Andy Martin's debut EP Living In The Heat Of It All, is out now! We chat to the musician about his music and so much more.
Brisbane musician Andy Martin has today released his debut EP, Living in the Heat of it All.
Navigating themes of love, heart break and mental health, the six track release sees the musician take on the ambitious task of being the sole performer on the EP. Martin wrote and recorded each instrumental part across the release, giving the musician full creative license over the tracks. The personal and introspective tracks touches on internal conversations the singer has had with himself, presenting an unparalleled vulnerability threaded throughout the songs.
Produced by James See, the EP came to be after Martin secured secured funding from Arts Queensland to complete and release Living in the Heat of it All. The release takes its inspiration from the American rocker Bruce Springsteen, British rocker Sam Fender, The War on Drugs, guitar virtuoso John Mayer as well as the Australian songstress Gretta Ray. Martin weaves influences of folk music throughout the classic Australian rock soundscape present on the release.
Formerly fronting indie-rock band HANDLES, Martin has stepped out on his own and is currently under the mentorship of Powderfinger guitarist Ian Haug. Receiving training as a trumpet player, the musician has performed with internationally acclaimed brass bands as well as played leads in various musicals.
Living in the Heat of it All is out now! Read our interview with Andy Martin below.
Tell us a bit how your musical journey began…
A longgg longgg time ago…. The first instrument I began playing was the trumpet at age 7. My brother had a trumpet at home and didn’t really love it. I was always interested in sound and music as a kid. My Dad was playing in a brass band (and still is now) on the euphonium and I always thought it was so cool, especially seeing him perform. I started on the Trumpet and then slowly picked up instruments over time and taught myself as I was always so interested in exploring new sounds and challenging myself. I am constantly inspired.
The EP is quite an ambitious project in the way that you are the sole performer on each track, playing all the instrumentation yourself. What prompted you to undertake recording each part yourself and how did you find that process?
There’s probably a couple of reasons. Firstly, because I suppose it means that I have all the creative license. That’s not necessarily a good thing… but it means that I am accountable for everything. Also, I felt like it was a bit of a challenge for myself because I always wanted to put out a record where I was playing all the instruments that the audience is hearing. Another reason is that I sometimes find it hard to truly translate what I’m wanting with my music at the time and my brain goes a million miles a minute. I think with this project I had a vision and it may be selfish on my behalf, but I wanted to explore that vision to its biggest potential.
Opening with the jangly My Heart Is Not Beating In Time, the track comments on an old relationship but also touches on mental health, specifically anxiety and depression. These themes are conceptually weaved throughout the whole release. What prompted you to explore and navigate these topics?
I suppose I just wanted to write about exactly how I was feeling at a point in time. My music is a “refined brain dump” of everything that’s going on in my mind. I love hard, I fall hard, I give 100% to everything I do, I try to please people to the best of my ability and sometimes the world just doesn’t allow you to do all those things simultaneously. That’s where some of my writing stems from. A friend once told me to: “Think of anxiety as a feeling, rather than a disorder” and music is a way for me to face this feeling and overcome it. It’s something I have lived with for a huge portion of my life and writing is my escape. The EP touches on a lot of internal conversations I’ve had in my own head, as well as heart break and the mental health themes you described in your question. My music sings of the lows in my life but I hope it makes people feel on a high.
How important was it for you to open up about mental health and anxiety as a male in a society where men aren’t as forthcoming with their mental struggles?
Super important. I have had multiple messages from some people I know and some people I don’t telling me how much my music meant to them/resonated with them. Especially those going through heartbreak/that have recently gone through heartbreak. It also feels more real for me to write about something I can relate to!
You’re a trained Jazz musician, how did you arrive at the indie-rock sounds prevalent on the EP?
I’ve always been interested/loved all genres of music. I think I ‘arrived’ at that style of sound because of my experiences in adolescents. The first big festival I went to was at the Kuranda Amphitheatre in 2012 and The Jungle Giants & Bluejuice played. I just remember thinking that I wanted to play on those stages with my own music one day. The same with the first Splendour in the Grass I attended… I just knew that I had to play the stage one day. It’s fun, energetic and heartfelt music.
What messages do you hope listeners take away from the release?
I hope they take some enjoyment out of this. I like to shed light on shitty situations and I hope that translates in my music.
