Street sat down with Ronnie DiSimone, College junior and guitarist for the student band Marigolds.
Street: How long has Marigolds been together, and how did you guys meet?
Ronnie DiSimone: Marigolds has been together since 2009, although back then, we were called the Modern Age. Lucy [Stone, Drexel Sophomore], Nic [Sheehan, New School Junior] and I met because we were all recruited by a mutual friend to join a band called Dancefloor Diplomacy.
We put out two EPs as the Modern Age, and then last year recruited Tiffany Ortiz and Ben Plotnick [both Penn Class of 2011] to accompany us at the Drexel Battle of the Bands. We ended up getting second place and opened for B.o.B. and Major Lazer at Drexel Spring Jam last year. Then, this past year, we changed our name to Marigolds and recorded Easy-Going.
Street: What was the recording process for the album like?
RD: The recording process for the album was very surreal. Lucy and I had been writing music together for a couple of years at that point, but this was the first time we sat down to hammer out what felt like finished versions of the songs we’d written.
We decided if we were going to make the record, we’d do it right; we hired Justin Chapman (who’s worked on records for Dr. Dog and others) and Dave Pettit at Mad Dragon to engineer it. It was exhausting, but I can’t tell you how amazing it felt to start seeing finished products of stuff we’d been working on for so long.
Street: What are the band’s primary musical influences and inspirations?
RD: A lot of what we listen to (classical, jazz, electronica) really isn’t like the stuff we play, although our listening definitely informs our songwriting in subtle ways. The music is a fairly straightforward blend of rock and pop, sonically along the lines of Girls, Spoon, the Raconteurs, Broken Social Scene, the Strokes, etc.; but we don’t write songs with that particular sound in mind necessarily. We just want to play rock and roll that’s enjoyable and fun on a surface level but also rewards closer listening with some thematic layers below the surface and hints of some influences you might not expect.
Street: Talk a little about the challenges of being a college band, or specifically a Penn band.
RD: Being a band in college is tough! The biggest problem is that without management or a label, we’ve got to worry about everything ourselves. In addition to writing, recording, and producing the record, we designed the packaging, dealt with the manufacturers, handled our own marketing, our own booking, our own branding, our own website, our own legal issues, our own publicity… the list goes on. All that while trying to find time to practice once in a while. And not fail out of college. That’s also a big one.