Marion Walker
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Marion Walker

Reno, Nevada, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | INDIE

Reno, Nevada, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Rock Psychedelic




"Marion Walker - 'Serious Picnic' (EP stream) (premiere)"

Billing themselves as “casino trash”, trio Marion Walker play fittingly gritty garage rock with serious psychedelic undertones. In other words, it’s riff rawk that never hesitates to wander away from aggression to meditative passages, be they early-‘70s doom jams, screaming guitar solos, or both. At a scant 11 minutes, the new Serious Picnic EP might seem short, but it’s actually a finely orchestrated stoner suite that echoes everything from Blue Cheer, to Cream, to the Velvet Underground. It’s a pleasantly hazy-sounding experience, and one we’re glad to premiere.

“There are problems in these times, but wooooooo… turns out they are actually all of ours (RIP Lou Reed),” the band, who divide their time between Reno and Seattle, tells PopMatters. “With our ears to the ground and our hearts on our sleeves we deliver to you our Serious Picnic EP. We are volunteers, we are hellhounds, we have our hands held up, and we give cheers to the demons.” - Pop Matters


Have you got your dancing shoes at the ready? Good, because Seattle based three-piece Marion Walker are here to make your feet move with their new release ‘Seriously / Silver Drone’. The tracks are the first to be taken from their upcoming Serious Picnic EP, slated for release on 23 June via Casino Trash Records.

To say these songs are ‘singles’ wouldn’t be quite right, as the EP is actually one 11 min 11 sec long beast of thumping psych rock and infectious grooves, but ‘Seriously / Silver Drone’ represent the first 6 minutes to be carved from the record for your listening pleasure.

‘Seriously’ is a punk rock infused floor shaker with a pop underbelly reminiscent of Vivian Girls, complete with a call and response, sing-along refrain. ‘Silver Drone’ is, as you’d expect, a swirling psych-tinged whirlwind with a hypnotic, riff heavy dirge sitting resplendently at the eye of the storm. Don’t say we didn’t warn you. - Killer Ponytail

"Marion Walker – Serious Picnic – Bringing it All Back Home"

“Classic rock” is a relative term. As a genre, it brings to mind either burnouts/burning-outs or musicians too old to have long hair and wear fringe jackets. But in 2015, it’s possible to look at bands who seek to replicate the spirit and sound of the ‘90s college radio invasion and call them the “classic rock” of today. Marion Walker, a three-piece psych-rock band whose members split their time between Reno and Seattle, recall not grunge or pop-punk, but the low-fi approach of Dinosaur and the Vaselines with their latest cassette EP, Serious Picnic.

Serious Picnic is designed to be listened to as one piece, and the band describes it as an 11-minute suite in three movements. The three songs are identifiably separate, but you don’t realize you’ve reached the second or third part until you’re halfway in. The first, “Seriously,” starts with some feedback and a crunchy two-chord progression with Kyle Walker Akins (Think in French, Yesir) and Jessie Marion Smith (Saint Genet, Dead Bird Movement) switching off on vocals, delivering a calm tenor and a distant soprano, respectively. (And if you look at their names, you can see where the band name comes from.)

At 3:35, the tempo drops and the “psych” part of their description comes into play on the aptly titled “Silver Drone.” Live, one could easily see this song expanding for several minutes, but on this EP, they keep it brief. The line between it and the third song “Volunteers” is less clear but as you approach the end you know you’re in a different place than you were in the middle.

The fact Marion Walker decided to release Serious Picnic on cassette helps their case as a ‘90s college-rock throwback, but the songs themselves do not sound dated. Credit this to the spirit of the genre; this sort of independent music was about sincerity and capturing the room, and with that Marion Walker has succeeded. Hopefully, their next release will be more accessible, physically speaking. - mxdwn

"Marion Walker, Strange Wilds, and Dead Spells"

“Serious Picnic,” Reno-based psych trio Marion Walker’s new single, wastes no time hitting you with the hook: the first 30 seconds are just the right ratio of pop harmony, humidity-fried guitars, and cymbal-riding backbeat. The rest of their oeuvre follows suit, a pleasing though familiar trip through classic-rock moves and glam flirtations. That these sun-kissed stoners hail from Reno begins to make perfect sense the longer you listen: It’s grungy, cheapo garage that will put the world’s biggest little smile on your face. Olympia’s Strange Wilds make skate-video-ready hardcore punk, and the seasonally inappropriate goth wave of Seattle’s Dead Spells will make you wish you BYOOB (Brought Your Own Ouija Board), so you’re getting three distinct flavors of the rock buffet for the price of one here. - The Stranger

"Music Is A Choice: A Newswhistle Manifesto"

“How young are you? How old am I?”

This isn’t a test, but you could easily fail it. In fact, you might be failing right now. What are you doing at the moment? Go through yesterday’s events in your head. How much music did you listen to? Did you give yourself time to let yourself be moved by it?

Don’t tell me you’re busy. I am 42, have a job, and three kids. Just don’t.

Somewhere we each have an hourglass that holds jewels that you are awarded or deducted, much like Hogwarts’ house points in Harry Potter. Every time you seek out, or otherwise embrace some new, unfamiliar music, you get points, and when you ignore it, or tell yourself you don’t have time for it, you lose points.

I was listening to The Takeaway on Minnesota Public Radio a few weeks back (I told you I am 42), and I was struck by a very interesting conversation about what I am going to call “musical curiosity”. The Takeaway conversation draws a lot from this more extensive article, but my takeaway is simple.

We are musically dead by age 33, 35 if you are lucky.

This research points to an argument that drives this strange phenomena. It is really pretty pointless, and in fact, is bullshit.


