Adam Bishop and Theresa Cadondon are members of the band Marsalis; here is a link to the band’s website:
Q: How was Marsalis formed?
Theresa: Dennis and Adam have been long time friends through music projects in the early 2000’s. In fact, I also met Adam playing in a local hip hop band in 2009. Adam and I grew a strong friendship outside of playing music, so whenever Adam needed a keyboard player I was usually the one he would look to first. I also met our buddy, Phil, through Adam and we have played many shows together before Marsalis took off. I met Dennis in 2014. Him and Adam talked about creating a band with collective songwriters to make good music, which really appealed to me.
Adam: I had played with Dennis, Theresa, and Phil individually in different groups throughout the years and I knew we would all get along great. Dennis, Theresa, and I started working together and writing music together. When we approached Phil, the timing was right and everything went great.
Q: Who are some of your musical influences?
Theresa: A lot of my style comes from classical music. I started piano lessons at five years old and studied classical composers when I was a teenager. My Piano teacher Anne Healy introduced me to classical music and I remember her saying that my small hands and the way I played octaves reminded her of Chopin. So that started my love for classical music, especially for Frédéric Chopin.
I also grew up on R&B and soul music. Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie, Michael Jackson, Prince and many more. The more current influences are Alicia Keys, John Mayer, John Legend, Chris Martin of Coldplay, & Tom Simpson of Snow Patrol.
Adam: I grew up listening to a lot of country (Randy Travis, Alan Jackson, Brooks n Dunn, Garth Brooks, Shania Twain, Reba, George Strait, Kenny Rogers) and then listening to and playing jazz (Ray Brown, Miles Davis, Ellington, Christian McBride, Lionel Hampton, Charlie Parker, Count Basie, Clifford Brown, Buddy Rich, Maynard Ferguson). As you can imagine, not many of my peers thought of either of those music genres as being “cool” as we were growing up.
As weird as it sounds… I think of Puff Daddy as the one that eventually led me down the road of listening to more and more rock/alternative and pop… but that’s another story.
Q: What is the overall theme of your new album?
Theresa: The overall theme is uplifting and positive, most of it is about love and trials of love. We have incorporated synth and nature-like pad sounds in most of our songs that sound organic.
Adam: We wanted to incorporate the feelings behind all different types of situations/events in life. Everything from simple day to day stuff to super complex or eventful things in life. We wanted to blend together some organic sounds/feelings with digital ones, to go for an interesting blend that wasn’t too much of one or the other.
Q: What kind of formal training do you have?
Theresa:I took piano lessons at the age of 5 and went through 3 different instructors. I stopped taking formal piano lessons at 16 years old.
Adam: Orchestra from 5th to 12th grade, Jazz from 7th to 12th.
Q: How do you settle artistic disagreements?
Theresa: We all respect each other so when there is a disagreement we talk about it openly and we all listen to all points of views. The key is open communication. We’re a team, we are all in it to make good music and there are no egos. We always find a middle ground and play on each-others’ strengths. If we play on idea and one person strongly disagrees and does not like the song, then we table that idea. We don’t disregard it, we just put it aside because there may be a time where we could use that idea in the future.
Adam: Yes, we always will table an idea if there’s one or more people that absolutely can’t stand it. Many times we end up coming back to those ideas with some ideas/tweaks that end up making everyone happy. We are constantly having mini discussions of how we all just want the music to be as good as it can be and we are always trying to balance between what we personally “like” and what we think is “good”. We are good as a group about talking things out… no egos involved.
Q: What kind of a day job do you have and how does it influence your music?
Theresa: I work in corporate finance. So I deal with numbers all day and sitting in front of a computer. During work I tend to have music playing in the background, which actually helps me be productive and helps me de-stress. Believe it or not, a lot of my music ideas come to me when punching away at my calculator! Melodies, riffs, and ideas of sounds pop up in my head. When that happens, I run outside and record the ideas in my head on my iPhone. Then once I get home I hash it all out.
Adam: I am a fully licensed Financial Advisor. I’ve found that my music life is actually the influencer rather than the reverse, as far as attitude and feeling good about things day to day. If I’m productive with music, it makes me much more productive with all other aspects in life that are important to me.
Q: What is your strangest performance story?
Theresa: In 2009, I was asked to play a show with a singer that I have never met. I was emailed a list of songs that I needed to learn and a week to prepare. When the night of the performance came, we only played half of the songs on the list. The rest of the set were songs I never heard before. At the time I wasn’t the best at playing off the cuff so it was a challenge for me. The worst part was during the middle of a song. He called me out and said “Theresa on the keys!’ provoking that I do a solo and all eyes were on me! HAHA! When that happened, stage freight settled in and I felt like I shrank into a microscopic size.
Adam: One time, playing a sold out show of about 1600+ people… someone that was a part of the sound crew at the venue popped over on the side of the huge stage by where I was standing and told me “last song!” Before the band started up the next tune… I got the attention of 2 or 3 of the other band members and said “last song!” “last song!” They all gave me a nod in agreement.
After that song was over… the band immediately went into another song. Uh-oh! So I played along. The sound person was NOT happy. Then….the band went into ANOTHER song after that. I was newer to the band and knew the songs pretty darn well, but not the NAMES of the songs. Turns out when I shouted out “Last song!” they all thought I was just referring to the next song that was on the set list. The song everyone else knew as “Last Song”. Ooooops.
The sound crew was irate, not just annoyed. They ended up turning off all the house main speakers, our monitors, and even turned on all of the venue lights as we kept playing, finishing the tune we were playing. Wasn’t the best ending to a set, to say the least. Then I got a mouth full from the sound crew, before I even had known what happened.
Q: What do you like about the Seattle music scene?
Theresa: Seattle has definitely made its mark on the music map with popular rock bands in the past such as, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and so forth. However, it seems like now a days, Seattle is saturated with musicians and also electronic DJs that are categorized as musicians. This isn’t a bad thing, but its a little more challenging to be heard.
Adam: I love how many big bands/artists, that have been so influential, have come out of Seattle. Hendricks, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Macklemore… and don’t forget Quincy Jones!
Q: What would you change about it?
Theresa: There are so many Seattle musicians and bands, but very few venues around the great Seattle area. That said it is harder to get venues to want to play local acts unless you are already popular in the music scene. From a business stand point, it makes a lot of sense to focus and showcase artists from around the country that bring in money. However it does not promote or support local acts as first priority.
Adam: it would be great to have some more comradery with bands/venues working together to really highlight the local music. There’s pockets of it here and there. I’d also love to see Alki music fest to come back!
Q: Who is the leader of the band?
Theresa: HAHA! I’d say Adam has been a good leader. He’s more like the glue that holds us together as a band; our point of reference and the one we look to when there is any questions or uncertainties. We all bring something different and valuable to the band. Adam has a lot of experience in all areas of music and has the business smarts so he brings a lot to the table.
Adam: I like to think we all do our part. There’s a lot of overlap with the different things we do, but we are a unit that works and moves together and it feels so good to be a part of something where everyone carries their weight and pushes one another to be better!
Please note; Eliza’s interviews are done by email. All answers are unedited and come right from the lovely fingertips of her subjects.