Lost City Music Festival Interview: The Cemetery Improvement Society

To celebrate the coming of the first ever Lost City Music Festival, we decided it might be nice to sit down with some of the performers playing at the festival.  Today, we got the chance to speak with Marc Claggett of Madison band The Cemetery Improvement Society.  Catch The Cemetery Improvement Society Saturday, July 7th @ the Project Lodge.

MAM (Corey Murphy): What is The Cemetery Improvement Society?  How would you classify it?

TCIS (Marc Claggett): Currently, TCIS is me, two samplers and a keyboard.  I’d classify it as dark /experimental /electronic music (made in a basement with some cats and a small wiener dog).  There aren’t many electronic artists who don’t use computers these days, so I think it’s unique in that aspect.

MAM: What is your favorite TCIS song to play?  Which one are you most proud of?

TCIS: I won’t be playing any of my old material anymore.  I get sick of what I’ve written pretty quickly usually and I don’t want to try to re-create where I was musically and mentally when I wrote and performed those songs.  I also played guitar on a lot of the older material; now I’m playing a keyboard. I’m writing all new music right now, which I’ll be performing for the first time at the Lost City Music Festival (thank you Mine All Mine!). At this moment I’m pretty proud of a new song called Flammable Nightwear. Did you know that you CANNOT ship flammable nightwear, bibles or pornography to Saudi Arabia?

MAM: The group has been on hiatus for some time now.  We are excited to celebrate your return at our fest.  Do you have anything special planned?

TCIS: I plan on trying to play the new songs without messing them up.  That should be pretty special.

MAM: In the past you’ve performed with Brad Hawes (Echo Island) on drums.  Will he be joining you for the fest?

TCIS:Brad is playing a different night of the festival, but we’ll probably perform a new song together.

MAM: In 2010, J.A.N.E. was ranked number 3 on the A.V. Club’s top Madison albums and number 4 on the Isthmus’ list.  Shortly after that, the band seemed to fall of the radar.  Why is that?

TCIS: We played a lot of shows in about a year without any real breaks and I think I was just burnt out.  I started to feel like no one really cared (maybe that’s just me or maybe it was Madison at the time or maybe they really didn’t).  We did a pretty intense little tour in the Summer of 2010 and spent a lot of money too.  Driving 8 hours a day to play for five people sucks (cry me a river, I know).

MAM: In that same year, another project of yours, The Projection People, made these lists as well with the self-titled album.  What is happening with the Projection People?

TCIS: The Projection People has been on a hiatus too (while Butt Funnel has been on a constant world tour).  We have new material and we plan on finishing a new album before I leave in August.

MAM: What is currently in the works for TCIS?

TCIS: I’m about half way through writing for the new album, “The Scarye Book” (this will be the fourth).  I basically make music to express myself and sometimes to deal with internal conflict (cheesy?  okay).  There’s a lot of dark matter in my universe and I have to do something with it.  This album is very autobiographical (the cover is something I made when I was in Elementary School.   I plan on releasing this in August.

MAM: It’s sad to hear that you are moving.  Any big music-related plans for California?

TCIS: Duh, I’m finally gonna be FAMOUS.  You’ll probably see me on “So You Think You Can Be An American Idol” (favorite show).

MAM: What is your favorite snack food?

TCIS: Cat food (hard, not soft).


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