Continuing the momentum that has carried Marian’s debut album Hit Record to award wins and nominations, the Fredericton-based rock group have shared a new single from the album in advance of ECMA Week.
Hit Record is a great name for an album, isn’t it? Even if it sounds slightly over-confident – especially for a debut album – there is enough playful ambiguity wrapped up in those two words to provide a convenient backdoor exit, should one be needed. I remember writing about Marian’s debut when it was released this time last year and wondering if their use of the word record was intended as a verb or a noun. But after a few listens I no longer cared. I attached my own interpretation to the title. Sure, the act of creation would have definitely involved hit(ting) record, but the final product was to me, a hit record. And for once, I wasn’t alone in my decision. The album’s lead single, Astral Plane, was named Single of the Year at the 2022 MNB Awards and the album is currently up for Emerging Artist Recording of the Year at the upcoming ECMAs. Since its release, the hits have continued to reveal themselves.
“Hit Record became so much more than any of us thought,” said Marian co-founder, singer, songwriter, and rhythm guitarist Dylan Ward. “To be honest, it was already a success to us just by finishing it. By the end we all felt very fulfilled creatively.
“But beyond that, it’s crazy all that has happened,” said Ward. “A MNB Song of the Year win and nomination for Record of the Year. Our song Eyes on a Drive became the new theme song of CBC Radio’s Shift here in New Brunswick, and we played bigger stages and shows than ever before. We opened for Arkells in a hockey arena in Miramichi where I grew up, which was a huge highlight, as was playing with the FUZE Orchestra as part of Shivering Songs. We also received an ECMA nomination for Emerging Artist Recording of the Year and we’ll get the results of that on May 4!”
This week the band rolled out its second single and video from the album. I’ve Been Thinkin’, possibly the most mid-tempo of songs on Hit Record, shows off a different side of the band to those who may only be familiar with the lead single, Astral Plane (a song that continues to give me shivers whenever I hear it, a full year on!).
“I’ve Been Thinkin’ is about taking stock of your life in quiet moments and feeling heavy,” said Ward. “It’s one of the songs I immediately had a video idea for. I wanted the video to demonstrate how sometimes you physically are moving at one speed, but mentally are moving at another, and drew inspiration from Spoons’ Small Stakes and Coldplay’s Yellow music videos. We worked with Ariana Marquis again, who produced the Astral Plane video. Her and her team turned concept into reality and did a stellar job.”
Marian have already begun working on the followup to their debut. Ward has been workshopping songs with Fredericton-based musician (and visual artist) Graeme Kennedy through support received from ArtsNB. Although the process is similar to the pre-production work the band undertook in crafting their debut, Ward admits to feeling a bit of pressure this time around. But not the kind of pressure you might imagine. He’s not focused on trying to write an album to top Hit Record’s success. He’s more interested in trying to push himself as a songwriter and keep out of as many boxes as he can.
“I first started writing and performing my own songs in highschool, but was never really happy with them and would get frustrated that I didn’t sound like my favourite bands. That pressure and disappointment made me write less and less. Years later, after getting back into playing in bands, I realized that playing music and writing songs is something I feel compelled to do, and decided I would just write what comes to me and not get caught up in what I wanted to be. It was so freeing, and sure enough, I started writing my best work. So with this new album, I’m not concerned about what it should be. I’m just writing. So far, this new batch of songs are definitely different from Hit Record, but it’s still me, and it’s still the band. On days where I start slipping into ‘shoulds’, I remind myself that this is one album in a lifetime of music with the band. Ease up and enjoy the ride.”
Marian plays The Cap this Saturday with Sadie and Abby McCartney. The show starts at 9 p.m.
April 29 | Fredericton, NB | The Cap | View Event
May 5 | Dartmouth, NS | Woodside Tavern
May 21 | St. Andrews, NB | Paddlefest