I’m out there, I’m crazy. People see it’s genuine and so they react to it -says Leo Moracchioli.
Every week for the past two years, Leo Moracchioli has been posting a fully-produced recording and music video to his wildly popular YouTube channel, Frog Leap Studios, which has reached a remarkable 1,050,000 subscribers.
He sings the vocals, plays all the instruments, creates the arrangements, edits, mixes and produces every song, right down to shooting and starring in the videos (occasionally enlisting his young daughter as an apt co-star).
This one-man-show has found a new brand of genre-crossing that is hitting the spot for multitudes of hungry fans: heavy metal covers of hit songs.
Heavy Metal Didn’t Bring In Much Money
Moracchioli takes songs everyone knows and loves, then passes them through the filter of his heavy metal brain.
“Metalizing the songs is the easy part – I don’t have to think about it,” says Moracchioli who has been recording for 20 years and comes from a metal background.
He paid his dues performing in metal bands in Norway, which is known for it’s high number of heavy metal groups per capita.
“I never made any money doing heavy metal live!” he says, laughing.
His arrangements deliver the riff-based aggression and growl of metal via melodies and lyrics of pop hits.
There is something about the way he growls through the choruses of “Let It Go” and “Poker Face” that brings out your inner rage in the most pleasing way.
Astounding Amount Of Output
“I think people like that it’s just one guy doing everything,” says Moracchioli when asked what appeals so much to his fans.
He says another factor of his success was that he had so many videos already on his channel when it suddenly went big with his metal cover of Adele’s “Hello” about a year ago.
“It was good I had so much on there, because people could come to my channel and stay there for hours.”
It is almost unheard of for an artist to single-handedly produce musical content at the rate and volume he does.
It is not just metal covers that he creates. He also puts out instructional videos and acoustic covers, reaching up to a dozen videos per month.
He says he has had fans telling him he should take a break once in a while, but he can’t bring himself to skip a week.
“You wouldn’t do this if you didn’t have the burn to do it,” he says regarding the insane pace of his work.
Being “Out There” Rocks
OK, so his heroic work ethic puts us all to shame, but it is clearly not the only thing attracting multitudes of fans to a musician who doesn’t tour much and who lives in the mountains of Norway.
Maybe it’s his Shavo Odadjian beard?
“I’m out there. I’m crazy. If you just put it all out there, people see it’s genuine and so they react to it.”
He’s enormously creative and you can see that he puts 100% of himself into everything he does.
“People assume I think a lot about my concept for a song, but I just do what comes to me.”
When filming, he’ll see something lying on the ground, and just start doing something with it. “A lot of it is spur-of-the-moment.”
Moracchioli says it is easy for him to have fun with the videos.
But don’t go assuming this is all fun and games.
Leo’s Serious Side
“No matter how crazy my videos may be, I take the music production very seriously,” says Moracchioli.
Not just anyone can crank up the overdrive on their amp, scream through “Hello” and end up with something we want to listen to.
Leo’s musical integrity and attention to detail are key elements to his successful genre bending.
Not only is he an accomplished musician and multi-instrumentalist, but he knows how to record, edit, mix and film.
He humbly explains that he is not great at anything but he can do a lot of things well enough.
And, a little controversy doesn’t hurt either, he says, referring to the listeners who were inspired by his cover of “Hello” on Sirius radio, only to be offended by his video because he seems to be making fun.
Despite a few offended listeners, Leo has obtained a license to sell his covers on iTunes, and they are flying off the electronic shelves.
“The fact that people will go and buy my music,” says Moracchioli, “shows me that the song is good.”
Leo Moracchioli runs a studio on the west side of Norway where he does metal and acoustic covers on YouTube, gear reviews, records and produces bands, plays live shows and video work.