I finally got the chance to sit down with Marc E. Bassy for an interview after he played with Kyle at the Showbox Sodo in Seattle. He had just recently put out a 5 song EP titled Postmodern Depression.
When asked: “where did the title come from/what was it inspired by,” he stated on his Instagram story that “culture can be taxing and overwhelming, and I honestly hit a breaking-point where I wanted to give up doing music—I felt like I wasn’t being appreciated for my work and my talents. I was looking around seeing all these peoples’ careers take off and feeling like I was living in a world where I mattered more to me than to everybody else. I’ve realized along the way that my fans are truly the greatest gift someone like me could ask for, and so, even though it’s called PMD and that’s where the project started, I feel very fortunate and blessed by all of you guys for holding me up through all of it.”
Through the long-winded stories and tangents, I got a deeper look into Marc E. Bassy, his thoughts, and the things that shaped him.
Interview edited for clarity and length
RMR: For everyone who might not be familiar with you, can you give a quick introduction?
Bassy: My name is Marc E. Bassy, I’m from San Francisco, California. I was born in Mount Zion hospital, and my mother’s name is Susan, my dad’s name is William. I have two sisters and a brother, and I’m a debater. If you ever say anything, then I’ll probably have to debate you about whatever you’re saying, period. Because I don’t think that anyone’s right about anything, I think that there’s an argument to be had. I’m very argumentative.
RMR: Before we get into talking about PMD, your last EP, Gossip Columns had a diff name prior. I’m curious to know about the I’m Here, I’m Good, I’m in Exile [scrapped title] dream?
Bassy: I have moments where I become super inspired. I’m a bipolar artist like most people, not fully because some people have that shit. But sometimes I just get so inspired by things and I can’t explain it. I had this idea I’m Here, I’m Good, I’m in Exile (IHIGIX), it was everything about me being in L.A.. I painted this picture for myself, I wrote an essay, I sent it to everyone I worked with and I was like ‘this is our album.’ It just took too long to make it, and I conceptualized it so quickly, but as I kept working, it just kept not coming together.
Then what kept coming together was this other idea in my head, which was Gossip Columns, and that was frustrating honestly. Still to this day, I need to make IHIGIX because that was my ode to Los Angeles for real. But Gossip Columns is what we put out, which is dope too. I don’t second guess it, I never second guess anything I do. I’m a very in the moment personality.
RMR: One of my favorite tracks lyrically from Gossip Columns, “Heroine,” was a demo from 2015, what made you revisit it and add on to it?
Bassy: I don’t know, that just a good song. Sometimes when if I learn a new technique on an instrument, I’ll use it ASAP to make music. The picking was reminiscent of Fast Car by Tracy Chapman or something like that. I wrote Heroine for Rihanna but I didn’t have the proper channels so I couldn’t get it all the way through to her. But it was still a really dope song, and I did it with Kiana [Ledé] who’s on Republic Records too. At the end, she was like ‘you should do it yourself, you wrote it,’ and that’s what happened.
RMR: PMD was supposed to be an album with around 12 tracks. Why did it end up as an EP?
Bassy: It is an album. It comes out in January but it’s complicated. When you put out an album, the first thing a label is going to say is “how many did you sell the first week?” So even though I’ve been grinding and I have built up a modest but enthusiastic fanbase that I appreciate, Marc E. Bassy is still a new artist to a lot of people. This is our best project that we’ve ever done sonically. We can’t put the whole album without traction so we put out the EP. Actually, in a month, there’ll be a preorder and PMD is a full album with 14 songs.
[So can we expect a tour after the album release?]
Yes, we’ll go on tour right after. The album comes out on January 18th and then we go on tour in the beginning of March.
Bassy: I was in NY last weekend, and I was with Kid Cudi and Jaden Smith. Jaden was with his crew and they were so artistic. I was watching them and they had the most lavish set up. I was thinking, I grew up wanting to be what this young kid is. The truth is, if you come up in music without money, and you’re actually trying to be a professional musician but you don’t have the resources, you get trained into having to take the opportunities to make money in music. You get this certain mindset.
Every time I write a song, I have an unlimited tank. I can write songs forever, I’m never worried about that. To me and to a lot of people in music, this is really a hustle. So if I make Bottled Up, and a major artist wants to sing it, then that’s what we’re going to do.
Music is like water, it’s flowing in every direction and I’ll always feel that. If that’s the best opportunity for a song; that what Prince did, that’s what Stevie Wonder did, Smokey Robinson, all my favorite singer/songwriters ever. You play, you sing, and then you let the people decide. So if there’s a good opportunity for a song, it’s just a song. I can make more. And I’ve never felt like anyone could take that away from me. You can take my best song right now, and I’ll make something even better tonight.
