics articulate themes that many college students, or post-grads can relate to: roommate issues, making rent, relationships, growing up through the lens of white middle class suburbia, and the effects of the defunct bailout crisis.

Most importantly, the group hopes to capitalize on its rising success, not just in Seattle, where the entire group resides, but also in larger venues that will allow the members to keep the heat on in their apartments and afford medical care.

When asked about future plans for the group, Bishop said, “Ideally, it’d be a place where this could be our job for a few years. That’s still an aspiration more than a reality, so it’s hard to know. But we think it’s worth giving it a shot.”

Catch Hey Marseilles the Shakedown on Friday, Nov. 11 at 9 p.m. For more about the band, visit heymarseilles.com/ - What's Up Magazine

"Heavy Rotation"

What: new single, upcoming show, all-around swoonworthyness
Sounds Like: three parts heartfelt, no-parts triteness alt.orchestra.symphonic European carnival pop
More info at: http://heymarseilles.com
Playing: The Neptune on Saturday, November 12th

Pardon the double negative, but you can't not get caught up Hey Marseilles show. Their newest release -- a 7" with their latest effort, "Elegy" -- is yet another notch on the bedpost of this incredibly capable group, proving once again that these seven gents are a force to be reckoned with. "Elegy" as a standalone track is simultaneously intricate and clean, and very... Hey Marseilles-y -- yet manages to deliver a new dimension of everything that makes this band great. Add in the B-side "Cafe Lights" that any fan will recognize from it's appearance in the live set, and you've got a win that leaves us clamoring for a new full-length. Come celebrate with us on the 12th at the Neptune, and stay tuned for a ticket giveaway next week! - Three Imaginary Girls

"Play Along: Hey Marseilles"

Seeing Hey Marseilles perform is like going to see the band your best friend's kid brother cobbled together and realizing midway through the second song, "Hey, they're actually good!" Their goofy, unpolished stage presence (the lanky "drumbourine" player always seems to be on the verge of tripping over an electrical cord and crashing into the accordionist) makes the playful chamber pop quintet charming to watch. Melancholy cello and viola harmonies underscoring poetic meanderings about love and loneliness, God and Dostoyevsky makes these guys worth keeping an eye on. They're not yet jaded enough to know they shouldn't smile when they perform, but their heartfelt songs grab your attention, make you wistful for your last love, and give you a bit of hope that, well, there might be hope after all in this big, cruel, world. - Wilson Diehl - Seattle Metropolitan Magazine

"10 More... To Look Out For"

"Folkestra," as Hey Marseilles have aptly labeled themselves, has become a dime-a-dozen genre. The pairing of strings, organ, and perhaps accordion with acoustic narratives is no longer a spectacle only available at a Decemberists show. Hey Marseilles may have a little trouble distancing themselves from Portland's aforementioned folkestraters, but tasty accordion licks, catchy hooks and heartfelt charm make the band more than an imitator. The band is currently labelless, but a few songs are available for download on its website. - Rob Miller - Seattle Sound

"Up & Coming"

I don't know if it's just because I'm really hyper and happy and totally fucked up from eating nothing but sugar all morning, but Hey Marseilles's "Hold the Morning," while sounding at first like just another singer/songwriter tune about broken skylines and dancing on golden streets, is actually a great indie-pop tune played by a sparkling clean band and sung by a man with a voice that's strong and reminiscent of both Ben Gibbard and the guy from Snow Patrol. Speaking of Snow Patrol, I can see fans of that band being really into Hey Marseilles, but HM has a more orchestral sound—pianos, horns, cello, accordion, banjo, a little bit of everything. If they can pull it off live, it'll sweep you off your feet. I make no promises, but it might be worth taking a chance on. - Megan Seling - The Stranger (Megan Seling)

"Up And Coming"

