Massive Ego Interview for Wicked Spins Radio

Massive Ego Interview for Wicked Spins Radio

WSR – Your music spans many different styles of the alternative genre as a whole, did you decide not to stick to one genre when you started or did it just happen?
Massive Ego – I guess being around for over 20 years as a band it’d be weird if we were still sticking to the same sound. We started off as an indie 80’s inspired band with guitarists in 1996, then went through a period of doing dance covers and then re-found our stride about 5 years ago when I started writing with other producers and bands such Empire State Human and Lia Organa & the Electric Prince which led onto cooler material being released on trendier European record labels till I found the current line-up of the band and signed to Out Of Line Music in Germany and this is by far the most successful pairing for us. It’s been a long journey but we feel like we’ve found a family that wants to nurture us now.
WSR –Marc tell us about your time as a model and how this led you to name the band Massive Ego.
Massive Ego – I was signed to Storm in London, one of the main model agencies who had the likes of Kate Moss on their books. Worked for about 4 years and ended up coming out of it an insecure wreck. I enjoyed the work but not what went with it. I found the industry to be full off egotistical people whereas I felt I was at the other end of the spectrum and out of my depth. The band name Massive Ego came from that experience. It was about projecting an image of something I wasn’t, to be able to just get on stage and perform. It’s a name I’ve grown to dislike if I’m honest and had I known I’d still be under its umbrella all these years later I would have named it something less in your face as it creates a lot of misconceptions about who we are as a band. The name has a history and a back catalogue that I’d be mad to rebrand at this point, however.
WSR –The image of Massive Ego has taken many forms since you started, what prompts you to make those image changes?
Massive Ego – I’ve always remained true to my 80’s upbringing and influences from that time. Make-up and attention to detail of those bands was a huge part of my growing up and remains strong in what I do now. I could never just go on stage with no make-up and wearing a t-shirt and jeans, that wouldn’t work for me although it would save on the 3-4 hours spent backstage maintaining the look before and after shows! The Geisha meets Mickey Mouse inspired look has been with me the longest, and I did do it before Old Ma Manson to those that think it’s a rip-off. It was based on a look my mate and fellow model Keith Martin did for a fashion shoot at the time and for his Instant Life record label. That’s where the inspiration lies. The other main look I’ve done is the Devil horns…which although extremely hard to put on seems to strike the fear of God in people so I reintroduced that look recently for the final Berlin date of the Blutengel Leitbild Tour support we’ve just come off. I bring him out for special occasions but it’s Olly from the band that creates it as he’s something of a glitter expert in the band.
WSR – How did beta blockers affect your life and how did Massive Ego help overcome the beta blockers?
Massive Ego – I totally lived on them throughout my modelling career and couldn’t have done any of the castings and jobs without them, that’s how bad the industry affected me. Those experiences have pretty much formed the backbone for the lyrics on our new Beautiful Suicide album, which has resulted in it being something of a cathartic experience all round. Being something of an inhibited exhibitionist I knew I needed to fulfil my ambitions with something else after modelling so it organically led to singing and fronting a band. Almost a test of my nerves and anxiety…fronting something where I’d have to get up on a stage in front of people and just go for it. In a way, Massive Ego did allow me a freedom from the condition and enabled me to stop taking the medication after a few years.
WSR –You recently worked with Chris Pohl on For The Blood In Your Veins which is an amazing song, how did the collaboration with Chris come about?
Massive Ego – Chris was instrumental in us signing to Out Of Line Music and since meeting him a year or so ago he has become something of a mentor to us and very much taken us under his wing and looked after us. He remixed Let Go for us after we’d supported Blutengel at the big Open Air Festival in Chemnitz and we returned the favour on his recent Complete single. We’d neared the end of writing our new album and there was one track that just had him written all over it…the title For The Blood In Your Veins was invitation enough I think. That led to Chris and his musical production partner Mario Rühlicke offering to mix the final album for us. Since then we’ve just come off a fantastic support slot on the Blutengel Leitbild Tour, our first experience of touring and we really feel a connection with those guys now, they’ve become really good friends and they welcomed us in like family.
WSR – Marc tell us about your time in Romo and how did Romo lay the foundation for Massive Ego?
Massive Ego – Romo was a minuscule London scene that came about through Melody Maker’s chief writer Simon Price. It was two or three clubs at the time where the main manifesto was to recreate the 80’s New Romantic scene but with new bands of that mid 90’s scene. If Romo hadn’t have been a thing I don’t think Massive Ego would ever have been born. I do believe we are the only band from that scene that is still going…that’s determination for you.
