I idolize you
This is a massive blog post. Actually, scratch that. It is a MASSIVE blog post.
Get your scrolling finger ready and dive head first into this incredibly interesting interview I recently conducted with the fabulous Marc Massive of the band Massive Ego.
We talk music, Boy George, veganism, fashion, love and more.
This is one of my favourite posts in a long time so I’m sure you’ll love the read, too.
Massive Ego is a fabulous name for a band and conjures up images of decadent club nights of years gone by. How did you settle on the band name?
If I’m really honest I wouldn’t have called the band that if I was just starting it up now. It came about from my days working in the fashion industry as a model. Going to castings everyday and seeing an industry that thrived on self importance and loving yourself for all the wrong reasons, it left me something of a nervous wreck and cold…so upon leaving the industry and starting the band the name kind of appeared and seemed a good idea at the time. I enjoyed the fact that the name gave off an image that was in reality a polar opposite to what I was actually like at that point, a nervous, lacking in confidence, beta-blocker popping ex model. As much as the look i do is a front to hide behind I think the name of the band at the time was also that, maybe to put people of the scent a little bit and a kind of reverse psychology.
I think nearly 20 years later I’m more at ease with the business, the name has served me well and I even had to threaten court proceedings a couple of years back when an American band decided to adopt the name for their band. At the time it felt like a take-over bid and I felt robbed when I kept seeing gigs in the States listed that was obviously not us so I emailed them and pointed out that we’d been going a lot longer then they had, were registered on the BandName website and that we had over 15 years of press and releases to back up that we were there first. They replied that they didn’t think it was an issue as they were in America and even started putting USA after their name, and suggested we do the same and put UK after ours. As you can imagine I wasn’t having any of that and wrote an even stronger worded email which eventually a few years later did the trick and they have ceased trading under my name.
On starting the new line up at the beginning of this year with new members Lloyd and Scot, I did suggest dropping the name and starting a fresh with something else. New name, new line-up, new material and new record deal but the guys won me over and said that a nearly twenty year history accounted for something in this business even if the earlier part of our catalogue has no bearing on what we are doing now musically, it’s all about legacy.
Lloyd Price (synth), Oliver Frost (percussion), Marc Massive (vocals), Scot Collins (synth)
I’m pretty lost in the vegan kitchen to be honest and without my partner in crime, love and the band Olly I would be living on Linda McCartney sausages and plates of vegetables only. Olly is the culinary genius in our house but then he did run his own deli cafe in Clerkenwell for a couple of years and has an amazing knack of taking the remnants of a fridge and cupboard and producing a gastronomic vegan meal. Meal wise Massive Ego would have to be something fairly colourless and preferably black in colour as we are pretty goth by default…so maybe something like a smoked aubergine and wild mushroom black rice risotto and yes that was Olly’s suggestion and yes he has made that for me in the past and I was quite taken with the black rice.
(Although not the dish mentioned above here are some of Olly’s vegan culinary delights…I’m very lucky to have a husband who loves food and cares about presentation)
Your brand new Noise in the Machine EP is filled with various remixes, including the stunning Aesthetic Perfection Mix of lead track I Idolize You. How did you end up with such a diverse range of remixes on the EP?
Daniel Graves, the singer from Aesthetic Perfection, had left a cool comment on our video on You Tube and I knew he was doing a gig at the Worlds End pub in Camden so I arranged a short interview with him for my then radio show on Hotmale Radio, and I asked him to remix us as I’d been switched on to them as a band only a few months before that but instantly got drawn into their sound. All the mixes are pretty much on genre as far as being Industrial/Ebm/Gothic scene friendly and as the label we’ve just signed to in Germany is the leading label of that sound the EP was pretty much crafted with that in mind. The sound of the band now is so far removed to what it was even 5 years ago and it feels right for where we are as a band now.
I Idolize You video – click here
To order the CD – click here
Is it fair to say I hear a bit of a Pete Burns influence in your vocal? Is Dead or Alive something that informs your work?
I’ve known Pete in the past, met him at places, and once borrowed Dead Or Alive’s electronic drum kit off Steve Coy to play a gig at Heaven in the 90’s. So there’s a connection there and yes I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to the Youthquake album being something of an early inspiration to me. I covered My Heart Goes Bang with DJ Dusty O many moons ago when I was doing NRG covers and followed it up with a version of Sex Drive. So the producers I was working with back in those days were aware of my similar vocal range to Pete and milked it on those releases. Spin Me Round is one of those pop songs that you just shouldn’t touch…it’s pop royalty and thankfully I was never persuaded to bastardise it.