Yeah, no. Not really, anyway. For every tiny bit of romanticized awesomeness from a past decade, there was a root beer barrel full of crap floating in the mainstream. Don’t even start with the “back in my day” garbage. One has always had to look for good music. It just seems that we stop doing it way too early in life.

“How young are you? How old am I? Let’s count the rings around my eyes.”

Knowing my age, you can probably guess how I discovered music from my formative year up until now. It started with older brothers, neighbors, friends, magazines, MTV, etc. Then in the mid 90s, a website called Addicted To Noise launched, and it was then that I discovered how the Internet could open up a million doors to music from all over the place.

My co-workers and I at IBM in Milwaukee, WI, would wait for the Daily News update (I think it was 11am, but I could be wrong). It was amazing. Then came the illegal downloading wild west years, and we end up here, now.

We end up at NewsWhistle. There are a million different places on the internet to discover new music, but I think our team does a pretty damn good job. Obviously, if music is important to you, there are other places you could and should go to immerse yourself in it, but I believe the joy of our own discoveries come through.

Sick of Sarah, Lux Lisbon, Ancient Warfare, Red Empire, etc., etc. are all great examples of amazing current music wafting out of the windows of the tastefully-appointed NewsWhistle: Music offices.

In fact, Marion Walker’s EP Serious Picnic came across my desk recently, and it is a treat. It is three songs that work together as one whole 11 minute piece. You don’t have to trust me. Take a listen.

It’s fuzzy, it’s buzzy, it’s muscular, mysterious, and maybe even a little dangerous. There is shiv hidden in this band’s glovebox. Serious Picnic is available Marion Walker’s website, Bandcamp, and (I am guessing here) at their shows.

It’s there for the taking (i.e. buying); decent music, I mean. I call bullshit on musical death by 35. Grow up, not old. 40 is the new 30, or something along those lines. However you want to think about it, it is up to us to smash this trend. We probably won’t, in the larger sense, but it felt good to write it.

“How young are you? How old am I? Let’s count the rings around my eyes. How smart are you? How dumb am I? Don’t count any of my advice.”

Paul Westerberg wrote that when he was 24 or 25 years old. He’s older now, just like the rest of us. Don’t let The Onion get it right (yet again). - News Whistle

"Psych-rockers Marion Walker Play Tiger Mountain June 6"

Jessie Marion Smith, Kyle Walker Akins, and Donovan Jordan Williams are artists individually but cohesively as the band Marion Walker create a sound that is dreamy, fuzzy, a little dark and a little technicolor. After spending a short time in Asheville awhile back they have decided to return to the city they fell in love with for a free show.

They've been bringing their blend of sounds all over the US for their Serious Picnic Tour and in anticipation of their show coming up on Saturday, June 6 at Tiger Mountain, I was able to ask a few questions to get to know them and their music a little better. Enjoy. And be sure to check out their hauntingly beautiful video for "We Won't Be in Love Much Longer" below – a "hybrid dance film and art flick – a nostalgic episode in the dead of a Southern summer night."

Lauryn Higgins: For readers completely new to your music, can you describe your style and tell us a little about the band?

Marion Walker: We are a 3-piece psych-rock band of sweethearts with sharp teeth. Our music is a head-on collision between doomy, bleak worlds and fuzzed-out, technicolor tones. We love playing live and we have been having tons of fun so far on our tour. It will be nice to see some familiar faces in Asheville and we can’t wait to fill your heads full of rock’n’roll!

Lauryn: You guys are not only a band but a collective group of artists, with titles such as: choreographer, filmmaker, sound engineer and dancer. Do these other roles influence your music and have they helped create your particular sound?

Marion Walker: We are supremely curious by nature and willing to work at something until serendipitous discoveries reveal themselves. Everything we do is filtered through our own histories. We all approach the creative processes with our unique vocabularies, fueled from our experiences in other mediums, and this helps us to look at music from all different angles. Sometimes we name parts of songs after super ridiculous events that are dance, video, or gummi-bear oriented. You know,…as visual artists, we got into these psychedelic sunshine smiley faces and now that feeling keeps popping up throughout our songs.

Lauryn: Your new EP will be released June 23. Can you tell our readers what the creative process was like?

Marion Walker: Are y’all familiar with the “Telephone Game” or any memory game where the story grows with each additional member? The music for our new EP, “Serious Picnic,” evolved through a similar process. We passed the guitar back and forth and built the riffs and ideas through accumulation. We wrote the songs over the course of the summer of 2014, partially in Asheville, then somewhere deep in the woods of North Carolina, and later hiding out in Florida. What started out as a very lighthearted writing process turned more serious as we got to the lyrics. The words ultimately were a means of processing and reflecting upon the state of the times last summer after the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. Most of our music embodies these kinds of extremes, playful yet dark and intense at its core.

Lauryn: Part of your EP was born in a friend’s attic above a bar in Asheville. Can you tell us what bar? And is that what made you want to bring this tour here?

Marion Walker: Some of our dearest friends and people who we will love forever live in know who you’s everyone in Asheville! Last summer, Kyle (and for a short time Jessie too) lived and worked throughout the Asheville area and practiced above the old Tiger Mountain. (It is now on Lexington Avenue and that’s where we’ll be playing.) We are super excited to return and see everyone, and yes, Asheville was and will always be on our list of places to return to. To back up a little further, we really just tossed a dart at a map of the US and it came up Asheville. Once we made it into town, we ran into an old high school friend and things snowballed from there. To be able to return with Marion Walker will truly be an unexpected surprise for some of our friends. We didn’t get a chance to perform live while we were living there and we are really excited to get to introduce ourselves sonically.

