In 2014 I started writing music with a sequencer for the first time.
I had been strumming the guitar and writing folk songs since I was 16
but it wasn't until I took up the keyboards for Blitzen Trapper in 2011 and
subsequently got obsessed with synthesizers that I realized how much fun songwriting could be.
A few years later I began messing around with an Akai MPC 1000,
which allowed even a novice like me to program simple beats and arrangments.
In the first flush of working in the new medium I wrote songs
like "Cascadian" and "Cold Comfort".
For many years I had wanted to make a solo album. It seemed to me that the
material was good and that I ought to commit myself to something more
than demos. Also I've long enjoyed playing solo shows so it was
worthwhile to me to craft a physical memento for the showgoer.
So I worked with the MPC when I could over the next year and came up with a dozen good songs
and recorded them myself as best I could. But I had a lot of misgivings;
the recordings didn't seem good enough; my vocals were uninspired; the work struck me as too mournful.
Meanwhile I was getting overwhelmed with new ideas at such a rate that I didn't have the time or focus
or inspiration to structure songs or even write lyrics.
In February 2016 I sat in a van in icy Europe for two weeks as Blitzen Trapper
worked its way across the north of that continent. I brooded on the work I had done
and allowed all my new ideas to percolate and wash over me. The tour was maybe
my favorite BT tour ever, and when I got home to an equinoctal Portland I was
flying high on a mix of confidence and wonder.
For the next two weeks I stood at my desk and looked out over the neighborhood
and got all the stuff in my head out. Now I was using the OP-1 to frame this
stuff out and I only paused long enough to scribble some lyrics down now and then.
At the end of this I had 15 demos of stuff that was exciting to me.
My friend Martin Gonzalez was mixing some Blitzen Trapper shows and we talked about
what I'd been doing and he was interested enough to listen to my demos and offer to
help me finish a record. So I ended up jettisoning most of the MPC songs in favor of
a bunch of the new jams. We used the basic tracks from my demos for most of it, hence the
brevity of most of the songs: I was just getting the song out and once it was I moved
on to the next.
I have written and read a lot of bios for bands and musicians over the years.
(If you want to read a "straight" Marty bio there's one hidden in the source code.)
But this is a better start to understanding this music, I think. I'm pretty bummed out
by the music biz most of the time, but I always get blown away by music itself, it's been
the best thing in my life for long seasons. I hope Skookum Sound
makes you feel a
little better for a little while.
Hi-res B&W image
by Jade Harris :: For press inquiries or booking please contact Marty