UTG EXCLUSIVE: Brian Marquis Talks Vans Warped Tour’s Acoustic Basement

There’s no doubt Brian Marquis was one of the busiest men on this summer’s Vans Warped Tour. Guitarist of former post-hardcore powerhouse Therefore I Am gone folk singer-songwriter was only one of the many hats Marquis wore while on the tour. Not only did Marquis perform at the Acoustic Basement on a daily basis, he developed the idea for this unique addition of the tour and managed it on a daily basis…talk about multitasking.

The Acoustic Basement is an unspoken getaway at Warped. A place of serenity, created for those looking for a tranquil form of entertainment amongst a whirlwind of flashy breakdowns and obscene, yet oddly fashionable t-shirts. Marquis developed the initial idea of the stage as a place for himself and his colleagues (others who have made the transition from full band to a more acoustic-based outfit) to showcase their music while still partaking in the annual endeavors of the Vans Warped Tour.

“It was just an idea I had,” Marquis claimed. “I met with (Warped Tour founder) Kevin (Lyman) after I moved to L.A. and I asked him if he had ever thought about doing an acoustic stage at Warped. There’s a lot of guys, like me, who have played in punk and hardcore bands that play solo-acoustic but they still exist in the punk-alternative realm. I said if it were done right it could really work and he let me run with it.”

One could only imagine what the daily life of Marquis on Warped could entail, given the various challenges he must overcome to both play his set and effectively manage the entire stage. Marquis enters each day with a level head and accepts those challenges as they tend to arise.

“The biggest challenge really is keeping the energy going and keeping morale high,” Marquis said. “Warped is a tough tour, all the challenges happen before Warped. I believe in the saying, ‘the more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war.’ My biggest challenges are keeping it going, keeping the train moving. Nothing’s ever perfect out here, everything’s a bit of a compromise, but it’s a good thing. Everyone kind of rolls with the punches on Warped Tour.”

It appears, between engaging him in conversation and watching his passionate live performance, that playing is Marquis’ euphoria. He is honest and forthcoming on stage, giving fans something to remember and always sing along to.

“Sometimes I wish there were one or two more of me,” Marquis confessed. “I like the chaotic balance. When I get to play my set it’s like my 25 minutes of peace where my radio’s off, my phone’s off…I can’t be bothered. I just do my thing.”

The Acoustic Basement expanded beyond parking lots as it embarked on a winter edition tour, featuring Geoff Rickly (Thursday), A Loss For Words, Vinnie Caruana (The Movielife/I Am The Avalanche), Koji and Brian Marquis. This provided a unique opportunity for Marquis to expand on the idea he proposed to Kevin Lyman the previous summer.

“I really felt like the Acoustic Basement was the only themed stage on Warped Tour. It’s all acoustic singer-songwriters, so I saw that continuity and I thought if it worked (at Warped) I thought, ‘what if we brought this to the clubs?’ Basically, we had such a great time last summer and I just wanted to continue that vibe. It was one of the best tours I’ve ever done,” Marquis said. “I’m working on planning it for next year.”

Marquis signed to the newly founded Easy Killer Records & Apparel in 2013, a move he felt comfortable making for his own career.

“I realized, if anyone I feel I could work with comes along and could join my team, it’s just more fuel for the fire,” Marquis expressed, when talking about the transition into the EK family. He claimed EK came at the right time, given his nature to want to focus more on his songwriting, and less on the logistics of putting out a record. “[Easy Killer] came to me and got it and really wanted to work with me. You can’t put a price tag on enthusiasm.”

Marquis claimed that he will begin studio work on his full-length after Warped Tour commences (and a much-needed break). Be sure to keep an eye out for his new record and expect to see him out with the Acoustic Basement again very soon.


Written and conducted by: Matthew Leimkuehler

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