6th January 2018

The Return


Q: Welcome back! You disappeared off the radar in 1997, disillusioned with the music business, was that something specific that happened to you or a culmination of events?


CM: That’s a good question…probably a bit of both. In terms of bands and things I was working with different low-key projects but if I’m honest, things hadn’t really gone the way I had hoped and I got to the stage where I thought do I keep plugging away with this and maybe not have any progress or do I call it a day and explore new pastures and I decided on the latter. I had given the business quite a few years of my time and the hunger had disappeared as well which is very important if you are a musician – especially a Rock musician – but it wasn’t a decision I reached easily. You do have to rediscover yourself after a career change like that so it was ‘Who am I and what do I do?’ so I went through various different jobs, sold pretty much all my musical equipment and stopped playing and just drifted out of it.


Q: So tell us why you decided to try again.


CM: It was in about 2008 and I thought something was missing a little bit in my life and I was looking and searching for things so I thought about the guitar. I bought a second-hand Strat but I could hardly play and then came another big decision because if I wanted to start playing again, I had a whole shitload of work to do to bring myself back up to scratch so I could either put the guitar down and never touch it again or try and break through the barrier which is what I did.


Q: You mentioned that you had to buy a second-hand Strat; had you sold off all your guitars?


CM: Yes. I sold them off to people or shops. No amps, no guitars and in fact a rarely listened to music. I even had to buy a stereo. Thankfully I had a lot of my albums (vinyl) in storage so I got them out and started rediscovering them and I had lots of audio tapes and then I started buying CDs so it was a big about turn in my own personal life.


Q: The music scene and business has changed unrecognizably from 1997. Did you keep up with current trends and what was happening in the business or did you suddenly find yourself in this almost alien world?


CM: There was an element of that thinking I was on a foreign planet. I had kept up to an extent with some new music which I wasn’t too keen on but yes, everything had changed. The internet had totally changed the business model of distribution and touring and there are pros and cons to that. If you are an upcoming musician now, it is much easier to make music because of how computers are used in the recording process whereas back in my day it was all tapes and you had to play everything live in one or two takes. That was a real shock but it was amazing because I couldn’t believe how much easier things are now.


Q: Where you encouraged or anxious by those changes?


CM: The recording side was great but in terms of music, you have a whole new generation of kids who are listening to stuff that is heavily detuned and musicians now are a lot better educated and trained. Back when I was playing there were very few music collages, very few teachers, no YouTube…you just had a handful of books and you would play your albums and try and work out parts by ear. There are lots of well trained musicians around that can play brilliantly but personally I find them all a little bit generic.


Q: I’m 100% with you on that. It’s great that people have that ability  to be able to repeatedly watch solos on YouTube but it takes away the individuality and there are no garage bands anymore where kids learn to play together.


CM: Yes I was listening to Dream Theater in the car the other day and I was blown away by the playing but it sounded like a bunch of teachers playing a performance at the end of the term for the kids. It seemed cold and sterile and it didn’t really move me at all. There is room for technique but you have to temper it with feel.


Q: I agree. Anyway, back to you, you were drawn back into playing.


CM: Yes and lot of it for me was creating music. I toyed playing with the idea of playing seriously and I joined a covers band. We did a few gigs around South London, Kent and along the coast and that fired me up to get my playing together. It didn’t fulfill me playing covers but it gave me the catalyst to want to strive and create new music. It wasn’t until about 2013 though that I started playing around with ideas and started recording in a local studio that I realized how rewarding and therapeutic music creation is. So that’s how the writing side came back and how the Rock Dawn album came to be.


Rock Dawn


Q: Rock Dawn seems to be the missing link between old school Heavy Rock and current Metal in that it has good songs with melodies and both melodic and shred playing making it very accessible to fans of more than one genre. Is that something you aimed for?


CM: Well first I’d like to thank you for saying that because I’m pleased that you feel it appeals across genres. It wasn’t my intention to do that, I recorded with I suppose a selfish ear in that I just wanted to create music that I liked and wanted to commit to recording. One of the songs – Heretic – I think I had from the 90s so the influences on that were more of that era. I updated it and changed some of the parts and of course Blaze Bayley did a great vocal part on that but the tracks do show my own taste and the good thing about making music independently is that you don’t have anyone telling you that you can’t play something or that you have to fit into a certain music genre. I did allow myself a bit of indulgence to touch on all musical areas that I am influenced by. Hence you have the commercial end with Heretic, Call Of The Wild with the acoustic guitars and mandolins and of course a lot of it is instrumental so I was touching on my Joe Satriani/Steve Vai influences with The Believer and Veil Of Tranquility. Then of course there is Witches Tower which is more Black Sabbath or Iron Maiden old school. Blaze did another great vocal on that as well in a studio up in the Midlands on Halloween night and he thought it was quite fitting that he’s singing about witches on October 31st.


