MARC FRUTTERO is an Italian vocalist and songwriter. He is unknown for most of Italo Disco fans. BUT, Marc made in the 80's some very good Italo Disco songs who's never been or have been published in very small number of copies. Why is that so you will be able to read in following interview. His most known song is "Darkness" by Aquarius Project. This song and "I Wanna Live With You" you can listen on this site and on that way I am trying to promote Marc's good work and hoping his songs will soon find the way how to reach many Italo Disco fans. In that should help new singl "I Wanna Live With You" released for Flash Back Records. It's a vinyl record with 2 original songs that were not published in the 80s. Those songs have just edited now and pressed in Milan in April 2005.
Zeljko: Hi Marc and thank you for this interview. Marc Fruttero isn't well known name among Italo Disco fans, unfortunately. Who is Marc Fruttero?
Marc: Thanks to you too! Ok, I’m an Italian vocalist and a songwriter. I write different kinds of music, and Italodance is one of them. Music is the greater artistic love of my life, and maybe the field where I could express the best creativity.
Zeljko: Before we start, let's say to other fans who are reading this that your songs are not known among fans because you had big distribution problems in the 80's but we will talk about this matter a little bit later, ok? Tell me something about you, for the start.
Marc: Ok, no problem. Just to start, I can tell you something about my childhood: When I was a kid, my mother wanted me to take part in an Italian children’s competition called “Zecchino d’oro” (“Golden penny”, more or less), that took place in Bologna. Maybe it sounds funny, but she heard my voice many times, I was always singing…She probably insisted, but I was a reserved and shy child, therefore I didn’t want to sing on any TV show! I cannot really remember all my childhood, but I can remember that ‘thing’ quite well. Even later, I was not really interested in music so much and I stopped singing…. But my father wanted me to study piano. It was just when I was 13 years old, after seeing “Turandot” by Puccini, the famous opera, that I changed my mind and decided to have piano lessons. My first musical love was classical music. I was always listening to it. My first best-loved composer was not Just Puccini, but even Tchaikovsky and Chopin, that influenced my first solo piano compositions. Some of them were played for the first time in a school, in Saluzzo the small city where I was born. They were strongly influenced by Chopin and the romantic style, therefore my piano teacher told me it was time to write something with a more contemporary style. When I was 16 I started buying some Disco music, by Donna Summer, Giorgio Moroder, the Bee Gees just to name a few…Then Pop like Barry Manilow, Barbra Streisand Dionne Warwick etc. So I started writing songs too…
Zeljko: Tell me please when you decided your work would be music and could you tell me about your beginning?
Marc: It was 1983 when I thought about making my first record.
Zeljko: Is Italo Disco your first music you made or...? How come you decided to make italo songs?
Marc: No, Easy listening was my first pop style. For that first record, I decided to choose two of my slow songs, “Clara” and “Melodia”, and look for an arranger. A guy suggested starting with some dance music, but I didn’t follow his advice, and it was a mistake. I also wanted to sing my songs. To tell the truth I though my voice was not so good, but I cannot really explain why I felt I had to sing them. Even the arrangements for those two pop tracks were not really the best. When we recorded that 45 at New Phantom studio in Tortona, I noticed that the vocal result was much better than I thought, but I later understood that the arrangement was not really satisfying. “Clara” was played by some radio stations. Some of them were even big, but that song didn’t have any wide spread publicity. Very few copies of it reached any shops. I was not in contact with any important showman or influential politician. That’s extremely important in Italy. So it was very difficult to find any distribution. And I was not rich….
Zeljko: „Darkness“, „I Wanna Live With You“, „Crying For Love“ (http://www.nic.fi/~flexx/News.htm)... are great italo disco songs. Are they only italo songs or maybe „The Seafarers“, was italo as well?
Marc: TThanks so much! ..Yes, “The Seafarers” was even a danceable track, but rater more refined than ordinary Italodance.
Zeljko: „Darkness“ have been performed by Aquarius project. This song was pressed in small number of copies and it was lucky if we compare it with other songs, which not even see daylight. Can you tell me more about this song? Who was the Aquarius? What year did you make it, who wrote it etc.?
