Marco Taggiasco: ‘Italy represents 5% of the selling of my records’
12th January 2014
Interview. Marco Taggiasco is an Italian songwriter, arranger and producer. He talks about his career, his influences, his work with David Pack and Robbie Dupree, and his recent cover of a Carpenters’ song.
Your songs are written in a classical Adult Contemporary/ West Coast style. What attracted you to this musical style?
I’ve always been attracted by good music and good songs. Skillful writing, beautiful melodies, intriguing harmonies, great performances, production… These elements can virtually be found in any kind of music, so it’s not a matter of “genre”. This approach to pop music was quite common in the 70’s and the 80’s, I guess that’s why people tend to identify my stuff with a kind of music that was popular at that time.
Could you tell me a little about your discovery of the West Coast style and the musicians that inspired you?
I never saw myself as a West Coast artist. When I started, in the mid 70s, the term “West Coast” was mostly referred to Country music. With the rise of the internet, in the nineties and after, it ended up to identify any kind of adult, sophisticated pop/rock stuff.
I just loved the music we had back then: the Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan, Earth, Wind & Fire, Stevie Wonder, Todd Rundgren, Quincy Jones… My first love’s been instrumental music though: people like Mancini, Bacharach, Claus Ogermann, Johnny Mandel had a big influence on me as arranger.
Adult Contemporary/ West Coast style used to be very popular at the end of the 70s and the beginning of the 80s. Would you have liked to be a musician in L.A. at that time?
You know, music at that time was way more interesting. We all were excited about writing, producing, performing live: everything was exciting. I was at the very beginning of my career at that time, but sure it could have been fun being a cat in L.A.
You are Italian. Did you hesitate to write in English?
It all depends on the stuff you make. Italian is perfect for Opera, Portuguese is the best language to sing bossa, German is great for march (lol). Living in Italy, I produced a lot of italian songs, but what I do on my records has mostly american roots, so English fits perfectly.
You recorded a song with David Pack and another one with Robbie Dupree. Could you tell me more about these two experiences and tell me what kind of men and artists they are?
I can tell they both are great artists, performers and nice persons too. David is one of the greatest blue-eyed soul vocalists on the planet, and Robbie is unique as well. In both cases I had exactly their voices in mind when I wrote the songs. Working with them has been real pleasure.
You recently covered a Christmas song by the Carpenters. What do you like in that song?
We were looking for a Christmas song to make a single, and my friend Riziero Bixio, drummer and collaborator since 20 years, suggested me to have a listen to it. I always loved the band, but I didn’t know the track. I found it delicate, nice and truly inspired: my friend Andrea Sanchini gave it a soulful twist, and the simplicity of the song gave me the room to make an updated version.
Was West Coast music popular in Italy? And is there an audience for this kind of music nowadays?
What is commonly called West Coast music was never popular in Italy, if not for sparse smash hits of some bands like Toto or Chicago, at the beginning of the 80s. As far as my story, I can say that Italy represents 5% of the selling of my records.
Which countries are the more sensible to your music?
I would say Japan first. Then Denmark and France for sure, but also Northern Europe and a bit of US.
Do you do many concerts and is there a chance to see you live in Paris someday?
I would love it. Being an arranger and producer first, most of my job is done in the studio. I do concerts once in a while, mostly because the show is quite expensive: many musicians on stage, several singers performing, guests etc. It’s quite an investment, but who knows? As far as Paris, I just came back from a five day trip and I’m sure I’ll be back soon!