Artist of the Month: Martian

The guys from Martian were nice enough to do a Q&A with ESBMusic. Check it out below:

Where did your band name originate?

Drew: We really wanted a name that was unique but also something that people could use as a label. We see things that are distinctly unique now and we think “Martian,”’ and we are hoping that others will soon do the same thing.

What are the names of the band members and what do they play?

Drew Boyle sings and plays guitar

Tanmay Buch does back-up vocals and percussion/drums.

Andrew Gallagher sings and plays guitar/keys.

Bill Reynolds plays bass

How did you guys meet?

Andrew: I met Billy in 2002 through the bass player from our first band, who I worked with at the local Party City, and we’ve been good friends ever since. Through years of friendship and playing/writing music together with Billy, I met Drew and Tanmay because they were both in the same group of friends as me and Billy. The rest is history.

Drew: There is a definite interconnectedness in our town when it comes to be a musician, and we met each other that way; we were all the same age and wanted to write some music when we were in high school. Now, five years later, we are using our experience as friends and band mates to make real music.

Tanmay: I’ve known drew for many years, Bill has been in the same school district, we all played different instruments throughout our lives, so it just happened. Andrew was in the first band I was ever in called “televandalist”…so sick! haha

How long have you been playing music?

Bill: Since I was 10

Andrew : I was taught some piano when I was very young, around 8 years old, but at that time I wasn’t interested and didn’t touch an instrument until I really got into music around 7th grade. That’s when I started teaching myself piano, and the first song I ever learned to play was Hurt by Nine Inch Nails. I stayed with just piano until freshmen year when I bought my first guitar, a shitty $150 Ibanez. From there, I came to play bass, drums, xylophone, theremin, and have a basic understanding of the violin, though I am not an amazing or even good violinist by any means. I really want to learn some trumpet and/or sax as soon as I have some time to do so.

Drew: I started playing bass when I was a freshman in high school, so around 2001. I switched to guitar the next year and started writing songs around the same time. I remember when I was little kid whistling melodies that were original, but never connected the dots until I had the urge to learn an instrument.

Tanmay: Yea, it all started when I wanted to play the funkiest bass lines on earth.

Did you take music lessons or are self taught?

Bill: Self taught for records sake

Andrew: I’ve taught myself how to play every instrument I’ve known, but I took multiple lessons on music theory so I could have that basic backbone of reading sheet music and understanding different keys and scales.

Drew: I never took any lessons professionally, but I learned through practicing in my own way, but also being around musicians that were much better than me. I really got ahead of myself in the beginning because I wrote songs before I really knew the instrument.

Tanmay: I learned drums during my final year of high school in my Trigonometry class, I’d place things to be my snare, and hat and my kick would be my foot. Everyone around me hated me, I loved it. When I realized I had to be more “serious” I took some lessons with Quinn Blanford, one of my favorite drummers and a dear friend.

What inspired you to play music?

Bill: Local Punk Rock

Andrew: Early in 7th grade, I was just starting to come into my own with discovering bands, and during this time my friend Mike (guitarist of the band The Ailment) was starting an industrial band and needed a keyboardist. He pushed me to learn keyboard, and I learned Hurt to prove I could at least handle two hands at the same time. As time went on, I discovered more music, and I didn’t just want to play what other people were writing, so I would spend hours on end writing as much as I could. At first, it was the shittiest music that could ever cross a human being’s eardrums. I hope that’s still not the case!

Drew: My inspiration to play music came from my love of The Beatles and Weezer. I learned how to play a lot of their songs, but after a while I got tired of learning songs, so I started to write songs for fun. I never saw it as a means to an end until very recently.

Tanmay: My first albums

What was the inspiration for your first EP?

Bill: The art of making music

Andrew: I think the inspiration for our first EP was mainly the fact that it was our first collection of songs as this band. We really just wanted to put the best foot forward and even though we’ve all been playing and writing with each other for years, just the newness was enough inspiration for us to write what I think are some great songs.

