Marty Willson-Piper

Questions With Answers Volume 2

This is the second collection of Marty's answers. The first selection is very interesting and you should definitely check it out if you haven't already done so.

If you would like to send him a question please send it to me and I'll forward it on.


March 26th 1998
The All About Eve mailing list recently had a posting from Julianne Regan in which she recounted her experiences with Marty joining the band. It fits in here quite nicely :) The document lives on the In The Clouds site - my thanks go to them.
March 25th 1998
Marty's face 8.6 K Brian Hamill asked a lot of questions !
Dear Marty, Hope you are well. I've been fascinated with your tone and style. Got some questions: What sort of settings do you use ( guitar & amp) when using the E-bow? The only tip I've gotten before has been to turn the tone down on the guitar. Do you use compression?How do you avoid the noise it causes over a single-coil pickup? Did you ever try going string -to-string with it for the sort of cello effect?

When writing a song, how do know when you've got a guitar part that will be conducive to, or inspire, a vocal melody? Do you change keys afterward to match your vocal range? I've noticed that the underlying chords on many songs are simple when you dissect them, and the magic is in the vocals and melody.

You once said in an interview that you were "not the dream-monger in this band". How do you feel about that now? Your music seems to have become more "spacey " since then- especially on things like 'It Could Be Anyone' (I think those are your caveman vocals toward the end). I think that's the best song on MATS.

In regard to your "jam-with" list- what do you think of Pete Townshend? He's done some great stuff, especially on 'Scoop' and 'Another Scoop'. He's amazing on the acoustic. Also, what's your favorite work of Robert Fripp's? Do you like his stuff on Scary Monsters?

Well, I appreciate your indulging me. Are you ever going to play in America again? You are my favorite guitarist in my favorite band, and I've never gotten to see you play live.
Take care, and thanks!--
Brian Hamill

Marty replied

Dear Brian,
First of all,we have to get signed before we talk about where we will play.I always saw America as the place where the most people get the idea,but that maybe because there is more people there than anywhere else except perhaps China and another couple of Asian countries where we are historically disliked.Something to do with the abuse of paisley and my dislike of red vegetables.

I like all of Fripps playing on everything.My most dissappointing gig though was the reformed King Crimson with Belew.There should not be an American singer in this band!Can you imagine Fairport Convention with John Prine! Or how about Pink Floyd with Jerry Garcia.Anyway,I hate his voice ,I hate his terrible stupid lyrics,I hate his guitar playing and I hate his suits.He drowned Fripp out with his guitar,his voice and his overbearing presence. Tragic.

Okay ,now this all is to do with their shows around their last record.I got Thrak but not Vroom.Have I got this right?One was like a jamming record and the other was the album proper.Anyway I got the jamming one but after the dissappointment of the concert I didn't bother with the studio album.Did I miss out ?Was it any good?I don't actually remember despising the three other records with Belew although the one about Sex.Typical New York analyst take (maybe he was being ironic!)His idea seemed to me to be like a tenth rate David Byrne.Who is bye the way one of the only American artist who gets irony!

Enough,I'll have to go back and have a listen to the Belew King Crimson albums and try and figure out if I like them or not .I just think that in the live concert most of Fripp was lost. Fripp though through it all remains supreme.I love his guitar on Red, magnificent tone, great parts.Inventive.Starless and Bible Black..... ,you know I have most of his records.I bought Exposure the day it came out.I could go on about his approach and style forever.The last thing I got by him was the live album by him and Sylvian-Damage and I love that. Scary Monsters the last great Bowie album....Say no more.

On your other questions,I don't change the tones on my guitar to use the E Bow.It usually sounds pretty good with my standard settings.I've answered another question about my gear,settings,amps etc.Whenever I want a cello effect I've used a Gizmo because the E Bow can be quite unpredictable going from string to string,but we like unpredictable because of the happy accidents.As far as noise on single coil p/ups,it's all part of the fun isn't it?

Dreamonger or not!!!! I don't think It could Be Anyone is spacey in a dreamy way.It's more scarey,lonely,stark,disconcerting,alienating isn't it?

