London-based Brazilian artist, MARCELØ has just released the first single under his own name. ‘I Went Down’ is about the realities of war, but the upbeat blend of ukulele and piano lends a chilled, reflective feel to the track.
“’I Went Down’ is a song that predicts a society’s point of view in the future, where we’re all looking back and realizing the things that went wrong and got lost along the way,” says the artist. “‘I Went Down’ is about you and me. It’s a song about what we are doing wrong and what we are not doing right about ourselves.”
MARCELØ previously worked under the name The Kings of Ely Street, who released their Before Twilight EP in 2016, followed by a self-titled album in 2017. “I felt like my work and lyrics were heading in a different direction,” he says, of the move to go solo. “I was curious to explore new subject matter. It was something very different which started as a side project and eventually grew and manifested into something bigger.”
As for what brought him to London: “Fish and chips. After I recorded the Kings in Ely Street album, I decided to go to London to promote my album, meet new producers, musicians and explore the music scene. It was the starting point for me as a solo artist. I started to work with different studios and record new demos for my current work.”
“‘I Went Down’ is about you and me. It’s a song about what we are doing wrong and what we are not doing right about ourselves.”
‘I Went Down’ touches on some of the big issues that concern MARCELØ: “Everybody is changing by modern life, and it’s bringing irreversible consequences. Dependence on electronics, egocentricity generated by social networks, lack of environmental awareness are all behaviours that keep bringing us down and will eventually lead us into the dark times.
“We can already see changes in our society. We are living in a very selfish era where we no longer think about others. We’re concerned about individual ideals and we’re losing interest in other people and places. Everything we don’t agree on is considered ‘fake news’. At this rate I can only imagine it getting worse. Especially if we need to deal with global issues as a whole.”
The video for ‘I Went Down’ was co-directed and edited by MARCELØ and Sergio Angot, with additional editing by Habacuque Lima. “I met Sergio two years ago when I came to London to promote the album for Kings in Ely Street. I met him through a studio whilst I was looking for someone to collaborate with. Sergio directed all my videos for my previous album. We worked pretty closely on my latest video. The concept was definitely a conjoined team effort.”
MARCELØ has always been influenced by indie and folk rock – naming “Ben Harper, Sufjan Stevens, Thundercat, Parquet Courts, Cat Power, Radiohead, Kevin Morby, Rodrigo Amarante, PJ Harvey, Steve Cutts, Banksy [and] John Holcroft,” as those inspiring him right now – and uses those influences to talk about taboo subjects like social alienation, greed, despair and the human condition.
As for what we can expect from his upcoming record: “The EP’s songs will continue to address issues about society and the oppression it suffers in different areas and levels by the system. A couple of cool music videos too.”
The key players from his Kings’ era are now working on MARCELØ’s solo project. “The songs were mixed by the great Victor Rice. Badass musician, producer and engineer from New York who’s been living in Brazil for about 20 years. Victor was introduced to me by my co-producer Mauro Motoki. Mauro has worked with a bunch of artists in and out of Brazil and is an extremely talented musician and producer. He also plays guitar with me in the band. Percussions by the awesome Norwegian jazz drummer, Stian Olsen.”
MARCELØ already has some live shows lined up in South America for February/March 2020, and is looking forward to playing gigs in the UK. “There’s a lot of new material that’s due to come out in 2020. Singles, videos and a couple of EPs. I’ll be recording and putting some final touches on a few songs in the first few months of 2020. I’m looking to line up gigs during the summer months in the UK.”
‘I Went Down’ is out now.