Martin Page: Acclaimed Songwriter and Musician
Since this interview was originally published back in July 2013, Martin Page has released a couple more albums – The Slender Sadness (The Love Songs) and The Amber of Memory.
TSM: Martin, it’s so wonderful to have you back in TSM for this follow-up interview. I know my readers will enjoy hearing more from you. 🙂
MP: It’s my pleasure, Jessica; it’s good to be talking to you and your readers again.
TSM: At the time of our last interview, you were working on A Temper of Peace, which is now out. Tell us about this album and the instruments you play on it.
MP: A Temper Of Peace is an album I’ve always wanted to make. I’d always fancied making a record on which I played all the instruments – becoming a one-man-band, so to speak. When I was a kid, I loved albums by Todd Rundgren, Stevie Wonder, Stevie Winwood and Paul McCartney, who achieved this; I found these truly “solo” records to be very intimate, and for me, there was a certain magic in the way these records sounded – they had a “home-made” feel to them. I set out to do the same on A Temper of Peace. I play many instruments on the LP – including mandolin, drums, African percussion, acoustic and electric guitars, fretless and electric bass, piano and keyboards, and even kitchen utensils (knives and forks) for percussion. I wore many hats, indeed.
TSM: The sculpture on the album cover is interesting and beautiful. Who is the sculptor? Or was it your creation and sculpting is another talent of yours 🙂 ?
MP: The image on the album cover is a detail of the sculpture called “Day” by Paul Howard Manship. I discovered the piece whilst visiting The Huntington Library and Gardens in Pasadena. I often go there to cool out and get close to nature – meditate. The sculpture is on exhibit there, and once I discovered it, it spoke to me. I loved the spiritual energy the piece represents, and I immediately knew that it should be my album cover. To me, it somehow reflected my new music, and graciously, The Huntington allowed me to use it.
TSM: With your A Temper of Peace album I know you played all the instruments yourself on it. Is this something you’d like to continue doing with other albums? Are you now at work on the next one? And where would you like to see your music going in the future?
MP: Each album I do speaks to me in its own unique way. The songs, the spirit, the soul of the material designates to me how an album should be conceived and built. A Temper of Peace was always designed to be a truly solo project. In fact, I also produced, engineered and mastered the project in my home studio. It was a challenge I’ve always wanted to take on. Now that I’ve done that, I’m sure my next project – when it appears – will be a very different animal. I don’t like to repeat myself; I prefer each album I record to have its own distinct personality. I never stop writing songs, and lately my songs have been very rhythm- and groove-oriented … I’m finding my heritage in the relevance of the “spiritual” within rhythm –- my early influences were black music, and at present, I’m investigating that heavily.
TSM: Any plans for touring?
MP: At the moment, I don’t have any plans to tour. I’m a studio dog who adores to write and record; I’m always wondering what my next song is going to be, so I’d need a damn good reason to lure me back out on the road again – and tear me away from writing songs. I love performing live, but writing songs is my true addiction.
TSM: I know you’ve already worked with award-winning songwriters, producers and artists. Is there anyone in particular you’d love to work with in the future who you haven’t yet? And of the people you have, is there one in particular out of them who you’d like to work with again?
MP: I’ve been very fortunate in my career to work with my musical idols, and I’ve been very satisfied with the results of those collaborations. I’m a fan of all music, all genres; I think that was the key to my success as a songwriter and producer …I could fit in with many styles – from Earth, Wind & Fire to Robbie Robertson, Josh Groban to Robbie Williams – so I’m always open to new collaborations in the future that I can learn from. I keep my options open!! Who knows where my songs may take me?
TSM: Can you describe a typical day in the studio?
MP: My days in my home studio consist first of all of having a cup of tea! (I am English, after all). Then I’m ready to experiment. Without that cup of tea, who knows if the muse would appear?? The studio is my church, and I’m religious about getting in there most days. I go with my gut instinct when writing songs, although my days are methodical and disciplined. I turn up to work and try to allow experimentation and inspiration – raw freedom – to rule the day. I either pick up a guitar or play a keyboard to write. That’s the magic that has kept me interested all these years. You have to turn up for work, but you also have no idea what will occur – what mysteries will appear, or magic will happen out of thin air. Art and creativity is medicine for me, so my studio is not only my church, it is also my “healing” ground.
TSM: What are your thoughts on reality talent competitions such as American Idol, The Voice, etc.? Do you feel it’s a good platform for discovering new talent?
MP: To be honest, I don’t watch those shows. They smack off commercialism a little too much for my taste. The process of judging people – especially in “sound bites” – runs a risk of promoting negative competition, and sometimes unnecessary aggression, which doesn’t bode well for allowing true music or talent to shine or become meaningful in my eyes.
TSM: When you’re not working, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
MP: I love playing soccer in my off-days. As a kid I was a semi-professional back in England, so that’s a great release. I love to read, and I’m an ardent book collector. It’s been a thrill to recently build a home library. I love the feel, the smell, the atmosphere of “real” books. I’m also still a massive music collector, and very liable to be found frequenting the Amoeba Records store in Los Angeles, searching through hard-to-find old Reggae, Folk, Blues, Classical and Funk recordings – with an armful of CD’s. I guess I’m an all ‘round media nut.
TSM: Anything else you’d like to share? And where can our readers find out more about you and your work?
MP: You can find me on Facebook (facebook.com/martinpagemusic) and Myspace (myspace.com/martinpage), and my music is on iTunes and CD Baby, and many other internet stores.
TSM: Thanks so much for doing another interview for TSM. 🙂 Continued success to you and best always in the future.
MP: It’s just been great catching up with you and your readers again, Jessica, and I wish you and the mag the best of luck for the future. Until next time – Cheers, Martin