You never know that your part will inspire a melody or not.I come up with a lot of parts on Church records and Steve has different reactions.Sometimes he sings the same as my melody sometimes it inspires a mood and he sings around it and sometimes he can't fit a melody around it at all.Often things I thought would be easy to sing around prove difficult and vice versa.It's hard to give you examples of things that didn't work because they obviously didn't make it to records but ones that were seemingly difficult and were a great success!...

MMmm now let's see????....yes....I remember Steve commenting on how was he going to figure out a melody on NSEW with my busy melody line going all the way through it ,but look happened with that one.Reptile is another song where all the instruments are playing a different part, but with the vocal it all locks together like a jigsaw.A couple of early songs where Steve wrote the guitar melody himself and slotted around it were Constant In Opal and One Day again quite busy parts but somehow it just worked.

I think the trick is to trick yourself!You come up with some intriguing part and think wow that's different but when you've put it all together and recorded it you find the song was just a three chorder.That's often how you know it was any good!And no,we don't generally change keys to fit vocal ranges.We may start with a capo but more to give a different sound to the same chord shapes. Bye
Marty


Jason asked a question which, unfortunately, I've lost. But it seems to have been about acoustic Rickenbackers.

Dear Jason,
When I had my sponsorship deal with Rickenbacker they didn't make an acoustic and I did talk to them about the idea but that was a long time ago and I wasn't aware until very recently that they had put one out.So,I can't help you on this at all because not only have I never played one ,I haven't even seen one.

My only Rickenbacker acoustic story is this: When we did the Milky Way Video I wanted to use a Ricky acoustic that I'd seen in the Rickenbacker Museum in their factory.It had a weird arrow shaped headstock and I asked them if I could borrow it for the vid.Somewhere the wires got crossed and the Rick man arrived at the shoot with the one I ended up using.The one I used was more amazing in a vintage car kind of a way.It was from 1948.

It was like an old Lincoln,but the one I wanted to use was like a Ford Anglia,more sixties looking which was more what I was after and if anybody out there can make any sense of my constant car analogies they may also like to know that I am learning to drive and have yet to pass my test so it must preoccupy my mind!


Ed Doxtator : How do you beat the frustration in songwriting when something's "not quite right"? When you have a picture, or in this case, a feeling in your head you want to convey and you can't quite get your hands around it?

Dear Ed, Brian asked a question similar to this but the answer to your question is that maybe a song is never quite done or right!You just at some stage have to stop working on it.It maybe depends on the kind of songwriter you are mixed with the kind of person you are.One persons perfect finished song is another persons awful demo.You can't really ask somebody else how to get exactly what you want because all the decisons are yours.You have to be the judge.

Here's my advice.If you can't make your song work,write another one.
Bye
Marty


March 11th 1998
Doug bought the guitar Marty used in the A Different Man video. He asked about exactly which tracks Marty used it on.

Dear Doug,
Glad to hear you got the guitar okay,it's always a relief when you send something worth that much and it actually arrives. You asked me a few questions so I'll answer them one by one.

Seeing Stars no longer exists.It was just a one off project and there won't be any touring.

If I rack my brains.............I think the original guitar was on the albums between The Blurred Crusade and Starfish but although it was on A Different Man I'd honestly be guessing as to which other tracks it was on.It was though, my main 12 String until it got stolen so most of the 12 string tracks would have it.I do have another one which I got a little before the red one which is a blonde '66 which I used on TFFY EP,but sometime after that the I bought the red one and I probably used them both from then on in the studio.

When you say that some flakes have fallen off,I presume you mean on the chrome?I'm not really much of an expert on that kind of thing,but I'm sure as the guitar is generally in such good condition that you could take it to any guitar shop and have that sorted out for next to nothing and have the guitar like new.(Well it is new,It was new under the bed for 10 years!)

Doug also asked him about the chords in "To Where I Am Now". What he has is E, some sort of A (x02200), and some sort of F (xx4200).
I don't really understand your chord codes but what I can tell you is that if you move that E shape up the neck and have a fret between the 1st and 2nd & 3rd fingers you'll find the chord.The third chord is the same shape as the second .

Thanks for the help with buying the guitar ,hope you enjoy owning it.
Bye
Marty

25th Feb 1998
Andy asked Marty about the EMI recording studio in Sydney - does the sign outside really cover the whole building ? He also asked about Karmic Hit.