Lauryn: Can you tell us what we can expect from your live show?

Marion Walker: We are a performance band, ultimately. There is nothing like the transference of energy that takes place during shows. As far as what to expect, be prepared for some bad inside jokes Kyle insists on sharing, some serious bass-necking and/or high-kicking from Jessie, 11-minute+ fuzzed-out songs, and Donovan on the skins who keeps us all grounded. - Asheville Grit


The entity that is Marion Walker are beautifully ambiguous squared. The three-piece band is comprised of Jessie Marion Smith, Kyle Walker Akins, and drummer Donovan Jordan Williams. In addition to fronting and writing music for Marion Walker, Jessie is also a choreographer, dancer, and filmmaker, while Kyle is a visual artist, sound engineer, and filmmaker. The band also seems to lack a definitive “home,” as they originally split their time between Reno, NV and Seattle, WA, while their latest album was largely written in Asheville, NC and Florida, but eventually recorded on the West Coast, where they currently reside. June 23rd Marion Walker will release their three-song Serious Picnic EP on cassette tape via Casino Trash Records. The album blends a postmodern revivalist take on psych rock with a brash punk attitude, but an aesthetic that is perfect for bopping around and chanting along to… albeit likely in a wonderfully divey locale. They’re currently about 2/3rds into a batch of dates that will have them playing our very own Everybody Hits this Thursday, June 11th. The band recently took some time to let us at PHILTHY MAG know all about the band’s background and what can be expected of their upcoming sounds and performance.

Izzy Cihak: You’re about to release your Serious Picnic EP. How do you feel like this collection of songs compares to previous releases, both in terms of sound and just the process of writing and recording it?

Marion Walker: We are all very excited to be touring/releasing our Serious Picnic EP. We spent a significant amount of time crafting the melodies so they flowed with and into each other (There are some riffs that pop up earlier in the tracks that could act as little easter eggs for repeat listeners.) We recorded it ourselves, so we were able to spend an extended period of time during all stages of the production. This is also the first recording we have with Donovan Williams on drums, even though he has played live for us during every stage of Marion Walker. These recordings also approach a more fuzzed-out/psych-doomy vibe than our older songs.

Izzy Cihak: What would you consider to be the album’s most significant influences, both musical and otherwise (I know you all work in various mediums)?

Marion Walker: These songs are products of their environment and times. The songs were written in July 2014, and in their own way foreshadowed several events within the political climate of American life. The middle track, “Silver Drone,” has only one line, “Hold Up Your Hands.” Originally we had intended that ‘raising of hands’ to be a symbol of people volunteering (as one would do in a crowd)….yet only a few weeks later Michael Brown was murdered and “Hold Up Your Hands” became an international sign of protest and futility against our police state. All the lyrics were already written before Ferguson happened and the only line we changed was adding, “RIP Michael Brown.”

Not very many people have approached us, or commented on this aspect of the song yet, which is not a mystery to us. We all felt nervous and anxious about referencing political events in our music, (especially considering it was created beforehand) but have since realized that it is more our duty to act as a channel and trust what we do. Silence is violence and it’s time to sit down, break bread with our ‘frenemies,’ and have a serious conversation about how to move forward.

Izzy Cihak: I understand you’re filmmakers, so I want to go off on a selfish tangent on cinema, because it’s by far my favorite artistic medium and also my favorite thing in the world to talk about… What’s your favorite film and have there been any recent releases that especially impressed you?

Marion Walker: Donovan and Kyle both agreed that Texas Chainsaw Massacre (original ver.) was probably the most influential movie in their lives (along with The Wiz and Willy Wonka). Kyle saw Texas Chainsaw Massacre at eight years old and it’s certainly influenced every aesthetic within his life. Jessie does not like horror movies, she’s had far more exposure to films such as the beautiful dance cinema stylings of Slovenian choreographer Iztok Kovac and his company En-Knap. (Check out “Dom Svobode” by En-knap!!!)

We haven’t had much time recently to appreciate newer releases in the film world. The one exception was in Fresno, when we had time to kill before our show last week, we went to see the new Mad Max. To refer again to the need to talk about our current political environment, Mad Max has successfully subverted the ridiculous gender imbalance present in our world.

Izzy Cihak: I love that you’re releasing your EP on tape, which is another love of mine. What prompted this? And what are your favorite things about cassette tapes? I’ve actually decided that if I had my own perfume/fragrance, it would smell like the translucent cassette tapes (Is that weird?) (I also love that the CD copies of the album that you sent out contain only one single track, so that critics have to listen to the entire thing, like a cassette, which you’ve said is how the album is meant to be consumed.)

Marion Walker: We wanted to release Serious Picnic on a cassette for several reasons. The foremost being that we wanted to work with Casino Trash Records out of Seattle. Casino Trash, which is predominantly a cassette label, has barely been around for a year and they’re a group of insanely creative and hard working people pumping out and supporting great music. When we first got our tapes in hand to listen to, we loved the sound of it… There is just some added magic that remains unavailable in the digital world of sound.

Izzy Cihak: You’re currently on tour. Have there been any particular highlights so far, whether places you especially enjoyed visiting or crowds that were especially amazing?

Marion Walker: Being a traveling band, you must remain at the mercy of the road. We’ve encountered some serious weirdos, sweethearts, and saints who’ve taken us in, fed us, and even let us touch their crystals. Our van has been displaying some odd electrical issues and dies at very inappropriate times. As we were unloading into our show in San Francisco, our van died, and required six strangers to push it up a classic SF hill as we were offered ‘bird-esque’ salutations from angry commuters.

