Get to Know PUBLIC, the man behind the mask...
Have you ever stared into the Sun?
Have you known the insupportable burn from the radiance in your eyes?
Have you felt the glare upset your cornea and forced your face to turn away?
Have you ever had that experience at night?
It was nearly midnight and I found myself blinded by a beam which shined down from upon the stage; it shun like the sun upon me. I didn’t know where it came from but I had to look away.
I recall, there was a short musical intermission and the house lights dimming low, a microphone screeching on and the voice of an effeminate teenage boy announcing,
“Ladies and Gentlemen, put your fucking hands together for PUBLIC!”
The stage lights quickly faded in and I felt the stinging…it wasn’t from the disco lights, it wasn’t from the camera flashes, no, it was something unnatural; you could say something supernatural. It was a mutated man; half human, half disco ball! He stood center stage, behind a desk of gismos and gadgets making beautiful noises. His mirrored face reflecting rays of light out into the crowd; I could also see myself in his reflection, I could see the people next to me in awe, I could see the sea of sweaty teenagers dancing stupid with excitement behind me; their bodies were swaying but their eyes where looking up at the man with the gleaming mask. As much as it burned to look, nobody could remain turned away.
That was the first time the public met PUBLIC.
Nick Marsh aka PUBLIC, is a 22 year old San Franciscan resident, whom is undoubtedly destined to be the next BIG thing! At age 11 his Father lent him a 4 track tape deck recorder which commenced his obsession with recording music. Today, Nick has created quite the stir around town with his head banging remixes and insane live performances, yet, he is still what we call in the bizz “fresh meat!” Only having been in the SF night scene for roughly “Nine months," he has managed to land himself gigs all over San Francisco’s most popular night clubs, and garnered praise in the SF Guardian press paper, as well as favorable Music Blogs.
When referred to as a mere DJ, “I'm not a DJ! I am a electronic musician,” Nick will exclaim! And as corny as it sounds, I believe it! And he'll make you believe it to. If you thought James Brown was the hardest working man on stage, well, you haven’t been to one of Public’s shows.
Here is my interview with one of the industries' up and coming music producers, PUBLIC.
SC: I think it’s reasonable to say that you’re a performer. You have a very well thought out spectacle it seems. So let’s talk about your production.
First off, Tell me about the disco mask! What’s the story behind it?! Did you buy it or make it?
PUBLIC: Believe it or not I made it. It took me few a weeks to do some research and see if anything like that had ever been done; and it hadn't. So I went on to find supplies and what not. After two failed attempts, I had a finished piece that I was happy with. It took me a total of 6 weeks altogether. I think the mask looks beautiful under club lights.
SC: Will you only perform with it on?
PUBLIC: Not at all; the mask isn't about mystery, it's about fun. It's more of an image for "Public", a visual to add alongside my music. It's exciting for me and the audience; I think it adds a special element to the live performance. I wear it a good amount of the time, because when people see it, they know who I am, not just another skinny white dude making electro tunes. But in short, typically I wear the mask earlier on during a show until I can't stand breathing through the tiny mouth hole, It gets very hot), and sometimes I don't even bring it to a show.
SC: Do you ever find yourself wanting to wear it to the super market?
PUBLIC: Ha! I had a photo shoot a few months back, and had to wear the mask in public (no pun intended). I was asked to leave every single building I went into, and my photographer was almost arrested. So to answer your question; maybe not somewhere obvious like Safeway, but a low profile hippie market might dig it.
SC: You have a song intro that you start all your shows with, I’m very curious to know what song it is. It sounds like a mixture of black Sabbath and an 80’s hair metal riff.
PUBLIC: I open most shows with Eruption, by Van Halen. It's a killer track which I start looping a minute and a half in and turn it into a pretty heavy electro jam. It gets the Public treatment.
SC: Your performances are both live and recorded, is this correct?? I think I've seen you fiddle on a synthesizer?
PUBLIC: There is a lot going on my live set. My main goal is to constantly be busy, and do as much as I can (I'm only one guy up there). Sometimes I'll mess around with Keyboards, and I've even brought out a talk box out on stage. But for the most part, I have my set broken down into loops and samples spread over roughly 14 tracks in Ableton live, which I can manipulate and fuck with as much as I would like to right there, live. I have 3 midi controllers all assigned to do specific things I personally assigned them to do before I perform. I also bring out a Koass pad to cut and chop things up.
SC: That sounds insane! Too much work really.
PUBLIC: Let me tell you, technology right now is amazing! I think it's incredible. If I were to be doing this 20 years ago, my stage table would have to be four times as big to fit all the instruments I have running virtually.
SC: Do you prefer DJing to a live audience, appose to being at home mixing and producing?