Dear Andy,
Yes,the sign at EMI does occupy the entire building,although these days it is only a mastering suite as far as I know and has nothing to do with EMI anymore.There were three main studios there when we did the bulk of our recording.It was 'A','B' and I think 'M'.'M' was mainly a mixing studio with a great Neve desk.It didn't have a live recording room just a small booth for overdubs if you needed it.We mixed Sometime Anywhere there.The first five Church LP's and Priest were recorded in either A or B or both.A being the major tracking studio with a great big live room.They were all mixed there too apart from the first one which Bob Clearmountain mixed in America.(GAF & Starfish were recorded and mixed in LA.)When we recorded there(at least the first five albums)it was also EMI's offices.I seem to remember Castle Music being there too.Sometime in the late eighties or early nineties they moved the offices to a place called Crow's Nest on Sydney's North Shore,but the studio's remained and soldiered on until eventually they just couldn't sustain it anymore."The times they are a changin'" (For studios anyway).I'm not really sure when they ceased to be under EMI's control but the only winner seems to have been the silly great sign that probably cost some poor struggling group's album budget to erect,and hey,if they spent more time with the music and less with the erections they may still have been there today.

I don't really understand the next question.......Are good studios hard to come by in Sydney as most Church and Church related stuff,including the new album are mixed there???? Well, firstly the new album wasn't mixed there because it doesn't exist anymore.As far as most Church stuff being done there,well initially that's true ,but we were signed to Parlophone which is an EMI company so we used their studios,but when that deal was over we only recorded and mixed one record and mixed another there.....didn't we???????Otherwise none of my stuff was done there and I don't know if that much of the other guys stuff was either.I'm probably not the one to ask about the studio's in Sydney as I haven't lived there since 1985 but I would have thought that there were some really good studios there.Tim would know better than me.

There were two different locations for Karmic Hit.The first was a house in Surry Hills(No 'E' in Surry) and the second the present location in Rozelle.Priest was not the first Church album to be recorded at Karmic Hit,Sometime Anywhere was,and it was the Surry Hills Location.Magician and the new one were recorded at the Rozelle location which was incidentally called Electric Avenue before and Ed Kuepper did a lot of his records there(I hope this is true!I'm sure somebody told me this)

When I moved back to England my Stockholm studio came with me and was set up in Somerset near Glastonbury for about a year but since I've moved back to London it's all in storage with my record collection waiting for the time that I can find and/or afford to have a place to set it all up again.

That's it,
bye
Marty


1st Feb 1998
Tom asked Marty to talk a bit about his guitars and amps.

Dear Tom,
The short answer to your long question is to tell you what I like to use.I'm not very good on the model numbers of Ricks,but I've found that any 60's Rick that I've bought 6 or 12 sounds a hundred times better to my ears than any after that decade.My black 12 string Mcguinn re issue from the eighties though is a particularly nice guitar and plays better than any other modern Rick I've touched and has a sound unlike the 60's guitars.It has a special chime about it and whereas the newer guitars can be characterless but almost posh like BMW's and the old ones demandingly characterful like old Jags that guitar is like a Maserati saloon.Inconspicuous quality.

My favourite set up I like to use is two Vox AC 30's early sixties models with two of the tone controls on the back ,an Ibanez UE 405 Multi Effects Unit with two outs for stereo with the compressor, stereo chorus and analog delay pretty much on all the time but only just,a volume pedal ,two of the early yellow Boss distortion pedals ,the ones with only two knobs.I also like to use my Watkins copycat and my 301 and 501 space echoes but they are always to quirky and bulky and fragile to travel with so I haven't used them that much with The Church.I just used my old boss stereo chorus/tremolo pedal on the recent acoustic tour which Pete and I both used to use a lot in the early days of the band, but you can have overload problems with them if you put too much signal into it and my pedal lasted 6 gigs before breaking down at the last show.As I said a lot of this old gear can be pretty fragile and that's why we all need a studio and a great technician to be able to use this stuff regularly and keep it all functioning.Like old Jags they need constant attention.

