Past The Mark (feat. Marc Urselli & Vince Pastano)

Marc Urselli is back again, and this time with a brand new project under the guise of Past The Mark, featuring the Italian guitarist Vince Pastano who is quite known in the Italian contemporary music scene.  See what Past The Mark is all about....

What can you tell us about the project Past The Mark?  Is this a one time project or do you plan to put out more releases in the future?
We haven't thought that far yet. It took us a long time to finish this record because of the logistics and the fact that we are both so busy, but I wouldn't say there will never be another record.

Past the Mark is a trans-atlantic collaboration between myself and Vince Pastano, who is a famous guitarist based in Italy. The idea was to try to make a record without ever being in the same room by sending each other files across the internet and working on each other's ideas. Although this might not sound so revolutionary these days, we had this idea almost eight years ago. We did one song seven years ago, we liked, how it came out and so we decided to do a whole record, except it took us seven years to finish it ;-)

Right now we are both focused on promoting this record and we are already working on our next records (separately).

And what kind of involvement do you have in this project?
Vince did all the guitars and I did everything else. We wrote the songs together but often it would start with Vince sending me a guitar line or an A and a B... I would then build and produce an entire song around his original idea and often I would try to steer away from the direction I thought he was thinking about just to explore the road less travelled.

Past The Mark is not a solo project but rather it features another member, who happens to be an Italian guitarist.  Would you give us a quick intro about this mystery guy?
He is no mystery, he's actually a very famous guitar player in Italy. He plays with all the major pop stars there and he works on a lot of records as guitarist, arranger and producer. He's an incredibly talented player, one of the best I've come across in my career. Past the Mark wouldn't exist without him. Past the Mark is myself AND him together.

How would you describe this project to our readers?
It's hard to come up with a description, but it boils down to being electronic music with rock guitar. Some songs are more ambient, some have world music or drum'n'bass influences, but the common thread is the electronic music production intertwined with the rock guitar lines. If you like things like some Jeff Beck's latest records, or David Torn's this might appeal to you, but the truth is, even if you have no connection or special interest in guitars, it is a beautiful record of beautiful songs that are not built around a virtuoso soloist.

The debut album of Past The Mark is released through Nu-Jazz which seems to be quite a young label if I am not wrong.  What can you tell us about this label?
Nu-Jazz is a Glasgow based record label run by this really cool guy named Pete Fletcher. Pete has a unique approach to releasing other people's music and one that is based on purely wanting to support the music he likes. He works on trust and doesn't even require his artists sign contracts. He allows his artists to retain full copyrights of their material and to work with other labels as they desire. It's quite amazing really. Pete seems to really care about the music and put a lot of effort in promoting it and that's why we decided to release the CD through Nu-Jazz. It is my first time working with Pete as an artist but I met him through my online music magazine Chain D.L.K. (

As some people know, you are also behind 'The M.E.M.O.R.Y. Lab'.  How are things going at the moment?  Should we expect anything in the coming future from this project?
Most likely not. As much as I have enjoyed that parenthesis of my life and working with the old Nick I'm interested in moving on to new things. It would be nice to do something with the old Nick again but the M.E.M.O.R.Y. Lab was 15 years ago, Past the Mark is now. The future holds other things.

How would you describe your sensations if you were to talk about both Past The Mark and The Memory Lab? Would you give more or less priorities to one or the other?
Past the Mark is the priority right now because it is more new and current. I haven't forgotten about the M.E.M.O.R.Y Lab. I still have records at home of both bands and still try to promote both.

I know that you spend a lot of time in the studio dealing with sound engineering etc..Having said that, you also mixed the latest album of Aborym666.  Can you tell us more about this involvement?
Actually I didn't mix their record, I just did some sound supervision and electronic production for it. We talked about possibly me mixing the next one, but we'll see how it goes. I am friends with the founder/leader Fabban because we used to be part of the italian black metal band Funeral Oration back in the days. Fabban also played with the M.E.M.O.R.Y. Lab for a short while back in the days. Engineering is my job and I love it. I do it every day and for many different artists and genres.

What is your opinion towards Aborym666?
I think they are a great band. I dig the fact that they've been doing it for so many years but they also keep evolving with every record. They are a very interesting band.

You work mainly with contemporary musical genres as we all know.  Was it something like exploring new dimensions when you worked with Aborym666 album (given the difference of the genre)?
Actually I've been in metal bands and have listened to a lot of metal in the past so it wasn't a new thing to me. I work with all sort of genres. Because I am a sound engineer I get to work with everything from jazz to blues, rock to metal, new jazz to free jazz, avantgarde/experimental to classical/neoclassical. I love the dynamics of that. It keeps it interesting!

From the musical side of your activities, or better - being a musician, are there any other musicial genres you desire to explore and to experiment?
My next record will be a noise record and after that I will be releasing a doom metal record. I'm also working on a third record which will be more dark/ambient. I have so many ideas but just not a lot of time.
Vince also just released his new record "Invisibili Distanze" ( which is sort of a mixture of acid dark/rock, metal and pop.

Marc, how do you keep yourself active during your free time?  Do you have free time after all?
Honestly I don't have much free time at all, that's why it takes me forever to work on my music. At night I go out to concerts, watch movies or hang out with friends but during the day I'm always doing something music-related.

New York! You've been in there for quite a while!  Are there issues as seen in the media affecting you in a way or another (such as live in general)?
No city is perfect but New York is the most perfect place I found for who I am and what I do. I love the energy of this city, it inspires me. Of course there is a lot that is wrong and could be better, but that's true for everywhere you go.

All right Marc, for conclusions, do you wanna add something that perhaps I didn't mention?
I'd like to mention that our record is also available in a special deluxe 3D cover origami foldout version from our website pastthemark.comand that you can buy the CD from CDBaby, iTunes or

Support music always! 

Visit and stream the album on

Intie provided by Jo (
Interviewer: Jo
Jun 23, 2011

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