Izzy Cihak: And you’re going to be playing Philadelphia on June 11th at Everybody Hits. What can be expected of the live experience? Did you know that the venue is actually batting cages? (Unfortunately, I’m going to have to miss it because Belle & Sebastian are in DC that night and they’re my all-time favorite band… other than The Smiths…)

Marion Walker: We knew our Philadelphia show was at Everybody Hits, but weren’t sure if we were playing in the batting cages or not. That is gonna be so much fun!!! We are certainly looking forward to introducing ourselves to the area. We are a performance band, ultimately. We love playing live and touring. There is nothing like the transference of energy that takes place during shows. As far as what to expect during the show, be prepared for some bad inside jokes Kyle insists on sharing, some serious bass-necking and/or high-kicking from Jessie, 11-minute+ fuzzed-out songs, and Donovan on the skins who keeps us all grounded. - Philthy Mag

"Unintentionally Math-y; An Interview with Marion Walker"

Marion Walker is a three-piece psych-rock band of sweethearts with sharp teeth. Their music is a head-on collision between doomy, bleak worlds and fuzzed-out, technicolor tones. Fronted songwriters Jessie Marion Smith (Saint Genet, Dead Bird Movement) and Kyle Walker Akins (Think in French, Yesir) in collaboration with drummer Donovan Jordan Williams (Spitting Image, Penetration Panthers), the band split their time between Reno, NV and Seattle, WA.

In June 2015, Marion Walker will release their tape EP Serious Picnic on Casino Trash Records (Seattle, WA). Look for them in June 2015 on their full U.S. tour in support of Serious Picnic and several other exciting releases (including a split 7-inch with Plastic Caves and a 12-inch compilation featuring songs from 14 Reno bands).

We recently caught up with the band to discuss their chemistry, their one-song EP, and not playing Psych Fest.

How does this project differ from the other bands that you’ve been in?

Marion Walker, as a band, has grown faster, speaking sonically, than most other projects we’ve been involved with. The three of us have spent quite a bit of time rehearsing and honing our craft. We’ve all given the songs enough time to mature to the point where they begin to show us how they should be composed. In reality, we are but mere servants of the songs and the hard part of our duty is remaining open as a channel for them to come through. We know that sounds kinda silly, but when you’re in a room together with your buds and your ears are open, you can find your way out of the labyrinth of composition.

What is your favorite aspect of the chemistry that exists here?

One of our friends deemed our songwriting style “unintentionally math-y.” Probably the most special thing about the chemistry of the three of us is that we all feel at home in our slightly askew structures. Kyle and Jessie both have a natural tendency towards writing asymmetric melodic hooks and unexpected twists and turns within the pacing of songs. And, Donovan always finds a way to wrap a beat around it all without nullifying the form. It’s a pretty unique combo to possess.

When did you begin writing the material for Serious Picnic?

We started writing Serious Picnic in June 2014 when we were in Asheville, NC. To refer back to earlier, the song was basically delivered to us through a series of exercises. In the beginning, the song was mostly about dealing with our own demons, but as the summer progressed the American political environment was dealing with some insanely tragic events. We had most everything composed, lyrics and all, before Michael Brown was murdered in Ferguson, MO. There were a few lines in the song that were already written and then actually became a slogan of national protest. (“Hold Up Your Hands” are the only lyrics in the middle section of Serious Picnic.) This is where we had to make a decision, and we chose to embrace these words that were delivered and steered the song into a stream of consciousness reaction to the tragedy.

Why only one track for the EP? Is there an LP on the way?

The track is exactly 11:11 min/sec long. We have a bit of a fascination with numbers and their relationships. Music doesn’t actually exist, it’s a construct that our brain has developed. Music is really a collection of sounds and our brain interprets it through memory and expectation. We hold the last sound in our short-term memory and then live in the grey area just before the next note. The exciting thing about music and songwriting is providing little unexpected surprises for the listener. The 11:11 idea is a graphic way of displaying this concept for us, it’s just a bunch of moments stacked on top of each other. 1111111111111111111111111111111….and yes, there is an LP on the way, but we haven’t gotten to the math of it yet! We plan on recording as soon as our tour ends in mid-July!

Did you have any guest musicians play or sing on the record?

While we have been touring as a three-piece, we actually had another member who couldn’t make it on the road with us. Clark ‘Rules’ Demeritt played bass for us on the Serious Picnic EP. Aside from that, it’s just us. Kyle and Jessie both play multiple instruments on all the Marion Walker recordings. Because we have been recording everything ourselves it allows us the time to get pretty nerdy with layering tracks.

Who produced the record? What input did that person have that changed the face of the record?

Kyle engineers and mixes all of our recordings so the majority of the sound design comes from him. But, Jessie and Kyle both write and produce the songs. We each have fairly different ears and it’s always an interesting conversation about the different things we are hearing within the music.

Which of your songs, on the EP or otherwise, have elicited the strongest reaction from your fans?

Some people really love the Serious Picnic EP, some really love one of our older songs, “We Won’t Be In Love Much Longer,” and another group really loves one of our newest songs called, “No Silver Linings” (but sometimes it’s known as “Side-Ponytail Express”…it just depends on the night.) We’ve been having a lot of fun getting all freaked out on our longer psychedelic songs. Those are usually the songs that standout to listeners. People often come up to us and ask, “What was that crazy one somewhere in the middle of everything? Was that one song or three?”

Did you guys play Psych Fest and did you get one of the rad Earthquaker Levitation pedals? If so, have you put it to use?

