[Editor's note: This feature story previews Eli Mardock's pair of album release concerts in Omaha and Lincoln. The band will play O'Leaver's on Friday with The Kickback and John Larsen. On Saturday, they will play The Bourbon with The Kickback. Eli Mardock's album, Everything Happens For The First Time, will be available for purchase.]
by Ingrid Holmquist
Life Before Lux
When we met in May for the first time, Carrie Mardock couldn't drink before concerts.
She said that interacting with people outside of the band can drain her energy, as she considers herself an introvert, and she used to have whiskey stationed next to her mic on stage. But not anymore.
Her band, Eli Mardock, is soon to release its first full album, Everything Happens For The First Time, on August 6. The band celebrates the release this Friday at O'Leaver's and Saturday at The Bourbon with concerts. But here's the thing: Eli Mardock is a band, and Eli Mardock is also Carrie's husband. When we met in May for the first time, the couple's first child was yet to be born.
“It has to be boring hanging out with people who are drinking,” Eli said at the time.
“Earlier on, that was kind of the most noticeable thing, but as it’s gone along, it kind of almost seems to magnify every experience,” Carrie said. “Everything seems nice and sweet because I have this baby there.”
Both Carrie and Eli said they looked forward to exposing music to their child and including the baby in their endeavors as a band.
“Hopefully, we can go on tour with the baby,” Carrie said. “That sounds really fun and crazy.”
“I think we’re just really excited to include the baby in almost everything we do,” Eli said. “Seriously, it’s really dorky, but I’m really excited to have every kind of instrument around (for the child). I would’ve loved to be a little kid and be able to jam out on the drums or something.”
Back in May, the Mardocks and I talked about their baby on the way (Lux, who was born on May 30), Eli Mardock the band, how music has affected their relationship and their tricky past with former band Eagle Seagull:
Eli said he hoped that he doesn’t end up writing “a bunch of cheesy kids songs” and joked about titling his next song “Time To Pick Up Your Room,” despite Carrie’s opinion that “you could probably make a lot of money out of that.”
As If We’d Be Married in Five Years
Eli reminisces back to a day in 2006 when he and his Eagle Seagull bandmate, Carrie Butler, were cooped up in a train station in Amsterdam. They had both been married to different people. It was 8 a.m. The two old high school friends were traveling around doing interviews and acoustic performances. They were exhausted.
“I remember looked over at her and thinking ‘Man, if I asked myself five years ago what I’d be doing or if I told myself I’d be sitting on a floor in Amsterdam at a train station with just you, I’d say, ‘No way. that sounds just totally crazy.'” Eli said. “And now it’s just like if I told myself then that we’d be married five or six years later and that we’d have a kid and a dog.”
Life with Lux
I rang the door to the Mardocks months after our first interview while Carrie was still pregnant. This time, my knocks were followed not only by dog barks, but also baby noises.
I was greeted by the ferocious 10-pound toy poodle, Coco, and Eli. He offered me lemonade and when I told him, “No thank you,” he looked sternly at me and said, “It’s pink lemonade,” and introduced me to the smallest member of their family, Lux Mardock. The adorable doll-sized human has a full head of dark brown hair and knitted brown Etsy boots that frequently slide off of his tiny toes.
We all sat down together on the Mardocks’ adjacent couches. Lux Berlin Mardock sat on Carrie’s lap and Coco sat on Eli’s lap. The four sat across from me making our interview a full family affair.
Eli described his hectic year: He graduated from school in May. They’re opening a brand new business, a concert venue named Vega being built as part of the Canopy Street development in the Haymarket. His first solo album comes out in August. And he and Carrie had their first child.
Sounds like a pretty bland year, huh?
“It’s funny because it’s not like I meant it to happen like this but it really fits with the album title Everything Happens For The First Time, and all at the same time,” Eli said. “Maybe Everything Happens At The Same Time would’ve been a better title.”
Carrie described the past few months as if they were expecting a hurricane and needing to get done with everything before a certain date.
Originally, the album title had nothing to do with his crazy year of firsts. It was named after the Jorges Luis Borges poem “Happiness,” which includes the recurring statement that “everything happens for the first time." However, the poem’s meaning manifested itself into the lives of the Mardocks organically.
With hopes of taking Lux on tour with Eli Mardock both in the U.S. and also on a tour in the U.K., the baby will have music infused in his early life. Even at six weeks, Lux has shown an interest in songs.
Second to the singing monkey toy that he loves, Eli and Carrie say Lux’s favorite song is “Children of the World’s New Uterus” by Eli Mardock. During his first couple weeks, Lux was a fussy baby, Carrie says. One day when she was in the car, trying to get Lux to stop crying, she played the song in the car. As soon as the synth intro boomed through the stereo, Lux quickly stopped crying. It’s still one of his favorites.
Eli says, “I can’t wait to have family jam sessions.”
Thinking back to May, I asked Carrie whether or not her gig preparation routine has changed now that she’s able to drink again. This was her response:
“I think people like to drink while performing because it distracts them from themselves so they feel more free. I am constantly distracted by something more important to me now, so it's like I don't need that.
"I don't even know if I can drink it after my pregnancy. I think I have mom tastes now. Now I don't even care what goes on before shows, I'm just frantically trying to have everything taken care of for the baby.”
Ingrid Holmquist is a Hear Nebraska intern. Her favorite song when she was a baby was “If It Makes You Happy” by Sheryl Crow. Not nearly as cool as Lux’s choice. Reach Ingrid at firstname.lastname@example.org.