Marc: “Darkness” was written by myself in 1985, ‘cause I finally decided to make dance songs too. It’s wasn’t really for the money. I liked good dance music too, therefore recording disco or pop was rather the same for me. I met the drummer Sergio Cerutti and some other musicians, and we created the “Aquarius” project. At the beginning, the Aquarius had to be a real band, but later I noticed that we were forced to change/add different musicians for each song. So it became a project. We also asked jazz vocalist Francesca Oliveri to sing a duet song with me: “When The Snow Falls Down” had to be a dance track too, but we later transformed it in a pop song. Francesca had a powerful voice, and she really was the right singer I was looking for a duet. An unreleased dance mix of that song will be probably included in an album, in 2006 or even earlier.
Zeljko: Which studio have you recorded your songs in? In any famous perhaps?
Marc: We recorded “When The Snow Falls Down” and “Darkness” at Mini rec , Giava and Blue record, in Turin and around it. But we mixed them in Milan at Airport studio, the same place were some Italo artists recorded their hits. But my “Darkness” was not really going to become a hit…at least in the 80s…
Zeljko: Marc, you introduced yourself as vocalist and songwriter. You didn't write all your songs by yourself so I would like to know who was with you at the time when you were making your italo songs? Could you introduce people who were around you? As far as I know there was: Marco Remigi, Gregory Santo Arena....
Marc: Yes, for example Castellano and Gilio were the first arrangers of “Darkness”. They also made another maxi-single for Disco Magic. But later, Mauro Gallo, known as Tommy Bow, finished the work. Mauro was involved in many Italo projects. If I’m not mistaken he also arranged songs for Albert One. He was extremely fast when he created his arrangements. Almost unbelievable, he also arranged “Crying For Love” in about 20 minutes! Marco Remigi made one work for Disco Magic before arranging “I Wanna Live With You” , but that work, called Scorta, and my song, were the only dance tracks he made. He’s a jazz musician now. He lives in Bergamo, near Milan, the same place where I recorded “I Wanna Live With You” and where I’ve lived for years. Gregory Santo Arena is a friend of mine, and a professional writer (Californian, with an Italian origin). He wrote tales like ”A Lady in the meads” , published in 2004 by Raw Edge, and the poem “Caliban”, in the magazine Decanto, October 2005. He also wanted to suggest lyrics for one of my tracks, so he helped me to write “Crying for Love”.
Zeljko: I wanted to ask you who or what is your inspiration and I could see on „I Wanna Live With You“ cover that Marco Panarese inspired your lyrics. Can you tell me more about that please?
Marc: Even Marco Panarese was another friend that wanted to write lyrics for one of my tracks. But he didn’t really know English. So he explained what he wanted to say, and I created the English words instead of him. Arena and Panarese both live in Bergamo.
Zeljko: Are your songs dedicated to someone? And what was your guide in creating songs?
Marc: There’s not really a dedication for each song. Just this new maxi-single for FlashBack records is dedicated to Paul Hazelaar now, a very kind Dutch Italofan that introduced me to Kimmo Salo, the Finnish owner of that label. That vinyl record is also dedicated to Mikaela, Salo’s beautiful girlfriend. I could also say that my dance and pop music was also quite influenced by many American and British productions. You can hear it, when I sing, I’m maybe more close to Rick Astley rather than Miko Mission.
Zeljko: You have interesting vocals. Some friends asked me, when I told them about your songs, whom is your voice similar to? I told them that it’s specific and the vocals are very nice . Have you learned singing anywhere?
Marc: Thanks again for your compliments, yes, I just started to learn singing after I recorded “Clara”. My voice still needed a better technique. My teacher was always Francesca Oliveri, but I did not study for a long time. But my voice troubled me quite a lot because it was considered to be too ‘different’. Many Italian producers told me I was ‘not commercial’, therefore they didn’t like it. They wanted me to forget my own voice color, and start imitating some other famous singers, much more commercial ones. The mentality is still like that, even now more than before. From the 40s until the 80s, having a very good vocal performance was often considered to be really important, in America as in England or Australia. And for some actual productions, or maybe not just some, it is still rather important even now. I wasn’t really like that in Italy, unfortunately….and it’s not much better even now.
