I stumbled over this fantastic and in multiple fields active artist because of his funny and crazy collages. Seeing them over and over, these odd and stupid characters made me just laugh and these artworks became like a little comic strip series. Marc Kennedy did these visual objects by cutting, preparing and replacing photos while he had a little break from recording a row of his songs. He published as well a book and is producing cool t-shirts, but mainly he is a musician.
From 2011 till 2016 he played in the trio “Crumb Catcher” which is actually still existing till now but at the moment just as a solo acoustic project. Marc is searching for new band members and wants to relaunch the formation. For the completion he is looking for a bass player and a drummer. As well he is running his own single project called “The Thick Un’s” with an already released LP with eight songs. Marc Kennedy´s music has influences of Rock, Punk and Ska but it can get as well groovy or funky, all depending on the mood of the song he created firstly. And those music tracks develop by how he calls it “noodeling around on the guitar”.
The artist from Burlington in North Carolina is a passionate enthusiast about his creative ideas and when it comes out he puts all one hundred percent into it. For around one year his whole house became a super multifunctional self made recording studio. He thought himself to record, publish and promote his music. But even with full effort that takes a while and is enduring.
So making the freak out collages was kind of a little holiday and just doing something else for a break, but simply and still artful. First it was meant only for himself to make him laugh his ass off. Ingredients for the pictures have been for example paint falling off from one of his walls which looked like a face or a ball of hair found on the bath room floor. Another character is made with a photograph of a part of a tractor trailer, with one of his old tires and a pic of his ear.
In an interview Marc Kennedy told us the whole story about his art development, the music, the different side projects and how everything came finally together. Listen to the podcast below, the conversation is as well written down in the following part. You can find all his links at the end in the Infothek.
Music is your main art section. Tell me a little bit about what is “Crumb Catcher” and what is “The Thick Un´s”?
Right now I am doing “Crumb Catcher Acoustic”. So it´s just me doing solo acoustic versions of what used to be our three people songs. It does not exist currently but I am trying to restart the band and I´m trying to find band mates. “Crumb Catcher” is a band which I started around 2011 and it broke up in 2016. We played songs that I have been writing my whole life and I have been adding up. Finally I found the band mates to play with me and we had a good little run. But then it broke up, you know, for band reasons. That was in 2016 and then the “Thick Un´s” came after that. When the band broke up it also was at the same time that me and my girl broke up and she also was in the band. So I had a lot of free time on my hands and that was when I started a recording project which is just me recording all the parts at home. I turned my house into a recording studio as best I could. I had the instruments, I did have bass drums and guitars here. Mostly stuff that other people didn´t want. So I had not the best equipment or anything like that. Just with a free recording software and that´s how I did “The Thick Un´s”. I had to learn a lot about recording and how to do a one person project because you have to overdub everything. That was “The Thick Un´s”. I did eight songs in a year and then I started the artwork. We can speak about this later, but that´s the story of “Crumb Catcher” and “The Thick Un´s”.
So for the listeners and the readers: You are searching for new band members to restart the band again.
That is correct! I have been looking for a long time to restart “Crumb Catcher as a full band because the songs that I write, I write them on acoustic guitar, but they are really meant to be filled out with a full band. Absolutely! And that´s how I hear it in my head. I am always looking for restarting “Crumb Catcher”. And I am looking for a bass player and a drummer.
Tell me a little bit more about the style of the music. On your pages it´s written Punk, Ska and Rock. How would you describe your music?
I really don´t know how to describe my own music and I hate doing it. When you build a profile on Reverbnation you have a couple of selections and you pick something which you think your music is close to. And you know, it´s difficult to put it into certain categories. My music has some elements of Ska, Punk and Rock obviously, but really the genre is not that fixed. I listen to a lot of music and then I noodle around on the guitar. And then somehow that mixes up into a riff that I come up with and that gives me an idea. That´s really how I think about my music. It´s really hard for me to say it´s this or that because really to myself I am not thinking specifically in those terms.
Me neither and I don´t like as well all those different types of names and in the end you have just a lot of different words especially in the electronic music and nobody knows anymore what it is. But I mean you could describe a bit the atmosphere or the feeling you are transporting. Are the lyrics more about critical issues, is it more melancholic or do you do more energetic or even funny stuff? Or just all of it in a mix?
I would say as a whole I do a little bit of all of it. I think lyrically and that´s something about the “Crumb Catcher Acoustic” I do like, is it´s much more kind of centered like my performance around the lyrics. So it really makes me focus on the lyrics. But anyhow I definitely go in story telling things, some of the songs are written like stories. Some are just an expression of a scene or something that is obviously about a relationship. Yeah, I guess that´s how my lyrics come about. I try to write good lyrics and so yes, I would say at times I write critical lyrics and sometimes I write funny lyrics. I usually write the music first. This will answer the question. I usually write the music first aka I noodle around on my guitar until I come up with some parts that go together good. And then from that is where the general feeling of what would go with that song comes from. So if it´s something with funky sound or whatever maybe it wouldn´t have something sad in it. You know, it depends on the mood of the music as what lyrics would go with it. So it comes with those riffs and I try to do a lot of different stuff.
