Townsville fok songstress Kate Martin is on the verge of releasing her sophomore long player Hand Me My Bow and Arrow this March. The AU review's Larry Heath catches up with Ms Martin just before she begins her upcoming tour in support of the album.
Your second album Hand Me My Bow and Arrow comes out this March. Can you tell us a bit about the writing of the record - What was the process like?
All 11 tracks were written over the space of 12 to 18 months, I started looking ahead to the next project and throwing ideas around as soon as we released the first album, Synthetic Shoes And Leather Boots. For the most part, I was very absorbed in the process and really enjoyed delving into writing lush instrumental arrangements, a particular area in which I felt a new sense of creative freedom, possibly attached to the concept of 'new album equals new sound'. Although after listening to the finish product post mixing and mastering, there doesn't seem to be any genre-based comparison, at least not to me anyway. I feel really positive about its diversity!
As cliched as the question is, but where did you source your inspiration for it thematically?
I think the record in it's entirety is a raw reflection of the major events that had occurred over the last two years of my life. (dating from my first release and now up to my second) Melancholy, Joyous and everything in between I suppose! Although a lot of lyrical content stems from personal experience, I would also call myself very observational; I've also drawn from other people's life stories too. Hopefully this will create some sense of balance between the truth and fragility in some of my lyrics and maintaining whatever sense of mystique I can uphold/cling to.
Who did you work with on the record?
The sensational Michael Carpenter of Love Hz studios in Sydney (Leichardt). It's always an amazing journey to make a record with Michael; I swear he also has some sort of psychology certification as he always manages to preempt my melt downs, laughing fits and coffee breaks. We bounce ideas off each other really, really well. Often times getting too carried away, but sometimes we surprise ourselves. The record features lots of different session musicians, friends, as well as my backing band. I was also fortunate enough to bring my good friends and former members of The Middle East, Rohin Jones and Bree Tranter into the studio to feature on a couple of tracks dotted through out the album.
You're from Townsville - What kind of experience has that brought you as an emerging Australian artist? Is it easier/more difficult than perhaps being in a major centre?
Townsville is good for embracing young artists, it's an ideal place to hone your skills and cultivate your confidence; however these days the majority of shows I get offered are down south so at times it can pose practical and financial difficulties. Although I'm very fortunate to have a lovely manager who looks after me and the band, always making sure we get from point A to point B. Furthermore, we are making the move to Melbourne in July this year, it's all very exciting.
Some of your songs have featured in different films and advertisements. How does it feel to have your music publicised in this way?
It's very humbling. I've been fortunate enough to work with Gaga Music in Melbourne, they've done wonderful things for me thus far. I find it encouraging when other people have visions for your music, it's always a thrill to hear one of my songs under an ad or in a soundtrack; it reinvents the song for me personally, to see just how someone else might interpret my music. I have such an intrigue and respect for people in the publishing industry - they're always on the hunt for any kind of music with sync potential. I love the way they bring cinematic moments to life and help convey messages with more emotional weight.
How has it helped you career wise?
> Financially with out a doubt and the exposure has helped me to broaden my fan base. Landing one sync alone has the potential to reach thousands of people, and then from that, if my song resonates with 4 or 5 people and they want to come to my show then I'm over the moon! I'd say it's been a very effective form of publicity for me.
You've recently toured with names such as Bluejuice, The Paper Kites and Emma Louise. What have these experience been like?
It's been a real treat! Touring with these bands, collectively, has been an unforgettable adventure and individually they're all such beautiful people so it's been great to establish new friendships. Something I've noticed is that family vibe everyone begins to feel when two or more bands hit the road together. Sell out shows are a bit of a thrill too!
What type of audience do you find you and your music to draw?
I don't think you can really define my audience by a single group, We get a wide range of ages coming along to gigs and especially online, we attract a really diverse bunch from a lot of different countries.
Your new video for "Candle Burnin' Wax Dripping" is very dreamy. Can you tell us a bit about how this came together?
We were fortunate enough to have access to our very talented friends Robert Crispe, Jess Nickson, Ben Hung (SalivaShake), Elizabeth James, Aaron Ashley and Rachel Britton. The preparation involved baking hundreds of ornament dough stars which were suspended above us by twine, and eventually destroyed. Robert is a digital installations whiz so he made an animated projection to fall over us as we played. We also covered a giant beach ball in aluminum to signify the moon, what a task that was. And then we sought out industrial fans and smoke machines which made everything twice as fun! It was a home grown project too, which makes it all the more sentimental.
You've gone from a solo acoustic artist, to an artist with a full band. Why the change?
I've been playing with the band for almost two years now. I think the catalyst for the change was releasing the first album back in 2010 and then deciding it would be great to have the luxury of incorporating as many of the recorded post production elements into the live set as possible. I really appreciate my band, they breathe life into my live shows however I'll always love playing on my own. I just feel there's more freedom to go with where you feel the music is leading you at that particular point in time. I think being able to carry the weight of your song with a band is just as important as that song being able to stand up on it's own two feet played solo.
What are your upcoming tour plans?
I'm playing a duo gig with my guitarist Dave-O in Cairns at the tanks this Friday night (2nd March) supporting Josh Pyke, then a show at Oxford Arts in Sydney on the 16th of March with the band! However we officially hit the road all throughout May in support of the new album (Hand Me My Bow And Arrow).