A very nice interview with Justin Case Radio (Greece)



by:Demetris “All Around”

He is one of the little chapman stick players of Italy with real prog attitude, with a music diversity and personality. While he is an accomplished musician, he regularly explores different genres and his music is so bombastic as well as mellow at the same time! His last cd (“The river-Both sides of the story) is one of the “let-to-be-widely-discovered” gems; a contemporary prog cd with a music that lights the beacons towards a new eclectic mix of styles with integrity, passion and tremendous creativity. Prog ladies and gentlemen, MARCO DE ANGELIS from Rome, Italy; all yours, as the best meal of the day!
Dear Marco, thank you very much for your participation in that interview! It’s our honor!
Where are you now? Where this interview finds you?
Home in Rome, working on the video editing of the documentary “The River Live Rehearsal – the making of a live show”
What a bio! How did you accomplish all those diverse things?
Time and passion…..
You are a multi-instrumentalist while you are one out of few players playing the chapman stick in Italy! I love TONY LEVIN on that, for example!! Please tell us a few words about how and why you were interested in playing more than one instruments.
Probably curiosity is the right word…. and the aim to be able to transform in music what you’re feeling. Sometime you need to use different sound palette to do that.
You were also in the music business as a sound engineer and you ran your own studio for some time. How were those experiences? How much time did you have to concentrate to the excellency of your instruments? How helpful and effective is for anyone to tackle different musical roles simultaneously (I am the one to say that I’m motivated by multiple roles in my life, but this is not the same for everyone!)?
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 18 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 and talented Alan Parson …
So, to answer your question I think that being confortable in the different stage of a musical production process is, on my personal view, very important. Making a good record is a very complex recipe. You have to have some good songs, the right musical arrangement and a objective producer’s ear to achieve the result you hope to reach.
Could you give us brief description for each song of this record? Also, is that a thematic/conceptual record or a set of songs? And, if yes, what is the concept?
Most of them talk about real life, mine or the people close to me. It’s all about how your life can change in a minute. Sometime it’s your own choice, sometimes are changes you have to face, even if you wouldn’t want to. It can be easy as drink a glass of water, or it can be the hardest moment in your whole life. But it’s real life. I think that most of the listener will find something familiar to them into each song.
Any plans for live sessions for the “The river…”?
Hopefully live shows 2014 and then next album…. probably 2015.
You really seem to have a solid and recognizable style, playing-for-the-song attitude, but also a dynamic approach with more freedom elements in your bass sound. How do you accomplish that?
To be honest I don’t know…. I just play what I think is the right partiture for the songs I’m working on…. As you have said my main goal is to play-for-the-song. A good song with strong melody and the right musical arrangment is much way better that a mere “I’am-the-best-musician-ever”
I learnt about you from your (first?) album “The river: Both side of the story”. Your work on that show professionalism, maturity, quality, goal-setting procedures and emotional variety. My favorites are “Fly high”, “Our trail of tears”, “Regrets” and “Take it away”. What was your approach on that record (and in other records too)?
Basically there is not a standard way for me to write or develop 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…(laugh)
Do you write lyrics?
Yes. Almost 90% of the lyrics on The River.
Which are your favorite music songs during your lifetime? Also, your influences as a musician? Favorite, inspiring, records? And, what do you listen to at this period?
You can find out the list in the question below…. All the records from those artist are into my iPod and I don’t think I’ll erase them for a long time…
What’s your personal philosophy (or mindset) in life? How do you overcome barriers and how do you use your strengths?
That’s a good question… 😉 Maybe I didn’t find it yet.
But live and follow your dream trying not to harm anybody around you could be a good philosopy to follow.
According to your bio, you prefer the UK prog rock scene of the late 60‘s and 70’s. How do you see the contemporary prog scene or/and the prog scene of 90’sa and 80’s to go back a little bit?
I grew up and start to play guitar listening to the UK’s Rock – Prog band in the ’70s (Pink Floyd, Genesis, Yes but also Led zeppelin and Deep Purple on the hard side of the rock). It’s 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 like something to shame about. I don’t try to hide it…. It’s me!
There were some very good band and solo artist in the 80’s as well like P. Gabriel (that I deeply love), Tears for Fears and U2 just to name few.
My preferences are not for the many groups that have the technique as primary quality. Particularly in the last decade prog scene. I mean, they are great musicians, no doubt. But I prefer something different… and you can easily understand what I mean reading the list above.
You also come from a prog country, from a historical point-of-view! Rock Progressivo Italiano is a legendary music for all of us with endless diamonds and gems! How is the Italian prog scene today? And the music in Italy in general? How is life in Rome for a musician like you as well?
Well, as many things that had been “in vogue” in the past, Italian music and prog music in particular are not in “good health” at the moment. So I would say that it’s not the right place where put your look at if you want to be a musician. That’s why I have set my target abroad.
What is prog rock for you? And prog music in general, anyway? We think this is a concept and not a genre, as many believe.
I always loved to tell stories. Something that is not just a snapshot, a 3 minutes pop song is not the way I’m confortable with. I mean, there are bright diamonds in the pop music, nowaday as well as in the past decades. Beatles were incredible in doing that. But I prefer to bring my listener (and to be driven, when i listen to music) on a more complex path. That’s prog music for me. A travel. Hopefully a good one 😉
Also, what do you think about the future of prog rock and prog music in general? Are there any ways for the betterment of its promotion through internet and other means?
Who knows? For sure broadcast via internet is a great promotional way. I would say that the more radio stations like Justin Case there will be the better it is.
Is there any genre of music that you haven’t played yet and you’d like to play if you had the opportunity?
No. I know what I like….. and I play it.
Tell us a few things about some of your plans for the short- or the long-term future. I hope to see you in Greece someday (we will be definitely in touch with you about that!).
As I told you before, I’m working on the live show and I really hope to be there with all the music lovers who would want to be part of it.
A message from your part for the listeners of JustIn Case Prog Radio and for all prog’n’rollers out there is…
Keep up the good music and when you find out a record you think is good enough, make a little effort and buy it.
Dear Marco, thanks a lot about answering those few (lol!!!!) questions!
With honor,
Demetris “All Around”
Founder and Progducer
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