Following yet another album release from the sheer identity and intrigue of Herman Martinez, the bold and powerful Continuity Errors, it was a pleasure to dig a little deeper into the creative process and intentions of the work, and to find out more about the man behind the music. Here’s the interview in full.
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Hi Herman, great to catch up – how are things where you are?
I’m back in the Atlanta area now. Things are good, I’m a professional tattoo artist when I’m not doing music and business has been skyrocketing. I’m always working on art in some form, been selling a lot of paintings.
That’s awesome. And massive congrats on the album, another bold collection. What does this project represent for you?
A fresh start. I feel like I’ve improved my skillset since the last album and Ahmed Mahmoud who mixed/mastered and produced the album has definitely improved his skillset. I want to get as many ears on it as possible so people can hear what we’re capable of.
What inspired the title Continuity Errors, and which track from the collection would you recommend as a sort of summary or overall introduction to the ideas that prompted it?
It’s the culmination of a few years of recording sessions. Had to take a long break due to the pandemic but kept writing new material so it continuously morphed into a different creature hence the name Continuity Errors.
We recorded over 30 songs and chose 12 for the album. We made Some New Beautiful Nightmare the opening track because it felt like the gateway to the whole album.
As it’s a personal favourite, can you dig a little into the concept of Days Without and how you came to create this one in such a way?
I like to leave things up to interpretation but I’ll say that it has to do with loss. It was actually the song that came the easiest. Parts just fell into place whenever I sat down to work on it.
Given the eclecticism of the set-up, what’s your writing style like – what’s your go-to instrument, or are you studio / production first?
Most songs will start on a guitar or piano but really I try to just let the muse guide me. Some songs just come to me but other songs I have to go to them. Some take a lot of work to bring them back from that place in some tangible form. Some songs stay in my head forever.
What made you choose to close with Deleted Scenes?
I thought it was the most epic song on the album. It felt like the song that would play at the climax of the movie. I had the ideas for it swirling in my head for some time and it was a relief to finally get it recorded. I felt lighter.
Where do you imagine people listening to these songs, and what do you hope they get from the project in full?
Probably in a room with some backlights and incense lit. Or on a long car ride to nowhere. I just want to take people on a trip. I want people to feel what I feel when I listen to artists that I like. I want to pay forward the inspiration.
You have a distinctive sound but with hints of influence from a range of bands and songwriters. Have there been any less expected sources of inspiration behind the development of your style?
Old Nintendo music and movie soundtracks. Saturday morning cartoon theme songs.
How has your approach to writing and releasing music changed since the days of Solopsi Radio?
During the Solopsi sessions I learned a lot from Ahmed in terms of how to do things correctly. Now that we work on these projects remotely, I try to apply those lessons and assimilate them into my recordings. Solopsi was a bunch of scattered ideas that we turned into an album. Continuity is an album that time scattered and we built back up from the bottom. Solopsi was controlled chaos. Continuity is uncontrolled order.
More recently, considering the wonderful Secret Doors Hidden Stairs: Season 2, there’s often a cryptic, intriguing element to your titles, lyrics and ambiances. Are there answers to be found by revisiting the songs, or do you aim to leave an air of mystique?
I like to leave things open. Theres’s enough surface value for anyone to enjoy and there’s a lot of easter eggs for people who want to explore further.
Is there a live tour on the cards, and if so – will this be a full band set-up, solo acoustic, or somewhere in between?
Still figuring out live shows post covid. For now it’ll be mostly me and an array of instruments and loopers.
What’s your main intention or ambition when you write and perform original music?
I just want to write good music and make people feel things. Art is important and I want to play my part. If someone hears something I wrote and goes home and tries to learn an instrument and make their own music because something clicked, there’s a lot of beauty and honor in that.
What’s something you’d change about the music industry if you could?
More independent artists.
What’s the best piece of advice you were ever given?
It’s not work if you love it.
Is there anything else we should know?
I’ll be back soon with Season 4.
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