Q: You’ve mentioned Blaze – how did you hook up with him?


CM: I contacted Blaze online and asked him if he would be interested in singing on a few of tracks and he said send me some demos so I sent some rough mixes with some guide vocals and he liked them so he said he’d do them. It was all done remotely: He had the rough vocals with the lyrics; he recorded them, sent them over to me, I’d listen and then any tweaks that needed doing, he’d re-record them and then it was all mixed here in London.


Q: You have stated that when you decided to pick up a guitar again that you had to learn how to play again. How about your songwriting? Did that come back naturally as you progressed in your re-learning or was it a struggle?


CM: No that was there from just listening to music. You know, Rock is rather formularized in that you can listen to most Rock tunes and there is a structure to them. Obviously some tracks are a bit more complex than others but there are many that are verse – chorus- middle – solo – end section so you don’t really forget how to structure songs but what is difficult is creating new and interesting music. I think for me, it comes from a spark and I can’t really tell you where that comes from but it just comes out of thin air. Sometimes I don’t get anything though and I’ll just go and do something else. You have to grab it when it appears and that may be when I’m out shopping or something and in that case I’ll sing it into my phone and record it but if I’m at home I’ll just get the acoustic and play the part and record it. In the past, I have had great ideas, not recorded them thinking I would remember it and I’ve forgotten and then it’s gone forever.


Q: You are in a rather odd position – unique almost – in that you’ve been away and come back. When you listen to your songs now and compare them to the older days, how – if at all - have the years away changed your song writing?


CM: Well I like to think I have improved as a musician and when I listen to some of the older stuff I was involved in, I can see a progression. For example, some of the Thunderstick stuff, great band, great production at the time but it does sound a little bit dated to my ears now. That’s not knocking it at all because it is great stuff but recording techniques were different. We did the Beauty And The Beast album in two weeks in West London, backing tracks first and then once that was done, you couldn’t change anything whereas now, you have a lot more scope to change things as you go through the recording process. With Rock Dawn, there were a couple of songs where I wanted to re-arrange the layout which you couldn’t have done twenty years ago as you’d be cutting pieces of tape but now you can cut and paste, shorten a chorus or whatever you want.

Q: But is that a good thing Cris? In artist’s terms, how do you know when the canvas is finished?


CM: Yeah that’s a great question. I think if you can sit back and listen to the track and think ‘Yeah, that sounds great!’ then it’s done but sometimes something needs doing it will jump out at you. It doesn’t quite sit right and you get a niggling feeling. Then once you work on it and listen to it again it starts to sound all right and it doesn’t need any more or less. That’s when you move on to the next track.


Q: Besides Blaze, you’re old friend Thunderstick is also on the album.


CM: Blaze I had never actually met before, I just knew of him from his days with Iron Maiden and I was a bit of a fan to be honest. We first met when we filmed the video for Call of The Wild. Barry (Thunderstick) had pretty much retired, living in Folkstone but he very kindly offered to play on the album and I think that kind of gave him a bit of a catalyst to do his new album. We are both similar in that he likes to do things his way and I like to do things my way and that can cause a little bit of conflict but good luck to him, I hope he does well.   


The Future


Q: What’s in store for 2018?


CM: We’ve already released two singles with two videos in Call Of The Wild last year and Overrun which came out just before Christmas and in the very near future I want to start planning the second album. I’m also hoping to do some dates to coincide with that in probably the latter half of the year. You have to progress and keep going forward but the most important thing is that you have to keep enjoying it because if you don’t, what’s the point in doing it?


Q: Cris, that brings us right back to the beginning.


CM: Yes it does!


Q: Thanks very much for this Cris. Good luck with Rock Dawn album and the next one and stay in touch.


CM: Great stuff and thanks Glenn. Good talking to you.

クリス・マーティン インタビュー


















CM:レコーディング面ではよかったね。でも音楽ということについては、退化したような曲を聴いている新人類を相手にするんだよ。ミュージシャンの技量は高まっているけどね。僕の若い頃は音楽学校なんてほとんどなかったし、教えてくれる人もいなかったし、You Tubeもなかった。教則本をいっぱい抱えて、レコードを何度も聴いて、耳コピーしたんだ。素晴らしいプレイができるミュージシャンは周りにいっぱいいるけど、個人的には個性が感じられないね。


Q:100%、あなたに同感ですよ。You Tubeで何度もソロプレイを見て、それを弾けるようになるのは素晴らしいことですが、個性がなくなり、メンバーで一緒に燃えようというガレージ・バンドはいなくなりました。




