A new artist is emerging from the scene and they’re kicking off their first album by giving back to their community. Ben Lieber, also known as the drummer of alt-rock band Head North, is Marigold and if you’re interested in listening to his project you can listen on Bandcamp here: https://counterfeitart.bandcamp.com/album/counterfeit-art?token=EC-9J1073553H956623E
“Counterfeit Art” is the first album release for the Buffalo based artist, Marigold. The album features rhythmic drum beats, melodic guitar parts, and throaty but pleasant vocals that compliment the lyrics perfectly. The release is set for February 3rd but is currently streaming two songs on the Bandcamp. As an added bonus to great music, Ben has decided that all of the proceeds for the album will go to a charity called The Cure Starts Now, and additionally $1 for every album sold will go to funding Planned Parenthood.
The first single is a track titled Days Bleed into Months, Bleed into Years. The song is a full-band track expressing the familiar feeling of conforming to a 40 hour a week job, and feeling like you are wasting away; instead of going after your dreams. It features passion-filled lyrics, and an intricate progression that eventually leads to a full-blown jam session. The song transitions from a feeling of restraint to freedom and ends on a somewhat hopeful note.
Foothold is the second single released to support “Counterfeit-Art”. The song was seemingly inspired by toxic relationships. It once again delivers powerful lyrics that are self-reflective in purpose. Foothold is about coming to acknowledge your own self-importance, and value in others eyes. The guitar and drums coincide so beautifully with the lyrics it is like puzzle pieces that fit together so tightly they could never be broken apart again. It tells a story that I would recommend to anyone.
We caught up with Ben to spread his message around for everyone in an interview below:
So let’s start by introducing yourself. Who are you and what is Marigold?
My name is Benjamin Lieber and Marigold is the name I release music under.
Counterfeit Art is your first album that you have released and it comes out February 3rd. What does this project mean to you?
I, previous to this, had only ever sat in the back of bands. Had my hand in the songwriting process, but never lead the way or even dared to seriously attempt it on my own. I had a lot of free, and stagnant time on my hands last year and I knew I had to be productive somehow to stay healthy mentally. I had felt a strong urge for a while to write an album completely on my own to prove to whoever– (looking back, just myself), that I am a validated worthy musician of that caliber; but when reaching for material to write about I came up very dry. I realized the irony in that feeling, and that by attempting to create for this superficial motive instead of just creating for the sake of creating naturally was in no way genuine expression; it was counterfeit. If you google the term Counterfeit Art or Art Forgery, it can be put into example like this; an artist paints a painting. It is unique. Another artist admires it and wants to create something just as good as it, but doesn’t want to take the long road of self discovery. So he takes an aspect of the painting (color scheme, specific image, etc) and does the same thing but maybe adds something new, calling it his own. Can this be done tastefully and be taken as one artist inspired by another? Yes, but there is a difference between a derivative and an inspiration. Realizing that this is what I was attempting to do was a huge point of self discovery for me. Then writing about that in itself became the most honest and real piece of work I’ve ever done.
So you’ve released the album stating that all the proceeds from albums sales are going to a charity called The Cure Starts Now– a charity designed to go towards the research for a cure of pediatric brain cancer. What makes this charity so important to you?
Pediatric Brain Cancer is a category of cancers; there are different names for cancers that emerge in different parts of the brain. Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, or DIPG, is the term for a tumor located in the middle of your brain stem, which at the very bottom of your brain, connecting your cerebrum to your spinal cord; aka, impossible surgically operate on. Because of this, the survival rate is 0%. The Cure Starts Now believes that the cure for all forms of cancer can be found in the cure for DIPG, so they put all of their efforts and all their funding into promising research geared towards DIPG. The Cure Starts Now is one of many cancer organizations out there putting forth amazing effort, other great ones include St. Baldrick’s Foundation and Still Brave. Unfortunately, there are a lot of issues when it comes to funding cancer research. The National Cancer Institute has a budget every year, much like a business or the government, and they have to delegate how much goes where. Pediatric Brain Cancer as entire category receives only 4% annually, despite taking the lives of 13,500+ kids a year. On top of that, a lot of the organizations advocating for pediatric brain cancer that claim to be “non-profit” only end up donating 5% or less towards actually progressing research. Unfortunately you have to really do your research before donating to a cancer organization to see if it’s actually giving your money where it should be going. In short, it’s grossly underfunded. Having someone in my family diagnosed with DIPG, I felt I had a real opportunity with the album to reach people who I wouldn’t be able to by just making a Facebook status. There is nothing you can do that is more punk rock than using the pedestal that music gives you to spread awareness on an injustice. I believe that applies to things now more than ever. Donating the sales of the album will be wonderful, but I’m more excited to be able to inform anyone who is remotely interested in my music on why this is so important.