Zeljko: OK Marc, let's talk now about your problems with distribution of your songs? And could you tell me on which door your knocked at that time? For example have you knocked on Discomagic?
Marc: Oh God, I knocked on many doors, but my main mistake was not to go abroad. Perhaps because I couldn’t…I will never forget what the artistic manager of a well known Italian label told me in 1986: “You come here and talk about music…we are not interested in music, this is just a business”. I later signed a modest contract with a small label, but that record was impossible to find in almost any shop.
Zeljko: In that time, as it is today, Deejays had a big role. Have you tried with some of them to present your songs and in that way start with distribution?
Marc: If I knew any important DJ I wouldn’t have any distribution problem… One time, a DJ from a big Milan radio station said he could launch our record, but he wanted a lot of money for that, so we were forced to refuse that opportunity..
Zeljko: Those fans who were lucky to hear your song(s), including me, particularly I mean on „Darkness“, like your songs pretty much. It is strange that no one showed interest in publishing and it's hard to understand in some way. Maybe you weren’t in the right place at the right time?! Can you tell me your feeling in that time, I guess you were pretty disappointed?
Marc: Yes for sure…I was! but I could expect it; A guy that worked for the Italian TV said I immediately had to leave the field of records, ‘cause it was really too difficult… I was stubborn, and I didn’t want to give it up. If I went to Germany, England, America or wherever, I would surely find a producer or a label willing to help me. Many Italian artists went abroad and became famous ‘cause Italian labels were not interested in what they did at the beginning. It’s normal in my country. In England, or some other foreign countries, it’s not really important to ‘know someone’. Just now, that I’ve started trying to find labels abroad, I’ve met very enthusiastic producers like Kimmo Salo (FlashBack) and Martin Verlaan (Mart Mix Music).
Zeljko: Did you meet any famous Italo Disco artist in the 80's? And did you think you might work with any of them?
Marc: Yes, I met some, but I cannot say it was really a fantastic experience. But more recently, just a few months ago, I met P.Lion in Bergamo. I knew many of his nice songs well, but I hadn’t met him personally before. Then…Yes, it would be nice to work with some more Italo artists. By the way I’ve just recorded a new song, always 80s style, always for FlashBack records. That track, called “If You’re Feeling Blue”, was written by the Dyva and arranged by L.A.Messina. It will be probably included in another vinyl maxi and even in a CD album.
Zeljko: No matter almost 20 years have gone by, and you still want to publish and distribute your 80's songs so much. What is the force giving you the strength and will? And how come you decided to start your project this year?
Marc: You know…music is like a drug…you need it, there’s something like an internal voice that always says “You must go on…you must go on”, I strongly feel it inside. I don’t do this just for money. It’s the great passion for music that burns in my soul that gives the energy to move everything. I put love in what I do, but…it’s sometimes hard, especially when some other people, thinking just about money, create strong barriers against my projects…I started again in 2004 ‘cause, searching through the Internet, I found a possibility to include my track “Miracle Of Love” in a Kid Antrim Music compilation, just for broadcasting in the States. At the same time I met Kimmo Salo, that is really an honest and smart producer. He really helped me. He was really happy and proud to have another chance to press some unreleased material!
Zeljko: So far as I know at the moment, your song „Darkness“ should be on new edition of Italo Disco Souvenirs published by Martmix (http://www.martmix.nl/). Can you tell me more about those efforts? It is known, for most people I hope, that Italo Disco Souvenirs series are made to promote rare and hard to find italo disco songs. Perhaps Martmix could introduce, on his compilation, some other songs as well?
Marc: As I told you before, Martin Verlaan (Mart Mix Music), will even include a remastered “Darkness” in his next CD compilation, called Italo Souvenirs Volume 2, and maybe even “I wanna Live With You” will appear again on one of those CDs. I hope it will be possible to collaborate once again with Martmix, even in the near future. It’s too early to say something for sure now.
Zeljko: You know, many italo fans asking italo producers to make new song in old sounds but they know if they make songs in that style the selling won't be good for their profit. So, what happened to you is good in some way for us italo fans because, if songs will be released and I truly believe they will one day, we will be able to enjoy in totally new italo disco songs made in the 80's style. I hope you are realizing how happy we could be!??
