An Interview With Black Marble's Chris Stewart
For the release of Turntable Lab's exclusive pressing of Black Marble's 'It's Immaterial', we caught up with Chris Stewart about gear, influences, graphic design + more.
First of all, the album cover for It’s Immaterial is so striking, what can you tell us about it? Who is the girl? Where is the house?
The girl is my friend Halle, the house is in LA. At the time it was shot I didn’t know Halle, but I’ve become friends with her since I moved to the west coast. She’s in a band called Automatic and we are touring with them in the fall.
You handle all the art direction for Black Marble, in addition to a history working in graphic design in New York. What are some of your all-time favorite album covers?
What gear did you use in these sessions? What pieces were revelatory or crucial to the process?
I used a Korg Poly 61 and a DW-8000 for most of it. I make beats and sequence tracks on an MPC.
We read that you grew up in the DC suburbs (Ed. note - so did I)… Were you involved in the DC punk scene at all? Any favorite DC area haunts?
I was a suburban punk. My friends and I would drive into Georgetown and hang out at the Exorcist steps and drink 40s. I would go to Black Cat and 930 Club for shows.
We can’t help but be reminded of Peter Hook when we hear that picked bassline on ‘Iron Lung’… were New Order or Joy Division particularly inspiring to you at any point? Any favorite Hook basslines?
Probs "Dance To The Radio." Yeah I liked those bands, and I liked the staccato style he played with. It’s an easy style to work with when you’re just starting out. He probably wasn’t a very good bass player in the grand scheme of things but his bass lines were memorable which I think is an almost completely unrelated talent. It’s inspirational for other people who aren’t very good technically.
You’ve said that the Minimal Wave show on East Village Radio was eye-opening for you. What records from that scene or era have had the most profound effect on you? Personal faves?
Martin DuPont, Cabaret Voltaire, Chrome, etc.
I read somewhere that you imagine your music being enjoyed in a bedroom, relaxed, flipping through books. What other records occupy this zone for you personally?
What have you been doing in the time since It’s Immaterial came out? What’s next for Black Marble?
Touring, writing, using sunscreen.