I started getting into music when I was 15, there were free 30-minute piano lessons at school and I signed up because it got me out of ‘boring’ classes like History and English, so I thought it would be a skive and went for it. Little did I know the amount of work that was to come and how much music is so married to those ‘boring’ subjects - now I’m all about language and history.
For a long time, I was only writing and playing instrumental music. I wasn’t even that interested in the lyrics but with my new album, The March Onto Forever, and my last, Cowboys and Africans, I’ve been totally focussed on songwriting and lyrics. That’s opened a whole new musical world for me. A few words would inform an entire album and in full circle fashion, it gave me inspiration to write as much music than ever. I originally started making jazz and funk instrumental music and I’m now creating 80s-inspired art pop-rock songs, so it’s been a real evolution.
The new album is quite synth heavy, that’s a world I’ve not ventured into too deep up to now, but there’s a call back to Bowie, Talking Heads and Beck - to name a few - that’s shaped the music. I’ve always been told how cinematic my music sounds, so we made a music video for the title track ‘The March Onto Forever’. It feels like a short film, with the story running through it showcasing Glasgow, and showing why our backdrop is why Hollywood keeps coming to town.
I think it’s amazing that music can take you anywhere. The stories and soundscapes that artists paint are a gateway to wherever your imagination wants to go. Even instrumental music has a story, and you can make your own story up to go with it. Once an artist releases their music, it’s no longer theirs. It’s whatever we want it to be. It can evoke every emotion, and I'm lucky enough to be able to make a living from it, although it’s more than a job - it’s my life.
Making music is an absolute compulsion, like breathing. I don’t know why I feel so inclined too, but these stories, melodies and soundscapes come into my head and then I have to work hard until it’s done to the point of exhaustion. It’s been there since day one and it gets stronger and stronger the older I get. It’s always surprising what comes out, but that keeps it fresh and exciting. I’m very much a product of my environment and I try to live for the moment, so whatever I’m into at that point in time, usually informs the writing. My music is also very autobiographical and that can be scary to share, but again, I just feel compelled to share it.
I want to offer something that can inspire the listener to get that escapism I can from music. Maybe some of the lyrics will challenge them, or even if they don’t like them, will inspire them to do something about that, however that manifests itself.
I get pride from writing and my mind can rest when an album is done - well, for 5 minutes. My music has my all in it - when I know I’ve put my blood, sweat and tears in, then I can feel happy. It can sometimes be surprising listening back when it’s done - I say things I didn’t know I felt so strongly about. It ultimately brings happiness and excitement and I hope whoever listens, or watches, gets something from it too.
Marco’s band, Cafolla, will release their new single Running Man on 27th May. It will be available to download on all usual streaming platforms.