Marc: Yes, you’re right. I suppose there are not so many labels willing to release new records or CDs with an 80s Italo style. Anyway I’m really glad to see there are still quite many people that can appreciate 80s-dance music even now. I also have to say Kimmo Salo is not really a businessman that makes his records for money. He wants to release his vinyl or CDs just for those people that truly appreciate the 80s. Yes, abroad it’s still possible to meet producers like him. Perhaps not so many…but it’s possible. Martin Verlaan is also one of them.
Zeljko: Are you ready to adopt your songs to a modern style if this is the request from the record or the Distribution Company for further selling?
Marc: Yes, of course, I also like the contemporary style, but when it’s not too commercial. I don’t really love Techno or House music…Even now, a Dutch remix producer is recording a modern version of “Darkness”. I hope it will be released.
Zeljko: Who is your favorite Italo Disco artist? And if you can tell me your favorite italo song(s)?
Marc: That’s a difficult question…I like so many tracks. There were (or there are..)some beautiful voices, among them: Mike Francis, Spagna, Raf, Mario Real, even Savage. I’m ashamed to say that I unfortunately know just two or three songs by Savage: “Don’t cry tonight” is one of them, and it’s a beautiful one indeed! Easy but not banal. I have to confess, at that time, I did not have much money, so I really wanted to buy a lot of records but I couldn’t. Therefore I lost many opportunities to know more songs, even in the fields of Italodisco. But I must confess I also heard some terrible tracks…really too commercial. Not everything was so good.
Zeljko: You have mentioned to me that you like to listen and sing Jazz and Swing. Also, you made some songs in that style. Maybe a few words about that?
Marc: Sure, but I still have to find a Jazz label for those works…It’s much easier to have chances in the field of dance music, but for the other kinds of music it’s much more complicated. I have the same problem for my classical piano pieces. “Why” , arranged by Bruno Sorba and “Smokes and perfumes”, by Giulio Gallarate, are two tracks that have a jazz feeling. Maybe, in future it will be possible to publish them too…
Zeljko: What is your goal Marc? And plans for near future?
Marc: As I said before…to go on. To release everything I can, many kinds of music, at least as much as possible… I’m versatile. I lost many important years, and I really would like to continue making music.
Zeljko: Just to finish Marc, do you have anything important to say that I haven't asked you? I am sure we only scratched the surface of your interesting music story with this interview. I hope we will stay in touch and present your work on my site and enjoy it!
Marc: I suppose I haven’t much more to say for now. You asked everything that was essential, and you did it very well!
Zeljko: Thank you very much for this interview Marc and wish you luck in your near future and after.
Marc: Thanks again Zeljko! You too.
© June 2005 Zeljko Vujkovic - All rights reserved
I am very happy to present new, second, interview with Marc Fruttero. Marc Fruttero becoming every day more popular and productive artist. In Janaury 2006 he and his "dream team" Kimmo Salo, Dyva and L. A. Messina released new record, "If You're Feeling Blue". About this new release and future plan you can read in this interview..
Zeljko: Marc I am very glad we can have another interview, to update to the previous one. We have a very good reason for that, have we not?!
Marc: Yes, of course, it’s a real good occasion once again!
Zeljko: Well, not many days have past since you released your new single “If You’re Feeling Blue” (January 2006). The style is Italo Disco and released by Flashback Records. But can we go in chronological order? The song was been written by Dyva and L. A. Messina. Can you tell me how you met them and arranged the job with them?
Marc: I met L.A. Messina more than one year ago in Milan. My producer Kimmo Salo (“King 0”), asked me to talk to him, in order to check if he could collaborate for a new track. We asked him to arrange “If You’re Feeling Blue” with an 80s style, because the Dyva, who wrote the song, were too busy with some other projects to work on a new arrangement for that song. To tell the truth I have never met the Dyva personally, even now Roberto Calzolari from Dyva is still ‘just’ a voice on the phone. I called him several times and ask for all the information I needed about his song. But Kimmo knows him personally very well.
Zeljko: I guess you have been very satisfied to have such a great people around you as Dyva and L. A. Messina . When you heard for the first time the music for the song and lyrics, what did you think?
