Today we are premiering, “Embodied Self” the new single from Marcel Damiano’s metal project Conduits. Marcel is a multi-instrumental and producer who writes some seriously heavy modern metal songs. I recently had the opportunity to chat with him about the writing process for, “Embodied Self” the origins of Conduits, and what’s next from his solo project.
1. Tell us a bit about the origins of Conduits.
Conduits started as a little occasional project I would do after my old band Downfall ended. I would get together with a drummer named Brett from that band and record metal covers of pop songs when that was a more popular thing to do around 2016-2017. Towards the end of Downfall, I was putting my hand more into writing giving their metalcore sound a bit more of a progressive and thrashy edge. That led to me going fully into that sound on my own, which is also influenced by death metal.
2. Tell us about your musical background.
I started as a real old school metalhead in high school with the classics like Metallica, Iron Maiden, Megadeth, and Death. Metal was all I listened to for a few years and I would go down endless rabbit holes on YouTube finding more bands and subgenres until I became a walking encyclopedia. I played in Downfall as well participating in jazz and concert bands during high school. After taking music theory, I quickly realized that music was the only thing I was interested in, so I went to college for it. There, I branched out in my listening while continuing to explore the far reaches of the metal tree and tangential genres like progressive rock, jazz fusion, and later hardcore. I went to school for recording, so I recorded various bands including the inception of Phil Cambra & the Space Cadets which I also play bass in. These days I also play bass for my friend Tory Silver’s band. I haven’t played in a heavy band since Downfall in 2015, so Conduits is definitely my outlet for that!
3. Tell us about the recording process for your new single, “Embodied Self.”
The recording process was extremely scattered for this song as it was for my last single, “Disparate Souls”. The drums were recorded in my parent’s house in 2017, with Brett from Downfall, for an earlier version of the song. The guest vocals on the second verse were recorded in late 2018 by another ex-Downfall member, Tim Sullivan. After releasing “Disparate Souls” in late 2020, I rediscovered “Embodied Self” on my hard drive and decided to revamp it with the original drums and some of the vocals and synths, as I couldn’t record drums with anyone due to covid restrictions. I slowly re-recorded bass, guitars, and my own lead vocals (as I had become much better at the latter two since 2019) throughout late 2020-2021. Lastly was the amazing guitar solo by Bryan Stearns, who I knew from college and reached out to via instagram. He recorded the solo and sent it to me as you hear it on the song.
4. What do you like most about collaborating with other artists?
Collaborating with other artists is great for me because it brings other influences into my music that I wouldn’t normally have. Being the solo artist behind a project can cause a narrow and stagnant sound that I do not want to have. I believe that the greatest metal bands bring in many different genres to influence their sound, which is why all of my future releases will have non-metal artists on them. I realized that after a band called Loathe put out their 2020 album “I Let it in and it Took Everything” and shared playlists for each band member’s influences. They all contained wildly different music that helped color their music into a truly unique album.
5. Do you see yourself playing these songs live someday?
Although I think it would be very fun to play Conduits songs live, I think it might be more trouble to organize than it is worth. At least for now, Conduits is a recording project that allows me to do something fun with all of the ideas I have without the need to conform to a defined band sound. I aim for all of my future releases to sound wildly different but with the common thread of heavy and progressive techniques.
6. Do you think it’s more challenging as a metal artist to break through in the local scene as opposed to some other genres?
I do think it’s harder for metal acts to break through because listeners first have to break into the genre themselves. I don’t know many people that listen to it, and I recall that it took me a couple years to listen to metal with any screaming in it. So a more extreme song like “Embodied Self” won’t stick with many people after a first listen, unless they are already through that threshold. But not many heavy bands do it for mass appeal. They do it for the dedicated fans that they have cultivated along the way. That’s something you see more in metal than other genres. A truly devoted fan base that is always ready to grab concert tickets and buy merch every time the band comes around. Although I won’t be doing that, I can at least cast my songs into the vast sea of heavy music and see if I get a few nibbles.
7. Name an artist from the Greater Lowell Area that has an upcoming release that you are looking forward to.
I’m excited to hear the upcoming EP from One Stays. From the info and snippets I’ve heard it will be a truly progressive release which I believe has been lacking from the Lowell Scene in the years that I’ve been a part of it. I’m going to be seeing them at O’Briens Pub on Saturday 7/31 and recommend that you catch them live then.
8. What’s next for Conduits?
The future of Conduits is going to be a matter of finishing the various instagram demos I wrote during 2019-2020 and turning them into full songs. I aim to have an EP with a different drummer on every track with plenty of guest vocals and solos from the people I have met in college in Lowell and more recently in Boston. Cohesion will not be the goal, but it will be a collection of songs I am proud of and help paint a picture of my influences. Check out my Instagram for more on this in the near future.