• Hello Martin, can you introduce yourself to our readers?
I’m a musician (recording artist/producer/composer/keyboard player) based in Manchester U.K. As well as producing and releasing my own music I currently play keyboards for Peter Hook and the Light, also Doves and Echo & the Bunnymen.
• What are some highlights of your career so far, and your personal achievements?
Touring the world with different bands. Composing the soundtrack for a BBC documentary. Supporting the Rolling Stones, U2 and Oasis. Playing grand piano at Ushuaia, Ibiza to 7,000 ravers. Playing grand piano at Sydney opera house performing Joy Division songs with an orchestra. Recording at capitol records, abbey road and real world studios. Being involved in number one selling albums. The list is endless. I’m a very lucky boy indeed.
• What venue or festival has been the most memorable, for good or bad reasons?
Glastonbury is always memorable and I’m fortunate to have played it numerous times. There really is no other festival like it. You can plan to watch certain bands and end up seeing none of them and stumble across all sorts of new great music, tastes, sights and sounds.
• Tell us about your time with Doves, is there a moment that is special to you?
Yeah so many special moments. Touring the world on multiple occasions. Playing on TV shows. Supporting Oasis and U2. Having The Strokes support us on our first and their first ever North American tour, before they were signed! Also the comeback gig at the Royal Albert hall after a nearly 10 year hiatus.
• How did you come to join Peter hook and the Light?
Doves band was on a hiatus and I was mainly doing studio based bits. I happened to be on a hike with Jez from Doves and there was no phone reception. When I got down from the hill my phone bleeped with a message from Paul Kehoe (who drums in The light) saying fancy joining the band? Which was a nice message to receive.
• Can you take us through a day in the life of you on tour?
Normally waking earlier than I’d like too, to get to an airport. Checking into the hotel on arrival and to the venue swiftly after for set up and soundcheck. I like to make an effort and check out the local neighbourhoods and grab a bite somewhere if I get chance. Then the fun part – the concert. We play a long set (between 2.5/3 hours) so I’m usually a bit frazzled after and eager for bed. Not very rock n roll. Unless we have a rare day off. Then I’ll definitely explore the city I’m in. Feel very fortunate to do what I do.
• Tell us about how you are using Reason in a live environment on stage?
I use a master controller keyboard and laptops to generate all the sounds with Reason v12 being the catalyst. One main rig and a backup machine for everything.
• Which Reason instruments or effects are you using, do you use them as a combinator?
All my patches are combinators. I switch between them during the set. On previous versions of Reason it was a stand alone but with its capability to now be used as a vst, I’m also incorporating it into mainstage. I’m mainly using : NN-XT, Malström, Subtractor, RV7000 reverb, DDL-1 delay, Scream4, Radical Piano.
• What is your current favourite song to play live?
Your Silent Face. Mainly because it’s a synth heavy track, fun to play and a great song too.
• You have been playing with Echo & The Bunnymen this year, and supported the Rolling Stones, can you tell us more about that experience and how that came about?
That was a real bucket list moment. I’d always wanted to see the Rolling Stones but never had the chance before (as I was on tour when they played my hometown). So to get the call to support and share the stage with them was amazing. It was at Liverpool football clubs stadium – Anfield, which made it extra special for the Bunnymen, as they’re huge Liverpool supporters. The stones were incredible. They’ve still got it.
• Your latest release was ‘Leaving Places’ with Madraas, can you tell us about that collaboration, how would you describe your sound?
Leaving places was a really organic collaboration with Italian producers Madraas. They sent over a couple of ideas to potentially work on and this one clicked instantly. It’s a Balearic organic house track. My sound goes from organic house, cinematic, solo piano to electronica.
• What is next for you?
On tour with Peter Hook and the light for the rest of the year. After our North American tour we’re heading to Europe and then Australia and New Zealand in November. Performing the Joy Division albums Unknown Pleasures and Closer. I have more organic house and electronic tracks to be released, a piano album and an ambient modular synth album to be released at some point too.
• Lastly, Is there a record from your childhood that has been a big influence on you and why?
Kraftwerk – Man machine. As that’s the first time I’d heard synths being played in a very cool way and thought that’s what I want to do.