Steve Marion is the puppet master pulling all the strings behind the curtain for Delicate Steve. The virtuosic guitarist not only played every instrument on, but also wrote, recorded and mixed his 2012 chef d’œuvre, Positive Force. Like the New Jersey bagels Steve is fond of, his music is full of nutrients for the soul — such as all-natural optimism and unadulterated joy — that make it sound so good. As he readies for SXSW and preps for an April tour with Dirty Projectors, Steve kindly took time out to tackle my questions about Chuck Klosterman, spirituality and breakfast food.
SIC: Steve, you are a wonder and an inspiration (I have the tattoo to prove it)! I’m curious: Who or what — in music and everyday life — inspires you?
Steve: I am honored. Wow. I am happy for you that you are enjoying the music so much! Everything is an inspiration, food, music, friends, family, climate, nature. Hearing about what amazing things other people are doing is always inspiring to me.
Chuck Klosterman fabricated your bio for Wondervisions, which made me want to be more creative in my PR approach. Do you think his piece did you and your music justice? Do you have any regrets?
I think it fulfilled its purpose—it got people to talk about the band, which I think is what a bio is supposed to do. I was skeptical at first because I didn’t know if I was going to be taken seriously. I went with the label on the decision, and I’m glad I did.
Another great music writer, Michael Azerrad, mentions the mystical synergy of music and life, saying that’s what you were aiming for with Positive Force. Have you always been a bit of a mystic? Did you ever experience any sort of conversion that made you more spiritual? Have you always had an optimistic outlook?
I feel very blessed to have been surrounded by so many good teachers from such a young age. I don’t really resonate with the idea of being mystical because it seems like such an otherworldly sounding thing, and I think where it’s at is right now, so meditating and all of that *spiritual stuff* is just trying to get you focused and tuned into this world right now.
Most of your songs have no lyrics, but they still move with verses and choruses. Do you ever put words (that only you hear) to the wordless songs?
I don’t but I try and name the songs by what I think the music is trying to say or how it feels.
“Positive Force” was my #1 track (and voted #3 on Speakers In Code) in 2012. I always describe it as the way I hope my soul would sound if it was projected on the world. What was your favorite song from last year, and do you have a “Positive Force” for your soul?
I am honored! I don’t know if I have a favorite song from last year because I am still finding out about so much great music from years past. I love “Dance For You” by Dirty Projectors. Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Big Freedia, they are all doing it for me right now. It’s all I’ve listened to in the past few weeks.
Finally, what’s your favorite cereal? I think cereal preference says a lot about a person. Plus, I just really love the stuff. 🙂
I like to have eggs in the morning with a bagel. I live in NJ and we have the best bagels in the world because the water is filled with minerals that make the bagels taste so good. But if I’m going to do cereal I like any plain whole grain type of thing, and I will throw in some chia seeds and pumpkin seeds and a banana. Bam.