Marc: One year ago, Kimmo Salo gave me a few demos recorded by the Dyva. None of those songs had been released yet, and Kimmo asked me to choose one of them. The first one was “If You’re Feeling Blue”, a bright song that I immediately liked, because it was very easy to listen to. Its refrain was very catchy indeed. Maybe the lyrics were a little bit too simple, but I did not want to change much.
Zeljko: Can you tell me what your participation in song has been, except voice of course?
Marc: I helped mixing some sounds: DJ Savino mixed almost all the song, but I mixed a few additional tracks too. I also revised the lyrics a little bit. I asked Gianluca Scali, a friend of mine and songwriter with a nice voice, to create some background vocals, in order to reinforce the refrain effect.
Zeljko: Could you tell Marc something about L. A. Messina and Dyva because they are Italo legends, any info you have perhaps and what could be interesting for italo fans?
Marc: I can say they are specialized in writing and arranging tracks that are rather different than mine. Their songs are generally easier compared to the compositions I write. Even their way of singing is more ‘commercial’ than mine (If I can say that), but I’m open to almost every kind of musical experience. Therefore mixing their way of arranging and writing melodies with my personal singing style, is something that can sound new and interesting for me, and…I hope for many other people too. I like making different things, and finding new solutions too. I’m not really keen on just ‘Cloning’. Copying is unfortunately too common nowadays.
But regarding L.A. Messina and the Dyva, it’s true…they are among the most wanted and popular artists in the field of 80s Italodance now, at least among the Italo collectors. Names like P.Lion or Mike Francis, were, and still are much more famous among our great public, but Messina and Dyva are much greater favorites in that specific field of Italo records collecting. Some of their original records, but even the new ones, are sold for incredibly high prices on the Internet, and maybe even on Ebay.
Zeljko: Who made such a fantastic art job and could you introduce him?
Marc: I suppose you mean the sleeves for my “If You’re Feeling Blue”. I don’t personally know Jim Proffit. Kimmo Salo is in contact with him. Yes, Jim is surely very talented in making record sleeves! He makes everything under direct supervision of Kimmo Salo, who also chooses the pictures. Jim really combines very nice colors with suggestive images. The sleeves are printed in Milan too, along with the vinyl records. He also made sleeves for some Dyva’s records, but the artwork he did for my personal records have a more romantic look. Probably ‘cause my music sounds rather sentimental…
Zeljko: I think I should ask your producer Kimmo Salo the next question but I know I could also ask you. Your new record is a bit expensive. Can you tell me why?
Marc: It’s always the same problem: Flashback doesn’t have any common distribution in shops and stores. Not yet. Therefore those records are printed in a very limited number of copies, therefore each copy costs quite a lot, and just sold on-line by some Internet shops. Therefore it’s mainly a collectors’ edition, and cannot be cheap. But to allow more people to have those songs, Flashback records is going to release a CD compilation that will have an ordinary price, ‘cause it will be pressed in a much higher number of copies and distributed in normal stores by a Swiss company. To tell the truth, there’s already a site at Cafepress ( www.cafepress.com/marcfruttero2 ), where it’s possible to order a few CDs with my unreleased songs and compositions. The price is much more ordinary. I’ve just finished mastering those songs for a collection called “In My Dreams”. It contains even contemporary and 80s dance, and easy listening tracks that have never been released on any record before. Except for “Miracle of Love” that was previously included in a Kid Antrim Music CD Compilation in 2004, just for broadcasting in the States. Even a CD single taken from that collection is available at the same site, and it’s even cheaper than the album version. It contains not just “Miracle of Love”, but even a modern version of “I Wanna Live with You”, that is a duet with opera singer Rossella Inghilleri. That site also shows an mp3 CD with my classical piano pieces. Cheap too.
Zeljko: Marc, did you believe your records would sell well and your other future releases as well? I am asking this because we are witnessing that, no matter there are many Italo fans around the world, selling is a bit of hard work. Recent example is the great man Martin “MartMix” Verlaan who compiled such a fantastic compilation with Italo rarities named Italo Disco Souvenirs vol. 1 and he sold a small number of copies so had to give up and closed the door behind himself and Italo Disco Souvenirs project. It’s a shame that Martin’s project didn’t work out and I hope Italo fans will be a little bit more sensitive about new italo projects!