You’re currently under the mentorship of Ian Haug. What’s it been like working with Ian and how has he helped shaped your career so far and this new release?
It’s been awesome. It’s quite humbling when someone who is WELL AND TRULY one of the greats in the Australian music scene showing an interest in your music. Ian has just been a good mentor and a great figure to discuss the ‘real’ side of the industry with. Can’t wait to keep working with Ian.
Could you tell us a bit about your creative process when writing and recording songs?
It changes for every song… some come together in a matter of minutes, some take a couple of years to come together. My recording process is just a whole lot of layering. Normally I put down a guide vocal/guitar and build off that. Normally when I go into the studio, I have a very clear idea of what I want to put down for all the parts.
Australia has a diverse and vibrant music scene, who are some of your favourite Aussie acts and why?
Ohhh, this is a hard one!! Hope D, Sycco & Shannen James are two of my favourite artists who I have discovered this year! Also, there have been some crazy album releases from Aussie artists through the pandemic. My favourite records of the year are courtesy of Spacey Jane, Gordi, Ball Park Music & San Cisco.
What do you think sets you apart from other Aussie acts?
I think I do bring a bit of a ‘nice guy’ image to the rock industry. I think with my wide background in music, as well as the fact that I am playing all of the instruments on the tracks, crafts a sound that I don’t think many, if any, are currently doing in the Australian music scene.
What has been the most challenging part about creating music during the COVID-19 pandemic?
I think my creative juices have been flowing more than ever during the pandemic… but the hardest thing has been not being able to share this with the world on the live stage.
You’ve performed a handful of shows during the pandemic. What has it been like performing these socially distanced shows as opposed to your usual performances? And how do you approach creating a set for a sit-down show?
It was something I had never really experienced before. Obviously the energy is wild when people are within an arms reach and dancing their hearts away… but it made it a little more intimate playing to a seated audience. I think I approached it like any other show I’ve done. The band and I put a whole lot of energy into the show like we would if we were playing to a rowdy crowd dancing in the front row! I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think in all shows, big or small, seated or standing, I find so much enjoyment in just sharing my stories with the people who are there with me.
The current pandemic has obviously put a halt to touring and performing live, what are your touring plans post pandemic? If any, what can people expect from one of your live show?
I’m hoping to do a national tour in support of this (and maybe some more new music) in February and March of next year. Watch this space. People can expect a whole lot of fun and energy and just some good old fashioned Guitar Pop Rock music.
Sam Fender, The War on Drugs, Gretta Ray & Gang of Youths are all huge influences on me.
John Mayer John Mayer John Mayer John Mayer John Mayer.
Album that has had the most impact on you?
Room For Squares – John Mayer.
How do you define your musical style in 3 words?
Guitar Pop Rock.
Best song of 2020?
I’m indecisive so here’s some of my faves: Ball Park Music – Cherub
Spacey Jane – Booster Seat
Phoebe Bridgers – Kyoto
Bombay Bicycle Club – I Can Hardly Speak
1975 – If you’re too shy let me know
Hannah Montana or Miley Cyrus?
Miley Cyrus – 10000%.
The best/most memorable show you’ve ever performed?
With my old band, HANDLES, to a SOLD OUT Brissy crowd! I just remember it was just crazy energy from the crowd and was awesome to share that with my bandmates.
Album you would listen to on repeat on a road trip?
John Mayer – Born and Raised.
Best concert you have been to?
John Mayer – Bluesfest 2014 or Mumford and Sons – 2013 – Kuranda Amphitheatre.
Last concert you went to?
(Apart from my own) I went to see an old friend from Cairns, Leanne Tennant, perform at The Tivoli. Ripper show! Check her out!
If you were a Spice Girl, what would your spice nickname be?
Guilty music pleasure?
Dua Lipa, Shawn Mendes & Harry Styles.
If you could support any artist on tour, who would it be?
It’d have to be Sam Fender… I think he’s my biggest influence.
An artist you think has had the most influence on the music industry.
Aretha Franklin & Whitney Houston were HUGE for their time. Also the Beatles for the way they brought ‘Rock & Roll’ to become the contemporary genre of their era, which is still constantly referenced by artists as an influence of theirs.
What advice would your current self, give your future self, for a year from now?
KEEP PUSHING… it’s gonna happen.
The moment you knew you wanted to be a musician?
The first time I played my music for a group of people I knew I wanted to be a musician.