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Massive Ego. Join them in the New Church - Interview

 Massive Ego is an electro band that you should already have heard of!

Massive Ego is one of the bands that has a long history in electro, electro-pop, EBM scene. The British trio was formed back in 1996 and has always seemed ready to take over the EBM scene. Now that time has come with an amazing new album that will come out in April, 26th.

Massive Ego, currently, consists of  Marc Massive (vocals, lyrics) Scot Collins (synth, production) Oliver Frost (percussion). With an extremely characteristic band profile and an electro-dark sound with elements of Gothic Rock, Industrial and New Romantics-Electro Pop they bring us a new harder sound. Originally known for a new wave and electro pop sound, an interesting turn happened during the last years to a more Industrial and EBM sound combining elements of Gothic and Dark Wave style. Another highlight to the band's history is their signing in Out Of Line Music in Germany where they found their music home and support. A number of shows were given, supporting great bands and artists while they performed in several main gothic festivals around Europe.

The new album "Church for the Malfunctioned" includes a much harder sound than their previous releases, a clear choice of Marc and the rest of the band since the whole concept of the album fits this harder style with songs challenging the very core of religious beliefs and questioning its role in today's society.

Prior to the new album, a single will be released on April 12th, with the name "Digital Heroin".

I am really happy to have spoken to Massive Ego about the band, the new album "Church for the Malfunctioned" and the gothic style. Please check this amazing chat with Marc, Olly and Scot and make sure you will listen to "Church for the Malfunctioned". A new church and a new religion is being presented and we, the people that we wear black, smudged eyeliner and listen to dark bands and we are often viewed as ‘malfunctioned’ or weird, are all invited to join in, along with Massive Ego.

M= Marc Massive
O= Oliver Frost
S= Scot Collins

ES: Hi, Massive Ego. A band with a long history now in electro scene. Would you like to introduce yourselves and tell us something about you and Massive Ego?

M: I founded the band way back in 1996 and I write the lyrics. It feels like a life long commitment to the band and I’ve been on a long journey with it through ups and downs to where we are today.

O: Originally I trained in contemporary dance for many years before studying performance and fine art. At dance school I had weekly percussion lessons, so when I met Marc 15 years ago it was only a matter of time before I joined Massive Ego as a percussion player in a live performance context.

S: I’m Scot! I play the keytar and I help write the music. Massive Ego is something I’m very proud of and worked very hard on. I’ve totally enjoyed being part of the scene and all I’ve experienced with Marc and Olly.


ES: I am going straight to the news. This year, in April, a new release is coming out. Can you tell us some things about "Church for the Malfunctioned"?

M: It’s probably our most unified album to date. The three of us really pulled together when we commenced writing as we’d just lost a band member who decided to do his own musical journey so we really had to knuckle down and rethink where we wanted to go and what we wanted from the sound. The result of that is a much harder sounding album and in my mind more cohesive. I’d just lost my mum prior to starting writing so that very much influenced the lyrical content for several of the songs.

S: The release was originally going to be just an EP until Olly persuaded us to make it into a full album. This was because we were putting a lot of work into it and then we had so much more to give. The album has a much darker feel then the last one. I have used my influences of 90’s Dance, Hardstyle and Industrial to try to create a unique experience While Marc and Olly have added their 80’s influences to create something we are all really proud of.

ES: How did you choose the name for the new album? What does it stand for?

M: I had the album title pretty much at the start of the writing process. As we’d planned for it to be an EP I wanted to do a bit of a concept release whereby the tracks were all related to my loathing of religion, a common theme for bands on the dark scene I know but it was something very deep in me that I wanted to write about it. My mother was fairly religious, and with her passing I saw how much the church had taken her donations over the years yet when it came to her passing they were nowhere to be seen. That reinforced my suspicions of the organisation, the brand, that’s how I see religion. My idea was that we create our own church , a church where looking different, being individual, following the dark scene and not fitting societies norms is celebrated not frowned upon as it often is by church going christians.

ES: What can we expect from the songs included in "Church for the Malfunctioned"? Do they have the same concept idea as the title? Are there any special moments or highlights in the songs, collaborations or guests?

