If the saying “In like a lamb, out like a lion” is any indication of what 2022 will be like, Marmalade Mountain’s latest indie-folk serenade is the perfect soundtrack to your new year. “All I Want Is You,” is a stripped down and earnest love song from LA-based songwriter Zack Fischmann and RANGE is excited to bring you its official premiere.
Drawing influence from artists like Syd Barrett, David Berman, and Ben Kweller, Fischmann is an ex-punk who grew up going to shows at the legendary 924 Gilman street, an all-ages music venue in the Bay Area that birthed punk bands like Operation Ivy, Green Day, and Crimpshrine. While there’s nothing notably punk rock about the music of Marmalade Mountain, Fischmann is clearly doing his own thing with a relentless DIY ethos. “Once I started writing soft, I haven’t gone back,” the emerging songwriter tells us.
His new album, Strange Angels, is slated for release in 2022 and “All I Want Is You” fits in perfectly with the songwriter’s clever and whimsical repertoire. The track is produced by Rachel Goodrich, who was once dubbed the queen of the Miami indie rock scene by the New York Times for her prolific work as a solo artist. And the accompanying video, which is composed of colourful animated illustrations over top of Fischmann singing and playing guitar, is directed by artist Japhy Riddle.
We connected with Fischmann to talk about his new album, his punk rock past, and his plans to spread Marmalade Mountain all over the musical landscape in 2022.
You grew up in the punk scene at Gilman. How did you get into punk rock?
Ahhh Gilman… I can still smell it. I spent so much time immersed in the punk scene growing up that it informs everything I do, even if it’s totally subconscious at this point.
What’s the best show you ever saw at 924 Gilman?
Don’t hate me, but I have no idea. I went to so many shows at Gilman and a vast majority of them I was either getting blasted or nervous about playing and hiding in my car. Some bands I loved seeing at Gilman over the years: Abi Yoyos, The Fleshies, The Peels (aka Ovens / Tony Molina), What Happens Next?, Nigel Peppercock (lol), The Bananas, and an amazing Japanese avant-hardcore band called The Futures. I do wish I was at Spazz’s last show though… when they break out the banjo, goddamn that slaps.
Marmalade Mountain isn’t a punk band but you’re more punk than most current stud-wearers because you’re doing your own thing. What is your definition of punk?
I have no idea and I never could figure it out. I just love the rawness of the punk scene and the community. As a kid I’d go out and stage dive to some crust-core band and then go home, eat morning glory seeds I harvested around the neighbourhood, and listen to The Velvet Underground and Syd Barrett. I feel like that’s pretty punk.
I didn’t like marmalade growing up. I feel like it used to have more rind in it. It was so bitter. Did my palate evolve or did they start putting less citrus skin in it?
Mannnn I still don’t like marmalade, it’s nasty. Maybe you got the covy and lost your sense of taste?
You don’t look like someone that drinks cold-pressed juice, but you also look like you do. Make sense? That said, what’s your diet like?
Haha, I totally drink cold-pressed juice; I’m such a spoiled hippy. I eat a lot of smoothies, chicken, pho, roasted vegetables and chocolate. And cheese. Goddamn I love cheese. Just reading this back over made me fart.
When did you know you wanted to be a musician?
I was a sophomore in high school and I walked into my English class where we were critiquing the song “Turn! Turn! Turn!” by The Byrds. I was wearing a baggy pink button-up and some Jack Purcells and there was a cutie in my class wearing a Ramones hoodie and she asked if I played in a band. I said “yes” and then immediately went home and got a bass guitar and started learning. LOL
What is the first album you bought with your own money?
Weird Al Yankovic’s Greatest Hits Volume II and I’m still proud of that.
Who is in your band? How did you meet them? Are they going to tour with you?
It’s honestly pretty uncertain at the moment, but isn’t everything? In LA, I was playing with my pals Trapper Piatt and Colin Knighton up until Covid hit. I met Trapper at a cafe down the street and I know Colin through a mutual friend from San Francisco. Funny enough, Colin and I got tighter after he made a really amazing video with Japhy Riddle, who also directed the video for “All I Want Is You.” Japhy’s the man. Lately I’ve been performing solo, but I’d like more dynamism to the show. In my head there’s a bunch of people and it’s kind of a party on stage with lots of color and auxiliary percussion. Maybe I can get a Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band esque live show together one of these days.
What bands have you been listening to lately?
I’ve been obsessed with Arthur Russell for the past few years. I love every Mississippi Records tape I can get my hands on, especially the ska and samba ones, and I’ve been really into an ambient composer named Hiroshi Yoshimura. I like listening to a lot of different music and I’m always making mixes and putting them on my Spotify if you’re ever looking for something to listen to. I believe every genre exists because somebody did something unique and awesome and a bunch of people are trying to copy them.
Do you have a job outside of writing and performing music?
Yep! I work as an engineer on a cancer research project for UC Santa Cruz. It’s great work and it feels good to do something positive.
What is your plan for the official roll-out of Strange Angels? Is there a release date?
I feel like my songs are my children and they all deserve a birthday party, so I’ve been releasing them one at a time. Maybe the right label will come along and suggest we work on a different schedule. Otherwise I’ll just keep taking my time and celebrating each tune until the album is fully released. Actually, I like some of my songs more than others, so some might not get their own birthday party. Does that make me a bad song daddy?
You can only listen to one for the rest of your life, Jawbreaker, Operation Ivy or Crimpshrine?
Op Ivy baby!
How did “All I Want Is You” come about?
I was feeling some sort of way one day and went on a walk in West Hills with my guitar Luna; I posted up under an oak tree and it just came out. I actually have videos of myself writing it. I went home that night, recorded it live, and I just knew it was something special and real when I listened back. I made sure to capture all five senses in the song, but most of all it’s a song about indecision, self-acceptance, and the enormity of love. I was trying out different instrumentation for the overdubs and then my friend Rachel Goodrich came over one night and helped me clean it up and laid down bass, keyboards, and some lovely oohs. She wanted to redo the oohs later but I like them raw. Does that make it punk?
If you could do anything other than music for work, what would it be?
Ecology! I love nature. Did I mention I’m a hippy? Now where’s my cold-pressed juice…
What are your goals for 2022?
Write more songs, have more fun, stay healthy, make sure my friends know that I love and appreciate them, and meet more people. I love you all, thanks for your support and kindness and I hope you enjoy the tunes.
By Glenn Alderson
Our 2022 festival highlights featuring Zach Zoya, Dee Holt, Fernie, Sunglaciers, Priors, and a conversation with Sub Pop CEO Megan Jasper.