One of the most recognisable figures of the Polish alternative music scene. As a multi-instrumentalist playing drums and bass and singing, he is active in musical projects including Mitch & Mitch, Starzy Singers and Baaba.
Born Maciej Moruś in 1975 in Środa Wielkopolska, he co-founded the record label Lado ABC in 2004, together with Paweł Szamburski and a group of friends. Moretti is also a gifted graphic designer, and does album covers for bands including Hey and Voo Voo.
Macio Moretti is reluctant to talk to journalists and isn’t fond of authorising written interviews or putting on make-up for televised talks. His friend Paweł Szamburski said Moretti used to send monkey photos to reporters instead of his own, as a practical joke. His official bio, used by the manager of a few of his groups, humorously states that Moretti played in almost all countries of the world including Nauru, Kiribati and the Federation of St. Kitts & Nevis. From sparse accessible information, one might put together a portrait of a man interested in playing music without paying much attention to the hype that surrounds it.
Moretti was determined to become a musician as a boy. He used to listen to the Beatles a lot – something he picked up from his father. When his parents split up he was about 9 and the songs of the Liverpool band helped him survive that stress and cope with the situation. Music became important to him and he decided it would play a significant part in his life. The path to becoming a professional musician was a winding one. Moretti grew up in Warsaw. He was kicked out of high-school, which he completed as an extramural student, and never went to college. A high-school buddy gave him the nickname Moretti. They used to hang out at a Francuska Street pizzeria that used an oven made by the Moretti company named Moretti and the pseudonym stuck. His first full-time job was waiting tables. After leaving it he started working as a graphic artist for the magazine Przekrój among others. Then he left his position at the magazine to become a full-time musician. As he puts it: "In life I like to do what I want to".
One of the first records Moretti appears on is Baaba’s Con Gas from 2001. Baaba mergies far-ranging styles: soul, disco and metal. Moretti became their drummer and remains a member. He also recorded as Antigama's bass player, but his collaboration with the death metal and grindcore bandended in 2002. A year later came Luv Yer Country, the debut album by Mitch & Mitch, the group founded by Moretti, playing drums, and guitarist Bartek Magneto, whom he knew from their project Starzy Singers. The band's 'eastern country' songs reference cowboy music with a Slavic flavor, a risky aesthetic given the gross unpopularity of country music in Poland. But Mitch & Mitch enjoyed underground popularity, with their debut noticed in the Austrian music journal Skug, where Bernadette Karner wrote:
Mitch & Mitch from Warsaw make you feel good with their album "Love Yer Country". The question is, whether their declaration concerns Poland or the musical genre? The opening song "Tramp of the North" sways like a fatigued jukebox vinyl record and hides behind a combination of keyboard notes, which surely wouldn’t sound after pressing the button with "Grease" written on it.
Moretti, Paweł Szamburski and other friends founded the record label Lado ABC in 2004. The company is a haven for bands and artists that want to publish music without compromising to commercial demand. Lado operates on the Do It Yourself principle: Musicians in particular groups organize most aspects of the production process, giving them freedom in their artistic choices. Moretti once said that the label makes it possible to "realize your ideas the way they were thought of". The company publishes Paula & Karol, Paristetris and Ed Wood, among others.
Moretti has remained active in graphic design as an author of album covers. His work on the band Hey's record Echosystem in 2005 earned him the prestigious Fryderyk music award in the graphic design category. He has created covers for groups and artists including Ania Dąbrowska and Trzaska, Friis, Uuskyla. With five Fryderyk nominations, Moretti is the most nominated graphic designer in the history of the category, and collected statues in 2010 for Hey's 'Love! Attention! Help! Rescue!' and in 2012 for Nosowska’s '8'.
Moretti is known for diverse stylistic interests. He helped create the album Shofar in 2007, by the group of the same name, playing drums in the lineup with Raphael Rogiński (electric guitar) and Mikołaj Trzaska (saxophone/bass clarinet). The record was inspired by traditional Hasidic chants compiled by musicologist Mojsiej Jakowlewicz Bieregowski, who conducted most of his research before the Second World War in what is now Ukraine, Poland and Moldavia. The album was no great commercial success but that wasn’t something its creators aimed for. Moretti once described his approach in an interview:
I don’t really think about making a record and selling a 100 million copies of it (…). I basically want to have a cool life and I want to know that I didn’t waste it, that I did what I wanted to do.
Moretti played drums and bass on Honey Darlin in 2010 with Paristetris, a group known for its blend of punk and pop. The record was produced by Eddie Stevens, formerly of Moloko, with recording sessions in Argentina, where Paristetris was playing concerts. Moretti received the Phenomenon award the same year, given by his former employer, Przekrój magazine , for achievements in culture. The magazine Polityka presented him with its Passport prize in 2010, in the popular music category. Moretti commented that he doesn’t care much for awards but receiving a Passport was "a pleasant experience". He remains an active musician and currently collaborates with about ten different bands.
Author: Marek Kępa