Interview with Marisa
Big Quiet is a Jangle Rock band who has a few singles that recently came out on soundcloud. I took an immediate liking to the chill summertime beat, clean guitar, and Marisa Cerio’s honeyed voice with the mixture of her outspoken lyrics. This modern band often pulls classic styles out within their music, which definitely pleased the classic rock fan in me. I was also taken aback at how much Big Quiet’s song, “Ghost,” reminded me of the song “Here Comes the Sun,” by The Beatles, a very dear song to me.
Big Quiet’s Marisa Cerio was able to chat with me on the phone for a few minutes about Big Quiet’s creation, her experience in the music industry, and her thoughts on sexism within the music industry. Marisa describes hardships in the music industry that many other musicians and newly started bands can relate to regarding the money, the work, and the sexism. Check out what she has to say on the matter below:
How did you guys meet?
Umm, let’s see… I met my drummer, actually, through a mutual friend who used to be a writer in New Haven, and my old band, not this current band, would play there a lot. So I met him up there a bunch of times, with his band, and played with them. And he had come to a birthday party of mine, actually, and his mutual friend, who ended up being my drummer, came by with my friend, Brian, who came to my party. and Tim and I (my drummer) ended up talking about REM which is like a very big influence on both of us and I had mentioned I had sort of wanted to start a Jangle Rock band, and he was a guitarist by trade, but he was interested. So, he was like “We should jam sometime!” And then I sort of took him up on that, and then we kind of just been playing ever since.
my Bass player Chris, I met through the head of the label that our newest singles actually just came out on: Blinking Ear records. He’s a good friend of mine, and, he is a mutual friend of me and my bass player, chris. So he had introduced me knowing we had a lot of similar musical tastes and knowing that he played bass and everything. So yeah! That is how we met!
We have been together now for about almost three years now. You know, nearing three years, so it has been a while.
Are you still defining your style?
Well, I’m really into this sort of specific genre, this kind of Jangle rock thing, that was probably originally brought to light by the birds, in the 60’s and kind of continued with a couple of different ways like The Paisley Underground movement in California and some of these like new American jangle rock, and scottish and british jangle rock. A lot of these bands that kind of rely on clean guitars. And that’s generally how I define the characteristic of that kind of music. So I am a big fan of that, the rest of my band is too.
I think I would most readily define us as jangle rock, which I had a hard time for a while finding other bands, like contemporary bands that were sort of doing that and I think I’m finding, in more recent times, bands that are kind of like us in that way. So it’s a kind of jangle pop and it’s revisionist in some ways, in that like we are sort of going for that specific style that we are all fans of, but I try to sort of write about things that are happening now and in my life, and that are kind of modern issues, that’s sort of our take on a more kind of classic style.
One of the song called “Punk Floyd”. Were you inspired by Pink floyd for that song?
It sort of a joke actually. So The chorus in that song is “I wish you weren’t here” which is sort of a play on the kind of “I wish you were here” thing. And we just kind of thought that was funny. I’m not really a fan of that band, and I don’t know if anybody else in the band is a fan. But um, I think it was kind of like a joke on how much of a foil it is to us. So like we are pretty far from that style, so I thought it was kind of a punny play on you know, naming something after a band that we dont really identify with at all. So it’s kind of a joke.
What is your process for writing music?
I write a lot of stuff on my own, and then kind of bring it to like the rest of my band to kind of work on. And I do say that was 100% of the way we were doing things at the beginning, more recently I think we have kind of collaborated a bit more on songwriting.
Ultimately, I think that, you know, in every band, everybody sort of adds their own individual style and their own contributions. So I think that even if I’m kind of writing the songs, they end up in different places than I originally thought. Which is a good thing! I still write a lot of the songs, but I think maybe, like, 30% of our songs now are kind of just like collaborative things that we work out together in practice.
Has it been a struggle in the music industry since you guys are still pretty new?
Uh a little bit, I think that, you know, we are in New York and the competition is really stiff. We’re always competing against a million shows. It’s a little bit of a struggle in that its hard in New York to sort of stand out and, on top of that, the state of the music industry now, it’s pretty sad that you can’t focus all your attention just making art where maybe twenty years ago you could do that. So it’s a bit of a struggle in that, we all have day jobs, and you know, its work and continuous effort.
I think it is a little harder to kind of find your place in the industry when there is no money to be made for us or for labels. So I think it’s a little bit harder to get your footing where you can be established when a lot of the time people aren’t necessarily able to support bands like they used to.
Have you encountered sexism being in the band or in the music industry?
I think I was really lucky in that respect, because I haven’t really encountered too much. I mean, there were probably other male musicians, over the course of the time that I have been playing music, that maybe didn’t respect me because I was a woman or didn’t take me seriously. But I think that because I have been doing this here in new york for such a long time, I’m from here, so I think because I have been around music for a long time, I do actually get respect because you know, It’s obvious that I’m serious about it, it’s something I’ve been doing for a long time.
And also, when I started doing this that was when, you know, Bikini kill had made a lot of headway, and other female bands that were around. So, seeing those kinds of bands, doing it it was probably something that sort of opened my eyes to that fact you could do it. But I think it also opened a lot of other people’s eyes.
I think we are fortunate to be apart of a more progressive society then it was however many years ago. But I think maybe if I had more of a platform, I would encounter it more. But for now wherever you are, we are in a pretty supportive place. So, I’ve been lucky to not have to deal with too much of that. It exists for sure, but I think I have had a little bit of kevlon on me in that respect.
Do you consider yourself a feminist?
Yeah absolutely, for sure. I think it’s really important to empower women to do whatever they want and I have been able to be in the position that I am in now because of the work that many women have done before me in all different areas. I think that it’s not a fight that’s over yet and I definitely do not consider myself any kind of icon, or like representative in any way. But I think it is important for women to do what they want to do and not be afraid of what anyone is gonna say about it and not be afraid to get into roles that women aren’t supposed to be in . I think just by doing it that any young girls who are thinking about starting a band or interested in doing it, I hope seeing that you can do it and you can do this work in this world that is so male dominated. You can kind of do whatever you want. I think that’s an important position to be in.