After a successful indie band plays nine years and then breaks up, you might think members would take their earnings and leave the music scene entirely. They might travel the world, experiment with drugs, hit rock bottom, try to hook up with someone more famous to get back on the scene, commit some scandal, hit rock bottom again. In other words, embrace the same douchebaggery many musicians today enjoy.
Not Aaron Marsh, lead singer of Copeland. After the band officially broke up in October 2009, Marsh did the opposite. He settled down, started a family, produced music, and, well, was normal. Six years later, and the band is reunited with a new album, Ixora, and a new attitude.
Marsh recorded and produced the album at his studio in Lakeland. "Some guys in the band came up with the side band, States," Marsh explained about the reunion. "They noticed an outpouring of support and a demand for another Copeland album. There was some clearing in my schedule, and we started talking about making a Copeland record... I always wanted to start another record but was busy with other stuff. It all didn't work out till now."
More specifically, Copeland members discovered that the public wanted more of them because of a Kickstarter campaign geared to support a States album. Fans elucidated what they wanted from the four musicians. "I would see people on Twitter and Facebook kind of lamenting about Copeland breaking up, but I had no idea how many people were out there really wanting [a reunion]," Marsh said. "The first time we realized it was when States succeeded in its Kickstarter goal. We thought, 'If this many people liked States, people would like Copeland.' Sort of like, 'If people think the States album was awesome, why not Copeland?' "
In terms of what differentiated the sixth and newest album from the others, he says time and experience were determining factors. "In the past, we would make a record and tour and then make another record," explained Marsh. "For this one, we made a record, toured, took five years off, and did other side records. I owned a studio in Lakeland, and Stephen [Laurenson, rhythm guitarist] and Bryan [Laurenson, lead guitarist] also mix and produce on the side. We got all that benefit and growth from making those records. We learned a bunch of stuff from making other records. When we reconvened, we had a great batch of experiences to pull from."
Marsh also did some self-reflection during that break. "Life at home is different than sitting in a van all day without any real roots. The life-experience side of it helped us grow even more than musically... I also had a complete identity change of myself going from lead singer of an indie band to being a father of kids." His offspring also affected his songwriting. "My view of love, my perception of love, changed a lot since I've had kids," he added. "It's a different level of love in a different way, and I found myself. I have a lot of love for my kids in the songs."
An upcoming festival, For the Love, in Fort Lauderdale's FAT Village, hosted by media company C&I Studios, will be the band's first live performance in years. "It's kind of nerve-racking being back onstage," admitted Marsh. "So much after playing night after night becomes muscle memory, and now it's thinking about some of the songs again. It's a different feeling... I'm a little nervous, a little excited."
Marsh says he has a lot of friends involved in organizing the event, specifically, Fort Lauderdale indie foursome Kids. In fact, the band recorded its second EP at Marsh's studio. When asked if they actually got recording done or goofed off, Marsh replied with a laugh: "It's best to work with friends! I didn't know them before they came up, actually. I feel like all these bands are my friends. To work with Anberlin, who were my friends for over a decade, was great. I can be myself, and I don't have to worry about being the cool producer."
As for the show coming up, Marsh may be nervous, but he's ready. "The South Florida shows always had such great energy. Fans are always supersupportive and supercool, so I'm ready to get back down there." And South Florida is certainly ready for another show with Copeland.
For the Love Music Festival with Copeland, Civilian, Kids, Jacob Jeffries, and more. Noon Saturday, February 7, at C&I Studios, 541 NW First Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-957-3934, or visit c-istudios.com.