On the the earlier records I was either using an old AC 30 by itself or hooked into an Orange top that I had for a while (or was it Pete's?) anyway I used it,or an oldish 50 watt Marshall head which I used with a Fender Bassman cabinet.I don't know how long all that lasted and which particular studio albums had what,but I did experiment with that kind of set up until after Heyday when I started using just two AC 30's.In recent years with The Church and All About Eve I've been using an AC 30 hooked into a Roland 120 stereo chorus which I don't particularly like by itself but with a grungey Vox it can bring a bit of clarity and sparkle into the live sound especially.

On guitars again I used a solid body Rick with a Khaler Trem for a while that had the fine tuning near the bridge because I found I just couldn't get the eternal sustain out of the semi acoustics.I've always had to have an amp set up that allows me to get a good clear sound out of a 12 string and alot of sustain out of a 6 string and that solid body Rick seemed to allow me to do that for songs like Chaos while I was still able to get a sound from the semi acoustic for Reptile.So in fact I would have three different guitar sounds without actually changing my amps.On the last couple of Church tours I've used my Strat as my electric 6 as it kind of does the job of a solid and a semi Rick at the same time and as I could only really bring two guitars with me I felt it was a good compromise.In a perfect world I would just use Ricks live.My black 12 a couple of old semi 6 strings,one solid body ,but it's a lot of guitars to cart around.Actually I'd probably also have a Shergold 12 as an extra 12 string and have an old Rick 12 as well but I had two such guitars stolen and I try to leave the old and the unusual at home these days for use in the studio.I have a beautiful 1960 Rick 6 which is all heart that I've used on the Starfish/GAF LP's which I try and use in the studio when I can but it needs an armed escort wherever it goes.I also have a 1966 red Rick 6 with three pickups that was butchered before I bought it with a badass bridge but the butchering has given it a really great twangy sound as the scale has been shortened.A happy accident and a great guitar but an abomination to purists.

I've still got a few great guitars that I hope I never have to sell.A 66 blonde 12 string.A great, 'fits like a glove'Jazzmaster that I bought off Pete,an old semi Burns 12, a heavy newish Les Paul Custom with Strat and standard Les Paul P/ups on it which has a wide range of tones.

Yes I do seem to prefer the toaster P/ups but I have a great little cheap solid body Ricky with the high gain P/ups with which Dare [Mason] played the chugging rhythm on Luscious Ghost and sounds great. Pete and I have always used E-Bows too.We like them alot and I for a while had a Gizmotron on my Strat and that's why that guitar only has two knobs instead of three on it and a wacking great hole in the body as you have to do some pretty serious alterations to get it to sit on your guitar.It finally fell apart as it was basically a hunk of plastic but I never put the other knob back on the guitar .I'd like to get another Gizmo but hey Mr Godley and Mr Creme ,send me the serious metal prototype and not the flimsy production line model if you please.


Tracey asked Marty why more guitarists don't use 12-string guitars.

I think there's a couple of reasons(or more) why people don't play 12 strings.One,you can't bend notes (didn't stop me).Two,people are worried about the tuning.Three,they are seen as a kind of a novelty or something that you may just use on one song.You talked about the Takamine's,and I think you do see a lot more acoustic 12's being used but not that often and as far as electrics go,well only now and then. Tom Petty uses them quite alot and Mike Campbell but they are huge Mcguinn fans and that's the connection.

I'm happy to say that I play quite alot of 12 on the new album.I didn't even have one with me for the last LP.Actually I didn't have any of my guitars except for a Tak 12 acoustic which was terribly frustrating knowing that I had this great guitar collection sitting unused in Europe.


Anthony Pooley asked Marty which musicians, particularly guitarists, he would like to jam with if given the chance.

Dear Anthony,
I actually don't have a dream list of who to jam with.I'd rather be asked than do the asking.But as you said particularly guitarists it could be time for my all time favourite guitarists list!I'm sure I will miss someone I love out but if I do I'm sure Brian wouldn't mind adding their names later.

Here goes in alphabetical order to avoid distinction for being top of the list.

Robert Fripp
Dave Gilmour
Peter Green
George Harrison
Paul Kossoff
Harvey Mandel
Bill Nelson
Jimmy Page
Terje Rypdal
Richard Thompson
Tom Verlaine
Neil Young

This list is not about their skill or genius but about the character of what they do.