Well you certainly have informed them. In addition to donating to the cure starts now, you’ve also stated that you were going to be donating a dollar per album sold to Planned Parenthood. With all of the controversy going around right now it’s great to see someone using such a universal form of communication, (music) to make a difference on these two organizations which have the potential to help so many.
You’ve started streaming two of the nine songs on the album. What can listeners expect to hear from these two songs and the rest of the 7 songs?
It’s interesting to me, listening back through the album after it having been completed for a few months now, I see it almost as stages of grief. I definitely go through all the emotions of anger and frustrations with myself, pointing my finger at the world, dealing with anxiety/depression, and towards the end come to terms and an acceptance of how things are. Sonically, it’s all over the place. My parents said that they could hear all the different musical influences I listen to regularly and grew up loving, which is a really cool compliment, I think. The last full band song, I Built It All On A Lie, is a slight departure from the rest; I wrote that song about the show Mad Men, I really connected with it, especially the main character Don Draper. That was actually the first song I wrote for this album, over a year ago, before I had the idea for the concept of the record, but when I was putting it all together, I realized that what I had written certainly did apply to the idea, which is crazy. I’m not going to go into what the lyrics and references in the songs are to, that’s for another interview. All in all I’m super proud of this record and I wouldn’t have put it out if I didn’t feel it was the absolute best I could do at this time.
So in a way the album for you is kind of like a story, it has a start middle and end of a certain era of your life. You talked about how the album has taste of your favorite groups growing up. Who are some of the artists that influenced this album and you as a musician?
I think it’d be cooler to ask someone who’s never heard it what they think it sounds like! Haha. But I guess generally; I grew up listening to Fly Like An Eagle, The Wall, and Dookie. My parents ruled. If I had to pin it on one, though, this album was absolutely inspired by Dave Grohl, I look up to him a lot. I chose the name Marigold because of him, actually. Nirvana released a song called Marigold as a b-side to the Heart Shaped Box single. This song was entirely written and sung by Dave, and he presented it to Kurt who thought it was cool and then decided to release it like that. When Kurt passed and Dave started Foo Fighters, for the first few years, fans at shows would chant “marigold” because it was the only thing they knew, and they never played it because Dave was adamant on Foo being a completely separate and new band. In 2006 they did a live stripped down album called Skin and Bones in which they performed the song, finally. I just thought that there was a lot of symbolism in that, especially me being a drummer in a band, and this being my first venture as a songwriter. So yeah, I like Dave Grohl a lot haha.
I think everyone that appreciates rock music in any form can agree with your feelings on Dave Grohl.
You are the sole-driver of the writing on this album, so obviously all of the songs on this album carry an importance and meaning to you. Are there any ones in particular you are excited or anxious for people to hear?
The song With That I Was Sold is actually the only song on this album I don’t sing on; I wrote the music, but my good friend Zoe Scruggs came in and ripped an insane guest vocal part that is completely scat and just straight vibe, I wanted it to be a turning point in the album and I definitely think it achieved that.
Awesome. So what would you say Counterfeit Art has done for you? Has it brought you closure or clarity in some way?
Absolutely, both of those. Writing music now is full of natural flow and ease, and barren of any preconceived notion or expectation. I love it. It sucked going through it, but it was vital to me.
That being said what can we expect from marigold going forward? Was this an album only project or is the potential for a bigger future in mind?
I’m not gonna stop writing music by any means. Never know how things will play out but I’m definitely on board to take this as far as it can go.
Sounds great. Well, we will keep up to date with you and your future endeavors and we can’t wait to see what happens. Is there anything else you want to add in for readers or listeners of the music?
Thanks for caring, in any capacity.
If you are interested in helping out Marigold’s cause you can purchase the album by following this link to pre-order a digital copy: Marigold Bandcamp releasing February 3rd.