The band has another couple of connections to Pete, Dean Bright who was a member of DOA during the late 90’s was also in Massive Ego for a few years and we’ve also worked with and are friends with their producer Barry Stone so it was always going to be inevitable that there would be comparisons. Pete’s definitely one of the UK’s most underrated singers but I guess his uniqueness and a reputation that proceeds him has put paid to him ever receiving the respect he could and should have had.
(Marc, Steady, Pete, Lana hanging out at the Manmade exhibition in London)
(poster for club PA appearance at Popcorn in Heaven, London)
We chatted briefly via email prior to this interview and you told me you are a committed vegan. Have you been living vegan for very long? What are the underpinning reasons for your veganism?
Coming up to about 4 years now for me and Olly. We watched the Earthlings film and like many others were appalled by the brutality and treatment of animals in all walks of the food industry and literally made the decision straight after watching it never to eat an animal ever again. We also at the same time took an active interest in animal rights and welfare and attend protests and demos as often as we can, and I’m fairly active on-line helping to fight the fight against animal abuses. I’m a vegan for myself and for the animals foremost and can find the politics sometimes associated with veganism can be quite stifling and intimidating, and there seems to be an awful lot of in fighting and bickering amongst ourselves on-line. I choose not to buy anything leather or suede now but I still have an old pair of leather shoes and an old leather sofa that haven’t quite fallen apart and when they come to the end of their use I won’t be replacing with another leather one obviously. So I’m practical like that, finances dictate that I don’t just throw the sofa away and buy a fabric one, but that also probably puts me at odds with other vegans and makes me a bad vegan. My opinion is that I know I’m doing the right thing now, and have been for the last 4 years and will continue to do so and I’m fine with that. I’m vegan for me foremost and for my love of animals and not vegan for others or their opinions.
Does veganism inform your musical process in any way? Is your art influenced by the other forces in your life?
Animal Rights Human Wrongs which I brought out to try and raise funds for the Saving Strays in Sarajevo charity and the street dogs they rescue and re-home in that hell hole of a place. I also brought out a cover version of Hazel O’Conners Eighth Day track that was also a fundraiser track this time for the F.R.I.E.N.D sanctuary in Kent.
Veganism doesn’t really come into the recording process but I can imagine it being present when we start touring next year as that environment and process doesn’t lend itself to being able to find food on the road. Luckily and quite surprisingly Lloyd our keyboard player has recently stopped eating meat and is trying out vegetarianism and Scot our other synth guy doesn’t label himself yet as veggie but actually hates the taste of meat so I don’t think there’s much persuasion needed there.
My ex bandmate and friend Steady who sadly passed away 10 years ago was also vegetarian. And I seriously do believe he’s guiding the band now not only musically but also with our eating habits. His mum told me she went to a clairvoyant a few years after he’d passed away and was told that Steady was trying to guide and help his friends that were musicians in the right direction. For me I know he’s helped me start writing songs again after a long time just recording covers which he hated at the time he was in the band. He’s definitely watching over me and guiding me in the right direction and I think he helped me find the newest members Lloyd and Scot as well and things are really taking off for us now.
Animal Rights Human Wrongs (video) – click here
Can my readers see Massive Ego live in the coming months? Do you have top secret news to share with us?
We are writing the new album now, and this will take some time as we don’t want to rush the writing. We have some brilliant tracks near completion and have just been given a song called Let Go written especially for us by my old friend Boy George which has been a real joy to work on. It was something of a ballad with a bit of a Jim Morrison feel to it when we got the track and making that into a more electro goth number proved a challenge but only a month or so after receiving it we’ve already finished it and about to get it mastered and sent back to George for approval, fingers crossed he likes it.
We hope to have some live dates sorted for next year probably March onwards, but have a lot of rehearsing to do before that, not only because there’ll be loads of new songs but also because this line-up of the band has only just formed six months ago and so much has happened already that we still haven’t played live together as a group yet.
(Marc with George in the early 90’s when he was part of his Jesus Loves You project)
Check out Massive Ego online: