Meet M+A - an electro-pop duo proving there are many more angles to this ubiquitous musical strand than cold synths, icy vocals and over-zealous reverb...

Anita Awbi
  • By Anita Awbi
  • 8 Aug 2014
  • min read
Electro-pop two-piece M+A prove there are many more angles to this ubiquitous musical strand than cold synths, icy vocals and over-zealous reverb.

For starters, both Michele Ducci and Alessandro Degli Angioli play all their own instruments – including drums and guitar – lavishing a warm disco-pop vibe on their recordings like Daft Punk or Midnight Vultures-era Beck.

Their smart approach expands on the tightening definition of electro-pop to bring a looser, less uniform take on the modern bedroom studio sound.

Over the last few months, their sparky songs have pricked the ears of The Guardian’s Paul Lester and Chris Salmon, BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens and Michael and Emily Eavis, who declared them winners of the Glastonbury Festival Emerging Talent Competition.

Beating strong competition from Hero-Fisher, Only Girl, Furs, The Black Tambourines, Pandr Eyez and Izzy Bizu, M+A secured a slot on one of the main stages at this year's festival, and a £5,000 PRS for Music Foundation Talent Development prize to help take their songwriting and performing to the next level.

We spent 30 seconds with the pair ahead of the release of their anticipated debut album These Days, which is expected to arrive on 30 September through Monotreme.

We first started writing music because…
The project M+A started before our friendship evolved. We got to know each other while recording the first album. Our musical connection was quite strong and immediate.

We have been making music since…
We grew up with instruments around us because both of us have parents who are musicians. We started playing without thinking about it and now it's so part of our lives and it's quite hard for us to try to think of a day without music. We are linked to music more in a physical way rather than a spiritual way. For us, music is probably more like eating or walking, it's something essential and most of the time you do these basic things spontaneously, without even thinking about it.

Our music is…
We are probably the last people who can give an objective and clear answer to this. You could think of our songs as t-shirts. Something you can wear for years or just for one night. But the most important thing is the listener makes the song their own - something personal connected to themselves and not directly to M+A. Songs and lyrics become are more honest when detached from the artist.

You'll like us if you listen to...
Air, Gorillaz, Phoenix, Beck, Modjo, Cornelius, Jamiroquai, Empire of the Sun, Todd Terje, NAS, Jurassic 5 and so on… But we're not the kind of people who have posters on our wall. We like to have our heroes but also destroy them when needed. I think it's a good process that helps us keep a detachment from what we have around us. We try not to remain faithful to anything.

Our favourite venue is…
All those venues that allow us to bring audience members onto the stage.

Music is important because…
Nice one <3

Our biggest inspiration is…
The chance to be able to play on David Letterman's show. He's funny.

Our dream collaboration would be…
The World's Most Dangerous Band (CBS Orchestra). They’re funny as well.

To try us out, listen to our song…
Probably When, Down the West Side or L.E.M.O.N. You need to listen to more than one song really, as the album has many mood swings.

If we weren’t making music we’d be…
Making something else but probably with the same approach and ethos. We’re just trying to experience everything as something important but never as some kind of religious belief.

In 10 years’ time we want to be...
10 years is quite a long time! It would be great if music was still a big part of our lives. But we’re just trying to get through the next 10 days at the moment and are concentrating on that!


Upcoming live dates
28 August – Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, London
29 August – Komedia Studio, Brighton
30 August – The Horn, St Albans
31 August – Brownstock Festival, Essex