interview. Marginalia: Crafting the electronic mosaic of ‘Dances You Absorbed’

"We love music. We don't set out with a very hard and fast plan."
26 January 2024

Amidst the changing landscape of electropop, Canada introduces a captivating new presence: Marginalia. Spread across Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal, this vibrant ensemble has created a unique sonic world that transcends traditional genre limits. Dances You Absorbed is their latest offering, which explores the complex layers of electronic music.

Marginalia comprises the talents of Veronica Baron, Brett Cairns, and Matt Legge. Baron’s captivating vocals blend seamlessly with the electronic mastery of Cairns and Legge, who also contribute vocals, synths, and drums. The album is a self-produced marvel by Cairns and Legge, showcasing their skill in sculpting sound.

The genre-spanning nature of Dances You Absorbed makes it a unique treasure. Elements of ambient, house, trap, and electronica are woven together, creating an audial tapestry that’s both diverse and harmonious. Marginalia’s style resonates with the likes of Blue Hawaii, Braids, Labyrinth Ear, Purity Ring, and Sea Oleena, making it a must-listen for fans of these artists.

Despite the geographical distances separating its members, Marginalia’s bond shines through in their music, infused with nostalgia, discovery, regret, acceptance, and love. Dances You Absorbed is an exploration, an invitation to dance, reflect, and maybe even find a bit of oneself in the rhythms and beats.

Check out our exclusive interview with them below. As Marginalia continues to broaden their musical scope and delve into new sonic realms, they’re definitely a rising name in the electropop scene and beyond.

In the end the hope is that we have created music that can evoke that sweet nostalgia in the listener

Your music incorporates a diverse range of genres, from electropop to ambient and beyond. Can you tell us about the creative process behind your album Dances You Absorbed and how you seamlessly blend these influences into a cohesive musical journey?

We love music. We don’t set out with a very hard and fast plan. I think our process is mostly about just loving so many different genres and sounds. We play around and experiment and send tracks back and forth until we’re all happy with what has emerged.

What’s the idea behind your band’s name?

Marginalia is the little handwritten notes people make in books. The word itself is pretty and it has this kind of intimate, fun, but overlooked and mysterious vibe to it. You never know what you’ll find hand written in the margins. That’s our sound.

Marginalia’s music is described as a reflection of life’s pages, exploring themes of nostalgia, self-discovery, regret, acceptance, and love. How do these themes inspire your songwriting, and how do you hope your music resonates with listeners on a personal level?

Our songwriting style is fluid and changing over time but one of the ways it has manifested is that we first assemble most parts of a given song with the exception of the vocals. We then take a step back to reflect on how the overall vibe of the song makes us feel. Most of the time this tends to evoke nostalgia of either our personal experiences or stories we care about. This is when we lean in, give the song a name that captures the feeling and write out the rest of the song (lyrics, vocals, additional textures, etc) to drive that feeling home. In the end the hope is that we have created music that can evoke that sweet nostalgia in the listener so they can have the same experience of reflecting on either their own or shared experiences.

The band members are based in different locations, which adds an interesting dynamic to your collaboration. How does the distance between you influence the way you create and connect as musicians, and what unique strengths does each member bring to the project?

Our process for making music is spread out across distances and times. We each do our own thing and then share them rather than being in one place at one time jamming together. Of course there are downsides to distance. But at the same time working from our own studios in different cities means we each have the space to play with our own ideas and then bring them together and make them work with what the others are doing.

Your musical influences include artists like Blue Hawaii, Purity Ring, and Braids. How have these artists impacted your sound, and in what ways do you strive to create a distinct sonic identity for Marginalia?

These bands helped us believe in the power of beautiful and simple vocals over strange and experimental beats that draw on different genres.

Dances You Absorbed is a captivating title for a song. Could you share the significance behind this title and how it encapsulates the essence of your music and the emotions it conveys?

The world is full of so many dances! Everything around us is a dance. Walking down the street is a dance to not run into other people. Driving a car is a dance. Dancing at a concert is definitely a dance. You absorb these and they become a part of you. This title is a tribute to all the amazing ways you’re dancing in your life. Hopefully it helps you feel good about that!

If you were to describe your ideal day, what would it entail?

Feel inspired, write and record a song that has immediate emotional impact.

Looking ahead, what exciting plans or projects can we expect from you in the near future?

We have lots of exciting new material on the horizon. We’ll be releasing a new song every month or two this year so stay tuned!