Singer-songwriter Marc E. Bassy releases "Atmoshphere", an anthem to his favorite city where he currently resides: Los Angeles. "It's the place where your dreams can actually come true, and I am lucky enough to call it home" he told us from his Californian studio. Currently working on a new project and planning to go back on tour between this fall and the beginning of 2022, Marc is busy collaborating with other artists, his collaborations feature Quinn XCII, Cheat Codes and G-Eazy. In this interview he told us how he got into music, how he keeps his mind sane and how difficult it is to become a musician nowadays!
How have you been? I've been good, just finishing up working on this new project that I have coming out this year. Trying to get back to normal life. It's been a crazy time for the past year and a half for everyone. I'm sort of adjusting to what seems to be normal life again. Everything is pretty much open here in California: June 15th everything should go back to normal, at least, that's what they say. You still need to wear a mask but you can go anywhere and do anything. Are you planning to get back on the road? Not yet. We have a few more shows this fall. We recently did a virtual show, so yeah we'll be fully on tour next year.
What do you remember from your first show? I do remember it! It was at a brewery that hosted high school bands, that band was called Start Shield, it was at this place called The Broken Drum. I was extremely nervous, I kept taking cough drops all day. Somehow in my head they would make me sing better. I think from the first show I've ever had I always got pretty good reaction. I don't remember too much about it but I remember the feeling. I remember telling my mom that I really loved it but I thought I wasn't that good, and she used to tell me "yeah, it was great but you just need to keep working on it". Is that how you figured out you wanted to do music as a career? Well, I loved music as a listener and I loved writing raps. I wrote poetry a lot and I would perform poetry pieces but I was a jock, I was playing basketball, I was pretty good at it. I was playing in my high school team, I was one of the better kids in my county. That was my life, I was a normal high schooler, smoke weed in front of the school. Around 17 years old, I had a pretty serious brain injury that required me to be away from school and essentially from everything for several months and when that was over, it put me in a new space of seeing things. It wasn't a new vision of life but I became a free spirit and I started listening to music a lot. I've grown up listening to hip-pop music since I was 7, I was 90s music kind of guy. I went to the same high school as 2Pac. I was in love with 2Pac. That was the golden age hip-pop. As a senior high school, all the music that my parents have been listening to kind of downed on me and I became obsessed with it, I started listening to classical and soul music. I started listening to Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway, Sam Cooke, Motown. It took me over, I went to college and I was doing terribly, I couldn't figure out what I was doing, I was playing basketball but I was a Division 3 - a very small team. I was also heartbroken, that didn't help either but something clicked in my head and told me "you know you can do music, right?". This is like 2006, before the internet era, MySpace was there but that was it so if you wanted to make music you had to go to LA and I did. I dropped out of college and moved to LA. Looking back, that was crazy. I don't think kids know about that anymore. It wasn't just like a post on Tik Tok and get famous. Would you do it all over again? If I was young know, I would stay in but I would definitely spend a lot of time promoting my music. Right now, you can write, produce, distribute and market your music from your bedroom. In my time, you could only do music and try to give your CD to famous people so that they could eventually hear it. Now you don't have to do any of that so I probably wouldn't drop out of school. I wish I could back to school, I tried to educate myself as I grew up in things that I'm interested in, just because it's interesting to argue with people and be part of the academia a little bit. I've actually ordered my Freshman Year Transcripts and did better than I thought. I am used to being on my own and manage my own time. Being a songwriter has its own challenges but I am in control of my daily life and it's been so long since I had a regular job. I pretty much do what I want. I am more in control of my life and that's the gift I have in this lifetime so far. I've been dreaming of my little world and it came to be somehow.
What are your inspirations? Yesterday I woke up, my head was on fire, I've been drinking and doing shit for the last week. I woke up on Sunday and the whole week just hit me. I watched a bunch of Spike Lee movies and they make me cry, I get really inspired when I'm vulnerable. I try to get one day a week which I call "The Artist Day" where I go on a date with myself. I did this program where basically you wake up every morning and you write for 30 minutes, it's the first thing you do, you don't take your hand off the page, even if you're writing "this is fucking stupid, what am I writing, I don't have anything to say" you keep writing, you don't stop. Then you read about different things that artists have to overcome to tap into the source if you will. One of the activities was to do something like going to the museum, do something out of your house. You know that feeling when you overcome something and it makes you tear up? I try to get that feeling. That could also be a solution for people having mental health problems actually! I have three younger siblings, I also have a lot of cousins and I noticed that when it comes to anxiety and depression. People really underestimate how powerful a really solid routine is, especially when you wake up. Even from myself, the difference between my week when I wake up and meditate, work out, sing, read something positive - the week I do stuff to discipline my mind, I'm a completely different human being. I can be a drug addict if I don't do that. The first thing you do in the morning is hop on your phone. You're already prone to anxiety. You're going to fuck yourself up. It plays into your anxiety and to an addictive personality. The whole world is basically addicted. You have to give yourself space away from that.
You released two tracks recently: "Zone" and "Atmosphere". What are the songs about? "Atmosphere" is a nod to Los Angeles, there is something really beautiful about LA. It's not just the weather, LA is that place where you feel like your life can change overnight, I guess people feel like that all over the world now but it has this romantic quality about it, that quality you see in the movies, just that feeling of "this is where people chase their dreams", this is the city where everyone is an actor, a model, a musician, people with big dreams and big ideas as opposed to New York City might be more finance, more tech. The song is me expressing that feeling, right now we're living in the moment, in LA and it's beautiful. "Zone" is the flip side, really me just being lost and remind myself that I need to enjoy what I am doing, that I am a singer, that I'm a songwriter. I have been living this life for 10 years now, I'm not new to it anymore. It's not a dream, this is really what I do. That's how I get paid, that's how I support people that I need to support. Are you happy about it? Yeah! I am never too proud of myself but one thing I'm proud of is the feeling of progression in my music. As a whole, I think I've gotten better every year as a musician and as a man. Photos by: Anna Griffin and Giovanni Suvino-Vinatieri. Words by: Sal Fasone
Atmosphere is out now.