Brooklyn rocker Marco Argiro and his band Love take the stage Saturday performing their new album, also named Love, for Rough Trade’s showcase at The Knitting Factory. We caught up with him to ask a few questions about the album and his beachy old school style.
FREEwilliamsburg: Who are your influences musically?
Marco Argiro: Musically speaking, there are so many. To name a few: The Beatles, The Kinks, Tom Petty, and The Ramones have influenced me for a very long time. I’d say they’ve been instrumental in forming the core of my musical framework. More recently, Harry Nilsson and Gram Parsons have had a profound effect on me over the last several years. In fact, while putting together my latest live band I incorporated a pedal steel player like “Sneaky Pete” Kleinow from the Flying Burrito Brothers.
FW: What influences your retro style?
MA: I guess you can say that I come from a fashion family–my father has owned a high-end clothing store for 35 years, my grandfather was a master tailor, and both my sisters are in the clothing business. Ever since I can remember I’ve always been into fashion and style, especially the influence of the 1950s and 60s. Rock n Roll has always been a big part of me, so it naturally has played a starring role in what I wear. And living in New York is insanely inspiring. So I have my rockabilly and punk style influences combined with the fashion-forward New Yorkers, and then I have my dad gifting me amazing boots and sunglasses. When you put that all together, it’s me.
FW: When did you get into music?
MA: I’ve been into music for as long as I can remember. I stole my sister’s nylon string acoustic guitar when I was nine or ten, but I ended up getting my very own electric guitar one year later. The rest is history, as they say.
FW: You have a lot going on- can you describe each of your projects and how it has evolved to Marco with Love?
MA: I tend to stay really busy and take on a lot, but everything I’ve done over the years and all that I’m doing now has helped shape what the album and band have become. Currently, I’m focusing on two main projects–Marco With Love and The Killing Floor. The great thing about having these two projects at the same time is that they’re so different from each other which gives me two distinct outlets for my creativity. The Killing Floor (or TKF for short) is a half British half American Grunge-Punk-Blues outfit where I sing and play bass. Musically, TKF is a bit heavier and takes its cues from Queens of the Stone Age, Thin Lizzy, and Nirvana which allows me to bring out my darker side. Marco With Love originally began as a solo project after my previous band (Le Mood) stopped recording and touring. With a fresh outlook and a lot of songs in my head, I recorded an album under my name. Then, when it came time to play the songs live, I needed a band and Marco With Love was born. With the addition of the other band members (Blaine, Pete, and Subodh), Marco With Love continues to evolve every day.
FW: What inspired your new album?
MA: So many different elements inspired me to write LOVE. Ultimately, it’s about the people, places, and things that I’ve been fortunate enough to cross paths with over the years. In the past, my writing was more fictional and I found myself dreaming up stories of people and places, but while on the road to this record I realized I already had a great story right in front of me. I’m fortunate to have such a supportive family and wonderful friends. I decided that I should focus on writing about these real people and my experiences with those relationships. Real life can be tricky enough–sometimes you don’t need the fiction.
FW: Where did you grow up?
MA: I actually grew up in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and moved to New York ten years ago. As for Brooklyn, I’ve been living here for the past five years or so. My first Brooklyn apartment was a huge duplex off the M train in Bushwick before it was fashionable to be in Bushwick. In fact, a lot of the album was recorded in that apartment in my basement studio. These days Clinton Hill is home.
FW: What is your songwriting process like?
MA: My songwriting process varies day to day. Sometimes you get lucky and it feels like devine inspiration–as if it comes to me in a dream. Other times, you have to really work for it and push yourself creatively to get the song. Generally speaking, I will have a melody floating around my head for days as I walk around the city. A lyric or theme will usually make its way to my notebook or the “notes” section of my iphone shortly thereafter. Nine out of ten times I’ll take what’s been in my head and noodle on an acoustic guitar until I’m able to marry it to a chord progression I’ve been working on.
FW: How would you describe your live shows?
MA: The Marco With Love live shows are always high energy with a lot of passion coming from the stage. We put a lot of heart into our performance regardless of the size of the venue. Our first show as MWL was at the Jalopy Theater last year, and our final show of 2013 was at Irving Plaza. Those are two very different venues, but if we’re doing our job, then our performance and the reaction from the crowd should be legendary. At the end of the day we just want to rock.
To hold you off until the show, here is Marco With Love’s single, Love: