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Surfer Blood Percussionist Forms New Band: Family Drugs

Marcos Marchesani hasn't wasted time in making a name for himself in South Florida's growing music scene. Having dedicated his talents to local mainstays like Surfer Blood and Weird Wives, he has recently decided to take on a new project headed and crafted by himself. Naturally, we wanted to know more about what he was doing with this new band, which is called Family Drugs.


"Music's been a part of my life from an early age," he says. After first picking up an instrument at age 5, he has since mastered the violin, saxophone, keys, and a multitude of others. The strange part, though, is that he cannot read sheet music.

When writing, Marchesani focuses on the feeling the sounds generate, as opposed to formally writing the melodies and rhythms. He compares it to the stream-of-consciousness approach done by writers like Jack Kerouac and James Joyce. There's no tangible method to what he does, saying that he picks three chords and plays until something materializes. The aim is for everything to feel less constructed, to resemble a performance piece rather than a band playing a show. Overemphasis of rudiments would detract from the raw emotions he wants to convey.

"It's like watching the world slowly die and crumbling into something else entirely."

Although his creative process may be free of form, he has set very tangible goals for himself with this venture. While Marcos still loves playing drums with Weird Wives, he transitioned out of performing with Surfer Blood earlier this year and wanted a music project entirely of his own. He has brought a group of other musicians together, ones who do not know how to play. He teaches the parts to them as he writes, retaining ownership of the sound. He's always wanted to do something where he was in complete control of every sound, every instrument. He says above everything else, he wants it to be self-sustaining. Having never been the frontman of a band, he wants to see if he has it in him to pull it off.

"More than anything, I want to know if I can do it. I want to know, 'Do I give a shit?'"

Taking charge of something in this manner has its challenges, though. Marchesani is aware that he will be the one standing in the spotlight. He says that he is self-conscious but uses that as a way to press himself, further delving into what he can create. He began by demoing early recordings to family and friends and received a warm response. From there, he booked a show, setting a deadline to finish what he's started. Citing influences like Drive Like Jehu, Swell Maps, Plot to Blow Up the Eiffel Tower, and Depeche Mode, Marcos makes it clear that he does not want this to come off as passive, not in the slightest. He describes it as a jumbled mess that he then pieces together little by little.

"It's an internal struggle. The music is a result of what happens."

Family Drugs plays its debut show at the Snooze Theatre on Friday, July 29, with Symbols and Rabbit's Moon 3. Doors will open at 9 p.m. Tickets cost $5. Click here.

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Ryan Burk