Melting emo pop with eye-catching visuals, Saint Mars have been described in the press as the “most promising alternative rock band to come out of the U.K. for some time” (Swept Magazine). Since their first release in 2017, the band has followed an unusual approach, with contributors from several countries and continents (Head honcho Marc Darcange, or M.D., Switzerland; Tryzdin Grubbs, USA; Jethro “Alonestar” Sheeran, Angelo Bruschini and Julius Conrad, UK), a fusion of rock, pop, electronic and rap greatly inspired by the music of the glorious 80’s, and a powerful message against bullying for the young generation, this to great critical acclaim
Being “able to deftly float through approaches and styles like no other” (NeuFutur), Saint Mars have been compared to Panic! At the Disco, Empire of the Sun, M83, MGMT, Paramore, Massive Attack or even Duran Duran…”that’s an odd mixture of artists in the header”, writes For Fans Of, “however, some artists can’t be easily slotted into a pigeonhole and usually, they’re the most exciting acts. That’s just the case for Saint Mars, a collective of established musicians, each bringing their own influences to the table”. To this day, their singles and videos have reached nearly 1 ½ million streams worldwide and countless press reviews.
FIRST RELEASE AND RAVE REVIEWS
Saint Mars is the result of the meeting between Marc Darcange and Angelo Bruschini, guitarist of the legendary Massive Attack. Marc and Angelo first met backstage at a Massive Attack concert at the Montreux Jazz Festival, Switzerland. Despite the obvious affiliation to the Trip-Hop collective, Saint Mars have walked their own path.
Their first EP, “Ocean Blues”, was released in 2017 on Bristol label Grá Mór Phonic Records. Blending electronic, rock and French Baroque music, this first offering was well received. According to New And Brave, Saint Mars were “truly establishing themselves in the industry with their French Baroque undertone, fronted by that signposted British alternative sound”. Substream Magazine added it was an “often soulfully moving…memorable first release for a band that’s sure continue making waves as their creations reach a wider audience over time". Influential mag The Big Takeover also stated that the band managed “to combine the sunniest of vocal harmonies with the gloomiest of Gothic melodies”, and introduced them “as a bold and ambitious upcoming force in the post-punk genre”, proving to be “a fascinating appetizer for a full-length debut”.
THE DISCOVERING OF TRYZDIN
Saint Mars took an unexpected turnover in 2018 with the release of the second EP, “Somewhere Somebody”, including the single of the same name and a revisited, acoustic version of “Ocean Blues”. Part of the band’s forthcoming album centered on the true story of one 13 year-old boy’s tragic experience as a result of sustained bullying, both songs featured the vocals of a young prodigy from Columbus (Ohio), Tryzdin Grubbs.
Tryzdin was hand-chosen by Marc Darcange, to give authenticity to the tracks on the album sung by the protagonist, little realizing that Tryzdin himself has suffered significantly from bullying at school. Tryzin shot to fame at the age of 11 years old, when a YouTube video of him singing Adele’s Hello went stratospheric, accumulating nearly 3.7 million views so far (not including many more millions across international media), winning him glamorous press articles in the media (Foxnews, Daily Mirror, Huffington Post, RFM, etc.) and invitations on national television channels, including NBC 4 and Fox News, for which he performed live on the "Fox and Friends News" show at prime time…and catching Marc’s attention along the way.
Both tracks were received in the press with rave reviews and gained more than 300’000 streams on digital platforms (mainly on Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud and YouTube). Music News Today gave credit to the song and the vocals for having “everyone in tears once the song has been released (…)”. Built on the lyrics “Somewehre, somebody loves me for what I am, not what I should be”, “Somewhere Somebody” became an anti-bullying manifesto, having the band interviewed by Associated Press, Bavmedia and anti-bullying organization like Kidscape (UK). The song was accompanied by a partly animated video reinforcing the song’s narrative, with a 13 year-old boy looking for love via his mobile phone, only to realize that he must love himself first.
