Get To Know Marlon Funaki [Interview]

Riley Furey

Marlon Funaki and I’s interview started a few minutes late, and that was due to him getting lost in working on a bassline for a future single. There is no more fitting way than this to get into an interview with a true artist, and you can read through the rest of our conversation below. (Bold is me, regular font is Marlon)

How’ve you been?

I’m good bro, just been chilling. I’m currently hanging with my cat who might pop into frame as a heads up.

Ah man, I got this little guy sitting over here too. His name’s Paco. *pans camera over to his dog*

Haha that’s awesome, this might be my first interview with a studio audience. With that said, you down to get into it?


To start things off, if someone has never heard your music how would you describe it to them?

It resides between a bunch of different genres. It’s somewhere between psychedelic rock, indie, and sometimes people even call it folk. I think it’s a pretty good blend of those three with its own kind of twist to it with the vocals.

One of my favorite parts about your music is your guitar tone. It's so ethereal and airy, and what do you think draws you to that style of playing?

When I was in highschool I probably listened to two people for like the whole four years, and it was Palace and Puma Blue.

Puma Blue? I’ve never heard of him.

Oh man, you have to check him out. That’s basically where I got my guitar tone from. There’s this song he made called “Moon Undah Water'' that you have to listen to. The guitar tone on it has a little bit of vibrato with a clean guitar tone, and then give that some reverb. It’s heavier in that echoey and spacey vibe and it’s so good.

Another thing we talked about in our attempted written interview was your Mexican heritage. How do you think those roots have impacted how you make music today?

I don’t know if they’ve impacted the lyrical or musical sense as much as it has impacted a sense of style. People tend to think that I’m going for a Cowboy type of vibe, and in a sense I am, but I try to clarify at shows that the outfit and the mannerisms are more like a Vaquero. I would say that’s the biggest influence on it.

You started the year off strong with “She Knows How To Say My Name,” and a set of shows across the West Coast. Is there anything you can share about what's to come for the rest of the year?

What I can say at the time of this interview, is that there will be a tour that includes my first time playing out of the state of California. It’s not massive or national yet, but it’s going to contain four or five different states that I’ve never played in before which I’m really excited about.

As far as releases go, I really want to get an album out as soon as possible. So the months of May and June I will be mostly taking a break from shows to help me prepare for that tour I mentioned, and to record a little bit more music before we get on the road.

We've sort of mentioned this one as well, but who is your dream artist to open for?

If there was just one, it would be Palace forsure. Their song “Live Well” was the first indie type of song I listened to, and it was what drove me to sell my Xbox, buy a guitar, and to start learning how to record, produce, and play. Their music is just so special, and I’m actually about to see them play for the first time here in a week or so. I can’t wait for it.

At the time of writing you have 350k monthly listeners, which has left a few of your songs with 1 million and 500k streams respectively. What do you think is your most underrated song stream wise?

Oh, that’s a good one. I’m going to give you two that I think are a little bit underrated. “Red Hearts was”.. Actually you know what, I’m going to give you three. “Red Hearts” is starting to gain the attention it deserves now that more people are flooding to the discography, “remi” took me quite a while to record so I feel like that’s an underrated one, and the last one is “xoxo.” That was one of my favorite songs to produce.

Another question we touched on in the written interview that I wanted to revisit, was who is a band on the come up that you really like right now?

If I were to name one, I would have to say Cold Cut because I really jive with their music. They’re coming out of Riverside if I remember correctly. They’re like a soul-rock style of playing, and after I saw them live from playing a show with them, I was just blown away. Absolutely blown away. They’re so locked in and just so good. If you’ve never heard of them you need to go check them out.

Do you have any song recommendations?

Definitely “Autumn.” That’s such a great track to start with if anyone is listening for the first time.

Another thing that came up particularly in this interview, is I see you have a decent amount of tattoos. Do you have any notable ones you want to mention?

I’d have to say this one. *shows his arm with a scar that was turned into a smiley face*

I got this scar from a motorcycle crash that involved a mobile home, and it was pretty gnarly. Before I had the tattoo I always thought that it kind of looked like a mouth, so I decided to put two X’s there and make it a face. It was my way of turning something pretty intense into something more light hearted.

Forgive me if my wording of this question is a bit all over the plave, but this just came to mind and I wanted to ask it. Of course music is your main thing, but what inspires you outside of it and allows you to come back to music feeling refreshed?

I would have to say one of the biggest things is cooking. If I’m not making music and it’s a day that I set aside to relax and unwind, finding a solid recipe at home to cook with my lady is the best thing. Sitting back, slamming a couple brews, and watching a good movie is the best way to clock out and just leave all of my thoughts at the door.

Lastly, is there anything you want to share to fans about what’s to come, or to leave with someone reading through this interview?

If I were to sum it all up, I would say that two years ago I always would record music for fun, but now I really want to dig deep and make this a career. This year and the years to come as long as I make music, I’m going to be putting out a lot more stuff including vinyl and merch. I want to tour the US; if not by this year, then by early next year – whether it’s me putting it together or my friends at CAA.

There are a lot of states that I want to experience my music live, and there are just a lot of things to come. I can’t wait for it all.

Make sure to check out some of my favorites from Marlon Funaki and some of his inspirations on my playlist here.

Copy Link

Related Articles