No, we didn’t play Psych Fest, and no we didn’t get any of those AMAZING Earthquaker pedals….thanks for bringing that up, cuz we really want to do both of those things….but just so it makes it into print we’re gonna say this, “We are coming to get you. Consider this a warning/RSVP.” Also, Kyle is somewhat of a pedal wizard/addict, so if he had one of those in hand he would certainly be putting it to use and getting some wild sounds out of it.

You will be in Dayton shortly. Have you been here before? What are you hoping for from this stop?

None of us have ever been to Dayton but we’re excited to check it out. The coolest part of tour is making new friends, discovering hidden treasures in new towns, and getting to play with all sorts of new bands. We hope for all of these things from Dayton. Come rock out with us and then show us the weirdest parts of your town! We love abandoned buildings, rooftops, drinking beers on front porch stoops, listening to your record collections, and sleeping on your living room floors. Think you can provide any/all of that, Dayton?

(Listen to Marion Walker: Marion Walker – “Seriously” / “Silver Drone”

Catch them on tour: - Ghettoblaster Magazine

"“Walk”ing Tall: An Interview With Marion Walker"

Since moving out of their homes in Reno, Nevada and setting out on their two-month stint on the road began back in May, Marion Walker’s tour has experienced a couple of unfortunate events. For starters, an electrical issue that forced them to cancel the first out of town show. When they finally diagnosed the problem, they were able to do enough to get them rolling again. During a stop in Austin, Texas, the members of the band came into the town unaware that they were entering in one of the most torrential thunderstorms in the city’s history. While the group was able to leave town before the worst of the damage, they had friends of friends that weren’t so lucky. One of the members of the band, vocalist/guitarist Kyle Akins, spoke about a story that involved a group of teens staying out late due to it being their prom night. The steady rainfall started to grow more intense on the road; trapping one of the teens inside her car. Frightened and unsure as to what to do, the young girl calls her father for help. As he instructed his daughter on what to do, he sees the line drops. The young girl’s phone dies and went missing. When retelling the story, you can hear the suffering that Akins still has lingering.

“So tragic”, he says softly.

While most would start to consider this being a sign to pack on up and cancel the rest of the shows, Marion Walker have an unwavering desire to continue on. The 3-piece ensemble had about twenty minutes left to drive before they’d stop for the night. Tonight’s set will be performed at Tree House Lounge in Washington, D.C. In the meantime, the band have stopped at a nearby rest stop when we began our conversation. While the tour as a whole has been going well, the beginning stages of it tell a much different story. When explaining it, Akins summed it up by referencing a quote from the original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre:

“Mercury has just went into retrograde.”

In 2012, Akins was throwing around the idea of doing experimental dance music when he was introduced to Jessie Smith by one of his musician friends. When she was a kid, Smith mentions that she would get ribbed by her parents because she would climb all over everything. Once she got really into dancing in high school, she knew that it was something that she wanted to be serious about long term. After seventeen years of dancing, Smith’s resume is full of accolades; owning her dance company titled Dead Bird Movement, choreographing for Seattle art/theater group Saint Genet, and dancing with Seattle choreographer Dayna Hanson. The duo immediately hit it off and soon began putting some music together. Smith choreographed the group’s recent video “We Won’t Be In Love Much Longer.” Filmed with no crew in the foggy Florida forests, Smith and Akins had to discover different ways of thinking about making the video.

“It’s all photo stills…we had to figure it a way to make the shots interesting using a tripod,” Akins explained. “In each frame in the video is actually four or five seconds of movement. We had the shutter open and we were experimenting with light exposure. If you watched the video in real time, it would be about thirty minutes long.” Akins added that 36,000 photos were taken during the video shoot, while only 2400 are used.

Musically, the early recordings of Marion Walker showcased a folksy sound; focusing on the music being pushed to be intimate. Now with their upcoming EP Serious Picnic set for release on June 23rd, the band switches gears towards exploring a more psychedelic rock sound. The 3-song, 11-minute and 11-second EP is a machine that is heavy on the reverb and features a beautifully interwoven mixture of Akins and Smith’s vocals. The writing sessions began back in June of last year in Asheville, North Carolina while Smith was performing a dance show. The tragic events in Ferguson, Missouri with the death of Michael Brown navigated Marion Walker into a collective stream of consciousness. Now meant to be consumed in its entirety, the opener “Seriously,” a haunting fuzzed out opus. Straight into the churning “Silver Drone”, “Volunteers” finishes the EP strong.

In the later stages this summer, Marion Walker will start prepping for what could possibly be a full-length. With a few weeks left to go on the road, Marion Walker will spend some time with family down in Florida once their latest leg comes to an end. Time that they deserve to have, no question.

Marion Walker will be performing at Blind Bob’s on June 19th with Salvador Ross and Lot Lizard. Showtime is 9pm. $5 cover. - Most Metro


This crazy story from the road was written by the psych-rock band, Marion Walker. You can check out their story, after the break.

First, let us introduce ourselves. We are Marion Walker, a 3-piece psych-rock band of sweethearts with sharp teeth from Reno/Seattle/Eisenhower Interstate System. We are currently on tour zipping in and out of the 4th dimension around the Continental United States.

As far as crazy sites to see and insane people to meet, between the 3 of us, we have first-hand accounts of quite a few.

There are people out there who really like to lick things. It seems as though this is their way of introducing themselves to you in a way that says, “Hey, I know I’m weird, but I’m worth it.” They could come up to your drummer who has just cracked his knuckles open during the set and suck the blood off for them. Make sure that they are truly swallowing the blood because you don’t want some crazy shaman/witch stealing the soul of one of your bandmates! You may think this is a joke, but it is not. We’ve seen people take our blood and wipe it on as many things as they own and we can only hope that they don’t later take it back to the local Black Magic Union and use it for nefarious reasons (watch out for hair-cutters too). Know your black magic and carry a charm or get a tattoo that will ward off this type of danger.

