What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
I was really lucky to have grown up in a very musical home, so there were always plenty of instruments lying around, and usually some music playing in the house somewhere. My parents were always incredibly encouraging. That said, I veered away from the music I was brought up on in my teens and delved into rock, jazz and folk after that. The songs I’m releasing now I think reflect this rather curious combination of influences!
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
The record was the first I’ve entirely written, recorded and produced from my home studio. Me and my other half, Joel Evans (aka Tiny Eyes) produced the EP, which also features a string section (cello played by my Dad, John), drums, bass, piano, Wurlitzer piano and a random array of percussion instruments.
Though united by a bittersweet theme, each of the five tracks on the new EP stand alone, inspired by real events. Be it the eponymous tale in ‘Slippers to a Wedding’; the emotional vision of a lonely widow captured on ‘Beneath the Shadows’; or the hopes and fears of becoming a new mum expressed on ‘When I Hold You In My Arms’ (I had my first son, Leon, earlier this year), the songs cover how we react to and deal with a variety of human experiences.
Life rarely brings blocks of pure joy or pure despair. More often the emotions – hope and hopelessness; gravity and levity – all bleed into one another, and I hope these songs reflect that.
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
I’ve recently been listening to a lot of Andy Shauf, Grizzly Bear, Lianne La Havas and Laura Marling – but I’m sure some older influences like Radiohead, Nick Drake and Elliott Smith also come through in my music, too. Non-musically, you might say my new life as a first-time Mum has had quite an effect on my songwriting!
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
As I’ve grown up, I’ve had quite a few strongly contrasting genres of music influence and inspire the music I write now. (I find it really hard to pin-point the genre my music is in – I often opt for ‘singer-songwriter’ as a catch-all term, although I’m not mad keen on the phrase, either!)
I love to write (what some people describe as ‘spy-film’-esque) string arrangements for my songs… they’re not something you usually hear by other songwriters in a similar vein. Neither are there many female songwriters who engineer and self-produce their entire record. I suppose those might count as good reasons to check it out 🙂
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
1) OK Computer – Radiohead
2) The Phosphorescent Blues – Punch Brothers
3) Anything by Tom Lehrer to help the time pass…
2) Fight Club
3) The Shawshank Redemption
(All moods covered, then! Haha.)
1) The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman
2) Die Trying – Lee Child
2) The Cider House Rules – John Irving
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
I feel a lot more comfortable playing in my studio than on stage – more down to nerves than anything. Also, you can take your time getting it sounding as good as you like. That said, nothing beats the buzz at the end of a really great gig!
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
In 2015, I was touring the release of my debut album… it features a song called ‘I Still Remember’, about my old best friend from childhood who I hadn’t seen for about 15 years. Playing at a bar in Manchester, I found out she was in the audience! She didn’t realise I was playing, either – just a very strange coincidence. We’ve been in touch ever since then. What a small world…
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
On the new EP, I’d say ‘Along The Lonely’ is certainly a stand-out track. It’s directed by a slightly overdriven electric guitar (whereas all the others are played on acoustic), and we really did throw everything but the kitchen sink at it in terms of production – there’s a drum kit, but also tablas, a string section, lots of backing vocals amongst others… take a listen, and see what you reckon 🙂
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
I’ve got plans to do a few gigs in 2020, so I’m really looking forward to playing the new songs live. Otherwise, I’m working on writing / recording new material in some form or other… I just need to decide which songs to release next! I’ll keep everyone updated on social media about future gigs and releases for sure.
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
What’s the best way we can support and show our love of independent musicians like yourself?
Bandcamp is definitely the best place to download (and stream) music by independent artists. Also, social media shares of songs and videos can make such a difference and help draw in new fans! That, and of course, going to gigs 🙂
Photo credits: Miriam Bean
Curated by: Christos Doukakis
Connect with Martha Bean:
Spotify // https://tinyurl.com/y5y3rklo
Facebook // www.facebook.com/
Twitter // twitter.com/marthabean
Instagram // www.instagram.com/
SoundCloud // soundcloud.com/marthabeanmusic
Official // www.marthabean.com