I suppose that there are some obvious omissions who have tons of character like...

Jimi Hendrix
Brian May
Carlos Santana
Perhaps
Mick Ronson
Roy Buchannan
Tony Mcphee
Ritchie Blackmore
Angus Young
Nick Drake
Bert Jansch
Johnny Greenwood
Bernard Butler
Roger Mcguinn

But for some reason one painting reaches out to you even if you can see what's great about all the others in the gallery. I don't want to jam with them though.I just want to listen to them.

Bye
Marty


December 18th 1997
Scot described how he perceived the song Grind , and also said
I've got a copy of Heyday on CD which has got those two extra songs on it - which is great to be able to hear more music but on an album like that which I find such a complete entity, as opposed to a collection of songs, I feel it breaks that unity up a bit ~ and I usually programme my CD player to skip them! - I was just wondering do you find that too, and do you have any say over what the record companies put on re-issues etc? ~ not to mention art work etc - the ads inside the cheaper re-issue of P=A

Dear Scot,
It is really wonderful that a piece of music has done all those things to you.Your ears and your brain are one organ.

On the Heyday question.I know what you mean about continuity,but everybody seems to want extra tracks too.You can't have both ,but by some bizarre twist of fate in this case you can! The American Arista re release of Heyday doesn't include those two extra tracks.So get searching. On this subject I heard somewhere that they were going to re issue the Bowie albums AGAIN,for this very reason.Fair enough.It's good to have the vinyl for the cover art and warm sound, a tape for the car, a CD with extra tracks for interests sake and a CD without the extra tracks for continuity.Don't you think?

Bye
Marty

By the way I didn't know there were adverts in some of the later issues of the CD's.I don't just not get asked about them,I don't get sent them either.

December 4th 1997
Scott McPhie : I was wanting to know who wrote the lead break on Grind, and who performed it on the recording - I'd always attributed it to Peter in my head, but I think I've only ever seen Marty play it live

Dear Scot,
Yes it is me who wrote and played all the lead bits on Grind.I suppose you thought that it was Peter because the arpeggio part on that song is 12 string ,but this is one rare moment when Pete plays my Rickenbacker 12 string.If you notice when we do this one live Pete usually comes strolling over to get my guitar.I can't think of another example of Pete playing 12 string on an album,although he may have done.He did used to play it when we did 10.000 miles live but I don't think he played 12 on the record.

How do you know when a song you are writing and/or recording is "finished" ? And once a song has been recorded and released, are you ever tempted to change it ? It struck me that while recording a song you can do *anything* to it - change instrumentation, lyrics, song structure etc. But once its been released nobody ever changes their songs. I just wondered if you'd ever wanted to add or change a verse, skip a middle 8 etc...

Dear Brian,
As far as knowing when a song is finished?Well I suppose it just becomes obvious when it is done.It's like cooking isn't it!You add the ingredients and then taste the sauce! Et voila! There has been times when the dish has hit the table and you might have thought that the song could've done with a little more pepper.GAF is an example of that.The problem there though was that the head chef wanted to try some new packet sauces that he'd heard about,you know the ones that are advertised on television.The ones that you rush out and buy the last minute because of some disaster with the real thing.you know the scene,you serve it up and the important guest thinks your cooking is marvellous and you just wink into the camera. Except any one with half a taste bud would know the difference immediately!

It's funny having just answered a question about Grind,because that was a fantastic recipe that was really badly cooked using a lot of synthetic ingredients when the fresh vegetables were left in the cupboard.I think I may have taken this analogy just a little too far.

Mixing is extremely important too.That is in a musical not culinary sense,though I dare say...............No, before I get back into the kitchen! Seance was a very peculiar mix. Loads of triggered drums.The machine gun snare on Electric Lash for example .It didn't sound anything like that when we recorded it.It just sounded like a normal real snare drum.That record was mixed by Nick Launay when he was going through his bang/crash phase.We've all wondered what that record would have sounded like if it had been mixed keeping the organic sounds that we recorded the songs with.Having said that a lot of people love that album with it's stark mood and hard drum sounds.