M: Because half the tracks have an anti religious undertone, the rest of the albums themes seemed to naturally flow towards the evils of the world, the exploitation of animals, a president of the USA that doesn’t care about the planet, and also the sense of bereavement at losing loved ones, in my case my mother, and loss of friendships through no fault of my own. We we’re very lucky to have Chris L from Agonoize/ Funker Vogt join us vocally on one track after spending a nice weekend with him at last years M’era Luna. He’s been very supportive and has also remixed a track for us. Having him on board almost validates the fact our sound has got harder since the last album. Another track is a duet with the UK Industrial band Auger, whom we got Kyle their lead singer to co-produce the album with us in his tiny but well formed studio.

S: We have a guest dog in one of the songs. I’m not even joking! In the song “Super Selfie Superstar”, we were working on a really cool atmospheric breakdown part over Marc and Olly’s house. While working on bringing it back into the chorus, their dog Squeaky barked, the mic picked it up and recorded it. I instantly thought that her bark could be used as a background sound, just add a lot of reverb and pitch it down a bit and you have canine atmospherics! Just a pitched down dog bark adds so much feeling to that part of the song. So now you can hear a dog barking in the breakdown of Super Selfie Superstar. Another song “My religion is Dark” is a personal highlight for me since we used a strong melodic kick drum as the driving force behind the power of the song while keeping more musical space free for Marc’s vocals. Melodic kick drums are widely used in Hardstyle music which I love however they are not so much/rarely in industrial music. We think it really works!

ES: Which are the influences in your music and especially in "Church for the Malfunctioned"?

M: Being an 80s kid that influence will always be at my heart and reflect in the work I do with the band. I’m a big fan of strong, catchy melodies and lead synth lines that are reminiscent of that period. I managed to get an actual Duran Duran synth sample in one of the tracks which makes me very happy.

O: My musical interests/influences are quite varied and include experimental music, neoclassical dark, avant-garde, post-punk, progressive house/trance/techno, alternative dance breakbeat and experimental synth-pop and industrial. I like artists like Dead Can Dance, Underworld, Diorama, GazelleTwin and to unwind I love listening to Beethoven as loud as possible in my headphones in the garden.

S: Some of the influences you might be able to hear in this album would be Scooter, VNV Nation, Aesthetic Perfection, BlutEngel, Agonoize and Eisfabrik. Going to a few German clubs while being in Germany for a long time has definitely helped.

ES: What comes next, for Massive Ego after the release date? Have you planned any promo steps for "Church..."? Concerts or something else?

M: The main priority is to get the album heard and to get out on the road and present the new songs live. We’re lucky to have been asked back on the current Blutengel Un:Gott tour, this is the second tour we’ve done for them which is pretty unusual I think, it goes to show how close we have become with them and it feels like family for us now. We release Digital Heroin as a single first on the 12th April and have done a video for that. With Amphi Festival and two other festivals lined up this year it’s a good opportunity to get the tracks heard.

ES: I would like to talk about Massive Ego, the band, now. How did you choose the name?

M: I’ve stated many times that I’m actually not that keen on the name now lol. The idea behind it was I’d just come out of several years modelling in the fashion industry, where everybody seemed to have a ‘massive ego’ and I absolutely hated it. Being a sufferer of panic and anxiety related issues ever since then it seemed a good, tongue in cheek piss take of that scene. Little did I think I’d still be performing in the band under that name some 20+ years later. Had I known I think i’d have gone for something more palatable and less in your face, and a name that reflected what I was really like as a person. Maybe something like ’Nervous Anxiety’ might be more suitable.

ES: It's been more than 20 years since Massive Ego formed. What motivated you to create a band at that time? How were these years for the band?

M: It’s been an uphill struggle all of those years. The hardest part has been keeping band members that share an interest in wanting it to achieve.  Because it was my baby it’s only really been me that had that goal, until now. The last 4 years have been amazing as I’ve found like minded band members who want to take the band to the next level, and that’s half the battle. And because of that comradeship we’ve been able to succeed where I never did in the past. Add to that the support of a record label like Out Of Line makes a huge difference. Label boss André along with Chris Pohl first came across our demo in their mail sack and gave us the opportunity for which I’m grateful. Another huge factor in us achieving more success was getting away from the gay scene in London that I called my home during the early days of the band. I stopped just doing cover versions and started writing again, rather than spending my time in gay clubs and doing shows in front of an uninterested crowd confined by a bubble. I don’t think anything unique or inspiring has come out of that scene or crossed over to mainstream music for many years.

