Since Matt Bishop and a group of University of Washington friends started up Hey Marseilles back in 2006, the six-piece chamber-pop band has released two full-length records, secured accolades from NPR and Seattle Weekly and played hundreds of shows all over the country.
All of which has given Bishop plenty of time to think about, well, being in a band.
“There really isn’t any other professional context for someone to go on stage and have other people listen to them, like, silently in rapt attention for an hour at a time,” he explains. “It’s a bizarre experience that’s both cool and terrifying at the same time.”
Hey Marseilles has long called for careful listening. Intricate, lush and ambitious, their sound splits the difference between The Decemberists’ swoony pomp and Arcade Fire’s anthemic kick. For its latest record, however, the band is looking to push things beyond their tried-and-true approach.
“Playing shows as a chamber-pop band with six-and-a-half minute songs and lyrics about a lot of feelings, we kind of got bored with how the audience would be responding,” Bishop says. “So that insecurity certainly has played into our desire to make music that will compel people to tell us whether they like it or not while we’re playing.”
Having worked out a more danceable sound in the studio over the past year, the band will now road test new material (slated for a late 2015 release) during their set Saturday night at Cozmic.
“It feels like there’s more potential to move and sing along with the songs,” Bishop explains. “Playing live, the greatest enjoyment is always understanding and feeling the audience. And having them engage the audience is really all we could ever ask.”
L.A.-based indie-rock outfit Wilding will join Hey Marseilles 9:30 pm Saturday, Aug. 29, at Cozmic; $8 adv., $10 door.