10/15/08 (Neumos) Hey Marseilles share some members with Seattle's surprisingly adept Anniversary knockoffs Man Down Medic, but they set their sights on another sound with this act. Namely, their debut full-length, To Travels and Trunks, finds the band stowing away on Beirut's international freighter—not only for its allusions to scenic world traveling, but also for its lush orchestration, which is marked by string sections, trumpet, and accordion. But bandleader Matt Bishop has a far more straightforward, articulate, and upbeat pop vocal style, and his lyrics read less like they're scrawled on postcards than carefully composed in marble-bound notebooks. They're currently looking for a new drummer, and their ad says they value "women, mustaches, chops, experience, old clothes, jazzy drumming, multi-instrumentalists, intelligence, history books, free markets." --ERIC GRANDY - The Stranger

"Review of debut full-length"

Hey Marseilles fittingly refers to their seven-person outfit as "folkestra," featuring a trumpet, accordion, viola, the occasional series of hand claps, and so on and so forth. Despite their bulky roster, their full-length debut To Travels and Trunks is a most graceful journal of passages far and hearts longing, letters written in cursive over long drives and sea rides.

As its title suggests, the album is in many ways a reflection on place, both physically and on a personal level, hitting tones both ruminative and romantic. One the one hand are nods to "water towers and midwest towns" ("Cannonballs") and the rambunctious romp of "Rio," but songs also ponder "halos and hubris" ("You Will Do For Now"), rebellion and complacence, and all the weight of closing doors to explore others. Ultimately, the question goes far beyond where and into whether you're willing to "leave your love, your life to see the world go by" ("From A Terrace").

Still, a desire to be anywhere but here comes through not only lyrically but in the motion of each piece from one style or mood to another more dramatic. This is underscored in "Calabasas" as it simmers from heavy, rocking chords into an arresting stretch of strings in one of the most intense turns of the entire album. The idea goes even further as "Cigarettes" shifts from a straightforward folk ditty to looming the full band into an epic plea for what once was. No song is stagnant, though some move more quietly than others. "Cities" begins with blue and jazzy piano, gradually drawing in drums and layers of subtle harmonies and finally melting into a meditation on "cities alive with loneliness." In my imagination, those melancholic sighs of verse enter with their hands in their pockets, tiredly watching the cold, loveless dark of the alley ways from a pool of streetlight. The words of this song are few (a single verse repeated as if to echo in the emptiness), yet it's among the most poignant, poetic tracks on the album.

Hey Marseilles' virtuosity lies in their diligence to place each note just so, as if each beat were bijoux delicately traced one by one. The poetry of their lyrics and their complex, evocative chamber pop charm are as much Paris sidewalk as patio swing or Seattle skyline, and you'll find that the end to this album is as unwanted as the end to a voyage of your own. An instrumental piece closes this album the same way it was opened, with waltzing, wistful piano akin to the small melody of a music box serving as a final testament to the gems within. Cleverly enough, the piece is titled "Goodbye Versailles." You can consider it your own farewell to a thing of beauty. - www.theovercast.net

"Hey Marseilles fight Fiends and Harlequins"

...Built on the solid foundation of Matt Bishop's songsmithery--which isn't really a word so much, says Google--the band creates lush propulsion that is far less assuming and rowdy than the sheer mass of musicians on stage would have you believe. Seven members strong, Hey Marseilles boasts its own orchestral accompaniment.

Opening with a rush of sound that gives way to a jazz waltz by way of the roaring '20s, the band's first number eventually brings every member to the mic for an a capella chorus. In the midst of all this instrumentation, it might be easy to overlook Bishop's understated writing hand, but you shouldn't. Bishop's lyrics are gorgeous, longform poems with lines that unfold into knowing. All that and a beat.

They did more songs, covering Joy Division and The Magnetic Fields along the way, and while the set didn't truly crest and was marred by some small snafus, I and the crowd left joyous, happy.

Who needs the sun in a town where the music is this good?

