“The most annoying sound in the world is your own phone ringing,” Marquis Green laughs as his home phone shrieks its way into our interview. While the incessant alarm of one’s phone is sometimes enough to warrant throwing it across the room, what Green admits has him most troubled these days is the current state of the music industry, most particularly, the hardcore scene. A quick Q&A about his business, Triforce Studios, quickly evolves into a manifesto on the over-saturation of media, the under-appreciation of local bands, and what he wants to do to bring about change.
Green began the NYC-based Triforce Studios with friends Daniel Briones and Peter Lanza in 2012. The name, which owes itself to the trinity of founders and not, as many happily assume, to Legend Of Zelda, quickly came to represent more than just a recording studio. The endeavor branched out into the realm of cinematography and even music lessons, filming live shows and taking professional grade photos of both local and well-known acts. While Triforce has showcased names like Our Last Night and Crown The Empire (live video “Menace” below), Green reveals that this is not where his passion lies.
“As far as bigger acts go, I personally try to stray away from working with them because everybody wants to work with them,” says Green. “I feel like to put my work out there that way isn’t going to make much of a difference.” Instead, Green prefers to work with lesser-known bands for the reason that the word ‘local,’ like the word ‘scene,’ has become stigmatized. Having worked with bands like Call It Home, The Machinist, Illusionist, and Young Graves amongst others, Green laments the fact that the local bands who work so hard to get noticed are far less likely to be. “You don’t hear the locals anymore. You hear the word ‘local’ and it’s like, “Oh man, shitty EP production, terrible merch, bad image.’ It’s so negative.”
According to him, this is is partially why many are quick to eulogize the hardcore scene as if it were a thing of the past. “There are too many bands and there are too many promoters and there are too many things that are over-saturating this scene in particular. I feel like a lot of bands don’t get a voice because there is always someone else willing to play that same sound cheaper and look better, look the part. It’s not really allowing the music to be heard firsthand. I think that over-saturation is what’s making people feel like the scene is dead, because in a sense it is because it’s becoming numb to good music.”
Yet Green also claims that the future does not have to be so bleak and believes in his and Triforce’s ability to help change the music climate for the better. As he talks about the future remolding of the company, he does so with a surge of energy in his voice. “We’re going to start packaging media for bands on our featured artists list and then we’re going to give that to them to use to promote [themselves] to labels,” he explains. “We wanna be that line where people say, ‘Oh, you’ve worked with them before? We need to take a closer look at you.’”
So where does this need to help musicians keep their drum heads above water come from? With the mantra of the Studio being, “Triforce is for the people, by the people, and it will always be that way,” one has to wonder why these democratic ideals are so important. The answer lies in Green’s own failings as a musician.
“I have failed multiple times trying to get into the industry, and not because of me. I believe that now that I know the business from the inside, trying to make it and seeing other things drag you down, I know what tools need to be there for you to get an extra foot in the business. That’s why I enjoy working for the people, because I know what it’s like to be you. I know money is always tight and I know that opportunities don’t always come. I want to be able to audition some opportunities for you that you might not have gotten.”
The injustices Green speaks to resonate with a fundamental tenet of HXC Magazine: Never separate the audience from the show. Noting a distinct separation between “The People” and the institution that the music business has become, Green holds fast to the idea that improvements can be made; that the term ‘local’ doesn’t have to be blacklisted as long as the right steps are taken and the right elements put into place for change.
“That’s the urgency we need for the scene,” he claims, and his phone yells out one more time.