Drew: The songs themselves have varying inspirations. The inspirations range from an overheard conversation about a broken cell phone to a character from one of my favorite books. Everything is inspiring

Tanmay: Politics, Abe Cunningham, Indian music, Grizzly Bear’s new album, MF Doom, Wild Style some other shit.

Who are your influences?

Bill: Moods and Movements

Andrew: I could write a novel about all my influences, if I could. Influences for me range from bands like Broken Social Scene, The Beatles, Radiohead, Wilco, and Blur, to movies like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Vanilla Sky, Garden State, Brazil, The Fisher King, and Magnolia, to TV shows like Six Feet Under, L O S T, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and Weeds, to friends and family and simply just the human condition.

Drew: My influences are vast and not contained solely in music. My family and friends are huge influences, including members of the band. Books, movies and articles are also very inspiring. I recently read Alexis DeTocquevilles critique/study on US Democracy in the 1830’s and some of what he warned might happen IS happening today. The guy was a genius. As far as music goes, The Beatles, Radiohead, and Weezer are probably my biggest three influences, but I guess I should jump in the very long queue of musicians who would say the exact same thing.

If you could perform and/or write a song with any artist/band dead or alive who would be your dream artist/band?

Bill: Ray Davies from The Kinks.

Andrew: My favorite band is and always will be Broken Social Scene, and I would do anything to be able to see how the writing process happens between them when they all must have dozens of ideas for the same song; and even to be able to study how they work as a whole when there’s 17 different musicians in the room, all of whom are amazing writers/instrumentalists in their own right, would be enough for me!

Drew: My first and most obvious choice to those who know me would be John Lennon. The band that I would love to perform with would be the four-piece of John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, and Mitch Mitchell as The Dirty Mac. They performed one song during The Rolling Stones’ Rock and Roll Circus and I wish every time I see it that they made an album together. It was just a joke band that was done of for the show, but they did the best version of “Yer Blues” that I have ever heard.

Tanmay: I just wanna hang with Jimi (Hendrix) for one song.

If you weren’t playing music what would you be doing?

Bill: Working hard for someone else

Andrew: This is the kind of question that gives me a panic attack when I really think about it.

Drew: Reading, writing music, seeing movies, catching with old friends and making some new ones.

Tanmay: I’d be listening to music.

What’s your dream venue to perform at?

Bill: In a park near a park bench

Andrew: My dream venue would be the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury or the main stage at Reading.

Drew: I would like to be a headlining act at either Coachella or Reading Festival. I can’t even imagine standing in front of hundreds of thousands of people, all of which want to hear the music you are about to play. That is intensity. Of course, playing in front of the Lincoln Memorial for Obama’s Inaugural celebration would have been cool, too. We didn’t get a call though.

Tanmay: a juke joint in Mississippi. Or a gigantic festival like big day out or some shit.

What’s your memory of a show that you played?

Bill: At my old high school with Bubble Machines and Balloons. The hardcore dudes after us weren’t hardcore enough to not slip on the bubble juice.

Andrew: Being on stage for the first time in 2004 at a now demolished venue called Krome in South Amboy, NJ. We were playing right after a punk band and before some hardcore band, which was obviously the wrong place for the band I was in. I got so nervous I forgot how to play songs that I personally wrote, and just stood in the same spot the whole 45 minutes that we played, frozen like a statue. Thankfully, I’ve loosened up since that first show, though sometimes that involves drinking some Guinness.

Drew: My two best memories happened at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park. The first one was in August of 2007 and it was the most satisfying show I have ever been apart of. I really can’t explain why it was so satisfying, but I was never so proud to be a musician. The second best memory was opening for Rooney in 2008. Most of the elating feelings associated with that show have to do with how we got it. Tanmay and I basically told the coordinator at the venue that we wanted to play it and it just happened like that.

Tanmay: haha one time Bill and I were covering Rage on a rooftop show at a huge house party, the cops came. Bill wouldn’t stop so I didn’t either…we had to get off the roof otherwise we would of been arrested. Hilarious night!

What motivated you to start a new band?

Bill: New songs that Drew was writing

Andrew: My main motivation was just the fact that old friends, whom I love playing with, wanted to start a new band; not to mention that I haven’t been in a band in 3 years.

