Bio: Marco De Angelis, born December 1962, is an Italian solo artist, songwriter, musician, audio engineer and record producer.
Started his musical journey when he was 10 and puts for the very first time his hands on a musical instrument. Since that day he gained a wide experience in musical instruments field, from acoustic/ethno to last generation electronic gear. He is one of the few Italian Chapman Stick player. Plays guitar, bass and keyboards. Even if he enjoys a wide range of musical styles, his main roots are from the late ’60s and ’70s prog-rock UK scene. Created soundtracks for 3rd parties as well as his own original projects. Arranger and artistic producer for a multitude of indie albums released in Italy, UK and Latin America. Meanwhile, spent almost two decades working as freelance Sound Engineer/Producer for some of the most important production companies in Italy. Very experienced in different media and environments (Recording Studio, TV, Theatre, Live concerts).
Ran his own professional recording studio in Rome (Soundtrack Studio) for more than two decades as well as his own music label between 1995 and 2005. The River. With very few exceptions, titles in all forms of artistic expression are more than a mere piece of information on what the body of work is about. In the case of “The River”, the title introduces the actual meaning of the composition, the motivations that inspired it. It is a consistent theme throughout the various phases of its creation, execution, recording and in its future representation. In this era of ‘liquid’ music, of songs which are shuffled and bundled randomly in mp3player,‘The River’ brings us back to the glorious but almost forgotten tradition of the ‘concept’ piece. It is therefore not a collection of songs but a homogeneous and coherent body of work in which lyrics, music and arrangements fuse together harmoniously within this concept of a “river”, a place of influx of and at the same time an outlet for almost thirty years of Marco De Angelis’ music research as a composer, musician, arranger and producer and which finds its most accomplished expression in this work. A concept, an image, a suggestion – that one of the river – that lends itself to multiple interpretations, none of which excludes the others. Here it represents life, with the two river banks representing the dualism in which all human beings exist: a reality which is made up of good and evil, male and female, life and death, night and day. It is the river that we travel on and in which we identify ourselves, choosing to stop on one or other of its banks, sometimes yearning for and missing the other and in which we get dragged through by the current and by the whims of chance. This concept is further underpinned by the subtitle –“ Both Sides of the Story” – which bounces from one song of the album to another, and will be a key element in the live performance dimension, which is an integral part of this project. You are all welcome… the river awaits! Reading the main traits of my biography you might think of a person totally unstable and on the verge of schizophrenia…
I started studying classical guitar as a child. At age 20 I founded my first band that with various line ups accompanied me to my early 30. It ‘was a wonderful time! In 1992 I opened my own recording studio, in business till 2012. During that time I reduced a lot of my time as a musician, mainly working as sound engineer and music producer, both in the studio and on tour. In my spare time, however, I have produced soundtracks for movies and a couple of my own cd project. Some of the songs featured in The River have seen their raw form at that time. Then in 2011 I returned to my first love… being a musician. As usual… Both sides of the story.
I could make a parallel, with very little modesty, between me and the much more famous Alan Parson…
Members: 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.
Genre: 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).
I’ve always been in love with the non-linearity of that kind of compositions. The continuous change of emotions that transmit, is something very close to real life. Is not plastic… is flesh and bones.
Those years have 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!
Evolution of the initial musical and thematic elements: Basically there is not a standard way for me to write or develope a project.
In the case of “The River”, the live performance aspect has always been part of the writing process. At that time I was working as sound engineer for most of the major Musicals acts touring Italy. So the theatrical aspect of a concept album began to take form. I started to have the idea of musical with a concept, an image, a suggestion, that one of the river, to represent life, with the two river banks representing the dualism in which all human beings exist: a reality made up of good and evil, male and female, life and death, night and day. It is the river that we travel on and in which we identify ourselves, dragged through by the current and by the whims of chance.
After a while I thought that the idea of the musical would have been too tight for me because of the constraints imposed by a script. So I decided to move towards a more “conventional” rock show but mantaining the visual side of the original idea. I may mention some of the Peter Gabriel’s gigs or, with the proper proportion, “The Wall”. I have most of the visual aspect of the future show clear in my mind.
As for the themes and concepts, there is something autobiographicall in The River… but I won’t tell you what… 🙂
Ideas about the album: I’m pretty happy with the artistic side. Even if, as usual, I think that something better can be done.
On the more technical side, well this is a mid-low budget production. So a bigger budget could have give results closer to the sound that I had in mind. But generally speaking I like it.
Reception: The cd has just been released, so it’s a bit early to speak about it. However, it seems that “the world out there” like it very much. That’s great. Will see.
Preference; live or studio: Two different kind of beast.
In studio i like to take all the time I need. Tweaking all the different sound ’till I achieve what I have in mind. And it can take days and days. I keep on giving me the opportunity to change something till the end of the mix. So it’s a long and complex work with hundreds of tracks opened in the final mix. Luckily I make most of the job by myself. Would be really difficult to have a sound engineer who can bear with this.
A live show is a one shot matter. I mean, I’m a kind of paranoid for the perfection, even in the live performances, and the show has to follow the CD lines, but you can’t know what will happen up there….. so, the approach is slighty different. On top of this recipe, you have to put a bit of human feelings, the emotion of that very moment, that make a show unique, different from the day before and the day after. And of course there is an audience to gratify and with who having an emotional exchange.
Both of them are great!
Next step; live or studio: As I’m a solo artist, there is no a real band in a conventional meaning. Of course Marcello will be part of it. I’m gathering some musicians i trust in, to setup a proper band and start the first rehearsal leg. This should be before the end of the year and I have in mind to shoot part of the rehearsal to produce a sort of Making Of of the live show in a DVD.
What’s next?…Hopefully live shows 2014 and then next album…. probably 2015.
Future plans: God only knows….. The Beach Boys were right. 😉
Composers: I wrote all the songs and lyrics, except the lyrics for “Snowboud”, that have been written by an English good friend of mine, Sham Hinchey, “Our Trail Of Tears”, the lyrics are by Marcello Catalano and “Tell Me Why” and “Black Stare” written by me with the help of Odette Albani a London based songwriter.
Inspirations: As I told you before, I love UK’s rock scene from the ’70s. But also some of the ’80s and ’90s like Tears for Fears and Peter Gabriel solo era. Their music is a great mix of pop and prog-rock. I love them.
Preference; cater to the audience or music for its own sake: Probably both situations I guess.
Greatest Accomplishment: Will answer at this when I will stop playing… 🙂