13th Annual Long Form Music Video Winner
Record Label: Self-Released
Home Base: Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Genre: Alt. Pop Rock
Category Entered: Long Form Video
Work Submitted: Walking Proof
Artists Featured: Marcio Novelli
Who are your influences?: My influences are so eclectic and vast that I wouldn’t even know where to begin so I think that if I simply list the artists that have made albums at one point or another that I feel have changed my life and had a large impact on me, that might give you an idea of where I’m coming from: 30 Seconds to Mars, Alexisonfire, Brand New, Circa Survive, City and Colour, Copeland, Dashboard Confessional, Finch, Goo Goo Dolls, Green Day, Incubus, Jack’s Mannequin, Linkin Park, Marilyn Manson, My Chemical Romance, Nirvana, Slipknot, Smashing Pumpkins, Staind, System of a Down, Tegan and Sara, The Rocket Summer, The Used, Thursday, Weezer… To name a few.
Describe your nominated work: Walking Proof takes you through the seventeen day process of fully recording and mixing my debut full length album ‘It’s Not An Excuse, It’s A Reason’.
Did you use any unusual effects or instruments in this recording?: I played every instrument myself, save drums. I did this in just over a week which also included the time it took to track every single vocal part. It was a marathon of 16 hour days with no breaks whatsoever. I believe that if you’re going to put out a solo record, it should be a testament of who you are as an artist. If you don’t write, sing and play practically every note, is it really a solo record?
Were there any happy accidents while in the studio, or did everything go as planned?: A lot of things did not go as planned and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. All of the vocal harmonies were made up on the spot, the same goes for the guitar solo in ‘Doctor, Please’ as well as a lot of the backing guitar and keyboard parts. Speaking of ‘Doctor, Please’, Chris Steele of Alexisonfire made an impromptu appearance on the album playing bass on that track so I would definitely consider that a happy accident.
How did you raise the funds for this project? How long do you expect it will take to recoup your out-of-pocket recording expenses?: I literally used my life savings to make the record and I raised a couple thousand with the help of my amazing fans through crowd-funding. The documentary cost very little money but I did spend well over a year straight working on it with my co-director/co-editor Matthew Dorman all the while experiencing fatherhood for the first time with the birth of my son. Needless to say, it was a very busy year and the expense was my time.
Why did you choose to submit this work to The 13th IMAs?: I want my art to reach as many people as possible and I hope that being nominated for an IMA will help spread the love. I feel that Walking Proof tells a very real story of the highs and lows that an independent artist goes through to make an album nowadays and I hope it inspires others to follow their dreams no matter how impossible they may seem.
What’s your definition of success and how will you know when you’ve achieved it?: Success is such a suggestive term. Some people measure it in monetary value, I tend to measure it by artistic contentment. My ideal situation is to be able to fully support myself through my art alone so I don’t have to find creative ways to generate income outside of that world.
How will you leverage your IMA honors to achieve your career goals?: I’m really not sure. I’m currently focused on writing my sophomore album so, if this nomination helps me to reach more people that I can share my art with, that would be wonderful.
Who’s sitting in your audience and what makes your fans unique?: My fans really are the most supportive fans I could ask for. They span a large age demographic and are not gender specific. From a marketers standpoint, it would be a nightmare but I love it. I believe that sincere music that comes from a truly honest place will find an audience if you say what you mean and mean what you say.
What is your guilty pleasure on the road? Any close calls or mishaps while on tour?: I am a strict vegan so I tend to eat very well even on tour. I load my suitcase up with Vega One bars, chia, oatmeal, nuts, seeds, kale chips etc. I don’t really drink alcohol, especially not while on the road, because I like to keep my body in as healthy of a state as possible. I am the anti-thesis of what most people think a musician’s lifestyle consists of.
Who are your musical heroes & influences?: I wouldn’t say that I have any musical heroes but I tend to be inspired by modern Renaissance people who are all around artists who don’t limit themselves to any one art-form. Besides my wife and son, music is my first love but I also find great joy in expressing myself through other mediums such as film. In addition to co-directing and co-editing my documentary Walking Proof, I also direct and edit my own music videos.
Are there any songs you wish you wrote and why?: There are so many! One that stands out to me is “Make Yourself” by Incubus because it really describes my basic philosophy in life from a lyrical standpoint.
What artists are you listening to that would surprise your fans?: I don’t know if it would surprise my fans but I listen to everything from folk to metal. If it grabs me some way emotionally, I’ll listen.
How do you discover new music? Do you buy music or are you content with streaming?: With any new artists I discover, I first stream then buy. If it’s an artist I have been following for a while, I will usually immediately buy their latest album upon release.
How will musicians make a living if fans continue to expect music to be free?: I think that musicians need to come up with creative ways to make their fans want to buy their music. Firstly, if you’re sincere and genuine with your listeners, they will be more inclined to want to support you. This is something I’ve done from the beginning because I have always recognized that they are no less important than I am. Secondly, in order to compete with today’s over-saturated market, you better be offering something real and honest with your music. It doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel but it needs to come from the right place because music lovers, particularly those who support independent artists, are very smart and can easily spot a fake. Thirdly, offer them something special or exclusive with your music. For example, for the physical version of my debut album ‘It’s Not An Excuse, It’s A Reason’, I included ‘Walking Proof’ for free. So, if my fans would like to download my music then great but if they want to own the physical CD then they will be rewarded with a DVD of the documentary that takes them into the whole process of making the album. It’s my way of saying “thank you”.
What don’t fans/audiences understand about the music industry today?: Artists can have sustainable careers without ever being heard on the radio or seen on TV. Having said that, even artists who are heard on the radio or seen on TV can have a very difficult time paying their rent. The truth is, if you really want to support your favourite musicians so they can keep making music, go see them play live and buy their music and merchandise directly from them (or from their official website).
Are digital singles/EPs vs. full albums the future?: I have always been an album artist. Even when I release EPs, I look at them as mini-albums. When I make an album, I think of it as writing, directing, producing and editing a full length film. With an EP, it’s a short film.
Finish this sentence: The music industry is…a contradiction of terms.
What do you have in the works for the upcoming year?: I plan to put together a mostly acoustic EP featuring re-imagined versions of some of my previously released material chosen by my fans. I’ve also been doing a lot of writing lately and hope to hit the studio some time early next year to begin recording my sophomore album. I’ll definitely be documenting the process on film once again! I’ve got touring plans underway as well so I’ll be doing a lot of that this year.