We get to know Kate Martin, a Melbourne singer who’s just days out from the live launch of her new single ‘Set My Life To Fire’.
But that’s not all. She’s also got a third independent-released album incoming in the middle of the year and, as she tells us in our Q&A below, there’s another EP she’s been crafting “on the side”.
01. Name : Kate Martin.
02. Where are you based? Melbourne.
03. How did you get your start in music? I picked up a guitar at 14 and started learning songs I liked, then I began adapting the chords and melodies to make them my own. I wasn’t doing it consciously, it felt natural and pretty soon after that I realised I could write my own music.
04. Give us five words to best describe you as an artist. Open. Emotive. Focused. Resolute. Evolving.
05. Tell us a little bit about your sound and how it developed. My first album was very reflective of where I began; me and a nylon string acoustic, shaded with complimentary production. When I started work on my second album I was working closely with a band and finding myself drawn to bigger scale productions, I really enjoyed the process of making that album because I was able to use it as a platform to exhaust every single idea I had.
This album is an extension of myself and where I left off with my last album. I worked with a few different people on this album so that influenced the sound too. I’ve actually been chipping away at this album for a very long time, I think it’s been four years or something ridiculous like that. It was good to take things very slow with the making of this particular record but it’s not an approach I would recommend taking in general. In future I plan to execute my releases with much faster turn arounds.
06. Who have been your musical influences? My musical influences have always been broad. I sung in a few different choirs as a teen and always loved the magic of group vocal arrangements, I didn’t realise how much singing in choirs would influence my music and vocal production down the line.
Mostly I’m inspired by music that challenges me to write better music. To name just a few examples; Ólafur Arnalds, Tycho, and NAO are all artists I really respect who are different stylistically yet they evoke in me the same feelings of inspiration and spur me on creatively.
07. What are your favourite songs of all time? There are so many, my favourite song of late is ‘Girlfriend’ by NAO. I love the grit and power of that soaring chorus and the way it hits you in the sternum. So dynamic.
‘Talking To Myself’ by Gallant is also another favourite… brilliant writing and production. But production aside there are some songs that don’t need anything except a guitar and voice like Johnny Cash’s version of NIN’s ‘Hurt’. I believe that although he did not write that song it was always his. That song brings me to tears whenever I hear his timeless voice sing those heart breaking lyrics.
I’m actually covering ‘Hurt’ at an upcoming show, so I hope I don’t cry when I play it. Actually that would be kind of funny. In reference to my choir days, one of my favourite nostalgic songs is ‘Szello Zug’, a Hungarian choral arrangement that still gives me goosebumps whenever I hear it. Such delicate and well throughout vocal parts.
08. What was the first album you bought? It was ‘Katie Noonan’s Elixir Live at The Cornish Arms.’ When I was 13 I saw her perform at the Townsville Jazz Festival, I was in awe, I still am. She had all her CDs on sale and ‘Elixir’ was the only one I could afford, being strapped for pocket money funds and all. But I’m so glad I got it because it was one of the main soundtracks to my developmental years as a musician. I know every word and every saxophone solo by heart.
09. Give us a little fun fact about yourself that people might not know. I got kicked out of concert band in high school for improvising clarinet parts instead of reading the sheet music.
10. What would your chosen career be if music wasn’t an option? That’s a hard one to imagine, but maybe a counsellor or some from of therapist. I am fascinated by our inner workings and why we are the way we are. I would find great reward in helping people to better understand themselves. I guess that’s what I try to do with my music. That or some form of creative writing.
11. What’s the best advice you’ve been given in your career? David Bowie once said something very profound that resonated with me, “Never work for other people. I think it’s terribly dangerous for an artist to fulfil other people’s expectations, I think that’s when they generally produce their worst work.” Ultimately, especially creatively, it’s the artist who should be steering their career, and that means knowing yourself and when to put your foot down.
12. Tell us about your latest release. ‘Set My Life To Fire’ is the title track of the album and it has some existential undertones. I worked with Jon Hume on this one in his beautiful studio out in the Victorian countryside. My favourite line of lyric from the song is ‘I am but a vapour in the ocean, a terrifying thought but a beautiful notion.’ It’s about gaining perspective.
13. What do your future plans involve? Lots of music! Releasing this album, then releasing an EP I’ve been making on the side. I hope to play more shows too.
14. Where can our audience catch you live? I’m launching ‘Set My Life To Fire’ on March 24 at the Grace Darling Hotel in Melbourne. I’m really excited for this show!
WEBSITE : www.katemartinmusic.com
FACEBOOK : www.facebook.com/katemartinmusic
TWITTER : www.twitter.com/katemartinmusic
SOUNDCLOUD : https://soundcloud.com/kate-martin-music