Marcelo De La Vega

by the partae
Marcelo De La Vega

Where are you currently based?

I was born in Sydney, but I live in London now. I’ve been here for 4 years and I love it. No plans on leaving anytime soon. Although I do miss the sun sometimes.

How did you first start playing music?

I got expelled from high school and the only school that would let me in after that was an arts-driven school called Reddam house in Bondi Beach. It was filled with creative opportunities which my school prior hadn’t been, it was the first time I’d seen the popular group be filled with smart and artistic people opposed to the archetypal athlete alpha-male. I somehow managed to con my way into an audition for a new band some of the kids were starting. I had to learn “DamnIt” by Blink 182 in a week, I was a pretty horrible guitar player, and I could only just hold a note with my voice. I somehow managed to live up to my bold claims of being both a great vocalist and guitarist, at least for that song. Hanging out with those guys, I really found my passion for being in a group of people and playing the music you all love. Playing in a group is still to this day my favourite way to write music 

What’s been happening recently?

I’ve been writing my next record! Over lock down I set up a studio in my house, so I’ve basically just been writing and recording every day. it’s definitely made the last 6 months much easier. Other than that I’ve just released my debut EP and that was so exciting to finally have out. It’s so nice to know people are listening and hopefully enjoying these songs.

You’ve just released your EP ‘Conversation’ with lead single of the same name, what influenced the sound and songwriting for the EP as a whole and the single Conversation?

To be honest the biggest inspiration were my friends who I wrote and recorded the record with. The bulk of the EP was born actually playing within a group setting or one on one with an instrument and note pad in hand mostly, far away from a computer. A lot of the songs have a plethora  of live components to them which I’m also really proud of. Be that Paris being one whole vocal take, or Conversation having drums, bass and piano recorded simultaneously and one whole take.

How did you go about writing the EP?

I wrote it between my co-writer Charlotte Freud’s house and my producer Pete Hutchings house. The whole process happened really naturally and stemmed from a place of jamming and hanging out opposed to the typical session studio environment.

What does the EP mean to you?

Well, it means enough that I got ‘Conversation’ tattooed on my arm at 4am by some random guy in the back room of a club when I was drunk on Halloween 2019. It’s really a story of my life during the happiest and saddest I’ve ever been. But mostly it’s the time I spent making it with my friends that means the most to me, a lot more than the actual sentiment of the songs if I’m honest.

Where and when did you record/produce/master and how did you approach the process?

We mainly recorded it between my producers living room and RAK Studio 3 in St. Johns Wood. Again, it was just  a lot of playing these songs live and recording what we came up with, just having fun. I guess I didn’t really approach it in any definitive way because I didn’t feel like work or like we had to force art. Everything just happened the way it was meant too. 

Who did you work with during the creation of the EP?

Most of the lyrics and melody I either wrote on my own or with my co-writer Charlotte Freud, and again she’s my best friend so it didn’t really feel like work. Other than that, my producer Pete Hutchings who’s worked with Adele, Royal Blood and Lady Gaga. My drummer Chris Mass who’s Mumford & Sons’ drummer. Kieran Jones who plays bass for Dermot Kennedy and is now my co-producer on the record I’m working on now. And a few other amazing friends who I was lucky enough to get into the studio. 

What did you find most challenging and rewarding?

There wasn’t really anything I found challenging, it all felt really rewarding! I was working in cafes and bars while I recorded the whole thing, so just being able to be in the studio was the part that was most special. Doing what I love with people I love.

You co-directed each of the music video’s for each single, please tell us about this process:

I managed to be mentored by my good friend Liam Clarke while I was in Sydney last year, and he basically taught me everything I know about direction. He co-directed the first two music videos with me and my childhood best mate Em Meades. It was definitely a learning curve, especially doing everything on film. But when I came back to London and came up with the concept of Vinnie Vegas the sad clown, I took everything Liam showed me and put it to work to create the Conversation music video. That song and video are the two things I’m most proud of that I’ve created thus far.

Where and when did you film?

The ‘Conversation’ video was basically all shot in central London near where I live. They say shoot what you know so we used a lot of locations that I walk past every day.  

How did the concepts for the music video’s come about?

Each concept came about very differently. ‘Told you’ stemmed from the lyric “emptying the clouds’, ‘Broke & Criminal’ was a reference to ‘Natural Born Killers’, and ‘Conversation’ I was just really tired of taking myself too seriously so I wanted to do something really silly. And I wanted to do something with my dog who sadly passed away a few weeks after we finished filming. So now the song and video have a whole new meaning to me. 

You were signed at just 17 in Australia before parting ways and moving halfway across the world to London where you’re now based, how was the initial transition and how are you finding living in London now?

The transition wasn’t too jarring actually! I initially got signed in America so all the time I spent between LA and New York prepared me for living overseas. I love London, it’s my favourite place in the world. Every day I wake up feeling blessed that I’m able to live here. 

Who are you listening to at the moment?

Mostly Tyler, the Creator and Jeff Buckley. I’ve been listening to Childish Gambino’s record that came out in 2020 a lot, it’s amazing. I just discovered Maggie Rogers and her album ‘Notes from the Archive’ is incredible. Carol King is on a never-ending cycle of repeat and a lot of Tribe Called Quest. I’m currently listening to Brockhampton’s new album while writing this and it is really great.

What do you like to do away from music?

I own a clothing label with my sister. It’s a sustainable women’s label and that’s been our little lockdown baby, it’s a really fun way of being creative that I hadn’t explored before. It’s called Cielo Studios, check it if you want to look cool and save the planet while doing it.

What’s planned for 2021?

More music! I wanna put out an 8-song mixtape and drop a video for each song, so between that and Cielo Studios I’m gonna be pretty busy! Hopefully fit some live shows whenever we are allowed to.





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