Rock-camp girls to rock Neptune in Thursday showcase

Organizing 40 teenage girls is not usually made easier by loud rock music.

But on a recent afternoon at Billings Middle School in Green Lake, Dani Chang, director of Rain City Rock Camp for Girls (RCRC), makes it work in her favor. Standing onstage in a yellow T-shirt graffitied with Sharpie, she is prepping rock campers to rehearse for their showcase the next day.

“You are the audience as well, so act how you want others to act when you are onstage,” she says.

A few times, a girl misses a beat or hits the wrong chord or forgets a lyric. At rock camp, apologizing for mistakes is not allowed. Girls can only say, “I rock,” and keep playing. Each time a girl forgets the rule and starts to apologize, the girls in the audience sincerely yell that she rocks.

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Block Party countdown Q&A: Hey Marseilles’ Matt Bishop has never been to France

What started in 2006 as two University of Washington students casually collaborating has grown to a six-man, eight-or-so-instrument indie ensemble with just shy of 15,000 likes on Facebook. One thing that hasn’t changed? They’re still struggling to pay the rent. Hey Marseilles frontman Matt Bishop, who went to his first Block Party 10 years ago, talked to us about the Seattle band’s orchestral sound and inspirations.

Hey Marseilles plays the Capitol Hill Block Party main stage Sunday at 3:45 p.m.

Q: Ten years ago, did you ever imagine you would be one of the main-stage bands playing the block party?

A: Um, no. So it’s gone pretty well. Back then it was just literally like a small little block party and it didn’t have the size or the popularity that it does now, so it means that much more. We played the block party once before, three or four years ago, and we are really excited to be a part of it again.

Q: How do you think your sound is best described?

A: I like to say it is just orchestral folk-pop, but I don’t really know what that means necessarily.

Q: How did you guys arrive at that sound?

A: We tried to create a genre of music that sounded compelling, when really all it was in a lot of ways was things that have been done so many times before. But I think we just use that terminology because the thing that is cool about our songs is they are really straightforward pop tunes but we have some unique talents with cello and viola and trumpet and clarinet and instrumental arrangements that we use to stand apart from the crowd.

Q: Did you seek out all of those different instruments, or did you all just happen to come together?

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More Block Party band Q&As

Block Party countdown Q&A: The Flaming Lips’ Steven Drozd on Seattle’s attitude and the band’s darker new sound

Block Party countdown Q&A: Pickwick frontman calls nine months of rain ‘inspiring’