- only tape is real -

Interview: Martyn Jackson

Martyn Jackson’s debut album, Home, might seem like a bit of an oddball for Breathe Plastic Records when you look at the labels previous releases. But when you consider that I’m a huge fan of well executed post-rock and Home being a great album it really isn’t. Home is an impressive debutalbum, especially considering that Martyn wrote and performed this album all by himself. For fans of This Will Destroy You, Sigur Ros and Explosions in the Sky, here is a brief introduction to Martyn Jackson.

Martyn Jackson - Home

Hi Martyn, thanks for doing this interview. How are things at the moment?

Hi. That’s a pretty tough question. If I’m honest, things are up in the air at the moment. As I’m sure a lot of people know, being a small time musician can be tough.

The usual first question, can you introduce yourself a bit first?

My name’s Martyn Jackson. I’m a UK based musician, and I write instrumental post-rock. I’m influenced by the usual suspects: such as Sigur Rós, Explosions in the Sky, and This Will Destroy You. I write, perform and produce all of my own work.

Home is your first full album, but you also released an EP. How does that EP differ from the album. Both music wise and in the way you made them? I noticed some vocals on the EP but those are gone on the album, any reason for that?

As you’ve noticed, the main way that the EP differs from the album is the use of vocals. When I originally started writing music I was heavily influenced by artists such as Death Cab for Cutie and Bright Eyes, which inspired my overly melodramatic, melancholic songwriting style. I wrote a lot when I was a teenager (in fact I still have 60 unreleased songs). As I grew up, I found it harder to write lyrics. For the past three years I’ve studied music at university, and so for my final project, I had to record a portfolio. Someone had recently just introduced me to the likes of Explosions in the Sky, 65daysofstatic, and This Will Destroy You, and so, instead of forcing myself to write lyrics (which would have resulted in something very unnatural) I decided to pursue the genre of instrumental post-rock.

Do you play all the instruments yourself?

I play all the instruments, except for drums. I program those. For those who know me, know that I’m a lousy drummer.

Home has been out for a while now, how do you look back at the album now?

My opinion changes. Most of the time I’m pretty hard on myself, and look upon it with disgust, but if I’m in a good mood, I think “Hey, that’s not half bad. I’ve heard worse”. I don’t think I could say I was truly happy with it, because if I was ever truly happy with some of my work, I wouldn’t feel the need to try and progress.

And how has the response to it been?

The response has been minimal. But from what I have heard, it’s been pretty positive.

Would you say that Home has a theme, or a story if you can call it that, and if so, what is it?

Home definitely has a theme to me. It was written about my time at university, and about how I longed to leave. Each track has relevance, but I won’t spoil it for anyone reading this who has created their own meaning to it. One thing I will say is that, I wanted to record the sound of the waves outside of my house, and so I had to wait for the opportune moment. My Mum said to me “just keep your eyes on the tide”.

Also you had the album remastered recently, who did that and why did you decide to do that?

Ryan “Bart” Williams, the old bassist from one of my favourite metal bands, The Black Dahlia Murder.
I decided to get it done because I had rushed the album to hand it in for a deadline, and I felt I had neglected the mixing/mastered to get it in on time. So I went back and corrected little issues from the original release, and had it mastered. It needed an extra little polish.

Martyn Jackson - Home

On Youtube I saw some live videos, is that something you do often, or maybe wish / plan to do more often?

I don’t often do live performances, as it’s difficult playing to a backing track. To me, it just kills the atmosphere of the music. I’ve tried to get a live lineup together, but it always seems to fall apart. Maybe one day something will stick.

What is your aim for Martyn Jackson, when would you consider the project to be a success? And to paraphrase one of your songtitles; Are you nearly there yet?

I never really had a set aim for this music project. I just want to make music my life, and in that, be happy. I don’t think I could ever consider a singular project a success, I just know that when I’m happy, that’s when I feel successful. If I’m using my happiness as a gauge of my success, then I’m nowhere near there.

Next to your own project you are also involved in a metal project, can you tell a bit more about that?

This is something a bit different. I’ve recently been tracking some vocals for a metal band called Bystander. Our first EP features Chris Allan-Whyte (from Malefice) on the drums, and was produced by Justin Paul Hill (one of the vocalists of SikTh). There’s not much to say about that at the moment, as since we’ve recorded, we haven’t actually done much. We’re hoping to film a music video and tour this year, but things take time, so we’ll see.

What are the plans for that project?

I don’t think I ever really had any plans for the project. I actually only applied to do it in the first place because I thought there’d be no way in hell anyone would pick me sing for their band. I’ve always wanted to sing in a metal band, but I never thought I’d ever get the chance. I’m just playing it by ear really.

What are the plans for Martyn Jackson in the near future?

Right now? To carry on breathing and last the year out.

That’s all the questions I have for you. Would you like to anything yourself?

I’m curious to know, since you’re clearly passionate about music, do you write music, or play an instrument?

I don’t do any of those, I’m just going to gigs, buying records and releasing stuff on cassette.

Home will be available on cassette at the end of February in an edition of 50 tapes.

You can pre-order the cassette at the Breathe Plastic Records bandcamp

Or you can listen to a stream of the album below:

Martyn Jackson Facebook
Martyn Jackson Bandcamp