MY INSPIRATION: Holiday In Tokyo – White Marquee | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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County Durham-based lo-fi band Holiday in Tokyo release the title track from their upcoming debut album, White Marquee. It’s a delightful slab of kitchen-sink melancholia with the band’s trademark introspective songwriting. Here, they tell us a little about what inspired the new track…

“The process of writing White Marquee started with choosing a time and place in which to set the story. I take a lot of my songwriting techniques from Phoebe Bridgers, who has a real knack for immersing you in the narrative of a song with only a few lines. I used this mentality to try and quickly place the listener in my chosen setting, a caravan park on a drizzly weekend. The opening line, “the rain batters the tin roof/you drag me out in my waterproof/seems the park has come together/despite this awful weather”, begins the story of my Dad playing guitar publicly for the first time at a talent show.

I tried to use the setlist of covers he played as a structure for the verses, referencing the likes of The Mavericks and Elvis Costello with “Senioritas all a-swaying/and Olly’s army staying”. The repeating chorus was reserved for one of our biggest musical influences, Paul Simon. While Simon really shows off his abilities on the guitar in tracks like Anji and Baby Driver, songs like Only Living Boy in New York and Homeward Bound are simpler, giving the lyrics and vocal melody more space. A lot of Holiday In Tokyo songs are based around either an intricate guitar part or a syncopated groove, so it was nice to take a step back and focus solely on the song itself. White Marquee is definitely our simplest song, but it allows the story to be front and centre.

Once the song was finalised, the only thing left to do was make it sound like a Holiday In Tokyo song. We base our sound off of lo-fi slacker pop artists like Mac DeMarco, Liz Lawrence and Nilufer Yanya. So, we turned up the chorus pedal, added a shuffling waltz backbeat and filled in the negative space with a reverberated baritone guitar. We’re really excited to see how people react to this one, especially with it being a far cry from our last single Make My Day, a borderline indie rock dance tune.”

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