ES: Massive Ego started over with a more electro-pop sound. Which were your influences back in the early years?

M: I grew up listening to Dead Or Alive, Duran Duran, Depeche Mode and Japan all of whom had elements of electro pop in their sound. One of my favourite albums ‘Youthquake’ by Dead Or Alive is a pure electro assault on the senses and was huge influence in my formative years.

ES: We see a turn in band's sound lately, in quite darker paths, including some EBM, dark or even goth elements. This change is clear since "Dead silence", a powerful electro song, accompanied by a beautiful video. Which facts triggered that change?

M: It was conscious decision to move as far away as possible from the pop/NRG sound we’d become known for in the 90’s. It started with writing I Idolise You which I released through my own little label Public Disorder a few years prior to it being released in a new mix version on Out Of Line. I’d been listening to some obscure on-line radio stations that were playing EBM and Industrial music and I just fell in love with the hardness of the sound. It was scene I knew very little about, but realised even in the 80’s I’d been quite influenced by that sound without really knowing what genre it was when I used go mental in the nightclubs for Nitzer Ebb ‘Join In The Chant’ and this was in gay clubs at the time, and usually played alongside the likes of Bobby O’s legendary Divine sound. I did my research and fell in love with tracks like ‘You Walk Away’ by Blutengel which is still an anthem that makes me go crazy, so I looked up who they were signed with and sent a demo off to their label, and low and behold we got signed.

S: We wanted a darker, more industrial sound after Beautiful Suicide. Heavier, harder, faster but still the same stomping Massive Ego sound. We wanted energetic songs to get the audience going for an awesome live experience for both us and the fans. I would say we wanted the change since being given the opportunity to experience so many live shows and figuring out what works and what is fun to play!

ES: It is obvious that Massive Ego really takes care of their appearance and image style. Do you think this is an important factor for a musician and a band? How did you choose your image style?

M: I’ve done the ‘geisha Mickey’ look for quite a few years now, he’s like a trademark for me I suppose. I’ve always thought fashion and music go hand in hand to make the finished product complete, that will always be the ideal. I can’t ever imagine going on stage in a pair of jeans and trainers and no make-up, that would be so dull for me. Plus I prefer to hide behind the ‘character’ of Marc Massive as he has more fun than I do.

O: Visual imagery is a language with no limitations. All over the world people are drawn to the darker side of identity. As a visual artist, I feel the look of the band is as important as the music. In fact, I hate it when I hear music I love and the artist turns out to be uninspiring visually. Makeup and looks have always been a major part of whatever I’ve done, be it dance, performance art, or music and I think people either love or gate what we do visually. Where a bit like marmite, but what do you expect with a name like Massive Ego.

S: It’s a very important factor. Even with the amount of makeup we wear, we are still feeling it’s not enough and try to come up with more ways to do crazy looks.

ES: Would you like to add something more? Anything you would like to share with our readers and Massive Ego fans?

M: This ones for my mum June may she be resting in peace and be happy in the knowledge that I’ve finally started doing the odd ballad track…that will make her very happy indeed.  As always the fans support has been immense on this album, and I’m happy that we have a page in the booklet naming the ones that helped us record it in the first place. We have a small but dedicated fan base and that means the world to me after years of being in the pop wilderness.

O: I’m really proud of this album. In some ways, I feel like it’s a much stronger album than our previous LP Beautiful Suicide. Although the influences are diverse and genres are varied, the project has a cohesive feel. It felt much more like collaboration this time and less like individuals bringing their own tracks to the table.

S: I just hope that everyone loves the album. We have all worked so hard on it, it’s our baby! The album contains so much emotion and personal stories and we hope this message has been reflected in all of the songs.

Thank you very much for this interview. I wish you all the best and success to your new release and future steps. Looking forward to see you on stage!

Massive Ego - Church For The Malfunctioned (trailer)







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