By Mary Long
Miccoli is an up and coming English band known for soaring harmonies and cryptic lyrics, which hint at a private world into which we are invited and reluctant to leave.
The band is comprised of the English-Italian Miccoli siblings, Alessandro, Adriano & Francesca. Having grown up surrounded by music, it became part of their identity. When decisions had to be made regarding ‘life choices’, music wasn’t a choice, but a calling, that had to be followed. This sense of an all- encompassing vocation eases the physical hardships of touring and strengthens the siblings’ commitment to creating music.
Their greatest motivation is the gratifying and humbling thought that people find solace in their music; Alessandro says, even the process of creating music is, in itself, extremely cathartic.
‘Over the years we’ve fine-tuned our creative process – because inspiration can strike at any time – you don’t really dictate the process – instead it guides you – we make mental notes, record it on phones, scribble on pieces of tissue or whatever – sometimes do nothing; as Paul McCartney said “If you can’t remember it in the morning, it couldn’t have been all that good”.
Then when the feeling is right we either sit down together or take some time to ourselves, reflect and see what flows – piecing together all the notes left behind.’
As writers, anything and everything can be inspiration.
‘Personal relationships play a key role and have to be faced with raw honesty, but when it comes to conveying this into songs, we like to also keep lyrics as cryptic and open ended as possible.’
Miccoli are wonderfully reticent about the origin and meaning of individual songs, generously preferring to allow listeners to develop their own personal interpretations.
The essence of Miccoli’s sound is their harmonies, which the band has spent many nights rigorously rewriting until perfect. This unique sound has won many loyal followers, but there is a price to pay for refusing to conform to the ‘commercial throw away music culture’. It is extremely difficult to get media recognition, which is the gateway to potential new audiences.
‘I think the great thing about the internet now is that it allows us to discover new music from all over, we don’t necessarily have to put up with the diet that major labels are trying to feed us. Great music is out there, you just have to be willing to search for it.’
In a world that is more connected than ever by technology and social media, paradoxically, less time is spent actually interacting with each other, be it with a conversation or listening to live music, as people seem more concerned with ‘instagramming’ or ‘tweeting’ moments, rather than being present and connected.
‘We played a venue in LA where they demanded everyone entering the show turn off all mobile devices and were told to focus purely on the music, such a simple thing created a more focused and calm energy in the room, it was really refreshing.’
Listening to Miccoli’s music seems to make, instead of take, time; Alessandro Miccoli appreciates time in a way very few of us do, following a traumatic event several years ago.
‘It changed my perspective of life completely – there’s a certain naivety that comes with youth, this sense of invincibility, endless time. It’s not the case and took a near fatal experience for me to come to that stark realisation.’
Miccoli have certainly embraced the philosophy that time and health should not be squandered; they are going to release a new album, Arrhythmia, in October.
The most unexpected of cicumstances inspired the album title, which suggests a life in danger from within.
‘Adriano and Alessandro were diagnosed with ‘arrhythmias’ of the heart. The word “arrhythmia” originates from late 19th century Greek “arruthmia” meaning lack of rhythm. A word none of us had heard before, but one that soon become very familiar and one that would inspire the whole album.’
When the band first started, their sound was very acoustic and stripped down; but as the new album demonstrates, Miccoli’s style has matured and a new confidence and sense of adventure has emerged. They have experimented not only with instrumentals but also harmony arrangements, in turn producing a more unique and more definitive sound.
A key part of Miccoli releases are beautiful music videos, in which the siblings’ individual pursuits have proven to be incredible strengths; Francesca has modeled and Alessandro’s photography captures the mysterious atmosphere of their songs.
Filmed in America, Sweden and Thailand, among other places, the band say it was as if there was a homing beacon in each location.
‘Having lived and breathed these songs for so long, the songs take on their own identity, meaning and character; when it comes to giving them a visual identity it’s very natural and almost instinctive.’
Identity is a theme explored very effectively in the stunning new music video for ‘Idle Stranger’; faces are obscured by masks and disembodied shadows, never quite revealing their true selves. Bells toll warningly at dusk and curtains flutter inexplicably in this dark and uncertain world of Venice. The lyrics are prophetic, almost reproachful in tone; ‘You will always be an idle stranger’
In ‘Lights’, the siblings retain their otherworldly qualities as they wander through the crass colours of Las Vegas; despite following the signs, they seem lost in the artificial kaleidoscope of the city.
Moving into the desert to film ‘Magnify’, the band are strangely at home, their dark hair sharp against the white sand. Swirling shadows twist across their faces as their pleading call ‘Please don’t magnify’ echoes through the song.
Filmed on the barren beaches and snowy woods of Sweden, ‘Undo’ explores the classical beauty of these children of nature, who urge us to ‘Fight, dream, believe’. Muted colours fade before the sunrise; the blinding morning light is directly contrasted by the lyrics, which speak of destruction; ‘All you do, do is try to undo’.
At this stage in their careers, having observed the highs and lows of a savage business environment, Miccoli is confident that people will appreciate the album, which is truly a labor of love.
‘There’s always an element of excitement but that’s also paired with worry, nervousness and anticipation, whenever you share something you’ve been working on for so long and are so invested in – will people like it? Is it relatable? But then a calming thought comes over you – if we genuinely love and wrote it from a sincere place – then I’m sure other people will see that and love it too.’
As artists, they have a philosophy that transcends external criticism.
‘It all circles back to the sense of self, if you are happy with what you are creating, then it no longer matters what people think. In the final analysis, music is art and art is an expression of one’s soul.’
Touring dates are in the planning stages; the band hope to play Ireland and the U.K. with additional dates in the US. Check out their website at www.miccoli.co.uk and follow them on their YouTube Channel, Twitter, and Facebook.
The album is scheduled for release in October and an EP ca ed ‘1/2’ (H ALF) will be available on 12.05.17