This week our Spotlight gets an extra special treat as we turn it towards Zilpher Mercurius Drax of the fantastic band Marquis of Vaudeville! They did a song a while back called Utopian Playland and have gained many Toy Soldier fans ever since!
He is originally from the middle of nowhere Texas, a place he playfully refers to as Neverwhere, being a fan of Neil Gaiman. Currently he is located on the outskirts of Dallas, TX.
So tell me..What got you interested in music? What were some of your early influences?
I was always a very shy little boy. As a child I had a fascination with theater, literature, and music. However, I allowed my insecurities & shyness prevent me from ever standing in front of another doing what I secretly loved. My grandmother used to take me to this quaint old Vaudeville theater for every single theatrical performance, I saw The Snow Queen, The Hobbit, Oliver Twist/many Dickens’s works on stage, and the list goes on and on. I always dreamt and wished with everything that I was to be in one of those productions, to be IN the story, but I never could bring myself to do so as a child. I suppose that’s from where the theatrical nature of Marquis of Vaudeville comes. My entire life, I have always been humming a melody to myself. People in school used to think that I was talking to myself in the halls. When I reached my teens, I became quite interested in bands like The Cure and Pink Floyd, bands that had an air of mystery about them. That really appealed to me. There is something magic going on within their music. I suppose I try to infuse that same sense of mystery and magic into my own creations.
Many of us are a fan of your band Marquis of Vaudeville! How many albums/songs have you produced now?
First off, if you happen to be reading this and are a fan, thank you to no end for listening and believing in us. This music is for you. It’s for the illustrious consortium of wanderers, wishers, misfits, outsiders, darers, dreamers, eccentrics, oddlings, and other strangefolk who roam the Earth; know that you will always belong in our world. As for the songs and albums, there are around 30 songs available online via iTunes, Amazon, and pretty much all of the major online music stores. Although we released around 13 songs online during the band’s early years, our only official album at the moment is our debut effort “The Great Promenade of fools & Ghosts” which we released at the end of 2012 and contains 19 tracks.
Do you go on tour, if so where?
We travel all over and frequently perform at pop culture fandom, steampunk conventions, and other astounding events. We’re widely known for our own extravagant Vaudevillian inspired sold-out spectacles such as ‘A Clockwork Wonderland: Through Aether & Mysterium’, ‘Gadgets & Gobstoppers: The Twisted World of Wonka’, and the show that shares the grandiose title of our album “The Great Promenade of Fools & Ghosts” If anyone out there wishes for us to perform in your area, then contact your local convention/event, encourage & inspire others to do the same, and express your great desire to witness Marquis of Vaudeville on stage at the event. As long as the people demand it, the conventions and events will follow suit.
For those who don’t know..What genre would you say Marquis of Vaudeville is?
We always refer to ourselves as a “musical menagerie of melodic mischief”. One of our fans called us progressive, psychedelic, punk-cabaret which I quite like as well. Call us what you will, as we always allow the listener to label us however they wish. We don’t like to spoon feed people with what we create. We want those who listen to interpret and to get whatever they want & need out of the music without being coerced into how to feel or into what it should mean to them. What style would all of you out there in LaLa Land say the music is? Find us and tell us.
Besides music, what other creative endeavors do you have?
I tend to write a great deal, typically poetry and short stories which I affectionately refer to as “whimsical drivel”. I have several ideas for novels that I’ve been working on as well. It just happens to be a slow process being that music takes up so much of my time. Some of my work, including lyrical content, can be found hidden here and there on the Marquis of Vaudeville website if you’re curious and you dig around.
What motivates you to keep creating?
The cosmos, the fantastical, art, literature, theater, mythology, mysticism, mystery, & magic. I like to tell stories, and music affords me a way to tell my stories. I want to give people something to daydream about, give them hope, open their eyes, hearts, & minds, and I’ve found that messages can be more profound and persuasive when woven secretly within the melodies of music.
What are you working on right now personal or with your band?
More music with new stories to tell. Within The Great Promenade of Fools & Ghosts, there is content ranging from children of the night, to mysterious whimsical circuses, plundering gentleman highwaymen, intriguing labyrinthine understreets, and mad scientist toymakers (hint, hint), to name but a bit. This new music will be in the same vein, but will simply involve new wondrous stories. We should have this body of work completed by the end of the year.
We have many aspiring musicians on Toy Soldiers Unite. Can you offer them any advice on success?
Never stop. Do what you love, but be genuine. Take essence from your influences, yet put a twist on them that is unique to invent your own sound. Put everything of yourself into your art, all of your hopes, fears, pains, failures, triumphs, dreams, wishes etc. What you hear within our music is a significant part of who we are. As a child, all I ever wanted to do was find a portal to a magical world, and it’s no secret to those who truly know me that I still want the same. Marquis of Vaudeville’s music is infused with this wish.
Thank you so much Zilpher Mercurius Drax for this amazing interview! We *salute* you and hope you will always be a Toy Solider marching towards the Utopian Playland with us!
Please check out these links for more information and music from Marquis of Vaudeville!
Listen to the Music:
Visit the official site:
Marquis of Vaudeville
Anatomy of Steampunk