Marseille Figs

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Marseille Figs
Origin London, England
Years active 1999–present
Labels Figs of London
Members Tom Chant
J. Maizlish
Dorian McFarland
Past members Darryl Hunt

Marseille Figs is an experimental pop band from London. Their music is an aggregate of honky tonk, free jazz, American folk music, psychedelic music, pop and punk. Their membership includes or has included members of Cinematic Orchestra, the Eddie Prévost Trio, and the Pogues.

Their line-up consists of Tom Chant (saxophones, bass clarinet, keyboards), songwriter J. Maizlish Mole (guitars, ukuleles and vocals), and Dorian McFarland (accordions, mouth harps, flugelhorn, trombone and vocals). Between October 1999 and June 2003, they were joined by Darryl Hunt (bass guitar, electric guitar, vocals and percussion).


Marseille Figs were formed in early 1999, while Maizlish and McFarland were studying together under Stuart Brisley at the Slade School of Art in London. Through mutual friend, Marcia Farquhar, they met saxophonist Tom Chant, who had been performing in various improvised music ensembles centred on the London Musicians Collective. Before their first public performance they drafted in the Pogues' bassist Darryl Hunt, who filled out their line-up for the ensuing two and a half years. Beginning in 2000, the Figs have been based in separate cities, with Maizlish moving to New York City at the end of 1999 and Berlin in 2002.

The son of Scratch Orchestra composers Michael Chant and Carole Finer, Chant is a ubiquitous figure in the UK avant and improvised music community, and also performs with the Cinematic Orchestra, the Eddie Prévost Trio, and numerous other small and large ensembles. Maizlish and McFarland are both practicing visual artists, with Maizlish contributing the majority of the band's graphic material.

They self-released two limited edition CDs: Resonance FM 9 September 2002 and Boum Boum Constant (New Demos &c. 2005). Their first official release, The Dirty Canon, was produced by Jem Finer, DM Bob and Brian O'Shaughnessy, and released on their label Figs of London in 2007, through Cargo Records. The 5-track Jumbo/The Long Goodbye EP followed in 2009, becoming John Kennedy's Record of the week on XFM London in October 2009.

Marseille Figs supported the Pogues on their American east coast tour dates in 2008 and 2009, and on their Christmas 2009 U.K. tour. They have not toured or performed live since 2010, with their members pursuing other projects.

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