Marc: Oh God… I’m afraid is not really easy to sell a lot of records or CDs just on the net! The only way of selling normally, is distributing those releases in shops and stores around the world. And even the amounts of collectors that want those records are not surely millions…. Not just a few, but surely not legions. You know…The only real way of selling thousands, if not millions of copies with 80s tracks were…the 80s. Surely not so much now. And even the CD trade is not really brisk at the moment. An expert told me Italo Souvenirs vol.1 contained tracks that many collectors already had, but first of all it wasn’t distributed in shops, were it really had the possibility to sell. EMI Austria is releasing some Italo compilations now, but if I’m not wrong, they sell them. By the way, those EMI collections also contain some songs by Dyva, like “Clap again” for example. Regarding my records…as I’ve already told you, they are collector editions, therefore pressed in a limited amount of copies. Pressing 100 copies costs more than 1000 Euro, mastering and pressing/printing included, then you have to consider some other money spent for recordings, expeditions, paying the arranger etc. Each vinyl record cannot be so cheap and bought by everybody unfortunately…But Flashback generally sells them to collectors that really want to have a rare track or anything that is hard to find in any common record shop. I really hope those CD editions will solve that high price problem.
Zeljko: What is your and your Team’s plan to promote new single?
Marc: “If You’re Feeling Blue” is mainly promoted by Flashback sellers on the net, there’s a complete list of them at http://flashbackrecords.org/index.php?page_id=7 But Iventi.com, probably the most popular Italo site, has very kindly shown the sleeve on its homepage too, and published an article.
Zeljko: On the B-side there is remix version of your second single “Darkness” which is fabulous song (at least for me). How come you included this song on your new record?
Marc: Thank you as always! I’ve heard many collectors really love that track. One version of “Darkness” that Italo fans commonly know, is a Milan mix that was “partially” released in 1986 for my Aquarius project. I say “partially”, because the label distributed it in a very low number of copies…as usual. The version that has been published as a B-side of “If You’re Feeling Blue”, is the first original mix that was recorded in Turin in 1984. That primordial version is maybe a little less interesting than its 1986 ‘twin’, but Kimmo and I thought it would be interesting to many collectors . Therefore we restored that old recording, and published on FLA 5006, the same new maxi-single. To tell the truth Kimmo Salo is probably going to mix another version too, directly from the original 24 tracks tape, an extended version, a longer one. If he presses it as another maxi-single, the B-side will probably contain an original demo of the same song, made by Tommy Bow in 1985/6, for the Aquarius project. That demo has been just restored too. The other 1986 Aquarius version should have been published by Mart Mix production this year, but that project has moved to Flashback records once again.
Zeljko: Marc, do you have any plans with “If You’re Feeling Blue” like releasing it on some compilations? Do you have some info about that for us?
Marc: Yes, for sure one version of “If You’re Feeling Blue” will be released on a Flashback compilation. It will probably be this year. I say “one version”, because my new vinyl record contains two versions of it, while that compilation will include just one of them.
Zeljko: And for the end of this little chat, Marc, can you share some of your plans with us, another single in the near future?
Marc: Yes, with pleasure. My next maxi single will probably be “Disco Silvia”, a track that was born as a funny joke at the very beginning of the 90s. Kimmo listened to its ‘scary’ demo less than one year ago. He liked the melody very much, and decided to transform it in a real song, creating a totally new 80s arrangement for it. In its present new version, “Disco Silvia” is a very delightful track, with a sort of deeply dreaming atmosphere. I might also publish another Cafepress CD single with a few unreleased 80s pieces like “Face” for example. But we still have to decide if we want to include it in my album for Flashback, I still hope that CD will be out this year, along with “Divertissement” and an original 80s version of “Tell Me Now” for example, just to name a few titles….
Zeljko: Thank you very much Marc for sharing your thoughts with me and with others and for the info about your great new song. Hopefully we will stay in touch and soon hear more good news from you. Thank you!
Marc: Thank you too once again Zeljko!
© February 2006 Zeljko Vujkovic - All rights reserved