Then another piece of the puzzle came to your art development. I am looking at the moment on the cover of the CD “Greasy Gambit” or on the background pictures of your accounts. So you started as well to do visual art.
Yes I did. After I finished the recording project and I decided to call it “The Thick Un´s” and I think I don´t spell that right in any language. I think I put the apostrophe on the wrong place. But then it stuck because I already made the logo and the stuff, so I said: Man, it´s that! It´s slang, it´s nice, so whatever! But anyhow in 2016 I was really just going to work for a year and only thinking about those eight songs which became “The Thick Un´s”. And I decided that I should become something different than “Crumb Catcher” and something that I present as a made up band and kind of online. I didn´t know how I was going to promote it online but I after I finished those eight songs then I was done playing music for a while. Because I had went in so hard on those eight songs that I was done. And I didn´t pick up the guitar for a year. During that time I started really to embraced getting online. It was my first time getting on Instagram and really using other social media platforms as well. I was on there a little bit but not like I am now. I built up a website with all of it. I did that after “The Thick Un´s” and I had no more juice to make music with that all. I was done because I went so hard on that. And I wanted to do something with it. So that was when I started playing around with the effects of my phone. I was just making myself laugh and I started to post this weird pictures on Instagram. And when you look on Instagram they have a saying under the picture. And that´s definitely a part of it. That is how I consider my art form: The wired ass picture with the saying underneath. And I initially thought of it because I was looking on Instagram what people were posting and I thought it would be funny just to put something that just makes you go “What ?!?” when you are flipping through it. That was how it started with that and I had nothing else to do. So I was making them every day and then eventually I started to go out a lot and seeing bands. I stared to take out stuff besides my own thoughts. That´s when I started to go out to shows a lot more. I was checking out shows and doing this art, so that became then my Instagram page. Then I started doing “Crumb Catcher” again and I was able to promote myself and the collages there as well. But for a year I wasn´t doing any music. So after doing the art for a while I thought: “Hey, wouldn´t that be funny on a T-shirt?” Then I made my first T-shirts. I know this is going on long, should I tighten it up a bit?
No, no! Keep on speaking, it´s very nice! And I think that´s the story, that´s the development. Because I think it´s all connected. You have little pieces, little puzzle pieces. First you were doing music, then you wanted to do something completely else, but then in a next step you saw it´s all you, it´s all your creative work and you combined the little pieces in some way. And now you have everything together in your project work. The one part you use for visual promotion, the other part is still the music. Nothing is lost, it´s now even bigger than before.
That is exactly what I have been doing. You summed that up very good. That is it. And I was getting to that point basically where I realized for instant, I think I was at that point in the story. I made the first “The Thick Un´s” LP and I went ahead and put it out on Spotify and all that. I knew then how to do that. I had already the next one but I decided to hold on to “Greasy Gambit” for like a year. Because at this point I switched into the mode and asked myself: How would I promote this if I was a label? I don´t want to put them both out at the same time. So then during that time when I was waiting to put them out I started doing the pictures and then that was the first time when I thought I could tie them all together. That´s when I decided to make the cover like that because I had this art style. And then I made the shirts to, the Yadayadayada. That´s when I really started thinking about how I could tie that all together. So that´s what I have been doing since and thank you for noticing. I really appreciate that.
I like the collages, they are very nice! The music is cool as well! And what about the picture book, is this something else?
The picture book I did put out at the same time when I put out “Greasy Gambit” and they are loosely tied together. It is a collection of pictures that I was making. It´s loosely tied together because it is a collection of these pictures I put together that lead up. The final picture is the album cover. So it does kind of go with the album. But basically it´s a picture book that looks nice too. It´s made with nice paper, with black magazine paper and the pictures are on there and the works are in color. The pictures are big and you can really look at them a lot better than on your phone. It´s a 32-page cool looking picture book.
What are the pictures about?
They are just like, ähm, yes, man! This is something I want to explain. Hopefully people will visit this article here and look at this stuff. But the pictures and the way how I make the collages is all on my phone. There is a really rudimentary photoshop on there and so I cut stuff out and I take bad pictures. And then I play with the effects and slowly it developed. First I was just doing that stuff to make me laugh. I was just making stupid stuff. And so that´s still what it is. I kept these stupid little characters. One of them is literally the paint which is pealing in my bathroom and for a while it looked like a face. At least when you sit on the toilet and you look at it every day then eventually you start seeing it looks like a face. And I took a picture of that, cut it out and then I put it on top of my feet. I made a photo and cut out my feet. And that was a character. That´s how I started doing it and then I kept using these characters in different scenes. I made a different world and then they would be in this one. And then I had another character and so on. I did this over time, like for a year and I was just playing on my phone. Now I have this elaborate world full of characters and stuff. It ´s easier and easier now to make a wired picture with a wired sentence underneath it. It just makes me laugh and then I know that it´s done. But yeah, all of them are really random pictures.
