Artist of the Month (Jan. 2022): Massivan
- 11 January 2022, Tuesday
Massivan emerged in the late 90's, when Ivan Pezzini started DJing and producing electronic music in Switzerland. Classically educated (he started playing the violin when he was only six years old), he soon discovered other instruments and got into the world of audio engineering.
His wide-ranging musical knowledge has allowed him to produce all styles of dance music, garnering releases with several labels and multiple tours around Europe. Established for some time on the island of Formentera, Massivan walks his own path in the industry and continues to produce great tracks, such as his latest release 'Moving Grooving', a refreshing, downtempo groover perfect for the lounge or the dancefloor.
Who is Massivan? Can you introduce us to your musical project?
I usually describe my music as "eclectic", since you can find everything from jazz to techno in my productions: it all depends on how I personally feel when I sit in my studio.
In the last few years, I have mainly collaborated with singer Bea Luna and various musicians spread around the world. I release my productions on my two record labels: Pmusica and Modest Electronica, one for downtempo and the other for uptempo.
What can you tell us about your latest single Moving Grooving? What music was floating in your day-to-day life when you produced it?
Mooving Grooving was born in the summer of 2021, with the desire to return to a more normal life than in the last two years. It is one of the few songs that I personally sing (although with a lot of effects on the voice, haha). Initially, I had played all the instruments myself but, seeing the song's potential, I sought help from a guitarist, a bassist (both instruments were finally played by Nicolas Fiszman), and a pianist (Philippe De Cock). The drums and percussions are made by me.
Can you share some insight into your creative process?
I usually start with the music, sometimes with the rhythm section, and sometimes with a melody I have in my head. Once I get more or less a structure, if I want to put a voice to it, I let Bea sing (or I sing myself), but only onomatopoeias, only vowels and consonants. Then I cut and put together the musical phrases that I like the most and build a vocal line until I have a progression that I like.
Then I start writing the lyrics, respecting the rhythm and the syllables. This way, when Bea or I re-record the vocals, they will be lines that we have sung before and it comes out easier. I've been working this way for many years and it's the way that works best for me to write lyrics.
Once the song is finished, I dedicate myself to the mixing, which can take a little or a lot of time. I never do the mastering myself for my songs. I always send them to Dan Suter at Echochamber in Zurich. I wouldn't advise any young producer to do the mastering of his songs himself as, after having composed, produced, and mixed them, you lose all objectivity and it is advisable to look for a fresh ear.
What does it mean to you to be an independent artist? Is it a consciously chosen path you would recommend to other artists?
Being independent has always been very important to me in general, in all aspects of my life.
In terms of music, I chose this path completely consciously after some somewhat unpleasant experiences, having signed contracts with labels at the beginning of my music career.
There are both positive and negative aspects. On the one hand, you can do what you want, when you want, and how you want. But on the other hand, you can't take advantage of the machinery that a major label may have, such as fans, distribution, and a marketing budget. In short, the road is more difficult but, at the same time, much more free.
Just like Massivan, publish your music on more than 200 digital platforms
If you could change anything in the music industry, what would it be?
Ugh... tough question. Sure, it wouldn't be bad if Spotify started paying more royalties to artists.
I don't know, it's so hard to stand out among the millions of releases that come out every month... I wouldn't know what to change to make it different. With the advances that the music industry has made, now producing at a high level of quality has become almost a game and there are so many artists releasing thousands and thousands of tracks every day. Many times (almost always) it's even impossible for an A&R to listen to your demos if you don't have a plug.
You have a whopping 13,465 monthly listeners on Spotify, how has your journey through the streaming and download platforms been?
I'm sure there are many listeners who still know me from when I used to DJ around Europe. On the other hand, there were some tracks of mine on various Hotel Costes and Buddha Bar compilations back when records and CDs were still being made. I'm sure these two labels still have a huge following and have helped me in part to reach these figures (which honestly don't even pay for one dinner a month).
In what ways has iMusician helped you navigate them?
I love iMusician. I know them personally and count them as friends since they were born many years ago in Zurich.
The platform is very intuitive and simple, it's very easy to get to publish a track or a whole album with them and they certainly helped me reach these thousands of monthly listeners.
We see you're very active in social networks, how important are they for your career?
The truth is that I don't use them as much as it seems. Nowadays, social networks are everything, but in my opinion, we shouldn't underestimate live performances as well (which, unfortunately, I don't do either).
What has been the biggest obstacle you've encountered since you started in music? How did you overcome it and what advice would you give to other musicians starting out to get around it?
The biggest obstacle has been time: not having enough time to dedicate to being creative. When I lived alone I was good at it, but since I started a family, music has had to take a back seat, since I can't even afford to pay the rent. I've had to devote more time to a job that gives me a steady income at the end of the month, and this has taken a lot of time away from music.
Twenty years ago I emigrated to Formentera and for the last ten years, I have had a seasonal business on the islands. The compromise has been that now I work in summer and dedicate myself to music in winter.
My advice to musicians starting out would be this: give it your all, believe in yourself, finish the songs you start, and never forget that you do it for the love of music and not for the money.
What are you working on right now? What projects are you looking forward to in the next few months?
Right now, since it's winter, I'm in the production phase. Like every winter, I have some projects with Bea Luna and I'm also working on an EP that I would like to release as an NFT on the blockchain. In the last 4 years, I have become a fan of blockchain technology and I try to be at the forefront of this technological revolution.
As of Easter, I will run out of time and concentrate more on publishing with iMusician as I begin the working season on the island.
Thanks for the opportunity and a big hug to everyone.
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