INTERVIEW: The Marla Singer’s Tyler Bowen On New Instrumental Solo Single “Obelisk”

Dallas’ post-hardcore band, The Marla Singer, has been gigging around Texas since 2017, releasing their debut album, Free Will, the same year. Fronted by vocalist Debbie Bowen and guitarist Tyler Bowen, the band fuses experimental hard rock and metalcore into something all their own.

Last Friday, guitarist Tyler Bowen released his debut solo single, the instrumental track “Obelisk.” Not just an outlet to show off his guitar playing skills, the track is a fine example of his songwriting and production skills. Sure, there’s heavy riffs and slick guitar play, but the dynamics of the song elevate it above a mere vanity project.

Staff Writer/Photographer Brently Kirksey offers his review:

I will admit off the bat that instrumental music is a relatively unexplored area of music for me. With that being said, I genuinely enjoy “Obelisk.” The track has great energy throughout, with tasty licks, crunchy breakdowns, and chops that’ll excite any dog.

A lot of instrumental tracks lose me in the mix, but every note is prevalent and the tone is superb. It has some very technical parts that show off just how skilled he is in all aspects of production, with mastering by Cory Brunnemann highlighting it. I enjoyed it and I’m very excited to hear what else Mr. Bowen has in store for this project. In the words of one of my good friends, this is all banger, no mash.” 

We asked Tyler a few questions to learn more about the creation and future of the project.

When did you start working on this project?

I started writing this project in 2019. I had a ton of ideas that I couldn’t really bring to life until I finally got the correct recording equipment. I’m a perfectionist, man. If it’s in my head, I have to record it exactly how I hear it or I’m not 100% satisfied. That’s something I’m sure a lot of musicians, and artists overall, can understand. So, I spent a lot of time and money to get everything I needed to get this project started and here we are!

Where and when did you record it?

I recorded in my apartment in November 2019.

Do you play all the instruments?

Yes, everything you hear is me! The drums in “Obelisk” are programmed and it took some time to learn about the dynamics of how drums work with compression and EQ along with many other things. They came out sounding pretty damn good, I think. It took some time to dial them in and make them sound as huge and real as possible and I’m happy with the outcome. Thanks to Nolly GetGood (the man), he has some great tips and tricks that help songwriters and producers create natural sounding drums from drum samples and its powerful and incredible.

What sets this apart from what you’re doing in The Marla Singer?

Marla is a specific style of music. I’ve never really had the opportunity to write some crazy stuff that I’ve always wanted with Marla. That’s not a bad thing. I love Marla and we have some great material written that is very different from the first record that I think a lot of people will enjoy it. BOWEN, to me, is a lot more progressive compared to Marla’s material. I can focus more on going off on the guitar while all the other instruments go crazy as well. Marla’s coming back though and it’s going to be beautiful and heavy.

Beyond this single, what does the future hold for this project?

Man, I have a lot of cool ideas for this project and I want them all to come to life. I’m going to be releasing another single here within the next month or so, and after that release another single or possibly even a EP, depending.

I plan on releasing some music videos as well for the songs. I’m really just going with the flow and enjoying every moment with the music for this project. I do plan to play some shows as well after all this Coronavirus stuff calms down. I can’t wait to show the world what else is in store with this project. I think a lot of people will enjoy the music just as much as I do.

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