The ‘Shoe Licker’ is another type we’ve run into. They will be casually hanging around while you are loading in your gear or are posted up by the merch booth. They’re gonna put off the vibe that they may be a little shy and unable to figure out a way to start a conversation with you. But, they’ll eventually find their way next to you and in a seemingly sweet tone ask, “What kind of shoes are those?” So, you’ll bend your knee and kick your foot up a little to give them a closer look. This is where they will suddenly traverse the space between their tongue and the bottom of your shoe faster than you can say, “Holy shit!!!”

The ‘Face Licker’ is probably the most well known of all the lickers. We believe this to be because there is something so ultimately satisfying to them when they’ve left a puddle of saliva in your clavicle. They are most likely a version of the classic tale of Jekyll & Hyde. When you arrive earlier in the evening to set up and have already gone through the standard niceties with most everyone around, they will seem totally normal. WATCH OUT! This is all part of their plan for the evening. It takes a little bit of familiarity to be able to approach someone’s face without them being repelled by it. They will most certainly approach you as soon as you are done playing in order to get as much of a good salt-lick off your body as possible. Your defenses will be down and you’ll be appreciative of the compliments of the band’s performance. They will reach in to give you a hug, and you’ll feel awkward because you are so sweaty, and they will shrug it off…they seem awfully sweet, so…., what the hell….give ‘em a hug. BAM! Their face is buried in your neck and their tongue goes from the bottom of your neck, along your jawline, across your (blushing) cheeks, and will usually end on your ear. Depending on your reaction time, and how much you are into it, they may even get some teeth on your earlobe. Whatever you do, DON’T FREAK OUT. These people are not usually trying to pick you up for a romantic encounter. This is their way of letting you into their crew. If you pass this test, you’re in for life, don’t fuck this up.

We are currently working on a more scientific system of classifying the ‘lickers’ of the world, but we hope this is enough of an introduction for you into the great wide world that is out there to be discovered. Hope to see all y’all on the road out there somewhere….

Marion Walker
(Jessie, Donovan, and Kyle) - Digital Tour Bus

"Marion Walker "We Won't Be in Love Much Longer" (video)"

If the title of their forthcoming cassette EP is any indication, Seattle psych-rock three-piece Marion Walker don't joke around when it comes to outdoor eating. Serious Picnic is due out June 23 on Casino Trash Records, but before the new release lands, Exclaim! has got your first look at the band's video for "We Won't Be in Love Much Longer."

A press release describes their sound as a "head-on collision between doomy, bleak worlds and fuzzed-out, technicolor tones," that ability to meld opposing creative worlds together rings true in the new video, as well. Part dance film, part art flick, the clip's description calls it "a nostalgic episode in the dead of a Southern summer night."

From artistically shot driving scenes to choreographed sequences set against the dark of night to a piano getting set ablaze, the clip brings together the group's musical talent with their creative side projects like dance, sound editing and filmmaking. Watch those skillsets come together and shine in the new clip for "We Won't Be in Love Much Longer" below. - Exclaim!


As the notion of genre is becoming increasingly difficult to define in today’s musical landscape, artists are actively embracing this ambiguity not only as a happy byproduct of our endless channels through which ideas are shared, but as an artistic advantage.

When New Music USA launched the inaugural round of our project grants in November 2013, we had high hopes for the breadth of art we might see resulting from a process designed to better meet the conventional and unconventional needs of creators. We have not been disappointed. One of many awardees who perfectly embodies this artistic freedom is the Reno/Seattle-based choreographer/filmmaker/composer/performer duo Marion Walker (Jessie Marion Smith & Kyle Walker Akins).

We Won’t Be In Love Much Longer is their most recent [of many] collaborative endeavors that challenges the boundaries of dance, live performance, film, and music video. Today, we are delighted to host the online premiere of their culminated efforts.

Their project is unique in our body of supported work; it deliberately exists as an independent entity, but the film’s longevity is contingent on its presentation to live audiences in a communal, musical setting. To get a better idea of their motivation surrounding the creation and multi-faceted presentation of what they call “dance cinema,” I interviewed Jessie and Kyle about their refreshing approach to this budding conglomerate of styles.

Emily Bookwalter: As two seemingly jack-of-all trades artists, you two work together in myriad manifestations. As a result, your work is delightfully difficult to define in terms of any historically conventional genre or style. How would you choose to describe stylistic trends in your collaborative work thus far?

Marion Walker: The best way for us to talk about style is to talk about process. We are obsessed with “inventing accidents.” We are willing to try a million different combinations before we sit down and edit ourselves. The style that we’ve developed is out of a maintained practice that, to be honest, isn’t a choice for the two of us. Any and all of our conversations return, as predictable as high tide, to our process and our practice. That is truly the style we’ve developed. We often remind ourselves of the rules attributed to John Cage. THE ONLY RULE IS WORK!

Artistically, our lineage stems from collectives living in times of worldwide cultural turmoil. Artists such as Hugo Ball and Emmy Hennings of the Zurich DADA collective, John Cage, Joseph Beuys, the Fluxus Movement, and the Exploding Plastic Inevitable are the wellsprings on which we are drunk. We are also letting the current, dire state of our times filter in through our work. While we may not be overtly political, it is ever present in our abstracted forms.

The song “We Won’t Be in Love Much Longer,” is a way for us to examine the dejected experience without dwelling in it. While the archetype of ‘love’ can trigger an array of responses in an audience, the idea is ultimately about our inability to stay together in a timeless context. It’s an effort to dismantle our ineptitude at reaching permanent solutions.

