Reed City native releases debut album Feb. 25

Collectic style features variety of genres in each song

SEATTLE — Music lovers everywhere will soon be able to treat their ears to the original song compositions of Marc Ellason, born Marc Church, a 2000 Reed City High School graduate who has been in Seattle the past few years following his passion of creating music.

Ellason is an independent, self-managed artist, and his first full album release, "Treadmills," will become available to the public Friday, Feb. 25. The album will be available for streaming on Spotify, Amazon Music, iTunes, Tidal, Pandora and other platforms for streaming music.

People who describe themselves as being collectic music fans will especially want to tune into Ellason's musical creations, because he skillfully and seamlessly combines such a wide array of music styles.

"Mashing different styles together is what my music is all about," Ellason said in an interview with the Pioneer. "Rock and folk run through everything, but I'm always throwing in something different, whether punk, Celtic, jazz, country or classical. I'm drawn to unexpected sounds and changes. I want people to be surprised by something in every song."

As a multi-instrumentalist, singer, producer and arranger, Ellason's musical influences began early in life, when he began learning guitar at age 8. He was soon composing multiple parts to original songs.

"I first learned guitar from my step-dad, Paul Miller, who was in a bluegrass band called the "Doggone Cowboys," so I've played old-time music with him and his friends since I was a kid. I played trombone in the high school band, and orchestral music has been a big influence, especially when it comes to song structure and arrangements," Ellason said. "And I've played in a lot of hard rock bands with influences like Pink Floyd, Primus and Rage Against the Machine. So a lot of very contrasting styles, but bringing all those different sounds together is what I love to do most."

At age 21, Ellason moved to Seattle and continued playing in bands while "amassing an unplayed repertoire of compositions in his head." 

In 2014, after winning a class-action settlement from the New York Police Department for wrongful arrest while protesting the Republican National Convention 10 years earlier, he was able to purchase recording equipment. And while working overtime at various hard-labor jobs during the following seven years, Ellason built a recording studio and taught himself to record, mix and produce his compositions, performing all the parts himself with exception of some backing vocals.


Working on the "Treadmill" album the past seven years, Ellason is thrilled to share his music with others.

The album features 10 tracks, some songs exploring deep topics about society, other songs more fun and playful.  The album evokes a variety of emotions and moods, making it an exciting  journey to listen to.

"I love the often startling ways (Marc) filters all those deliciously grimy American influences through a mischievous folk/pop sensibility — and indeed how that beautifully supports the dark yearning and subversive polemic within many of the lyrics. It's one of those (records) where, once I'd finished listening the first time round, I immediately went right back and played it again," said Mike Senior, best selling author and contributor at Sound on Sound Magazine.

Ellason has been dropping a few singles since Jan. 14, to give people a taste and to build up to his album release, with his first song, Upside Down, describing it as an "Overly optimistic song about prevailing over tyranny."

When asked if different styles he features in his songs was attained by music studies, such as the Celtic riffs in the track, "Fury and Delight," Ellason said much of it is improvisation.

"I don't study any particular styles before writing a song," he said. "I think it helps things sound less conventional that way. But I never actually plan to write a song in any particular style at all. Everything comes initially from improvisation. I noodle around on the guitar or bass or mandolin, or hum, until something grabs me, and go from there."

"I actually write lyrics the same way as I do the music," he further explained. "I didn't set out to write a song about a televangelist, or a song about materialism or the end of the world or anything. Once I have some music going, I start with nonsense lyrics, just making noises, really. I start finding vowel sounds I like and keep messing with it until a few lines start to sound like they mean something. Once I've discovered what the song is about I can work more deliberately. It sounds like a random process, and it feels random when I'm doing it, but then the lyrics usually end up being about something I feel is important. But sometimes they're just silly. I like writing silly songs, too."

When asked what his favorite track is from his debut album, Ellason replied, "Bad Faith," a song about a televangelist.

"Bad Faith is my personal favorite. It's got trombones and a bunch of woodwinds in it, and those parts were really fun to write," he explained. "As I said, I really like unexpected sounds and changes, and this song manages to sound unpredictable, even to me after working on it for a long time.

Although Ellason lives in Seattle, he always tries to make it "back home" for the Wheatland Festival, a family tradition.

"At Wheatland, everyone is playing music everywhere, not just on stage. You can grab a guitar or a hand drum and just wander around, stopping to jam along with anyone who catches your ear. I've gone most years since I was 8 or 9, and it's a fantastic place to broaden your horizons and learn from a lot of different people from different backgrounds. Wheatland is primarily a bluegrass festival, but in the camps, you hear all kinds of music."

Ellason's mother, Sharyn Miller, a Reed City area resident, always looks forward to her son's visits, and is very proud of his accomplishments and how hard he works to make them happen.

"I'm incredibly proud of him," she said. "He has so much talent. Marc has always been a good person, he worked hard on this. He deserves every success."

For those who listen to the album and want more of where that came from, Ellason said he has a lot more material for future recordings.

"I've got quite a bit more music already written," he said. "It took me seven years to make my first album because I was figuring out how to make an album at the same time as writing and self-recording all the parts and building my own studio and everything. So hopefully it won't take nearly so long to make the next one!"

Ellason can be followed on his website or Instagram through or through his Facebook artist page at He also has a channel on YouTube.