WSR –The 80s were a great decade for music, which of the 80s icons had the most effect on you as a whole not just musically?
Massive Ego – Without a doubt, Duran Duran followed by Depeche Mode, both of whom wrote a blueprint musically and aesthetically of how it should be done. For me, Nick Rhodes, in particular, was my generations Bowie, androgynous, pretentious, arty, great hair and make-up a great example of how a pop star should be and act.
WSR – What were your connections of Pete Burns and Dead Or Alive?  What is your best memory of Pete?
Massive Ego – I got to know Pete & Steve from Dead Or Alive in the 90’s. Massive Ego had many musical similarities at that point, especially our Hi-Nrg dance covers period and we were even being produced by their producer. Steve even lending us his classic Roland electronic drum kit for a show we did at the gay club Bang at Heaven. There will never be another Pete Burns sadly, but I’m grateful for the impression he made on me and even to this day I channel the odd Pete-esque move on stage in our own show.
WSR – Marc you have been a vegan for some time, why did you choose to become vegan and how hard or easy was it to adapt to a vegan lifestyle?
Massive Ego – It was simple…me and Olly watched the Earthlings movie, and the horror we witnessed instantly made our minds up that we couldn’t support the animal abuses inflicted because of our eating habit. We became vegan overnight, and ok it wasn’t easy at first and felt like a huge sacrifice, but we got used to it and thankfully now supermarkets and society as a whole are embracing our food choices much more making being vegan a lot easier than it was even just a few years ago. We’re not ‘preachy’ vegans, however, but do use Massive Ego as a vehicle sometimes to either promote animal welfare or help out directly with raising funds for animal charities.
WSR – Marc you have a great image, but can you tell us what sort of person is the Marc without the wigs and make-up?
Massive Ego – Very plain Jane lol. The make-up and wigs help hide a multitude of sins of the ageing process and I can certainly see myself becoming something of an Andy Warhol character as I get older and having a set of wigs for every occasion. I was wearing makeup from a very early age and remember my first foray into my mum’s make-up draw as a tender teen. Again the likes of Nick Rhodes made this experimentation much easier amongst my peers at school. I channel a lot of the person I’d like to be into the Marc Massive character, he’s much more confident than I am and goes to fabulous parties and is every bit my Mr Hyde.
WSR – What is your favourite wig Marc and where can we see you wearing it?
Massive Ego – The horn look is currently the look I’m working again although the Geisha Mickey is probably the most famous wig…it even has its own exact plaster head copy of me that it sits on and has a rather deluxe box it travels in. It’s currently wig version 8 or 9…I lose track.
WSR – How come you don’t actually own some of your own material?  I mean you created it after all so you should have the rights to it, shouldn’t you?
Massive Ego – It’s all a bit of grey area as many of the older tracks I wrote appeared on small UK dance labels where the contacts were dubious at best and the labels are now defunct. I wouldn’t say the sheet of paper I signed way back then would stand up in any court of law today, however, for now, I’m happy to leave those early tracks in history. I’m all about the new writing and tracks and don’t ever envisage myself wanting to re-release any of the old material let alone perform them.
WSR – How do you create something amazing and wonderful like you did with the video for I Idolize You when you had next to no budget to create the video?
Massive Ego – I’ve been lucky to have had creative people amongst my friends that shared my vision and goals and have helped hugely with their talent, time and generosity. Most of the videos have been created for less than £400, and most were initially shot at my friend Scot’s studio in Barbican using the green screen process. I was then able to take the footage and work with different creatives and artists such as the Polish artists Sukka Off to create an expensive looking video on the cheap. I’ve always dreamed of having a big budget video with a cast of hundreds but you know I’m also a realist and sadly those opportunities are no longer available as the costs never get recouped through record sales.
WSR – You, of course, collaborated with Chris Pohl of Blutengel, but have you collaborated with any other artist on which your collaboration was one that really stands out to you and that you really enjoyed doing?
Massive Ego – I really enjoyed having German gothic rap artist Belzebub on the album as it brought a different vibe to the track and I’ve always loved rap, particularly the toasting style of which my friend MC Kinky gave me my first experience of back in the early 90’s when I used to be her dancer. She also featured on one of my early tracks, a cover of the 80’s track Broken Land, so I’ve always had an interest in that genre. Having a track written especially for the new album by Boy George was also a result.
WSR – Thank you so much for giving Wicked Spins Radio this interview, is there anything else you would like to add?
Massive Ego – Just like to thank your audience for having a read and if they haven’t heard our Beautiful Suicide album yet please go and check it out on Spotify.






Photo Credit © David Levine (Pictures of Massive Ego and Marc Massive with the black background)

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