CM:ああ。僕の存在価値は音楽を生み出すことだからね。真剣に考えたアイデアをプレイに託す。コピー・バンドに入ったんだ。南ロンドンでいくつかギグをやって、海辺の町を回った。それでまた演奏する気持ちに火が点いたんだ。カバーばかりやっていることでは満足しなかったから、新しい音楽を作るんだ、やってやるぞという気になったんだ。そんな気になったのが、ようやく2013年になってからだった。アイデアを田舎のスタジオで形にして、音楽って、なんて達成感と癒しが得られるんだろうって思ったね。作曲の勘も取り戻せたし、それがアルバム『Rock Dawn』に繋がっていったというわけさ。


Rock Dawn

Q:『Rock Dawn』は、古き良き時代のへヴィ・ロックから現代のメタルまでの要素が込められているように思えます。メロディアスでいい曲が多いですし、このメロディと演奏の切れ味は、複数のジャンルのファンにも受け入れられると思います。あなたが目指したものは何だったのですか?

CM:まずはそんな風に言ってくれてお礼を言うよ。君がそう感じてくれて、いろいろなジャンルのファンにもアピールできると言ってくれたことは嬉しいね。でもそれを狙ったわけではなくて、ただやりたいと思った音楽を自己流にやっただけなんだよ。「Heretic」という曲なんかは90年代風なんだ。あの時代には凄く影響されているんだ。それを現代風にして、構成も変えた。ブレイズ・ベイリーのボーカルも凄いよ。どの曲も僕なりの個性があるし、一人で思いのままに音楽を作ることって素晴らしかった。僕がもうプレイできないとか、特定のジャンルにしか合わないなんて誰にも言わせたくないからね。これまで影響されてきたことをベースにいろいろなアイデアを生み出すことに没頭したよ。「Heretic」、「Call Of The Wild」あたりの曲には、アコースティック・ギターとマンドリンを入れてキャッチーなエンディングにした。もちろんいろいろな楽器を使ったよ。「The Believer」、「Veil Of Tranquility」には、ジョー・サトリアーニやスティーヴ・ヴァイの影響を感じさせている。「Witches Tower」は、古き良きブラック・サバスやアイアン・メイデンの薫りがするよ。ブレイズは、ハロウィーンの夜にミッドランズのスタジオでボーカル録りをしたんだ。これがまた満足の出来でね。ハロウィーンの夜に魔女のことを歌い上げたんだ。ぴったりだろ?









CM:ミュージシャンとして進化したと思いたいね。過去の曲を聴くと、確かに進歩しているんだ。例えば、サンダースティックの曲なんて、当時は凄くいいバンドで、凄くよく出来てた。でも今の僕の耳には少し古臭く聞こえるんだな。ぐっと来ないんだ。いい曲なんだけど、レコーディング技術が違ってたからね。アルバム『Beauty And The Beast』なんて、ロンドンで2週間で作ったんだよ。バッキング・トラックを先に録ってね。それができればどんどん進んでいった。今でもそれは変わらないけど、今のレコーディング過程ではもっといろいろなことができるんだ。『Rock Dawn』では、20年前にはとてもできなかったような、アレンジをやり直して構成を変えた曲がいくつかあったんだ。以前はテープを細切れにしてから繋げるみたいな作業だったものが、今では簡単にカットして、貼り付けて、コーラスを短くしたりとか、何でもできるんだ。






CM:ブレイズは、これまでには会ったこともないような奴だった。彼がアイアン・メイデンにいた頃から知ってはいたんだけど。その頃から彼のことはいいなと思っていたんだ。「Call of The Wild」のビデオを撮影した時に初めて会ったんだ。バリー(サンダースティック)はリタイアして、今はフォークストーンに引っ込んでいたんだけど、快くアルバムに参加してくれた。これがきっかけで、彼がソロアルバムを作りたいと思ったんじゃないかという気がしているんだ。僕たちは似ていて、彼も僕も自分がこうと思うことをやりたい性質でね。それで時には他と衝突したりもするんだけど、これからの彼にいいことがあればいいと思うね。





CM:去年のクリスマス前には、既に「Call Of The Wild」と「Overrun」の2枚のシングルと2種類のビデオをリリースした。近々、セカンド・アルバムの制作を始めたいと思っているんだ。それが今年の後半に出せればいいなと思っているよ。前向きにいかなきゃね。でも一番大事なことは、楽しむってことだ。楽しめないなら、やる価値ないだろ?





Q:どうもありがとうございました。『Rock Dawn』も次のアルバムも成功するよう祈ってます。またよろしくお願いします。