Mr Marcaille

It’s been 10 years since Mr Marcaille formed a one-man-band, out of the ordinary, from the British isles to the deep countryside of Creuse, passing by the muscovite festivals. Armed with his drums, his electric cello, his effect pedals and his inimitable black underpants, Mr Marcaille delivers a metal-influenced, powerful rock. We met him at the KTS squat in Freiburg-im-Breisgau, just before René Binamé’s set. | Interviewed by Polka.B (Trad: Chris P.)

How did you come up with this idea of getting into an one-man-band?

When you are alone, you can make any kind of music you really want to make. When I was young, I started with classical music but in the same time I always listened to rock’n’roll, AC/DC, Judas Priest, the Pistols… I played the bass and the drums in different groups but the concept of a one-man-band was always spinning in a corner in my head. It is important to do a solo project. You can show what you are made of.

Do you see baroque music and metal music as two opposing worlds?

Not really, but it is true that one should also learn how to “unlearn” his or her musical knowledge. The standard rule of classical music has his limits. At one point, I was playing for some friends, that were doing puppet theater in the streets. The improvisation side was much more important.

“Mr Marcaille” is your most publicized musical project. Why do you think it pleased more to people, according to you?

I don’t really know. Maybe because it’s not very common. A dude is rubbing his music in your face with an electric violloncelo. Eventually, it’s perhaps also my most successful project. It probably has to do with the video where I played in a park. 15 million views on the internet, seriously! You cannot plan this kind of things…You could say it is an accident! Or it just means that it is a nice group ! (Laughters)

What is the profile of the people organizing your gigs?

I have always played for very different people. I don’t set limits. There are no rules. If your audience goes from 30 to 3000 people, the approach is not the same; that’s for sure. I don’t look down on the big stages, neither on the small ones. It is a luxury to be able to do both. One of my big goals is to be able to continue to play abroad. Festivals are pretty cool. It makes people mingle, which is cool. In good conditions if possible. That’s good to travel around, but there should be something going on!

Do you feel a different reception from the public depending on the culture?

Recently, I went to play in Moscow and it was quite special! It was in open air, with a decor a little bit weird. You had to go around a large building to access the stage. There was all this hype on the internet, and the people absolutely wanted to touch me or take a selfie with me. It was weird, but moving too. It was not so much the “star” thing. It was more like a willingness to exchange, an intimate side, a strong respect that went through music. I was glad there was such an expectation, even so far away from home.

Why do you love these underpants so much?

Because they are beautiful! Comfortable. Easy. I love wrestling also! It is a question of style! Apart from the aesthetic aspect, it’s important to be comfortable. The costume is important for the scene. It puts you in a particular state of mind.

Do you have in mind any remarkable concert anecdotes?

There have been good moments of collective outbursts! I remember a concert in the region of Creuse where a band of punks were brought back. The temperature was at zero (I was of course in my underpants)… all this context excited people so moch. It was a crazy experience together. The reactions also depend on the public. Metal lovers have a more respectful side towards music. They are more into listening. My music is not particularly danceable, but in the end, it still makes a good fiesta!

Your songs may speak more to the metal lovers, because you regularly make a nod to this culture …

Yes but not so much, because I don’t like covers! The only one I did was “Hang the Pope” from Nuclear Blast, because people are still asking for it during my concerts. There is also a piece of Napalm Death, but it only lasts a second! It’s okay, it’s short. When the project buzzed, I received indecent proposals to make covers, or some bullshits like that … I said no. I am not a jukebox. To come back to your question, I am not in the mood of tribute. It’s just rock’n’roll. It very simple. Some chords and that’s it.

I guess Motörhead remain one of your biggest influences …

I love ‘em yeah! I’ve always loved them, even when everyone taked the piss out of them. Just before Lemmy became a legend, let’s say in the last fifteen years, people didn’t care. That said, I don’t like the fact of venerating someone. Kill your idols! Do your own thing!

Many claim to be “punk” today. What do you think about it ?

I would especially like to explain to the kids that if they want to have free beer in life, they have to make a rock band. We don’t care about punk. It cannot be invented. Let’s educate the kids as long as they are young, that we don’t have much time left… I repeat: first make a group so that you drink beers!