Arrangements ,well sometimes you might think a song should have done something that you only realized later,an extra verse,an earlier chorus,a better solo whatever but you generally sort that out as you're going along.It can be difficult with The Church though because we tend to arrange a song before it is actually written.We have intros and verses,middle eights and choruses,bridges and outros all connected together and the vocal melodies and words are added later.Things usually work out for us though.I suppose that's the experience of having made alot of records.If though in the worst case there 's a part that you wished you had never put in there because the vocal melody has suggested something different in the dynamics or the arrangement, then you can always edit the offending piece out.Sometimes that doesn't work and you have to live with it but you can do amazing things with editing and changing things around with today's technology.The other thing is with us that this formula tends to get some happy accidents happening that maybe would be lost if you thought about it too hard.

December 2nd 1997
I asked Marty whether the recent Refo:mation album had any influence on the recording of the new Church album.
I think from what I know of The Refo record (Trevor Boyd has my copy and I haven't really heard it properly) it's more of a "jamming with words LP", whereas the new Church LP we've written a record with more real songs on it .That's the type of record we all wanted to make.

28th May 1997
This next message was a reply to an email from someone who thanked Marty deeply for the influence that his music had on him. Unfortunately I don't have the original message so I can't be more specific.

Got your message .It's hard for a lot of people to tell someone how much they like them,because it often leaves the recipient speechless,creating an impossible situation.Suddenly you've defeated the object and you realize it was all better left unsaid.This is just to let you know that your message got through and for some reason in this weird universe it got a response when although genuinely appreciated it generally wouldn't be replyed to.And now no more needs to be spoken.We just have to keep on creating and you have to continue being moved.Happy to hear we made a difference.

Love your music.
MWP

8th April 1997
In reply to a comment about seeing a different video clip for The Unguarded Moment...
Yes,there was another filmclip for Unguarded Moment.It was directed by a bloke called Christopher French.I call him a bloke because he seemed to think he was some other kind of creature.He dressed only in black but a sort of early eighties designer black.He had a black car and I'm sure he only drank black milk.We discussed with him doing a moody video and in his wisdom shot half the vid out of focus the remaining half having no mood at all.He told us we each had to wear a different colour so that the "moody"sections had texture.Hence, Pete in green, me in blue and I can't remember what other fabulous colours of the rainbow the other two were graced with.We ended up wearing clothes that didn't belong to us,chosen for their colour rather than their style for the sake of the video's flimsy concept.We looked ridiculous.The video was awful and we canned it immediately.

The only interesting thing about this video is that from a historical aspect it had the one and only celluloid appearence of our first drummer Nick Ward. This was the first time we'd ever done a video and we kind of let them call the shots(ha ha).It set us on the road to our reputation for being slightly awkward,learning from this experience that if you let someone outside of the band make artistic decisions not only will they walk all over you but they'll do it in a pair of rather ugly tasteless shoes.I was always quite suprised that we got away with stopping it's release as we were a brand new band,but I guess it was as bad as we,the band, thought.Of course it didn't get TOTALLY canned,these things never do.It appeared here and there on late night video shows and seemingly wormed it's way into the occasional video jukebox.

Since this day The Church have had a love/hate relationship with videos.We've done a couple of good ones(Tantalized comes to mind)and a lot of average to bad ones.The phrase "Evil Necessity" springs to mind.There never seems to be any area where we can have creative input,which is maybe our own fault as you 've got to have an idea to get it executed.We always ended up executing other people's ideas and they in turn often ended up visually executing us.We tried(mostly) to make the best of the video's we did,but I personally would be happy if I never made a video again.(I know I speak for Steve too).

18th February 1997
Is there a sufficient number of Church fans to 'guarantee' a profit on every album you release ? In the Seance discussion of one of Marty's messages, Al Cementon remarked....


I wish people could overcome their fear of the "public". It's this inhibition which gives the public its power. Why can't we just forget about them and let them STARVE!! They've been looting our creativity for long enough...

Marty replied...
In regards to you question of whether we have reached the point of having sufficient interest in our work .I consider myself very lucky to have reached so many people time and time again with such an interesting group.Often being thought provoking can go against you in a commercial environment,but going by the recent returns of the post G.A.F. Church albums we have reached the point where we can not guarantee making a living out of our creative output.

