Massive Ego the UK based Electro/Industrial/Gothic/Futurepop band have just signed to the leading German alternative label Out Of Line records. After almost a 20 year history of releases and performances behind them this signing marks a bold new direction for the band. With a new line-up, sound and label backing the band, they look set to make a massive impact with their debut EP release entitled ‘Noise In The Machine’ (released July 24th 2015). The latest news is BOY GEORGE has just written a NEW song for them and recording it in 2 weeks! The NEW line-up joining Marc Massive is Oliver Frost, Lloyd Price and Scot Collins. We are excited to bring this story to our readers…
Interview Meikee Magnetic
Where were you born?
A small town in the North East of England or ‘up North’ as it’s affectionately known. I’ve recently just been back there, with a documentary film crew in tow and a pop video to be filmed. I’m currently back there more than I ever have previously, with age comes a respect and fondness of your roots that perhaps is missing in your youth.
How long have you done music? Let us know about your musical background:
I started the band around 1995 and was gigging from the end of that year and early ’96. It started as a project between two school friends, myself and Andy JT. I had a health issue in ’94, one of those life changing moments and it was then that I decided the band was now or never and miraculously nearly 20 years later we are still performing plus releasing. Andy had already got into synths and drum machines so unexpectedly I decided to start singing possibly because I couldn’t play an instrument. It was a quick fix to the situation, my favorite was always Nick Rhodes in Duran Duran whom I do a very good impression and therefore could never see myself as being the Simon but here we are. Over the years we’ve had a lot of different line-ups with people coming and going. They starting their own bands being quite successful and I’m proud that my band was a stepping stone for some. Although we’re not the most productive band in the world, we are however consistent and have released something and performed live every year since we started.
BOY GEORGE has just written a NEW song for you, tell us more details:
He has, it’s been on the cards for a while now but I managed to pin him down a few weeks back and he’s written a fantastic song called ‘Let Go’ for us. It started out as an acoustic almost ballad demo which we’ve passed through our machines and it now has something of an electro, dark synth feel to it. We’re putting the finishing touches to it right now and I’ll be recording the vocals in London beginning of August. If George’s current Culture Club touring schedule allows, I’d ultimately like to get him on the track as well. Hoping to get a remix package together on this one but it will definitely be featured on our new album. George hasn’t heard it yet so there’s a certain amount of nerve’s attached to playing it to him. CLICK FOR BOY GEORGE
How did the signing with ‘Out Of Line Music’ based in Berlin, Germany come about?
I’d been releasing my material through my own label Public Disordar Records for a while, and although it’s great to be in control of every aspect of the release it was proving hard to get the tracks out to a wider audience to give the tracks a proper chance. So I went through the old fashioned route of putting together a rather lavish demo and press pack and sent them off to all the leading Industrial scene labels. Out of Line came back quite early on with an offer and seemed to be talking more long term which appealed to me. That was about a year ago now and I only announced we’d signed a matter of weeks ago, which was quite hard keeping that piece of news to myself for nearly a year. It did give me the time to decide what shape the future of the band should take and led me to look for a new keyboard player. It was also just in the last 6 months that Lloyd decided to come on board full time after being in a producer role for the EP that’s just come out. So literally in the last couple of months we now have a live band capable of touring properly, something we’ve not really had in the long history of the band. We are all writing together and have a process of sending songs back and forth over the internet, it’s working very well in deed.
What’s next for Massive Ego and how’s writing the new album going?
We are working towards an album being finished for Spring next year and have several tracks getting close to completion. These tracks will be a continuation of the ones on the just released EP which is acting as a taster to the band. I can give you one title of a finished track: ’Out Of Line’ – It’s a grandiose overblown gothic vampire lovers break-up song! It features guest vocals from part time Massive Ego member Holly Pearl, who we are hoping to be recording a few more album tracks with and bring her out on the road with us. We are hoping to be rehearsed and ready with a show from March next year and hoping to do a couple of festivals in Europe. I’m looking to involve a number of guest artists on the album and have a few in mind for certain tracks. I’ve been chatting with my mate Saffron from the legendary Republica about coming on board for one of the tracks and she seems up for it. We have a perfectly punky and angry protest song in mind for her. There’s also a really interesting young German rap artist called Belzebub who’s going to be on one of the tougher Industrial tracks on the album.
He’s part of the ‘Gothic Rap’ genre and I like the idea of mixing different styles together. I also like that he raps in German which is something I wanted for the album with it being released through a German label.
‘I Idolize You’ is Produced and Directed by Bambi Fantastic and Massive Ego, edited by Nu:Gen
Where was your most memorable performance?
I’d have to say it’s still the very first gig I ever did way back in 1995 at the Romo night called Club Skinny in Camden’s HQ venue on the lock. The New Romantic 90’s revival called Romo was fresh, underground and happening. It was the perfect vehicle to start and launch a band at. I knew the moment I walked through Club Skinny’s doors seeing the boys were in lipstick and the girls dancing to ‘My Own Way’ by Duran Duran, that I had found my family. A family that was mothered by then Melody Maker journalist Simon Price who helped create the Romo manifesto and promoted the bands that constituted that scene, and eventually gave Massive Ego a glowing half page review in Melody Maker. It gave me the opportunity to take the band I’d started with Andy in my bedroom in Camden Town to an actual stage and an audience. That first gig with a huge amount of nerves attached, a borrowed black plastic suit from Tim Perkins, a pale blue Bowie-esque wig on head, a lead guitarist in the shape of Dan Black (now a huge artist in his own right), a drummer and Dylan on synths. Massive Ego was born and the challenge I’d set myself was successfully achieved.
You must have seen a huge change in the way music is digested over the years. What is your take on streaming services and music released digitally in general?
I can’t deny that I’m old school in many ways and love to be able to hold a CD booklet or vinyl record in my hands. I have a strange addiction to the smell of glossy printing inks used in magazines and on CD booklets. I have to sniff a new release before playing the CD, for me it’s all part of the procedure. I can remember when cassettes were the norm, and often would buy the latest single releases in that format. That said I actually prefer the ease of accessing and storing digital files and the ability to find a specific track in seconds. I was gutted when Apple recently announced they were dropping the classic IPod, I’ve got something like 5k + tunes on mine and I take it everywhere. I’m quite indecisive when it comes to my playlists so I like to have a huge library of tracks to choose from when traveling. I’ll be sad the day it stops working and Apple won’t fix it for me. Streaming services are a different issue. Yes I use Spotify a lot and as such it’s a very powerful ally in finding and listening to new artists without the expenditure. It’s a no win situation for relative unknowns like us. On one hand it’s great we are on there, people can find us and listen. Every artist ultimately wants their songs to be listened to and I guess you just have to accept there won’t be any financial gain at least not for the artist. I do worry that listening via Spotify then actually deters you from buying a CD or an official download, why would you when you can stream it. The big guns a furious, but to be fair they can make their living off the back of hiked up tour ticket prices, us independent artists don’t have that luxury either. I’ve used BandCamp a fair bit especially for releasing tracks through my label Public Disordar. I’ve actually made some money back from that service, not enough to recoup the costs of recording however. Ultimately you have to want to make music to feed a passion not to feed your bank balance.
What does Dark Beauty mean to you?
It’s a sexy place, not dissimilar to the darkroom that featured as the inspiration for my Dead Silence track. A place for beautiful strangers to meet and engage under a shroud of darkness where their beauty isn’t visible and all defining. It’s somewhere I’d like to be invited but only to observe.
-Photography Matt Spike and David Levine
-CD sleeve photo by Mary Germanou