PUBLIC: I'm not a DJ, Eric! haha
SC: haha ok…Well “performing” then…
PUBLIC: I love them both equally, and I'm lucky for that. I cannot get enough of writing/recording/remixing; it would be fair to say that I have studio phones on my head about 7 hours a day at least. On the flip side, nothing feels better than performing a new track you just spent 48 straight hours on. It's a give-give relationship; live shows make me want to keep putting out tracks and making fresh remixes, and the more material I put out, the more I want to perform it live.
SC: You’re fairly a new artist but you have a long repertoire of songs you’ve mixed. My favorite is the re-edit of “Love fool” by The Cardigans. Which do you consider your personal triumph so far?
PUBLIC: Each remix or original song I put out gets better than the last. I reset a personal standard for myself after every release. That way I'm constantly stepping up. And the more I produce, the faster I'm going to grow. I've been making dance music for 9 months, not 9 nine years! The stuff I was doing earlier on, like the "lovefool" edit, Ingestion, the "ELO" edits etc. are not even in the same ball park as what I'm making now. I just finished a Lil Wayne remix (Lollipop), which contains some heavy synthesized electric guitars as well as live drums here and there. I think it's tied for my favorite remix, alongside Metallica's I Disappear. However, my favorite track is an original one; "Colorful".
SC: It seems you’ve chosen to remix songs that aren’t popular at the moment. Most music producers want to edit songs that are radio friendly at the time hoping to ride off the wave. It seems you don’t adhere to that? Why?
PUBLIC: Aside from the recent Lil Wayne remix, I tend to pick out songs that aren’t in the spotlight so much anymore, so people can clearly hear the work I put in. My feelings are, if you want to hire me to remix a new single and let me give it the PUBLIC touch, you got it, you'll love it, and it will be different. But if I'm the one who is choosing a track to remix, I prefer to pick songs that used to be big hits, but then died down. Because tracks like (Lovefool, The Promise etc.), are now back at this plateau, they aren’t dead but they aren’t all over the place. So remixing tracks like those allow your music to be un-dated, and on that same plateau.
SC: Do you think this works against you or for you?
PUBLC: I think it works for me, hear me out. Yes, I remixed a Metallica song off of the Mission Impossible: 2 soundtrack hahaha, but did you hear what I did with? I took a track that most people loathe by a band that has had some rough press the last 8 years, and now I have people singing to my remix aloud at my shows. If I can make "I Disappear" a club friendly banger, then I'm confident I could take something more current and popular to different level as well…
SC: …and it’s always fun to rediscover old favorites! Do you remember the first song you sliced and diced?
PUBLIC: The very first dance track I ever made contained a sample from Phil Collin's Sussudio. It's crap. I hope no one has it.hahah
SC: hahah Wow! That sounds like a bad career move. Actually, maybe not so bad, In the last year you’ve become an in demand DJ! (Oops I said it again) You’ve had a very busy schedule! What’s it like to have almost overnight success?
PUBLIC: The last few months have been incredible. I've been very busy constantly releasing material (about one song/remix a week). And I have met some incredible, enthusiastic people who really hear my efforts in the music I put out.
SC: Did the journey feel like instant success to you or had you been a starving artist for sometime?
PUBLIC: Oh man. I had multiple projects beforehand that failed. They usually consisted of me sitting in my boxers behind a computer next to some instruments. But I've continued to work hard, and my music got to a point where it was ready to be exposed. I felt like, all of sudden people were listening. There was a long period of time where I just couldn't find another set of ears to hear me out.
SC: When did you feel you had your first BIG break?
PUBLIC: Perhaps headlining Blow Up. It felt right to be there, that night, with those people. I love San Francisco, and I'm proud to rep it. Blow Up LA is up there as well, the response I got after I played was incredible, and the kids there are so fucking enthusiastic and excited to hear new tunes that it made for a great night.
SC: What venue in this last year has really made an unprecedented impact on you?
SC: What’s your future tour plans?
PUBLIC: I'm always booking stuff out in LA, as I'm there about 15 days out of each month. And I'm playing a few gigs in San Francisco here and there. However, I'm constantly on the lookout for new clubs to play in, new ears to reach. I'm half English, and have dual citizenship, so it would be a dream come true to play out in the UK/Europe. Shout out to my nana!
SC: Are you working on any new tracks at the moment?
PUBLIC: Of course, always. By the time this interview comes out, it'll probably be up and I'll have something else in the mix. I have some exciting collaborations on the way, I've met some radical LA cats over the last few months.
SC: Will you eventually leave San Francisco to pursue BIGGER city dominations?
PUBLIC: It's looking that way. My girlfriend lives in Los Angeles, as well as a lot of my friends. I love it down there too. There is a lot of great energy and a lot of exciting people wanting to collaborate and what not.
SC: But will you come visit the homeland?
PUBLIC: San Francisco is an hour plane ride away, so you'll be seeing me. I will always have love for Frisco.
"Im making music, which needs the people to dance along to,
it needs everyone' it needs the public."
Ladies and Gentlemen put your fucking hands together for PUBLIC.
Visit my myspace to Listen to his NEW track!
You're going to LOVE IT!