Drew: The motivation behind the new band was the undeniable chemistry that the four of us had when we wrote music together. We all take time with our songs and recognize what sounds good and how the song should be constructed; it’s a very democratic process.

Tanmay: Drew, Bill, and Andrew.

How would you describe your music to someone who’s never heard it?

Bill: American Dark Pop

Andrew: I usually just ask if the person likes The Beatles or Radiohead. If they said yes, I’ll refer them to our website. If they say no, I get so confused as to how or why they don’t like either band, I start convulsing on the floor and also bleed from every orifice, and then my brain actually implodes inside my skull. I actually had some girl tell me she wouldn’t give Radiohead a chance because the name was stupid. I wish I was kidding.

Drew: I can explain any other band to someone by using comparisons, but I have a terrible time doing it with my own band. It takes a objective view to do it, and I obviously have a stake in the matter. If I had to try, I would say a more pop-influenced Radiohead. However, I probably won’t agree with this assessment in an hour or so.

Tanmay: “filmy songs”

Who are your major influences?

Bill: Suede, Bowie, The Kinks, Nina Simone, Big Band and Classical

Tanmay: Indian classical, Hip Hop, Punk Rock, Sabbath, Marley, Motown, Abe Cunningham and his Deftones.

Who writes your songs?

Bill: We do

Andrew: We all have a part in writing the songs, and there are multiple ways a song can start. I’d go into detail but I’d have to kill you once I told you.

Drew: One of us will often bring an idea to the table, such as melody and lyrics, melody and chords, or chords and lyrics; from there we will work on it together, however, whoever is playing the instrument wrote what is being played at all times.

What are the main themes or topics for most of your songs?

Drew: Politics, social critiques

Bill: Reflections on the past or warnings about the future

Andrew: This can really go back to my influences. What I write sometimes has a specific point I’m getting across, but sometimes I’ll write a song with no clear idea in mind, and those are usually the more interesting songs, because they start to have multiple meanings, and even change meaning depending on what is going on in my life at that moment.

Do you think these topics will change over time?

Bill: Over time we might be Disco so who knows

Andrew: Changing is part of being human, so I would hope it would, otherwise, who would want to hear the same crap heard over and over again, but just in a different chord progression?

Drew: Absolutely. My environment, the books I read, the films I see, the people I meet, the conversations I have, the music I listen to: These will all change over time. The topics and main themes for our songs will definitely change

How has your music evolved since you first began playing music together?

Andrew: If you heard the music from the previous band I was in with these guys and didn’t know it was us, you would never guess it was the same band members!

Bill: It’s evolved nicely since first started. It’s safe to say we’ll keep evolving like apes

Drew: I would like to say the music has matured and is more accessible but then again, I will probably listen to these songs in ten years and think about how juvenile and naïve I was. Acknowledging such is step one in the process of maturity. That’s what my adolescent brain tells me, anyway.

Tanmay: we listen now.

NJ is known for it’s big music scene in Asbury Park and musicians like Bruce Springsteen or Bon Jovi, do you feel that being from NJ has impacted your music at all?

Andrew: I think it’s very hard for anyone who writes music or does any other form of art to NOT be affected by where they’re from and where they’re going.

Bill: We have a lot of love for some of our fellow NJ music; we’d sound the same wherever we’re from

Drew: Absolutely. The fact that such a classic rock star like Bruce Springsteen comes from the same state us as only reminds us of the opportunity we have in this state as musicians, but also the responsibility we have to make lasting music that represents NJ. We would like to take the reins from Bruce, if he wouldn’t mind.

Tanmay: Yea. Bon Jovi is absolute s*** and should never be thought of in regards to our state, the boss is the man though. Jersey has a way of changing its inhabitants, and affecting their lives in both positive and negative ways. Where you are affects what you write, always. Bjork and Sigur Ros are from Iceland and I can hear it, Bad Brains sound like D.C, The Beatles ARE Liverpool, Rage is Los Angeles, The Wailers are Trenchtown, Biggie sounds like Brooklyn….and so On. If I lived anywhere else, this would probably not even exist.

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