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Marty talks more about the Mood Maidens Print E-mail
Monday, 30 January 2006
Kindly posted by Escheresque in Hotelwomb.com I've posted a link to the published version of this interview in the gigs thread, but here's the full text of our conversation:

I?m talking to Marty on his mobile phone, while he's sitting in his neighbour?s front garden in Bondi, borrowing a wireless internet connection, and he?s waxing about technology:

?The convenience is great - with my 200 gig external drive I can create a library of music from records I have spread around the world and dump selections onto my iPod. But as an aesthete I really miss vinyl ? you know, the artwork and opening up a gatefold sleeve and everything else, but convenience isn't the issue where art is concerned.?

So does art need to be more than just data?

?I am impressed with data because I can fit nine Moody Blues albums on my iPod. I'm just as obsessed with music as ever but I want the whole lot ? I don?t want one Can album, I want them all ? the whole catalogue plus the bootlegs. I?m still collector, an audiophile and a completist, but the iPod allows me to be a travelling completist, which is a massive plus for data as a medium, but ultimately I?d rather transport my lounge room and my gatefold sleeves with me on the plane.?

Do you think the addition of the band has brought something new and fresh to your songs?

?Everything we're playing was written before The Mood Maidens came about, but working with a piano and strings makes me think more about arrangements; about how those instruments would interpret the songs you've already written and whether that leads to them being played in a different way. A friend came to a show in Sydney and told me he was moved to tears by the way the strings drew emotions he hadn't heard before out of songs he already knew.?

Is their any plan to record and release the Mood Maidens' material?

?There?s a track on a Nick Drake tribute that came out last year called ?Jeremy Flies 2?, where we did the song 'Fly' from his album 'Bryter Later'. We've also recorded a track for an Elliott Smith tribute record that's coming out sometime this year - we did a version of ?Everything Means Nothing To Me? that I don?t play guitar on ? I just sing and play drums! That track also has Tracy Ellis from Knievel playing bass. I have about eight songs I?m hoping to record with this band if we can get into the studio before The Church gets rolling again.?

What can audiences expect from the live shows up here?

?I?m toying with the idea of doing a poetry reading as a separate preface to the gig, maybe like poetry for the people who care enough to be there early. Poetry performance is a different animal, and I?ve found some audiences are uncomfortable with poetry.?

Is there a challenge for you as an artist to inspire an audience?

?Yes, but it?s not just up to the artist to be good, its up to the audience to react to whether an artist ? be they singer, songwriter, guitarist, whatever - is good. Most audiences respond to what they know about who they?re seeing. I have a better chance to connect with an audience than someone they don?t know, but I can?t hope to connect to an audience they way Bob Dylan might. That symbiosis is a fickle beast, a bit like sports crowds. I?ve been watching the tennis and when the crowd gets behind Samantha Stosur, for example, she lifts her game. Imagine how she?d play if nobody cared every time she hit a winner. Sometimes they don't care if the player loses. I have a desire to communicate as a person as well as letting music do the talking. The audience has to respond by listening but I think they have a responsibility to perform as well as the artist does. Another factor is the environment demands respect, which is why I like gigs like The Troubadour, and I don't like playing universities, cos the setting isn't conducive to a receptive audience. The environment of the university campus has changed since the 60s and now they have become all right wing. It used to be university was a place to go to study the arts, things like history and literature and culture, and now they?re somewhere to go to learn how to make money.?

Is it possible to compare the new songs to material from a previous record you have released? Be it solo, with the Church or any other project?

?How can this even be an interview when we're just talking about music? It?s like Peter Greenaway?s film ?The Draftman's Contract? ? you can't have a tangent in a process or a conversation that involves tangents as its core. Music is about tangents, so we can?t veer off tangentially without ending up back on track. To answer your question, yes and no!?

You've inspired a great number of guitarists over the years. Who do you look up to?

?Oh wow, there are so many of them: Jeff Beck, Richard Thompson, Jimmy Page, Paul Kossof, Roy Buchanan, Terje Rypdal (he's a brilliant Norwegian guitarist), Tom Verlaine, Bill Nelson, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa.?

What does the future hold for you after this tour?

?Once this tour is over I'm back to The Church - we've got a really big event coming up in March that I don?t think I can talk about yet, then we?re releasing a brand new studio album and touring the world! I have another Noctorum album mixed and sequenced but not mastered; and we?re just nailing the details for the cover. It?s called ?Offer The Light? and that should be out later this year too.
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