“Somewhere Somebody” became the soundtrack of the Swiss short film about bullying, called “Réagissons” (translation: “Lets Do Something about It”), directed by Cerkenamo Productions. The film was made for educational purposes within an anti-bullying campaign and shown in schools.
Initially supposed to star for just one song, Tryzdin quickly imposed himself as the band’s permanent lead singer. According to Songwriting Spotlight, Tryzdin’s young voice was giving “the music a new spin (...) making the project deep, meaningful and heartfelt”, with Sonic News even saying that Tryzdin is the artist of the future and “puts artists many years his senior to shame”.
THE SWISS ALPS & ALONESTAR
Album preparation led Marc Darcange and Tryzdin to the Swiss Alps where two new videos for future singles, “Loveghost” and “Pacific State”, were shot. The two videos feature, along with Tryzdin, Jethro “Alonestar” Sheeran, rap star from Bristol and Ed Sheeran’s cousin. Jethro “Alonestar” Sheeran topped the US billboard charts with the single “Outlaw” and the album “Tropical House to Jamaïca”.
MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR
The single “Loveghost” was released in April 2019. The track showcased the band with a more matured sound and obtained massive reviews, some noticing the quite unusual “blend (of) hip-hop with a strong and progressive blues-rock-inspired base” (Mystic Sons), while others pointing out the quality of the songwriting and band sonic universe (“This is how Pop Music should be done” - Music Street Journal), with some reference to the psychedelic universe of the Beatles (“It’s a magical mystery tour, and one that won’t leave you missing out” - Daily Beat). For Broken 8 Record, the band was “set on pushing the boundaries of their sound” and was “one of the most exciting new bands in the game”, while Life Beyond the Music predicted that “there are bound to be nothing but bright days ahead for Saint Mars”.
Success of the song quickly materialized into nearly 400’000 streams worldwide (Soundcloud, Youtube, Spotify) and got Tryzdin a SongBro Award for "Best Singing". The song was also air-played on radios of 20 countries on all continents, including North America (US, Canada), South America (Mexico), Europe (France, UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands, Norway, Denmark, Poland, Slovenia), Asia (India, New Zealand, Australia) and Africa (South Africa).
“Loveghost” video unfolds Saint Mars’ visual universe, combining retro-futurism with a modern touch of psychedelia. It features the band in the most disturbing way: a prisoner (Alonestar), a mad scientist (Tryzdin), a clown (Tryzdin again) and a VW bus driver (Marc Darcange), wandering through an old electric factory from the 1930’s and experimenting in an hospital laboratory. “Pig Masks, Straight Jackets, and more make an appearance, as well as a “retro” Game Boy Color”, wrote the influential webzine Acronym Official, ”and somehow, even when you’re questioning what you may be watching, the beats take over and leave you wanting more.” Allusions to the 80’s esthetic started to appear in the press, as Global Dance Electronic wrote that “You’ll find in the music video for ‘Loveghost’ a theme similar to Stranger Things if the band had produced it themselves”, while You Haven't Heard This Music Yet described the track as “Slow EDM” with a sound blending “Massive Attack” with...”Duran Duran” influences. As a matter of fact, the band was starting to reveal itself as one of the actors of the 80’s revival movement, in the wake of Empire of the Sun, Tame Impala or MGMT.
Next single “Help”, released in November 2019, was about to dive deeper into that universe. Written with long-term collaborator Julius Conrad, produced by female producer Aubrey Whitfield (London, UK) and featuring Tryzdin again as lead singer and other prestigious musicians (guitarist Brent Paschke - N.E.R.D./Pharrell Williams; drummer Robert Brian - Siouxsie, Goldfrapp, Simple Minds), the track ventured into pop punk territory close to the sonic universe of Blondie, Paramore or Panic! At the Disco. The song describes the antagonist nature of relationships based on love/hate and attraction/repulsion, driven by passion, and prone to breakaways and dramatic issues such as bullying and harassment.
