Alex Alessi, graduate of SAE Institute in New York City, and Nick Campanile, graduate of The Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences in Tempe, AZ, both have degrees in Audio Engineering and have a few words about music school. After music school, they started a group called Marcus Fathom. For more on Marcus Fathom, and what it’s like starting from the ground up, read the full interview on 20Wattsmag.com.
20 Watts: What was music school to you?
N: It was everything. When I decided to go out to school, I mean, I don’t want to sound corny but music was my life. It put everything together for me. It was that missing element in my life. Because I wanted to make a career out of music and without that, there’s no way I could’ve done that.
A: It was A) finally coming to terms with what I wanted to do with my time. I’m getting to be a grown ass man, I’m 23 years old, and I can’t keep playing games. Last year I really wrapped my mind around that reality.
20W: What is it like learning what you learn in music school and applying that to real life? Is it relevant?
A: I definitely needed it.
N: I don’t think we would be where we are without an education.
A: I agree entirely. We’ve got the whole circle of it covered. I think the fact that we both went to school ended up becoming beneficial because I now have the opportunity to write music on my own and put songs together, and then come to Nick and say “Yo, this is what I’ve done so far.”
N: No disagreement there. Without that education we would be more just two dudes sitting in a basement writing music. Without that education we would lack the professionalism of being an artist and being an engineer or being a producer.
20W: What would you say to kids who want to be you…Kids who want to go to music school and live their dream?
A: It’s a lot of hard work. Harder work than you could ever imagine.
N: It’s a commitment.
A: Hell yeah it’s a commitment. It’s a full on dedication. You should invest 100% into it—you need to—if you want this to become a reality. We’re still grindin’ for it over here. You have to learn how to prioritize your shit and stay focused even when it’s not convenient. We both work full time as Apple employees now and it’s hard to have the time to still work on music. But that’ll never stop us because we love it. When the day is over I put on some music and forget about everything else, and I get back in that zone. Nothing will ever take that away from me.
20W: How old is Marcus Fathom?
N: I want to say early 2008. It was right before I went out to school in Arizona
A: Or at least that’s when we created a song, a singular sing.
20 W: Alessi, you’re the vocals? And Nick, what do you do?
N: We both produce the music together. For a while, I did a lot of the engineering side because I graduated before Alex did. So I was more the engineer. Would you agree on that?
A: I didn’t do shit, I just wrote the words for a while.
N: And then slowly we kind of both just like started producing together. We just got fused into one brain—one production brain.
20W: Why Marcus Fathom, not the name, but why the music? Why the project?
A: I was always a big fan. I’ve been friends with this dude [Nick] for a long time and when they were in the Gaussian Surface, the death metal band, I was honestly just a fan of him as a musician. When we were buddies I reached out to him once and said, “Yo let’s sit down and put some music together and see where it goes.”
N: Yeah really it just started with that one song and just kind of happened from there.
20W: What was the first song?
A: It’s called Solve These Problems. That no one will ever hear, probably.
N: A very select few people have heard it.
20W: Because it wasn’t good?
N: It’s not one of those songs that represent Marcus Fathom. It’s just kind of irrelevant to our discography.
20W: What is it like starting something from the bottom and working your way up?
A: It’s fun. It’s a lot of fun.
N: It definitely is fun. That’s the best part about it.
A: It’s exciting because every time we have the opportunity to get together we never know what’s going to come out of it. It’s never what we expect. If I hit him [Nick] up and say, “Yo, I’m coming through I got this idea for a song.” We might get an hour of that song done but we always end up writing something new.
20W: What’s the genre for Marcus Fathom?
A: It would be a shame to try to put a title on this sort of thing. We draw from so many different. To put a genre on it and say, “Oh this is rap rock.” No. Fuck that. This isn’t Limp Bizkit. We have goals and aspirations but I’m so much more concerned with making music I can be proud of than I am just making music to make money off of it. I would much rather make people think and have to really appreciate the human condition, rather than just money, girls, and drinking and drugs. Because we hear that everywhere.
N: We are not here to sound like your average hip hop group. Plain and simple.
20W: Where do you see Marcus Fathom going?
N: So far, we’ve had a lot of ups and downs. Probably in the past year alone, we’ve had a lot of promises that were not kept at all. We’ve had expectations that were never met. And for us, two young guys who are just working full time, it’s like…..The music industry is very cut throat, super cut throat industry. I would say any kind of media career would be. So at this point, we’re just doing it for fun. We’re not looking to make money off of this. We are two guys that have become one artist and we’re out there to make music for the people who like our music. We do have a pretty solid following, not even close to superstar status or anything of that nature. We always say ‘We do it for the kids.’ The fans.
A: Hell yeah, without a doubt.
You can find Marcus Fathom’s album on datpiff.com.