ARTIST FEATURE: Eugene Stone-Marques from ‘The Dream: Monash Sessions’

Continuing our series of artists features on artists from our recent Dave Douglas release, The Dream: Monash Sessions, performed in collaboration with musicians from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, we’re highlighting guitarist Eugene Stone-Marques. Having picked up the guitar at age eleven, Eugene played in both rock and big bands at school, before a brief foray into non-musical studies in his late teens. In 2016, Eugene moved to Melbourne to pursue his musical passions, starting a prog funk band named Sofala, which combined elements of improvisation and composition. Through his time exploring the musical worlds the Melbourne scene has to offer, Eugene became enraptured with jazz and its’ pervasive influence, leading him to begin his formal studies in Jazz Performance at Monash in 2020.

What instrument do you play and can you describe the room you recorded in?

I play the guitar – a Gibson SG Standard that has been with me since the rockin’ age of 14. I recorded my parts in my bedroom where I have my amp set up with the one and only Shure SM57 permanently sitting in front of the amp and connected to my interface and computer. I’d say the hard walls and floorboards wouldn’t really effect the recorded sound too much given I’m close micing the amp.

What was the biggest challenge of remote recording and how did it differ from challenges to in person playing?

Trying to record parts that were responsive to the other instrumentalists I found quite challenging given the lack of communication and an immediate collective vibe. I also found myself perhaps getting a bit too picky over mistakes and probably did too many takes for some of the tunes. The perils of immediately being able to hear what you’ve just played!

How will the musical interactions you’ve had via remote stay in your practice when the lockdown is eased, if at all?

The experience of group recording totally asynchronously has opened up the possibility of the collaborating without needing to be in the same room as anyone else, which could perhaps be useful when trying to sketch out ideas for compositions or collaborations in a more efficient fashion. I would however say that for finished product recordings, nothing beats playing with a real human.

Where do you see yourself and your music fitting into the community of musicians?

I’m quite new to playing jazz – I grew up listening to various subgenres of rock (if the Gibson guitar wasn’t a dead giveaway there). In my late teens I was particularly taken with the experimental adventures of psych and prog groups from the 70s like Pink Floyd and the Jimi Hendrix Experience, and more contemporary bands like Dungen. Those styles will always occupy a special place in my musical life and continue to inform what I do, however I’m interested in playing a variety of styles, so going forward I can see myself doing anything from standards to funk and more.

Where can people learn more about your work?

I previously had a psych groove/rock project called Sofala – some of the music is available on Bandcamp here. Whilst that project is no longer active, there is music that we haven’t yet released which may still see the light of day!

The Dream: Monash Sessions is available exclusively on Bandcamp here.