From Arnold Hall to Webster Hall
Post-collegiate life has so far been good to Anthony LaMarca, a 23-year-old member of The New School for Jazz class of 2009. While most young musicians struggle for years before finding much success, for the past year LaMarca has toured the United States and Europe playing drums in St. Vincent, the chamber-pop project of multi-instrumentalist Annie Clark. He also makes music with his own band, The Building.
LaMarca began his first tour with St. Vincent the day after his classes ended. “It was really perfect,” he says. “That end-of-college, ‘what do I do now’ thing was starting to set in, and this just sort of jumped out of the blue. It ended up being a fantastic tour.”
He got the job after he was introduced to Annie Clark’s manager by Dean & Britta’s sound engineer, the band he was playing with at the time. A few days later, Clark called him, and after some informal meetings and jam sessions, he joined the band. At first, he focused on just playing the parts and getting to know the musicians, but he has since been experimenting with sonics and new instruments, including drum synthesizers.
“Now I have half-electronic and half-acoustic drums,” he enthused.
The most difficult part of the job is the traveling itself. On St. Vincent’s grueling European tour, a border guard in England asked him where he was coming from and he said, “I honestly can’t tell you. I could show you a schedule, but I don’t remember.”
LaMarca also sings and plays guitar in his own band, The Building. Other members include his brother, his girlfriend, and his roommate, Andrew Carlson, who also plays bass in St. Vincent. The band plays anthemic indie rock with a slight twang, and draws heavily on its members’ Ohio roots. LaMarca describes the music as attempts to draw beauty from simplicity, which he ties thematically to the band’s lyrics, which are about the nostalgic romanticizing of family members.
He is also branching out into producing, manning the boards for another band of Jazz alums, In One Wind. The band reached out to LaMarca because they wanted a perspective from someone outside the band, and they trusted his ear.
Currently, LaMarca is at home in Sunset Park, where he lives primarily off the touring money he makes from playing with St. Vincent. When asked if he considers himself successful, he paused and reflected, then answered, “Yes, in the simplest way. I’m happy in the musical situation I’m in.” However, he does not feel he has reached his ceiling yet. His ultimate goal, like so many other young musicians, is to play his own music full-time.
“That’s the direction I want to go,” he said.
In December, he will accompany St. Vincent in Mexico, and he has recently recorded his first performance on one of its songs, an Of Montreal remix. The Building is working on its album, “The Swooshy Businessman,” and has several shows in New York later this month.