Artist: Markus Meo
Genre(s): Rock, Country, Folk
|Eyes of Fire|
|One More Day|
Markus Meo has Glaswegian roots but his music has been shaped by multiple cultures. He immigrated to Australia when he was young and he draws upon the music of The Eagles, Van Morrison, Cat Stevens, Roy Orbison, Phil Collins, among other artists.
Markus taught himself how to play the guitar at the age of fifteen, and is a bit of a virtuoso, as he has incorporated the best of country, folk and straight up rock and roll in almost all his compositions. He is a fine storyteller and an even better composer. His chords are pleasant,simple and come as a welcome respite in the deluge of jingle-jangle progressive strains that have been prevalent in rock and folk music releases lately.
- Travel is a testament to Markus Meo’s strengths – the way he can effortlessly meld all sorts of styles from Americana by the way of Carolina Chocolate Drops to echoes of The Eagles and the Astral Weeks album of Van Morrison. It runs for four minutes and has all the trademarks of some of the best output of Credence Clearwater Revival. A simple ballad about hopes and dreams that people carry on their journey of life – this song is groovy and a radio ready hit for the masses.
- Angel Eyes is a wonderful little song that warms your spirit and keeps despair away. It’s got the energy of Phil Collins singing a Sussidio but this is a renovation on the Collins era. It packs strong moments all the way through and the chords on this one are very simple, but that’s what makes Meo such a compelling musician -the way he conveys a plethora of emotions with basic chords without resorting to showmanship to efface musical shortcomings. He lays his heart bare and we know his music is sincere from the way it warms us up all the way through.
- Eyes of Fire is a pretty generic song. I felt it resembled a lot of the early Cat Stevens songs, maybe some echoes of “Wild World”. It’s definitely a good song and I liked the lyrics that weren’t pretentious in the least bit, carrying a lot of power in their simplicity. The minimalist chords were what turned it off for me because I was expecting a little more energy based on my listening experiences of Travel and Angel Eyes. Markus is a very intelligent musician and this song definitely is a solid little gem of his musical output, however it lacks the freewheeling virtuosity of his earlier tracks and I expected a lot more of the loose, improvisational jams.
- One More Day is a throwback to the 80’s in a good way. I am a sucker for nostalgia and this song delivers on all the fronts. It’s got the right mix of folksy elements and is very poetic. I loved listening to it, keeping it on a loop throughout the day. Markus draws on his own fears, hopes and dreams, conjuring a fever dream of beauty. The song has its slow moments but I still love the way he conveys volumes with minimalist use of chords. The song is the high point of this EP for me and is likely to remain a favorite for a long time to come. I am looking forward to more music from this artist in days to come.
Musicperk had the privilege of conducting an interview with the artist. This exchange happened over e-mail over the past few days and we are honored to have Mr. Markus Meo himself explain the mechanics behind the magic for our readers!
Musicperk: You draw influences from a variety of artists ranging from Van Morrison to The Eagles to Cat Stevens and Credence Clearwater Revival. When you set about composing your songs do you make a conscious decision to channel a particular influence or does it bleed into your music from your process?
Markus: I remember growing up and helping my father at a community radio station where I was exposed to so much music and all kinds of artists at the time, so I think when I am composing and working on a song it is always there underneath coming out quite natural in the process not even thinking about it.
Musicperk: Tell us about your recording process for your four tracks – Travel, Angel Eyes, Eyes of Fire and One More Day
Markus: The recording process has been a little different for each of these track as I like to experiment with different ways of doing things musically. Eyes Of Fire for example was recorded at a recording studio in Melbourne with musicians that were picked from the studio producer for the recording of Eyes Of Fire. These days I have a song pretty well structured on my acoustic guitar and try to get the song to sound as best I can before taking it any further I think that’s important to really feel the soul of the song first. I will then lay down a rough recording/mix in my home studio, will sit back and listen to the song as I am adding drums or a few keys and then as the production continues I try and let the song just talk to me, for example the song might being jumping out and saying hey how about a Mandolin part in here this could work really well or a nice piano that could fatten up the mix and drive the song. When I put on my producers ears I am normally hearing that inner voice telling me what I should try next. From here I like to work with many different musicians and with the internet opening so many doors for independent musicians you can work with almost anyone anywhere in the world at any time which makes the whole creative process very interesting.
Musicperk: What do you feel about your music being classified into genres such as alternative or country or rock or folk. Are labels like genres necessary for artists? Do they unnecessarily impose structures or are they useful categories?
Markus: I think these genres have been around for such a long time now and there are a whole lot more now, when record companies are releasing music it has always been part of their marketing model to use genres so they can target a certain audience that might like a particular genre. So I understand that from a business point of view, however from a creative point of view and coming from a songwriter to me they are just labels and as an artist I think there is that potential to get lost in styling your music so that it always sounds a certain way unless of course that’s what you want which is fine too but for me the creative process would become too stale. I like the idea of writing a country song then try something completely different like a pop song, at end of the day it’s the music that really matters and if it connects with people then why do we need a label. Those are my thoughts anyway. I do like the term “indie” though because a lot of genres can easily come that one category.
Musicperk: Who is your favorite contemporary musician? Who should we be listening to and covering right now and who are we missing out on?
Markus: Good question. I don’t have just one artist I get inspired by but there a few contemporary musicians I probably now call my favorites, such as James Taylor. His music really does inspire me to be better. Jim Croce & Eva Cassidy, two Brilliant singer songwriters, are both that died way too early and left a huge inspiration for generation of songwriters to come. Cat Stevens & James Morrison – these two I probably find the most interesting as there is just so much soul and meaning in their songs that just simply connect with me. Stevie Nicks is well the most soulful, sexiest singing voices alive and I’ve had a crush on her since I was 16. Lol yes, had to throw that in there sorry about that. I could go on and on as my passion for music just lights my soul.
Now, who should you be listening to right now? Well, that’s an easy one. Me, of course. Lol, must be the Australian sense of humor coming out! On a serious note, I really could not tell you who you should be looking out for right now as there are just so many new artists coming out every day which will always make things interesting.
Musicperk: What is in store for your fans in the future? What’s coming up and can you let us know about any tours that are in the offing?
Being a fully self-funded independent musician, tours can be quite a costly expense. So no tours in the planning just yet, but will be interesting to see how my future projects will progress. Who knows there could be something ahead I cannot see right now only time will tell. What’s in store for my future fans? Well, hopefully just more great music that people can connect with. I have started working on my next project and it’s a song titled ‘Unity’, a universal peace song, you could say, and I think with everything that has been going on in the world within the last 10-15 years the song will be relevant for it’s time as it is about bringing people together to fight a greater cause, so it does have a bit of a political message too.
Musicperk: Thanks a lot for the interview Markus!
Markus: Thank you!