Metro Expo is the solo project of Fred Marcoty. About to release his first album Metro Expo 1, which is set to release in the early Spring of 2015. Dealing with important social & personal issues like depression, schizophrenia, self-reflection, communication, isolation, denial and love. We caught up with Fred to have a chat and see what we can find out about this new release.
Metal Empire: Would you care to introduce yourself for our audience? What is your name and what do you do?
Metro Expo: My name’s Fred Marcoty, I am the solo composer, lyricist, performer, producer and mixer of Metro Expo. I studied music in junior an superior music school in Belgium, my home country, and in the Netherlands between the age of 10 and 22. I am now 40. I also have a diploma in stage management.
Metal Empire: What is the project up to at the moment? Is there something you’re working on currently?
Metro Expo: I’m about to release the first LP of Metro Expo, simply called Metro Expo 1, which is a concept album. A concept album, for the youngest readers, is an album which tells a whole story or has a central theme and it was a very popular genre in the 1970’s. The release date is February 1st 2015, and will be available on CD and digital download on all the big platforms. I’m currently working on the promotion, and, believe me, it’s not the funniest part of the job!
Metal Empire: Tell us about the music you make, how would you describe your sound?
Metro Expo: The global sound of Metro Expo is build on strict composition rules. I have chosen to play drums exclusively with brushes and rods, so no sticks, and no crash cymbals, for example. I also tried to have a very oppressing, natural and punchy overall sound, with various styles but with the same aesthetic approach. We could say that the style is between progressive/symphonic rock (without the technique demonstration and the pompous denomination) and the darkness of trip-hop (without the rap)… but, there is also a bit of americana, dixieland, without having that feeling to listen to a “greatest hits” album.
Metal Empire: Can you tell us more about the story, the concept of this album?
Metro Expo: The story is roughly the story of a teenager who believes being sick, but is simply growing up and reaching the adult age. The 10 songs that feature are mostly internal dialogues between the young guy and his “illness”, so his mind. Track one is a kind of introduction where, as the song goes on, the “illness” is setting up in the mind, from track 2 to 7, I refer to things such as social isolation, miserable childhood, timidity, denial of reality with no relevant chronology. And from track 8 to 10, the “illness” is first leaving, which means the character is now an old man.
It’s quite a simple story, that leads finally to death. It’s not an autobiography (I’m currently breathing…), I melted personal thoughts or life events with some psychiatric symptoms (I tried to have good information about that). So, the final result is something that has a thin line between craziness and reality… Up to the listener to guess what’s real and what’s fiction.
Metal Empire: You served as the engineer/producer, played all the instruments and performed all the vocals on the record, correct?
Metro Expo: Yes, I did play and record everything, except the female/angel voices (obviously), a spoken voice made by two american guy and girl, 2 saxophones that I don’t have in my musical instruments collection, and a clarinet that was played by my beloved wife, so she’ll have a little part of it. She supported my project all along, closely followed the process, helped me with the English language (she’s fluent, I’m not…) for the lyrics. She also was a big support when I was ready to set the fire to my computer and destroy all the work done so far.
Metal Empire: Can you talk about your production process? How do you go about writing new material?
Metro Expo: Well, this album took me 5 years from the very first idea and the last second of mixing due to many tests. The idea of a conceptual album came quite late in the process, and so included a lot of lyrics, and so melodic lines changes. For the music, it came quite naturally due to the composition rules. I can say that when I find a chord progression or a guitar riff, if I can’t put a captivating brushes drum line on it, the idea is not for Metro Expo… it goes in a drawer and waits for another project of mine. Roughly, I follow the same composition schedule in all my musical projects : music, then theme, then lyrics. And have a quick rough recording to have all this out of my mind.
Metal Empire: What and who are some of your major influences? Please give a few details about what you enjoy about creating music and what inspires you to make it.
Metro Expo: I’ve been fed with many musical styles since my childhood. I have a brother that is 10 years older than me, so I discovered difficult/adult music styles quite young meanwhile, with my studies, I had to step in classical music or jazz as well. So, influences came from bands like Pink Floyd, Talk Talk, Genesis but also from “classical” music composers such as Wagner, Puccini or film music composers like Maurice Jarre. Those were mostly unconscious influences. This melting pot of all this is what I enjoy the most while creating music… trying to make a new kind of pizza that would be easy to digest, but would also taste good. Also, this part of mystery of knowing where “this” element comes from without being able to name it directly… like this actor you’ve seen in many films without knowing his name. While you’re searching, the song goes on and then you step to another influence until you let that stupid game go and enjoy what you are currently listening.
Metal Empire: Have you played any shows or toured alongside any major artists? Are there any shows that come to mind that you feel make a great story? If so, tell us about it.
Metro Expo: Outside of the Metro Expo project, so as a professional musician, I had the chance to perform in big opera houses, pro symphonic orchestras and played one concert with Ray Charles.
Metal Empire: What are you hopes for the future? Where do you see yourself as an artist this time next year or the year after?
Metro Expo: I have many faces… For the Metro Expo project, I already have musical ideas for a Metro Expo 2, but, I will make only concept albums with this project, and so far I don’t have the concept or the story yet. I’m pretty sure this ME2 will exist sooner than my expectations… Before that, I will maybe do a hard rock’n’roll stuff to relax… I don’t make long term/view projects any more. When I find one thing to work on, with a concrete target, I go 100% on it. My next musical activities are roughly conditioned by the success, relative or not, of Metro Expo 1.
Metal Empire: If I was to turn up at a show, what should I expect from you in terms of music and showmanship? Is there any crazy stuff you do to pull the crowd?
Metro Expo: Metro Expo is a solo project, I haven’t planned to make concerts. I have some agreements with professional musicians to make one or two gigs if the album works a bit. First, I’d like to make a movie with all the songs, it fits better with the “concept” idea. The way I see concert is more like playing music while the movie is aired on big screen… It’s more an utopia than a concrete reality for the moment.
Metal Empire: What do you think about music piracy, do you think it effects music sales negatively, or do you think there is another cause behind the current drop in record sales?
Metro Expo: I think people are not well informed of how a record is made, its process and the different actors involved. People, in general, still thinking that making music is a hobby, maybe because they think it’s ONLY fun to do it. Well, it’s not. As an independent artist, I had to work to raise money to produce my album. I had to do things that I don’t like… but, as a very small artist (in terms of fame) piracy can also be “good” for spreading your music and/or your name. I’m very mixed about it. Fact is that everything has a cost… and be aware with who you’re stealing.
Metal Empire: Do you receive much fan mail, and if so what’s the craziest, creepiest or coolest thing you’ve ever gotten from a fan?
Metro Expo: Not yet for this project. In general, what makes me feel good is that some people told me (and not only friends or family) that whatever music I create, they can tell that it’s me behind it, also some told me that I’m a “made of integrity” artist. That’s, for me, the most important thing as a composer/arranger : being recognized, having a “touch”, make with the same 3 chords something different than another musician.
Metal Empire: If you could have one wish, what would it be and why?
Metro Expo: “Peeeeace on Eeeeearth”… oops, sorry, this is not a beauty contest… I wish I find a genie in a lamp that would provide me 4 extra wishes, because you’re a bit stingy with only one! Man, I can’t be serious about it, sorry! For the moment, I have one wish about the album and it’s a very modest one: selling it a trillion times so I can program a total plastic surgery. I told you I wouldn’t be serious. Didn’t I?
Metal Empire: Thank you for taking the time to speak to us about what you do. Do you have any final words, or anything you would like to add?
Metro Expo: Thanks to you. I hope that the people who’ll download/buy this CD (thanks by the way) would deeply enjoy it, and would understand that, besides its very dark tone, this is and remains just art (yup, music is an art)… all help is welcome, and I always answer to questions on my Facebook page which, I’m sure, you’ll like (http://www.facebook.com/metroexpodecalogy) or mail (email@example.com).
1. What is going on ? 7.24
2. You’ve stolen millions 5.58
3. Waiting for a war 4.36
4. Out of sight 4.03
5. Nothing here’s real 6.48
6. Come to me 5.37
7. While you look away 4.00
8. The shore 6.05
9. Inertia 4.55
10. The swan lullaby 6.58
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