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Friday, 27 September 2013
A nice interview of me talking about "The River" on SpireFocus. Thanks to Matt Schrader:
Spirefocus - What spawned your idea of writing a concept album?
Marco - I always love to tell
stories, something that is not just a snapshot: a three minute pop song
is not the way I'm comfortable with. I mean, there are bright diamonds
in the pop music, nowadays as well as in the past decades (The Beatles
were incredible in doing that), but I prefer to bring my listener (and
when driven, myself) on a more complex path.
SF - I'm feeling some prog 80s/90's Pink Floyd-esque sounds in there. Did you draw on these kind of influences for the album?
Marco - When I grew up and
started to play guitar I was listening to the UK's Rock /Prog bands in
the '70s (Pink Floyd, Genesis, Yes, but also Led zeppelin and Deep
Purple on the hard side of the rock). Its been a sort of musical
imprinting, so it's natural for me to use that kind of style in my
writing process. I don't feel it's something to be ashamed about. I
don't try to hide it.... It's me!
SF - Where does The River sit in your thirty years of musical experience?
Marco - It's not my first
release. I've had some titles out there in the past, but this album is
what I can refer to as "my beloved one". It has something personal in
it... but I won't tell you what…..haha.
It was hard to put it together
because of the large amount of songs I had - some are very old and some
were written during the last year of work. So I had to leave some of
them behind. It's always an unpleasant process to judge your own work.
SF - Did the album come from planned writing sessions or did it form during the recording process?
Marco - Yeah probably both situations I guess.
SF - Did you audition the players or did you have the specific players in mind when writing the parts?
Marco - Well it was pretty
simple. I played all the instruments on the album but the drums, so I
just had to make a phone call to my friend Cristiano Micalizzi, (a well
known drummer in Italy) and make him part of the project.
Some years ago I recorded in my
own studio a great female gospel vocal ensemble called Vocintransito,
so when the moment came to track down all the backing vocals I had
written for The River, I called them back into my studio and... you can listen to the wonderful vocal works that they put on throughout The River.
Lead vocalist Marcello Catalano
is probably one of my best friends ever - I call him my brother. He is
such an incredible vocalist. I was fortunate to work with him many years
ago when both of us were involved in Jesus Christ Superstar the musical
- I was the sound engineer and Marcello played Hannas. In the same cast
we had the one and only Carl Anderson, God bless him. So it didn't take
me more than a second to choose Marcello as lead vocal.
SF - Did the performers play their parts exactly how you wanted it or did they move around and elaborate?
Marco - All the parts were
already written, but of course they put a bit of their own personality
into them. And I liked it a lot.
SF - As a self-producer, were there other people you trusted on for extra ears?
Marco - Yes, a couple of long
time friends and colleagues. Having some extra ears is very important.
As I told you before, it's very, very hard to be objective when you keep
working on a project for a long time. You could hear something that is
just in your mind but not in the music you are listening to. You loose
the ability to keep your mind focused.
SF - Is the concept album idea something you would revisit again in the future?
Marco - Don't know. For sure I won't put together songs too far from each other, but I don't know yet.
SF - Are you planning on performing the album live?