MRCH is broadcasting a live transmission from deep in the Arizona desert. At first, it was quiet, building steam off of the duo’s combined years in the Phoenix rock scene. Years passed, and volume steadily built with accolades from CMJ, the Guardian, and Consequence of Sound, as well as TV spots on shows like Shameless, Vampire Diaries, and Search Party. But now, as we enter 2019, the signal is stronger than ever, clear as a bell and crackling with electricity.
“Last year and 2017 were so hard, personally,” says lead singer and guitar player Mickey Pangburn. “Family health issues, and things that I thought I would be older for when they happened… All of this amidst the political climate we are in. Circumstances haven’t changed, but our outlook has. I feel more optimistic than I have in a long time. These songs are coming from a fun place – not in a poppy, light way, but in a brighter view of the life guiding our writing process.”
2017 saw the release of MRCH LP Reactions, a tight knit soundtrack to life changes, love, and the loss of innocence. A band known throughout the Valley as a live powerhouse, Reactions let MRCH flex as creators. Pushing into darker, more brooding territory lyrically, singles like “My Mistake” (as featured on 13 Reasons Why) also showcased the duo’s ability to assemble and produce pop excellence without any outside influences.
MRCH have continued this trend with a steady stream of singles guiding 2018 forward. “Slay Me” is a bittersweet earworm, detailing the daunting nature of perfection in love and vocation. “Dizzy” is a speeding new wave drive down the darkened streets of destiny. And finally, “The Other Side”, rounding out the duo’s end of the year cassette EP, is a disco forward synthpop burner, exploring love and its opposite in a haze of flashing light.
“One thing we have really focused on this year is trying to curate every bit of our artistic expression,” says drummer and producer Jesse Pangburn. “No one is coming in making any artistic decisions for us. Writing, recording, producing, lights, projections – we are the ones making an experience and sharing our feelings.”
Singularity has long been a theme for MRCH. Mickey and Jesse while studying in the small northern Arizona city of Prescott, approaching a sparsely populated jazz music focus from radically different tracks. Jesse came from a technical background, a fan of dense textures of prog rock and metal. Mickey married impressive jazz theory with an unmatched knowledge of late 80s TV and pop culture. The result was a union all unto their own.
Mickey is the emotional driver of the band, dreaming up ideas and flushing out the grand narrative for their vision. Jesse is reactive, taking the concepts Mickey brings to the table and giving them structure and tonality. This formula has done well for the duo, letting them each lean into their strengths. “I think we only disagree about any aspect of a song about 10% of the time, and it’s usually for a good reason”, Mickey laughs.
Looking forward towards their 2019 release, MRCH are steeped in anticipation. “We’ve learned so much in the past few years,” Mickey says. “And now, we can fully facilitate the ideas that we have in our heads. We’ve come to a place where we are more effortlessly blending the attributes of our last few releases. Dream-pop, new wave, and even elements of hip-hop and dance music – it’s all going to be there.”
With every passing year, MRCH become a more complete version of themselves. As their desert transmission grows stronger, only time and bandwidth will tell how far it will reach.