Musically, we come from sources/bands like The Velvet Underground. We are literally living and breathing with other artists in a warehouse congested with creativity called The Warehome in Reno, NV. This rich artistic community allows us the flexibility to exist in the grey area where we love to work. And, this penumbra operates as our own gateway through mediums. Even within the new music community, we are an oddman outfit, being more rock’n’roll centered in our pursuits. Our inclusion within this organization just speaks to the reach that creativity, at its core, can have and the importance of cross contamination between artistic discoveries.

As songwriters, we may experience our own particular version of synesthesia. We often start by sitting down with a color or feeling. As we get into the process of crafting the song, it inevitably takes interesting twists and turns. Rather than staying constrained by an initial idea of style, or a common songwriting structure, we follow the direction of the song as it reveals itself. Kyle likes to call this “ serving the song. ” We do this with all of our creations. We connect with any genre, medium, or method we can that helps us to fulfill the pieces we are making to their utmost potential.

EB: Were there any new stylistic discoveries in the making of this film?

MW: When we set out to make “We Won’t Be in Love Much Longer,” we had no crew. This was an interesting challenge. (Especially for Jessie, who as a choreographer is particularly intent on designing camera action to exemplify movement.) When we were both in front of the camera that meant no one was behind the camera. So, we started playing with the camera and light to develop a visual styling that was engaging with a still frame. This was an exciting discovery for us. The two of us are very used to working as a self-contained unit. (Except for the rhythm section that we play with as a band. We have to give a shout out to Donald John McGreevy Jr. and Paul David Heyn, who played on the recorded song for the video. And, Donovan Jordan Williams and Clark Carvil Demeritt, who we are currently playing with.) Working without a cinematographer to shoot “We Won’t Be in Love Much Longer” pushed us into different ways of thinking about making the video, forced us to call on our other perspectives, and design a new lens through which to look at the work. We ultimately constructed the video with thousands of still photographs. With no true video images present, the scenes of the video are isolated incidents within time.

In “We Won’t Be in Love Much Longer,” we applied a specific logic to both our visual and musical technique. As sound can only exist within one moment, the pleasure of music exists on a temporal plane. When making this video, we also followed that rule. Because we have an agreement on syntax, music exists. With the memory of the note/word just previous to this moment, and the expectation of the next note/word to arrive, we have language, we have music.

EB: This work in particular is part of your larger efforts in what you have described as “dance cinema.” Could you educate me a little more about what that is and what dance cinema means to you?

MW: We have been calling this video a dance film, a music video, and an art flick. So clearly our definition of dance cinema is pretty broad. For us, there isn’t a hard line between the realms of dance cinema and music videos. As video editors, we lean towards high paced cuts that keep things constantly engaging. We create arcs with our edits that are often very driven by the music. These choices might be thought of as falling more into the music video category, where a dance film might be more driven by choices dictated by the choreography.

The form of music videos is pretty wild (there aren’t too many rules that have to be followed). Some may think that the “high art” context of dance cinema makes it more constrained. We think it can be just as wide open of a form. We taught an all-ages, all-levels workshop on making dance films awhile back and it was really fun to expand the participants’ ideas about this. A lot of them were concerned with the idea that you have to be a highly trained dancer to make a dance film. We talked about how dance cinema can also mean things like choreographing the camera action over a still object or choreographing an object rather than a body.

EB: Presenting a video work that could very much be a final product in and of itself no doubt poses some challenges for live performance. What are some of the ways that you’ve chosen to introduce this work to larger audiences?

MW: We had a live event last month to premiere the video to Reno audiences. We set up the evening with the intention of re-contextualizing dance cinema within a music setting so we held the event at a local music venue/bar. Marion Walker played live music. And, because the bar was too small to house a proper projection screen, we got our hands on the biggest flat screen TV we could find and held it over our heads while the video played. It was a great party!

We also had a little personal viewing station with headphones in the back corner of the bar. A real highlight of the night was walking by that station and seeing people fully engrossed in the video despite all the commotion around them. We saw many people return to the TV multiple times throughout the night and even drag friends over to watch it!

Having the video hosted here, on NewMusicBox, and getting to share it with the internet world at large is another great way for us to get the video out to new audiences. We are also planning to screen it at dance cinema festivals in the future. We want to frame “We Won’t Be in Love Much Longer” in as many different settings as we can and get it out there in all different sorts of fashions.

EB: Do you two take on many artistic projects as individuals, or does the majority of your work take place as a team?

MW: More often than not we are holed up working on Marion Walker projects together but we do take breaks to focus on other projects individually. Jessie has her own dance company, Dead Bird Movement, as well as choreographing for Seattle art/theater group Saint Genet, and dancing with Seattle choreographer Dayna Hanson. Kyle has his own visual art practice, working predominantly with felt, as well as recording for and playing in a few other bands.

EB: Do components of this work exist independently? I.e. is the dance an entity that can be performed live? Is the music an independent entity that happens to be within a film with dance? Or does this work have to exist as a cohesive whole?

MW: The dance was made specifically for the video so, for now, that is its only existence. The song was actually composed first and we made an extended version of it for the video. That extended version has since come into regular rotation in our live music shows. It is also featured on a 12” vinyl LP compilation of Reno bands called “Guide to Permanent Oblivion Vol. III” that will be coming out on the “Intruder Alert! Intruder Alert!” record label in early April.

EB: What other projects do you have on your horizon?

