Spooky Marvin (aka Mitchell Marinaro) is a pop artist from San Mateo in the Bay Area. He is a member of a band called The Familiars alongside Ronnie Blaze, The Professor, Grace Exists, and Dara Midnight.
Marinaro expressed that movies influence the band’s nature when it comes to their music. “I like films and just generally parts of culture other than music that inspires me. I’ve always been really into Halloween and spooky stuff and spooky atmospheres. I take a lot of inspiration from … the aesthetic appreciation, the dramatic nature of those movies, and that kind of culture genre. And of course other musicians and other artists.”
However, when it comes to the band’s live performances, the songs and feel take on a completely different vibe than what people hear online. They create live renditions of songs written by Marinaro and The Professor in a way that’s meant to showcase each members’ talent.
“Our inspirations for the live show we take most from Sunday Night Football, the WWE, just big personas, trying to be as entertaining as possible,” said Marinaro. “As a fan, when I go to live shows, I just want to have a memorable experience, have a cool time, and see something I have never seen before at a show. Something more of a theatrical performance.”
Additionally to the drama of the film and the prominent personalities on television, just about any character with a goofy yet confident personality inspires the feelings of each band member.
“I like Jim Carry in ‘The Mask,’ and I like pretty much anybody from the WWE,” said Marinaro. “The way professional wrestlers go about their personas is hilarious. I love Vince McMahon and John Cena. I like the way all the characters are in ‘Napoleon Dynamite.’ It’s one of my favorite movies, like Pedro is good. Oh, Uncle Rico! That’s one of my favorite characters ever. It’s just like this sleazy, goofy character, but [we’re] trying to combine that with the gothic nature of what I was talking about earlier.”
He continued “When we talked about our personas in the band, we all had guidelines of how we wanted to be: our backstories and how we’re perceived in a live stage environment. Spooky Marvin became a Las Vegas vampire combination of sleazy ‘70s type guy mixed with Dracula.”
Growing up in the Bay Area, it was a comfortable setting for him and his friends to hang out and go to punk shows in San Francisco or Berkeley. It showed him and his friends how easy it was to be in a band and play shows.
With Bay Area giants like the band Green Day, he saw how “they just took matters into their own hands, started a band in high school, did their thing so passionately and powerfully and [broke] out from the scene and became something huge and [made] waves. Growing up in this music scene just made me think, ‘I need to be a part of this at some point. I don’t know how and I don’t know what I’ll do, but this is a place for me to fit in.’”
Through the culture of their surroundings and influences from media, The Familiars were able to find their voices and ways to express themselves.
“I’m passionate about individualism and self-expression. Everybody’s in their head. We perceive a certain world, and art is an amazing way to allow people to see your world,” said Marinaro. “I’m not trying to force anyone to do anything, but it’s an invitation to enter my world and see things how I see things and enjoy them the way I do.”