So the pictures book is filled with your collages. Because on the Instagram it´s like a mix. This is like a kind of bigger pictures book. There you have the collages as well, but you are doing as well doing some kind of concert or life music documentation, because you are featuring with photos a lot of other musicians and bands.
Yes. So when I started doing Instagram I just put out my stupid pictures. And then I started to go out and see stuff soon after. Because like I said, this was right after finish recording and I wanted to get out of the house after that. So I was really going out and seeing a lot of new bands and new stuff. I was meeting new people and I started taking pictures. I thought this is as well a good way to get back into the scene and to get back to the arts community in that way. So I started doing that and building on that from there. Anyhow it slowly became what it is today. In some way I look at it like an episode of Beavis and Butthead. But in pictures. You see some wired pictures and then you see some bands and then you see again some wired pictures. Maybe this is what you can get if like to look on peoples Instagram pages. I think it´s cool and it gives me a way to get art out there. And it gives me a way to get other bands and musicians out there too.
I really like the mix. This funny colorful arty collages and in between then some bands with information about it. It´s nice.
Yes, thanks. So that´s how this came to be. And like the book is 32-pages but my Instagram has so many of those pictures that if people do like the collages they can go to the Instagram and get the view of it but not get done in the first day. Because there are a lot of them. I make about one once a week.
Yes, when I look on the now, there are some characters which are popping up more often. It´s not that you make one collages, it´s like a series and meanwhile you have a whole family of little funny figures or whatever they are.
That is right, yeah. That´s the way I think of it.
It reminds me really a lot on Toy Story. Especially this one guy here, he looks so much like Mr. Potatohead with these shoes and the glasses.
Oh yes, he got as well a black hat. With this “Future weapons can produce abundant discharge”. The one you are looking at was a piece of meat out of some junky cereal soup. Some branded soup we have here. And then the one with hair and the sunglasses, the hair which are actually from a drunk hair ball over here. There was actually a ball of hair on my floor which I photographed. And so I put just sunglasses and feet on it and later on I put the liquor bottle in its mouth. The meat junk is actually with a cut out of the shape of sunglasses out of that hair from the hair ball and I put it on the meat junk and the shoes under him. And that other one that is the bath room paint pealing. The third character there. And he has been in so many of the collages now, it´s ridiculous. So those three are the ones who have been on the main stage. But I always put on some new characters too and I invent new ones when I go along.
You put in a lot of effort. It´s not that you just take some photos from the internet or you cut out something from a newspaper. If you find some random stuff you actually really making the photographs by yourself and then you cut it out and insert it. So every little piece is found and captured with camera by yourself.
That is right, that is exactly right. And I think that is what it gives the collages its own flavor. As well it´s right, it´s usually just random stuff too. I don´t even go in that sector too much. I just make myself laugh and it just have been this thing what has been evolving over a long time. So I don´t even know what I am looking at compared to other people. But yeah, each thing is self made. If you see the red thing flying over there in the one pic. That was something I got from my mum’s craft store and then I put it on top of a butterfly and played with the color.
I looks like a zombie butterfly.
Right, yeah. That´s how I made that one. The other thing is a piece of the back of my ear on a wheel. The rolling ear right here, that´s my ear. Yes, that´s my ear on the back of a tractor trailer truck, something you can see on the back of a trailer truck on top of my old car tire. That´s that. The thinking of the characters are simple in a way but I just spend a lot of time messing with the background until it looks just right. Then I add this in and that. The picture itself and the ideas can take time but that´s the processing part which I like.
You really do a lot. Is there something we didn´t speak about yet?
My t-shirt designs can be found at “The Thick Un’s” on the Storenvy. You can look at “The Thick Un’s” at Storenvy which is a place where you buy stuff online. There you can find my t-shirts. The book is on Blurb Books. There you can find “Greasy Gambit”. And then the music of “Crumb Catcher” and “The Thick Un’s” is on all the music streaming platforms so you can look them up there as well. I am planning a new release which will be a “Crumb Catcher Acoustic” soon. I don´t know exactly when, but I am sure it will be next year. So if you would like you can keep look out for that.
And not to forget, if there are any other musicians who are looking for other band players they can contact you via email or on your social media accounts. If they live around Burlington would be easier.
Yes they can contact me in any of those ways. You can contact me over the website or via Facebook or however you want to do. I am looking to restart “Crumb Catcher” and to be a part of another project as well where I can be just a member. If anybody is interested and even if they live far away. I haven´t done any long distance recording projects or anything like that, but I am sure I can figure it out. And if that happens that somebody is interested in, I would be don´t for that too.
I mean, at the moment we are doing a first time Skype interview for you from the one side of the world to the other. So with the internet a lot more things are possible and easy.
It´s true and it´s amazing, man! It is amazing!
Cool Cat Wack: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkJ48jL45SlseUolMaIlJ1A
The Thick Un’s
Book at Blurb: https://www.blurb.com/b/8883047-greasy-gambit
T-Shirt Store: http://thethickuns.storenvy.com/