To comment on Al's point,the public is a scary beast and difficult to ignore when you rely on them to buy enough of your current record to justify investment in your next. At this stage The Church although perceived by some as a good, as well as successful band, does not have a record deal and nobody is exactly banging down the door. So we retire to contemplate our options.Steve and I are lucky because we both have our own studios and can put something together that only needs to sell moderately well (subjective) for us to benefit financially. But since Feedback went down and we made nothing from the last two years of our work,we are somewhat on the back foot.We don't have ready made back up records just in case the last one falters.We still have to make the next record.It isn't cheap as we live in different countries. The will is there,the money is not.

As far as my own ability to be self sufficient,I live in Deepest Somerset and although I have my own studio I cannot entice people to work on a record for 3 months that I don't have a deal for, for the price of the green fields and fresh air. So I came here to learn all the technical side of things.

Engineering,Midi,Sequencers,Sampling,Computers,Programing,Recording technique.This as well as playing all the instuments and writing a lot of good songs that people(the public) will like,buy and want to come back for more is time consuming (albeit extremely enjoyable especially when the tune finally arrives on the tape), and although I don't have to work in a bank (which ironically is the closest I would get to cash at the moment) one does not live on fresh air and green fields alone.

skeleton.gif 5.6 KThe term solo project certainly typifies my current state. Although it is about the music,a great chord sequence doesn't pay the studio electricity bill if the 200 people who regularly view this web site are the only ones who buy the record. It would be naive to expect all the people who bought Starfish to independently search out all the Church members recordings as most of them will have moved onto some other high profile group.I find that I can perhaps stupidly frustrate myself by contemplating the concepts of media blitz=record sales when we all know Priest=Aura.

14th February 1997
Would Marty be interested in using the Internet as a way of gathering a list of buyers who could purchase new albums directly from him ?

Is this not the future? Distributing our records(and any other items of interest) straight from one's studio to the willing fingers of those who desire it? It's just having a substantial amount of people wanting what you do. They have to know you are there. Record companies have always had the upper hand on creative people because with promotion they are able to get to a significant amount of the public.

There are of course those discerning folk who don't need to be bludgeoned into buying something. Those of us who don't have to hear it on the radio to recognise its worth. But it's something of an exclusive club of the inquisitive. I have bought hundreds of records of bands I've never heard of,and although I've got some shockers ,I've managed to uncover some records I love such as "Hat" by The Nits. A 6 track Ep by this Dutch band that I never tire of. I mean who'd buy a record by a band called The Nits?

There's so much out there that people can't even keep up with the stuff that has a high profile.It wasn't so long ago that I looked through the US top 10 and didn't know most of the names.But I do have all the Robert Wyatt lp's along with most of the And Also The Trees albums and two of the hard to find 22 Pistepirkko records. Hey,I loved that Crowded House single "Not The Girl You Think You Are" too but the profile or whether a group is commercial or obscure,noisy or melodic hasn't ever come into the equation for me but I think it does for most.I eat ECM records for breakfast whereas the public eats the DJ's personality.If we could overcome these phenomena ,then the future is ours.

Marty


12 Feb 1997
I asked Marty about his new studio, which he'd started learning how to use. Could he operate it solo yet ?

I'm replying to this particular note you sent me as it's the oldest one.As to the points about the studio.Yes,I can operate it myself although I haven't really got into a system of recording.I'm just about to tackle midi,samplers,sequencers and the like,so although I have already recorded 3 or 4 songs I'll be getting into the "real" stuff when I've mastered the cockpit fully.Learning all the time.

The Seeing Stars LP is making some progress.It's been mastered and the artwork is at the first proof stage.I'm very happy with it.I hope the world will share my joy! I'll keep you posted on release dates etc.

I'm going to try and get into this backlog of questions.I don't know if you know but the company who took 25,000 copies of us in the States [The Magician Among The Spirits album] went down without paying us,so apart from occupying alot of mental space it has really left us in a financial crisis. That's why I'm in the studio every day,learning and creating.It's the only way out,as well as immensely pleasureable.

Did this mean the band had effectively given away 25 000 copies of the album ?
I suppose we did give them away,but although it looks grim,maybe we can recover some of the stock.Time will tell.

I can only hope that the Seeing Stars project doesn't go the same ugly way.It's quite a different situation.One lives in hope.


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