Music is never “just music”. There is always a story behind each track and each album. We here bring you the complete story behind Marcos Ciscar’s “Galactica“, a twenty year old dream that was brought to life in 2017. It truly is a fascinating journey Marcos has been on.
Marcos Ciscar was born in 1973 in Stockholm, Sweden. Son of Swedish mother Felice and Spanish father José. One sister, Cecilia. His childhood home was a creative environment with lots of music. As a young boy he tested out the kindergarten´s xylophone and glockenspiel, the father´s upright piano, flutes on the obligatory recorder lessons; then moving on to synths and tape recorders, mixers, record players, microphones, samplers and the like in the 80th as a youngster. José was partly a piano teacher so Marcos tried out traditional piano lessons but failed to put effort in learning to read a score. As he dreamed of making his own music he felt that he didn´t need to read someone else´s scores. Boyish but true. The solution was to pick up songs on the radio and then try to play them on the piano. “Forever young” by Alphaville was one of those song, he remembers.
So, years went by and Marcos recorded melodies on his father´s Philips cassette record player on top of the piano, experimented with synths and sometimes played the drums or whatever was lying around at his or his friends´ homes. After some concerts at school he also had a duo together with Dennis Wojda, called “Berlinerplatz”. The duo made synth music with an avant garde approach. The two friends still have contact and they are planning to present Berlinerplatz to the world in the future. Their live gigs in Stockholm attracted a neat little crowd, for what it´s worth.
One day at the music store “Soundside” on Götgatan in Stockholm Marcos was testing a new synth when this very sweet, musically dedicated fellow approached him with the now somewhat classical question: “Did you ever consider writing music for radio?” His name is Marcel Robé, a true radio addict and they worked together for many years after this “Dr Livingstone, I presume” kind of meeting. Today Marcel works in the radio business, of course. Back then he was a real radio-jingle fanatic and collected stuff from all over the world. Actually some of their jingles were listened to at TM Century Radio Jingles in the US and they really liked the sound! During those years Marcel and Marcos made jingles to Radio Stockholm and many other Swedish radio stations and the first job was done when Marcos was still just 16 years old.
At the same time Marcos also started to create his own instrumental music. First at home and then in a studio that he had together with established keyboard player Peter Ljung. This was a very creative period trying out different styles of music. Marcos produced some library tracks and learned how to sample sounds. One grey day when nothing was going on with his music he suddenly gets a phone call from Per Feltzin at the Swedish National Radio. He had his own program “Delta” in the classical channel P2 and wanted to play the track “Over the oceans” in it. He played the whole 14 minute track nation wise and it also came again in the reprise. Marcos was barely 19 years old. Shortly after this Marcos suffered from sickness and had to remove his left lung. Maybe this is why he keeps playing the flutes simply as some kind of survival instinct to keep working the air flow?
After that he learned that things move up and down. Sometimes you´re on the charts, then the phone is silent and the piano is staring you. That´s life. Lots of things happened after this: Marcos composed music for a eco-fashion show, made songs with his student friends, his track “From the eagle´s eye” was played on radio in Vancouver, Canada. He moved to Värmland and created his studio and a local radio show with a group of new friends etc etc. The first daughter, Maya was born in 1997 and after a couple of years in the countryside Marcos settles down in Filipstad with his family in the same yellow 18th century house where he lives today.
In 1998 brought new friendships and the production of many CD albums by other artists and also by himself. The debut album “Biosphere” came out in 1999 and “Ocean Song” in 2001. That year he also created music for both the Swedish Ski Masters and Mountain-bike Masters. In the radio studio he made lots of voice-overs for commercials. That “side-career” has evolved a lot since then and is now something he does on a weekly basis. As an example Marcos is the voice of FOX TV in Sweden. His second daughter, Lisa was born in 2002. When participating as a producer for Rolf Carlsson in ESC – Sweden in 2002 he met Håkan Krantz who was a representative of Universal back then.
