Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.

What made you decide that music is a thing for you?

Have you heard music?

Introduce us to you and your musical history.

It’s just me, Marc Pelath, The Laconic.  I took piano lessons through junior high school or so, bought a purple Ibanez bass guitar in high school, became competent but not really good, bought a Chapman Stick in my 20’s, tried but never really became competent, bought a Warr Guitar in my 30’s, tried but never really became competent, and finally bought a U8 touch guitar in my 40’s.  I started taking lessons from Markus Reuter and it changed my life.

Name me your 3 favorite Albums.

90125 (Yes), Signals (Rush), and Duke (Genesis).

What was the first song you heard that steered you into a music path?

I’m guessing it was something off The Ghost in the Machine (The Police), which is the first rock album I remember listening to.  Probably “Spirits in the Material World”, which has synths that would have appealed to me as a piano student, or else “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic”, which has piano that would have appealed to me as a piano student.  I was eager to find ways that my classical musical education could apply to such music.

The music industry is the hardest industry in the world to progress in, How do you feel you are doing?

In terms of internal success, I’m killing it.  I’m making music that I want to hear, and I share it with whoever cares enough to listen.

In terms of external success, terrible.  But I make music as a consumer good, not as a capital good.  I’m not trying to make money at it; I take it for granted that I’m going to lose money.  And that’s fine. It’s cheaper than owning a boat.

As you develop as an artist and develop using socials what ways do you get new ears on your music? Any tips?

I was hoping you’d have some.

Tell us two truths and a lie about you.

I am a father, I am happily married, and I am a compulsive liar.

What’s your thought on Spotify’s monopoly on the music industry?

The current situation sucks, but it won’t last.  It never does.  But people: please buy music, whether it’s CDs or vinyl or downloads from Bandcamp.  Especially if it’s something you love; you’re getting so much, so give a little back.  Legally, you don’t have to; ethically, you do.

For now, there’s no clear benefit to me in releasing music on Spotify.  I get zero income, and very few listens.  I’ll do it, probably, but long after the release date.  

Do you sign up for any conspiracy theories?

No.  After a quick internet search, it’s not even clear to me what a conspiracy theory is.  In any case, I’m not going to sign up for one, because then they’ll know I know.

Did you buy anything you don’t need during the pandemic?

A bunch of modular synths. I sold the ones I don’t need.

Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about. 

I am a cyborg.  Really.

What makes you stand out as a artist?

I am not aware of anyone today doing what I do, which is songs without words: evocative, emotional instrumentals that don’t rely on virtuosity to make them interesting.  I don’t even know many such albums from the past: early Mike Oldfield, and The Snow Goose (Camel), and that’s about it.  If there are others, and there probably are, I’m ignorant of them.

I hear you have new music, what can you tell us about it.

My second album, ‘Amor Fati’, is, like my first album, instrumental, eclectic post-prog.  It revolves around the subjects of fate and eternal recurrence. It’s not quite a concept album, but not quite not a concept album either.  Not really not progressive rock, but not really progressive rock either, it draws from other genres, from salsa to spaghetti western.  

‘Amor Fati’ features many guest musicians, all of whom are highly-regarded for their own musical careers to date. It was produced by Markus Reuter, mixed at Ritmo&Blu Records, and mastered by Lee Fletcher.

In short, it’s as “real” and as professionally recorded and produced as anything.

Talk me through the thought process of the new tune/s.

Amor Fati has nine tracks: three “miniatures” that are around two minutes long, one long-form piece nearly 20 minutes long, and five “normal” length songs, between four and nine minutes.

The miniatures are named after the Parcae, the Roman version of the mythological Fates.  They’re all variations of the same piece, and employ intricate percussion loops, accompanied by synths and simple touch guitar lines.  These are the only tracks that I recorded solo.

On the other end of the scale, “Refuge” is an epic with around six discernable sections. I wrote the core of that during sleepless nights while on vacation in Mexico.

Then there are the “normal” pieces.  “Fate”, the album opener, was written first.  To me, it is a story of youth and naivete, struggle, and acceptance and wisdom.  It’s the one that sounds most genre-free to my ears, which I think makes it most representative of my sound at present.  “Saber” is an absolute banger, which I can only describe as Latin jazz prog in 15/8.  “Dust” is an homage to the music of Ennio Morricone and spaghetti Westerns.  “Mirror” is the most “electronic” track; I wanted to see if I could record something purely pentatonic and still make it interesting.  The title is a reference to Barbara Tuchman’s book “A Distant Mirror”.  Finally, the album closer, “Equinox”, is a spiritual successor to “Solstice” from my first album, and like many of my songs, at the start you really have no idea where it’s going to end up. So I’ll tell you: Allman Brothers and flute.

What was the recording process like?

I recorded, and re-recorded, all my parts in my home studio as I went along.  All the contributing musicians also recorded in their home studios.  With some of them, we went through several iterations of recordings, while with others, they sent what they did and I took it.  The cases where we had to go through iterations were when I had some idea of what I wanted, but it wasn’t totally clear.  This tended to happen earlier in the process.

What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?

I absorbed a lot of knowledge about composition from Markus Reuter while writing these songs.  And while writing the last album.  And will continue to do so while writing the next.

Would you change anything now it’s finished?

I would bring a few elements forward into the mix.  It wasn’t until the end of mixing that I started to assert myself; it was a new process for me, and I suppose I was a bit overwhelmed.  It was just inexperience and insecurity, and nobody’s fault but mine.  Next time will be different.

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

Yeah, my music.  Check it out.