Suite Sounds: JaRon Marshall
The Black Pumas’s keyboardist, JaRon Marshall, lets us in on what makes Austin’s music scene special.
With his latest EP The Prequel, JaRon Marshall is cementing his place as one of music’s best beat makers—and, as the name, The Prequel, suggests, there’s only more to come. In 2022, Marshall goes back on tour with The Black Pumas, while continuing to create new solo work—which, with its unique blend of influences from across the spectrum, embodies a whole new sound coming from the Music Capital. Ahead of a performance at the LINE, we asked Marshall about what drives Austin’s music scene— as well as what albums are driving HIM right now.
You’ve been in Austin for a while now… what do you think makes Austin’s music scene different from other cities?
My favorite thing about the Austin music scene is, despite the size of the growing city, everyone in the scene knows everyone and everyone generally enjoys working together.
What’s something—or someplace—that’s underrated in Austin?
One thing that’s underrated in Austin is the amount of different music scenes that exist here. Of course we have the long-standing Blues, Americana, and Rock scenes, but there’s also a burgeoning scene that includes contemporary genres such as House/Disco, Pop, and Rap/RnB. When considering some of the music that has yet to be released to the public, I’m convinced that Austin will soon rival LA when it comes to moving modern culture.
You recently released your EP The Prequel. What inspired it?
When making music, sometimes you sit on things for years before it sees the light of day. The EP was inspired by the need to get more music out there and to build my catalog. I just wanted to make sure people could hear my journey and what I’ve been working on.
The Prequel implies that something else might be around the corner… what are you working on now?
Right now, I’m working on a few projects. When considering the color and mood of The Prequel, it directly points to an album I’m working on that touches similar subject matter, such as navigating America and socio-political issues. I’m also working on a pop-dance project, to maintain my sanity.
You’re about to go back on tour with The Black Pumas. When you’re traveling, what do you look for when you first visit a new city?
My favorite thing to experience around the world is the art – whether it’s street art, art in a proper museum, or architectural wonders. I’ve been able to see Basquiat’s in NYC, Rembrandt’s in Amsterdam, and L’Arc de Triomphe in Paris, to name a few. As a fan of art, this has been a highlight of the road for me. Other than setting destinations, I enjoy throwing in the AirPods and going for a walk when we land in a new city and just soaking it all in.
At the LINE, you’ll be sharing some of your favorite vinyl, what are a few of your go-to albums?
Some of my favorite albums at the moment are:
What’s Going On – Marvin Gaye
Things Fall Apart – The Roots
There’s a Riot Goin’ On – Sly & The Family Stone
The Universe Smiles Upon You – Khruangbin
Currents – Tame Impala
Pronounced McGee – Mk.gee
Hot Buttered Soul – Isaac Hayes
Vibrations – Roy Ayers Ubiquity