Some months later the new song “Spirits of love” was finished and Marcos presented it to his contacts in the music business. This was actually the first time he recorded something with an Irish tin-whistle. They all loved it but Håkan was the quickest to grab it and he had a good reason. For several months he had been looking for new music to the upcoming TV series “Arns Rike”. Arn is a fictive templar created by the author Jan Guillou and his books about Arn were doing very well in Scandinavia. One sweet episode about all this is that Marcos has everything to thank Håkan´s wife, Annie Krantz for the success of his Arn music that followed. Håkan was sitting by the computer looking for music on behalf of TV4 but didn´t find anything that matched the series needs. By chance, Annie was passing by just at the right moment when Håkan received the e-mail from Marcos with “Spirits of love” and while he was listening to it Annie said “there´s your Arn music, right there!” And the rest is history…
Now the wheels of the music business started to work with great energy and power. Everything happened at the same time. “Spirits of love” was re-titled to “Livets väg”, The path of life. New songs were created in a row. The music was contemporary but with historical flavours. Big choirs and rare instruments. Deals and contracts. Videos and marketing. Big posters of “Arn de Gothia by Ciscar” on the subways of Stockholm and on the trams of Gothenburg. The name “Ciscar” was all over the place. The series´ first episode had over one million viewers. Suddenly, he had fans all around the world. It was a big privilege to release the album “Arn de Gothia” on the Columbia label. A fine label with Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen as other artists on it. Is this happening? he asked himself. TV shows like “Bingolotto”, Top 20 albums list, “Svensktoppen” etc etc. And as if this was not enough Håkan Krantz received a call from an eventmaker. They wanted to set up big concerts in the summer of 2004 at Dalhalla in Rättvik. For those who don´t know, Dalhalla is a spectacular outdoor stage placed in a big whole left after opencast mining. The stage is huge and often used for large operas. In front of the stage there´s a little green lake and just walking down there to your seat is an experience in its own right.
Of course Håkan and Marcos said yes and concerts were made both in 2004 and 2005. Naturally, this is one of the absolutely finest moments in his musical career. Imagine yourself playing your own music on this fantastic stage, backed up with some of Sweden´s finest singers, musicians, and live actors. Sadly, the show was too expensive to carry on with. Solo artists, orchestra, folklore group, choir, dancers, live actors, horses and fireworks… this show was the works! After this Marcos really understands what it means to step up front on stage and perform to a crowd of thousands of people. It´s really not as easy as it looks.
The years went on and more music was made. Amongst other things music to “Stockholm Horse Show – the 15 years anniversary”. Marcos also made a couple of own albums together with producing many more for other artists. And made commercials. His third daughter, Nellie was born in 2011.
Another milestone in his career was the collaboration the same year with Danish record label Fönix Musik. “Music for Mindfulness” was record-of-the-year on that label´s list and charted at nr 1 for several months. A great success that gave Marcos his first golden record. Some albums in the same style followed and more are to be expected in the wellness genre which is one of Marcos´ missions here on earth – to create music that inspires and heals.
In 2013 it was time for a big gift from life again. The music of Arn had inspired the artist and creator Jon Anderzon to write a completely new musical called “I ljus och mörker”, In light and darkness, just like the love song from Arn. A very intricate story about prejudice both in the age of witch-burning and in today´s hardcore internet environment. The musical involved around 1.000 persons in three Swedish cities. The production was very bold combining live acting with film scenes in a seamless flow. Marcos was invited to take part of this grand musical and received great response from the audience when presented after the show. Together with Dalhalla, “I ljus och mörker” is one of the greatest highlights in his career. He remembers crying secretly while sitting there in the dark watching and listening…
Life as such also contains both light and darkness and Marcos found himself in the middle of a strong life crisis and stress syndrome. During many nights with insomnia the cure was improvising on the piano and many new songs were created this way. The studio, with the isolation and focus it brings spending time there gave Marcos the silence and introspective time he needed to heal. The songs were later collected in the album “Silence is God”. It reached the third place on iTunes Swedish list for instrumental music when released in 2015.
After this life crisis the circle was closed with the completion of “Galactica”, Marcos´ space music album that he dreamed about since being a youngster. He always wanted to make a strong instrumental album in the air of Mike Oldfield´s “Tubular bells”, Jean-Michel Jarre´s “Oxygene”, Vangelis´ “Bladerunner” and Pink Floyd´s “The dark side of the moon”. When feeling strongly for that music as a young man he didn´t have the tools needed nor the skills. But in the present stage of life with over 25 years of experience and a private recording studio with no ticking clock the door was open to complete this mosaic of collected themes, sounds and emotions. He wanted to make use of the instruments of that era together with his themes and power it with new visions. “Retro futurism”, as he once stated. The name “Galactica” was actually a name he proposed for a local radio show he planned together with Marcel back in the days in Stockholm. Marcos studied cosmic science at the university of Stockholm and was always fascinated with the universe on several levels.
Galactica is the mature embodying of a twenty year old dream and was released in 2017. At present, Marcos is performing as a new member of the Swedish group “Soul to Soul” and composing new music for short films, theatre and future albums.
Make sure to visit Marcos’ homepage.
Above text by the artist.