-Tyson Lynn - Seattle P-I Blog


To Travels and Trunks (9 June 2010, Onto Entertainment/ ADA)
Elegy 7" (15 November 2011, Onto Entertainment)
Lines We Trace (5 March 2013, Onto Entertainment)
Lines We Trace--Deluxe Edition--Vinyl (August 2013 Onto Entertainment)



Five miles south of downtown Seattle is the neighborhood of Columbia City—a leafy stretch of old brownstones and new condos which, according to local legend and loosely interpreted census data, boasts the most diverse zip code in America. Not far from Columbia City’s main drag, amidst a swirl of languages and colors and food and accents, sits a 100-year-old, two-story house that’s home to the world-weary, six-piece orchestral-pop ensemble known as Hey Marseilles.

World-weary in spirit if not in practice: Hey Marseilles first won hearts across the US with its 2010 debut, To Travels and Trunks, an album that reveled in the education and inspiration only globe-trotting exploration can provide. With Matt Bishop’s lyrical wayfaring abutting an instrumental palette that embraced folk tradition—accordion, strings, and horns; gypsy, Gallic, and classical—To Travels and Trunks gave musical voice to the universal longing for unfettered freedom. NPR called the record “sublime and heartfelt.”

A lot has changed in the world since 2010—that house in Columbia City, for instance. The vacillations of the economy allowed Hey Marseilles violist Jacob Anderson to acquire it in 2011; he and his younger brother, cellist and producer Sam Anderson, helped renovate it. Since then, most of the band has lived in it, and the entirety of their new album was written and recorded in it, or nearby. (Other recording spaces included a tunnel in Seattle’s Golden Gardens Park, a mostly abandoned brick office building, and a church sanctuary, all because of their advantages for the band’s acoustic instrumentation.) Not surprisingly, Lines We Trace is not about going out and searching. It’s about finding you’re already where you need to be.

Make your way back home again, Bishop sings on the dusky ballad “Café Lights.” I am here still.

“These songs articulate a sense of longing, but it’s a longing to appreciate what’s in front of you as opposed to finding meaning in somewhere or someone else, “ says Bishop. “It’s about finding and creating home where you’re at and as you are.”

The 12 songs on Lines We Trace represent a band steady enough in its sound—poignant, panoramic, unreservedly gorgeous—that it can expand beyond it. The string section that hums throughout “Elegy”—quintessentially sweeping, Hey Marseilles style—shifts into finely composed abstraction for the song’s final minute. Colin Richey’s skittering rhythm on “Bright Stars Burning” is a gentle breakbeat, a sly nod to atmospheric drum ‘n’ bass. “Madrona” and the album-closing “Demian” are Hey Marseilles’ first fully instrumental songs, a pair of echo-laden piano-and-cello dirges that are simultaneously solemn and sumptuous. “Dead of Night” trots along on an almost-funky, waltzy swing and gives the album its titular lyric, trumpet triumphant as Bishop sings, The lines we trace have a thousand ends/We’ll count the ways we can’t begin/And stay in our homes, remain on our own…

Throughout, Philip Kobernik’s accordion is less pronounced than previously, Nick Ward’s guitar more so. The result is less old-world, more new school. “With our first record, we were inspired by traditional folk instrumentation and arrangements, but at our core we were trying to make solid pop songs,” Bishop explains. “We see this album as a continuation of that goal, but we hope the arrangements reflect our maturation as musicians and songwriters.” An update. A progression. A musical analog to a line in “Looking Back”: If you’re looking back that’s all you’ll ever see.

Six years after Bishop first got together with Kobernik and Ward to jam at Seattle’s Gasworks Park, Hey Marseilles is an experienced band with a slew of major festivals (Bumbershoot, Sasquatch!) and a national tour under its belt. They’ve come a long way—only to find themselves back home.

Put another way, as Lines We Trace suggests, sometimes you don’t have to go far to find a meaningful experience. Sometimes the comfort of the familiar is all you need to grow.