Interview: Black Marble

The Brief

The Brief - BM.png

Black Marble is the alias of electronic music producer Chris Stewart, whose atmospheric, synth-heavy compositions have drawn countless favourable comparisons to Joy Division and New Order. Stewart’s influences range widely, from eighties new wave bands Silicon Teens and Solid Space, to the songwriting of The Kinks. Black Marble’s first EP, Weight Against the Door, and their debut album, A Different Arrangement, were both released in 2012 on the Hardly Art label. Stewart’s second album, It’s Immaterial, followed in 2016 on Ghostly International. It was acclaimed by publications including Drowned In Sound, PopMatters, and Uncut.

Which documentary would you recommend?
The Overnighters, directed by Jesse Moss, about a pastor in North Dakota who shelters men who strike out due to drugs or mental health issues. A truly engrossing documentary about tolerance, forgiveness, and human failings.

Which high-school film would you recommend?
Three o’clock High, directed by Phil Joanou. A surreal eighties pulp film about a sad-sack teenager who tries to weasel out of a fight all day but in the end has to face the music.

Which non-fiction book would you recommend?
Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky, An interesting behavioural psychology book about the influence of the human brain on your subconscious decision-making.

Which advertisement would you recommend?
‘Where's the Beef?’, directed by Joe Sedelmaier for Wendy’s. The best ad ever made about an older lady who can’t find the beef patty in her burger. It inspired t-shirts, pyjamas, bedsheets, lunchboxes…


The following questions relate to our Perspectives column, in which two writers respond to an artwork that they are experiencing for the first time.

Does art encourage solitude?
It can. Ironically, artists sometimes start making art to get closer to people but to be successful you usually have to spend more time alone than your average person by a factor of ten.

Is unloved art doomed to disappear?
I would say unappreciated art is doomed to disappear. There is lots of art that became famous by people hating it.

Rule of Three

The following questions relate to our Rule of Three column, for which each article includes a trio of artworks that share an association with a single word.

Which artwork associated with the word ‘Extraterrestrial’ would you recommend?
The Brother from Another Planet, directed by John Sayles. A strange art film in the style of seventies Blaxploitation about ‘The Brother’, an alien who sets up camp in eighties New York.

Which artwork associated with the word ‘Keyboard’ would you recommend?
Synth Britannia, directed by Ben Whalley. A great BBC documentary about the DIY synth scene that exploded in the late seventies, due to synthesisers becoming cheaper and widely available to your average band.

Which artworks associated with the word ‘Xylophone’ would you recommend?
Reminds me of the opening to the documentary Eames: The Architect and the Painter, directed by Jason Cohn & Bill Jersey, or the beginning of Badlands, directed by Terrance Malick.

The art of discovery

The following questions relate to Silent Frame’s aim to celebrate the art of discovery.

Whose art do you most want others to discover?
My own, because I can support myself if they do.

What question would you like to ask other Silent Frame interviewees?
Why do you want people to discover Silent Frame?

More to discover

Black Marble: Visit the artist’s Bandcamp page here and read more on the Ghostly International website here. Watch the videos for ‘A Great Design’, ‘Cruel Summer’, ‘Pretender’, and ‘Woods’. Listen to ’Frisk’ and ‘Iron Lung’. The artist’s Twitter handle is @blackmarblenyc.

Today’s recommendations: The Overnighters (trailer), Three o’clock High (trailer), Behave (excerpt), Where’s the Beef (advertisement), The Brother from Another Planet (trailer), Synth Britannia (trailer), Eames: The Architect & The Painter (trailer), Badlands (trailer).

Also on Silent Frame