MW: We are currently in the thick of recording/mixing a tape EP that is coming out on Casino Trash Records this March called Serious Picnic. We also have a split 7″ vinyl EP with fellow Reno band Plastic Caves coming out in mid-May. We will be heading out on a six week US tour this summer to promote all these releases! See you on the road! - NewMusicBox

"Moving Pictures"

Moving pictures/Marion Walker
By Brad Bynum

“You put any two things together, it becomes three things, because there’s this invisible relationship between them,” says Kyle Walker Akins.

When Akins and his partner, Jessie Marion Smith, talk about “dance film,” they say the two words together, like a compound phrase, and they discuss dance film as a unique artform, related but distinct from both dance and film.

Another example of two things coming together and creating a third thing: Marion Walker—a portmanteau of their middle names—is Akins and Smith’s catchall name for all their creative collaborations—art, music, dance, film and dance film.

On June 19-23, Marion Walker will present a workshop on dance film at the Holland Project, 140 Vesta St., followed, on June 27, by a screening at the Nevada Museum of Art, 160 W. Liberty, of the films created at the workshop and international dance films. For the workshop, they’ll be using video equipment loaned by the University of Nevada, Reno.

Holland director Britt Curtis approached Smith about doing a dance event at the Holland Project.

“I didn’t want to just do a performance, because that’s a one-night thing that doesn’t help build a community at all,” says Smith. “I wanted to do something that would help build dance more in the community.”

Interestingly, though the films produced in the workshop will feature the rhythms of bodies in motion, the choreographed pieces will not be set to prerecorded music.

“Music often will dictate the style of movement that you’re going to do or even the way that you’re going to edit something,” says Smith. “So, since we want to focus on dance and choreography and film, we want to take music out of it. … It makes you have to think about movement in a different way. If you want to come up with a concept for your film, then you make your own storyline rather than letting the song dictate that. Or, it doesn’t have to be a storyline, it can also be a completely abstract thing. Maybe find a location that you want to develop the choreography around. You’re finding other things to spark your creativity.”

The all-ages workshop is five days, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.—practically a summer camp. Smith and Akins designed the workshop to be open to beginners—no training in dance, cinematography or video editing necessary. For a “negotiable” $30 enrollment fee, The couple will lead participants through conceptualizing and choreographing a film, setting up locations, lighting and camera techniques, and post-production.

They say that part of what makes dance film a unique artform is that the pieces can take place anywhere—unlike traditional dance performances which are often contained within a traditional theater or gallery space

“I originally got into making dance films because I was really attracted to all these dangerous locations, like abandoned buildings,” says Smith.

Like a lot of good art, dance film is about reconciling a dichotomy: dance is immediate and exhibitionist, film is remote and voyeuristic.

“That’s what’s so cool about dance film,” says Smith. “It’s a struggle to figure out how to capture it through film, to have it not feel removed. You get to really direct the eye and find the heart of what the movement is. Say, it’s in the details of the hands, you can just zoom right in on what you want people to focus on.”

“The camera’s another dancer,” says Akins. “Movement is a way that you can’t mask anything. Whatever you’re thinking is expressed directly in your movement. So when you’re in a setting and you’re trying to connect with a performer, there’s no line. It’s immediate. If you’re not present, then you’re going to miss it. It almost transports you to a place where there’s no way to talk about it. That’s why there’s dance. That’s why there’s rituals. You’re in this vessel. You’re in this container. Shake it around.” - Reno News and Review


Still working on that hot first release.



Marion Walker is a rock’n’roll band of sweethearts with sharp teeth from Reno, NV and Seattle, WA. Their music is a head-on collision between doomy, bleak worlds and fuzzed-out, technicolor tones.

Formed in 2012, Marion Walker is fronted by songwriters Jessie Marion Smith (Saint Genet, Dead Bird Movement) and Kyle Walker Akins (Think in French, Yesir). They play in many different arrangements be it as a 2-piece, 3-piece, or 4-piece and are honored to have collaborated with such great friends/musicians as Donovan Jordan Williams (Spitting Image, Prescription), Clark Carvil Demeritt (Soda Jerk, Pelvis Wrestlies), Jeff Michael Mitchell (Ghost Shirt Society, Yesir, The Mandarins Drum and Bugle Corps), Paul David Heyn (Rollin’ Hazard, The OK Hotel House Band), and Donald John McGreevy Jr. (Master Musicians of Bukkake, The Stares, Earth).

In June 2015, Marion Walker released their tape EP “Serious Picnic” on Casino Trash Records (Seattle, WA). In May-July 2015, they went on a full US tour in support of “Serious Picnic” and several other releases (including a split 7” with Plastic Caves and a 12” compilation featuring songs from 14 Reno bands). They are currently in the process of writing their first full-length LP.

Jessie and Kyle are working artists in addition to their musical pursuits. Jessie is a choreographer, dancer, and filmmaker. Kyle is a visual artist, sound engineer, and filmmaker. They bring their collective experience in these other mediums into every aspect of Marion Walker.

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“It’s fuzzy, it’s buzzy, it’s muscular, mysterious, and maybe even a little dangerous. There is a shiv hidden in this band’s glovebox.”
– Chad Werner, News Whistle

“…purveyors of oozing, grinding psychedelia with droning masculine-feminine vocal harmonies…”
– Leilani Polk, Creative Loafing Tampa

“It’s grungy, cheapo garage that will put the world’s biggest little smile on your face.”
– Kyle Fleck, The Stranger

“…it would be easy to become wrapped up in the electrically charged blanket they [Marion Walker] are wearing: it’s exactly what the listeners would want. …a unique dichotomy of high energy and sullen angst.”
– Jeremy Wood, Innocent Words

Band Members