Thanatophobia isn't just a big word, it's the first Marc With a C album of (mostly) original material for what's being dubbed "Phase II"; an era Marc has been working towards for more years than many of his listeners have been alive.
After 21 years of portraying a combustible persona to fit the often bizarre, psych-leaning, sometimes darkly humorous, usually emotionally devastating, minutiae-and-music-obsessed and lo-fi DIY records that Marc Sirdoreus created to find a way to bring these ideals to the stage, Marc shocked many by seeming to retire on camera, mid-show during a virtual record release show. Planned for well over a decade, timed to the release of the low fidelity (or "how i spent the nervous breakdown") album which'd been in the works since the week Marc was given his first guitar at twelve years old.
The initial plan was that Marc would take "an intermission", hoping to return for "Phase II" retaining the stage name of Marc With a C, but dropping the act of the increasingly-ill-fitting persona which he'd done publicly for many decades, being himself on record for the first time, for better or worse.
Marc began that "intermission", but was unfortunately stopped in his tracks by a misdiagnosed type of cancer and a botched surgical procedure, becoming impressively ill at the start of the vacation he'd planned for so many years. As a distraction, and while spending so much time in waiting rooms and beds, Marc began work on the Phase II material before one month of that intermission had passed, and Thantophobia is the first result, as well as the first entry into his Phase II canon - but it's much, much more than any Marc With a C record, past or present.
Thanatophobia sees Marc Sirdoreus, (a genderfluid person rather than the highly male-presenting Marc With a C persona was built to be seen as, though Marc is fine with "he" for pronouns), confronting most of his deepest fears and anxieties head first; some of those subjects range from insomnia, the court of public opinion, non-inclusivity, ignored consent, possible afterlifes, recurring nightmares, all the way to a potential early death not allowing him to help loved ones avoid pain. Through any lens, Thanatophobia isn't just the most experimental Marc With a C record of all time, in many ways, it's the very first of Marc's albums, ever.
For the production of Thanatophobia, Marc limited himself to only the instruments that the prolific songwriter would have owned and been able to play by himself the day after his first show in December of 1999 if a record was expected within six months of the performance. Some writing used initial melodic ideas from songs that an early producer had forced Marc to remove from the sessions of the earliest Phase I albums, Thanatophobia is likely the first time you'll have ever been able to fully meet Marc Sirdoreus on an album. The gulf between the "Marc" who was known for performing marathon shows in makeshift venues for 21 years and the "Phase II Marc" is immeasurable, though listeners can still expect the prerequisite character studies, brutal truths about the human condition, and plenty of moments when you aren't sure if you're supposed to laugh, cry, or both.
The vinyl, CD and digital download will come with a bonus "enhanced" stereo mix to play in sync with Thanatophobia known as Phobophobia, to give a highly immersive view into the world contained within the deeply, but painfully honest atmosphere permeating through even the simplest song in this self-contained universe within the grooves, which Marc has hopes to expand to other types of media.
Thanatophobia marks two other major firsts for Marc With a C: with little insight into what they'd have to visually represent, Marc tasked longtime friend, collaborator, and co-hort Catherine Blackard to create a visual representation based on Blackard's first impression of the record without context. Catherine Blackard created a potentially groundbreaking piece of visual art for each format that will literally reveal wholly different cover art depending on what color light bulb you have near your player. Most famously, Marc and Cat collaborated to make the visuals for the deeply post-modern Popular Music album to life, and together, they've now created a project that can be anything the listener needs it to be, as well as any way that you'll want to look at the object - within reason.
Perhaps most surprising of all is Marc's decision to leave his DIY days in the past, partnering with Needlejuice Records - the home of albums by Lemon Demon, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Tally Hall, Stephen Lynch, The Scary Jokes, and more - not only to make Thanatophobia a reality, but reached an agreement with the label to eventually reissue as much of the oppressively large Phase I Marc With a C catalog on every format that is possible, all to be fully remastered from the best existing sources.
Early reactions to preview singles such as "Friends List" and "I Don't Wanna Hurt Anyone" saw Marc's cult following to be surprised at the different direction and tone, but with full support, and growing anticipation to explore the world of Thanatophobia.
Thanatophobia will be released on all major streaming platforms on 2/22/22, with immediate digital downloads made available the same day, with downloads available to those who pre-order the colored vinyl variants, the immersive compact disc version (with more bonuses than meet the eye), and the cassette pressing, which will allow the listener to reverse the cover(s).
For Phase II in general, Marc With a C has no plans for public performances, (though does a monthly intimate virtual concert at the MWAC Phase One Archive at patreon.com/marcwithac
for all supporters who wish to take part), little interest in interviews, and would be happier left to his own devices to heal from illness and trauma, as well as to use his energy to make as much art as possible. He won't be as accessible as he once prided himself to be in this coming Phase, but you'll now get "more Marc" on every single release as a result. As a creator that has long eschewed the traditional means of "how to make it", yet found themselves in the crosshairs of Grammy attention by 2018, Marc is putting his money where his mouth is, with a project that leaves no question that "It's Never Too Late" to be yourself, and he's excited to grow artistically alongside the roster of his very favorite label, Needlejuice Records.
MWAC HQ can be contacted for digital review copies of Thanatophobia (and the occasional pull-quote, depending on the day and his health) at marcwithac.com
Needlejuice Records can be contacted through their website at needlejuicerecords.com
released February 22, 2022
THANATOPHOBIA was recorded solely in 2021 by Marc Sirdoreus
All performances, recording, mastering, engineering by Marc Sirdoreus
All songs composed by Marc Sirdoreus with the exception of:
"Till Death", written by Michelle Zauner
"This Friendly World", written by Ken Darby
Art by Catherine Blackard, who also suggested the title
T-shirt design adapted from an illustration by That Katharine!
Lyrics transcribed for the album by AJ Fritscher - aka: AJ In Evolution
Special thanks to: Needlejuice Records.
And? You, for even giving the album a shot.
Dedicated to Ian. "Ian, you gave me something to fight for, but most importantly, you gave me hope for the future during a very bleak period. Grandpa loves you, always, unconditionally, and the family is never complete without you."
©2022 Marc With a C