How long has the band been together?
Joe: Martyr Art has existed (in some shape or form) since 2004.
Tell me about the latest band news. Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
Joe: My new album ‘FearFaith Machines’ will see it’s worldwide release on November 22nd, 2019 (in physical and digital formats).
Working on some really cool non-Martyr Art projects as well, but it’s a little too soon to officially announce anything at this time.
What was your main motivation for starting or being in a band?
Joe: Metallica. As a kid, I use to pour over all the Metallica magazines (’91-92′ era). They were so cool, bad ass and I loved their music.
I eventually rented the dual VHS copy of ‘Metallica: A Year and a Half in the Life of…’ and was blown away by everything.
It was really my first true behind-the-scenes exposure to the rock’n’ roll and metal lifestyle as well as how things worked in the studio.
I was instantly sold on starting my own “thing”, but being a kid pre-YouTube, there was almost no real info out there that could point me into the right direction.
I must have rented that VHS set 30 times before buying my own copy.
What is your music background?
Joe: I’m mostly self-taught, though my dad taught me guitar for the first year or so.
When I was 13/14, I took 3 months of classical guitar lessons, where I primarily focused on technique – though I totally failed at
sight reading. I also sang in chorus in junior high (for one year) and moved onto percussion in both the junior
and high-school bands, where I learned the importance and responsibilities of orchestrating music, which definitely translates to what I do,
especially with the amount of layers in my music, not all of which can be immediately heard.
Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
Joe: I don’t prefer one over the other, as long as there is a harmonious balance between creating and performing. Having said that, composing
is a more natural process for me than performing live, especially performing as a one-man band. I like to move around a lot when playing live,
but most of the time there’s barely enough room to stand and take a few steps to either side of me.
What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
Joe: Introspection, the struggle within and the dystopian future of our species and earth.
Were your parents supportive of your aspirations to play in a rock band?
Joe: My family was very supportive. They understood that it was a positive release for the darkness building up inside.
My Aunt Kathy gave me my first guitar (which I still own) and my dad taught me how to play.
What are your favorite tracks to play live?
Joe: “Motion” and “Binary Slavery” off of ‘FearFaith Machines’
“Friday The 13th (Nintendo Theme)” off of ‘Introspection: The Singles 2015-2016″
and “Introspection” off of ‘Art.Beauty.Chaos Volume I’.
Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
Joe: I think that depends on which phase of my life were digging into.
When I first started playing, I was all about Metallica (‘Black Album’ era).
In my teens, Pantera, Korn, Fear Factory, Faith No More and local scene bands like Slipfist and Veinfeed were dropped into the mix.
In my 20’s it was a mix of Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, Front 242 and Front Line Assembly.
Nowadays, it’s Arch Enemy, All Out War, Hatebreed and some really energetic scene bands like Moon Tooth and Prime Suspect.
As far as the reasons “why” – it’s all comes down to the energy created and received.
If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
Joe: Metallica, Nine Inch Nails, Faith No More, White Zombie, Nirvana and Martyr Art. It’s such a dream tour that it literally
could never happen.
If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
Joe: Well, music (at the moment) is not my full-time career. I’m psyched that as of now it is a part-time gig for me and
that there is a potential to develop it further. At my day job, I’m a graphic designer and printer.
What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
Joe: Let’s see… (2) Ibanez RG8’s; Mackie Mixer; LED TV (for video); La Bella Strings; Hosa Cables; Boss Chrous, Delay and
EQ Pedals; Dunlop Wah-Wah and Distortion Pedals; Korg Chromatic Tuner; Line 6 Wireless System and a Shure in-ear
system. I pre-mix my backing tracks and guitar and send them through the Mackie mixer, out to (2) D.I. boxes then
to F.O.H. If I’m performing in a large room, I’ll add my wife’s Scamper amp into the mix (as a “filler” monitor).
What do you think of the current music scene?
Joe: It could be much better. It is very much fractured between the genres and sub genres. There lacks a real sense of unity.
For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
Joe: That I literally do everything in Martyr Art. Producing, composing, engineering, recording, mixing, mastering, perform all
the instruments, arrange all music, all the graphic and web design work, video editing, apparel design, marketing,
distribute my own music, bookkeeping and anything else required to make things happen.
If someone had never heard you before, how would you describe your sound?
Joe: I usually say “Digital Metal” and the reaction is exactly the same 100% of the time. There’s the “I know what you mean” look
immediately followed by intrigue and a conversation for specificity.
Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
Joe: If you’re interested or curious by this interview, check out www.MartyrArt.com for all things Martyr Art.
Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us at XS Rock!
Joe: Thank you for the exposure and making the time \m/