RMR: What’s going on with the Skizzy collab and also the 24HRS collab?
Bassy: 24HRS was just something I did on Instagram, but he didn’t get on it. That’s his loss. But me and Skizzy have an incredible song coming out and we shot the video for it. It’s the best song I’ve ever made together [with someone].
[Whose single will it be?]
The song is not mine or his. It’s Michael Keenan [producer’s] first single. It’s an incredible song with horns on it. The title is “Manhattan.”
RMR: You’ve always been a very avid reader, what’s currently on or next on your reading list?
Bassy: I just read on the plane Neil Degrasse Tyson– Astrophysics for People in a Hurry. That was fun. And I read this incredible Alan Watts book called Out of Your Mind. There’s this big overlap in creative philosophical thinking and science; Alan Watts is probably my favorite thinker of all time. Recently, he said if you have a saw, you’d think that when it’s cutting through the wood, there’s the teeth [doing the work]. But they [the teeth] don’t exist without the valleys. That’s very true.
Have you read Outliners by Malcom Gladwell? He mentioned that there are people being born in certain months who have a greater chance to be successful.
Bassy: He’s a genius scholar but I don’t know, sometimes people are just too smart for their own good. No, I don’t believe that. I read Jordan Peterson’s book and I disagree with pretty much everything. He’s from Alberta where it gets -40ºF, and I was like our point of view cannot be the same.
You’re from somewhere where it’s so cold that you can’t walk outside 6 months of the year, so whatever you’re thinking—it came from the climate. The climate has a lot to do with how people think; I’m from California, that’s why I talk the way I do and have my whole attitude.
RMR: You mentioned plans to record a podcast in someone else’s podcast recently, want to talk more about that?
Bassy: I have a podcast that we’re starting, it’s called: I Can Hear Jimi. We don’t really know exactly what it’s going to be yet, but—I Can Hear Jimi is a nod to my favorite movie, White Men Can’t Jump, and they have this real 90’s argument; “that’s the problem with white people, you listen. But you can’t hear Jimi.” Then they get into this huge fight, like “I can hear Jimi! I can hear Jimi!” That movie was beautiful for its time, but we’re way past that now. But, that’s where the title came from.
The podcast will cover 90’s culture, which was very influential for me. And we’re going to talk about current culture. I kind of want the podcast to be a bridge between people who are 25-and-older and listen to podcasts a lot, and a younger demographic who don’t really listen to podcasts, besides Adam 22 and No Jumper. I want to be a bridge between the two, that’s the goal.
RMR: You’re a great writer and speaker, and that’s obvious through your lyrics and social media posts. Would you consider selling books/a collection of writing (like Gucci Mane or Mod Sun)?
Bassy: I have 2 goals in my 30’s—I want to write a book and a play, or maybe a screenplay. [Bassy then continues going on a tangent about a possible screenplay idea about a “white dude who came up being woke with deep roots in the South. Who starts to be sympathetic to right-wing nationalist views, but in the end it’ll be like the Spike Lee moment in Do the Right Thing. He has to throw the trashcan through the window and pick a side.”]
RMR: Are there any tips you’d like to give aspiring musicians or creatives that you wish you would’ve known earlier in your career?
Bassy: Yea, you gotta chase the bag. If you’re not getting paid, you gotta figure out how to get paid doing music. Making money doing music means that people are listening to you and people connect to your music, unless you’re a genius composer or going in the line of a real musician in Juliard; but if you’re trying to be a musician, you have to figure out how to connect.
My first band, we got offered to be Mike Posner’s backing band on warped tour. It’s the only regret I have in music that we ever turned down. Mike was like “you guys can play 25 mins before me and stay on stage and be my backing band.” He had a dope slot on warped tour but we had a stupid idea of not taking the offer. We were so young, but it would’ve been incredible and fun; we could’ve turned his show up and more people would’ve seen us.
It’s so hard to make it in the arts and the people we talk about who are artists, are the people who’ve made it. We don’t talk about people who got passed over, that didn’t make it. The real ones end up making it because they chase the bag and they stay true to themselves at the same time. You should never sell out; but real ones never sell out. If you’re a young artist, figure out how to get your money making your shit.
Artist/album currently on repeat?
Lil Baby & Gunna – Drip Harder
Last album you just listened to?
Snailmail, and Yves Tumor – Safe In the Hands of Love
Highlight of your career?
[Jimmy] Fallon the other night was really dope
Postmodern Depression is available on all streaming platforms!
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