The track obtained international critical acclaim, with features on influential mags like Music Week, Clash Magazine and Broadway Music World. Music Week described the song as “a powerful, modern heavy-driven pop-rock anthem”, while Clash Magazine pointed out the “Rousing, biting songwriting with just an element of pop”, further commenting that “'Help' is a plea you can't ignore”. One more time, Tryzdin’s vocals weren’t left unnoticed, as Broadway Music World stated that while “the choice of 15-year-old frontman Tryzdin may appear to be an unusual one at first”, “all possible doubts fall away as soon as one hears his impressive vocal range”.
Entirely shot in one night in a abandoned club in Bristol (UK), the music video of “Help” reinforced the song’s narrative by showing the character’s own conflicting mutations, illustrated by his constant changes in appearance and the unsettling nature of his mirror reflection, acting as an irreverent doppelgänger. With its 80’s-VHS-like overlay, the video established the band’s visual universe even stronger.
In just a few weeks, “Help” obtained nearly 400’000 streams worldwide and induced a major shift of the band’s popularity (with presence on more that 300 playlists on Spotify, track saves multiplied by 4 compared to previous single, Facebook followers rising from 2’000 to more than 20’000 and countless videos on YouTube incorporating the track). Four months after its release, “Help” is still added to new playlists and has been air-played on radios of nearly all continents (UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, France, Spain, Denmark, Norway, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Poland, Latvia, Slovenia, Singapore, Costa Rica, South Africa, India). The song proved also to be popular in Hispanic and South American countries on Spotify (Brazil, Argentina and Mexico).
NEW RECORD LABEL
The success of “Loveghost” and “Help” caught the attention of Tom Sarig, major label A&R Exec (Universal Records, Arista Records, MCA Records, A&M Records, and TVT Records) and Esther Creative Group management company head. Tom Sarig has a track record working previously for many years with several quite important artists in alternative culture in the US and UK (Nine Inch Nails, Lou Reed, Bryan Ferry/Roxy Music, Violent Femmes, Rickie Lee Jones, The Drums, Damien Rice, Erykah Badu, Blink-182, Annie Lennox, Imogen Heap, Dj Shadow, Sarah McLachlan, Aphex Twin, The Specials and Autechre). In April 2020, Tom signed Saint Mars to his record label, AntiFragile Music, based in New York City and distributed mostly through INgrooves/Universal.
In May 2020, Saint Mars are releasing their first single with AntiFragile, “Pacific State”, certainly their most ambitious track to date. Again featuring Tryzdin and Jethro Alonestar Sheeran, and fusing rap and trip-hop with obsessive tribal beats and anthemic chorus, “Pacific State” draws a line between Massive Attack, Empire of the Sun and Tears for Fears. Written by Marc Darcange, Alonestar and Californian lyricist Britt Warner, the song takes you back to the glorious magic of the 80’s, while being surprisingly relevant to the dramatic reality of 2020. “Pacific State” delivers a message of hope, carried by the ongoing faith in a better world after a tragic fall, and the necessary perseverance in adversity.
Entirely shot in the Swiss Alps in places that allegedly inspired Tolkien for the Lord of the Rings (the old castles of Valère & Tourbillon, the underground lake of St-Leonard), the video of “Pacific State” develops this idea further. It depicts life on Earth after an outbreak, with a few survivors sheltered in an old fortress on the highest peaks and living in seclusion in the wait of better days. At the same time a strange little girl is looking for her way to these peaks, with only one companion, an old map showing her a new Eldorado: The Pacific State. But as a potential virus carrier, every stranger is considered as a danger, an enemy, even the smallest girl...
The story behind “Pacific State” finds a strange resonance in the dramatic context of the current pandemic. The narrative reveals the fragility of human life and the ultimate impermanence of things, where anything can be loved one day and lost the next, and where danger is invisible and may arise from the smallest things. But ultimately, “Pacific State” reveals the desire to live, which shall prevail and shine through the darkest times. “Pacific State” is aimed to become the soundtrack of those troubled times…
The track was premiered on Beats Per Minute. "Saint Mars offers hope in the face of devastation", writes BPM, "their quixotic method of cross-genre pollination is as effortless and fascinating as ever".