Q & A With Scott Martin

Q & A With Scott Martin
XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements? 
Scott: Well, just today I released a new single, “Bringing Hollywood Back To Life” and will be holding a release show for it this evening at The Bowery Electric in New York City. In another couple of months, I’m looking to follow this single up with an EP release – I’d say most likely around the holidays. 
XS ROCK: How long has the band been together?
Scott: Well, I’ve been performing as a solo artist officially for the last year or so…before that I was working in a couple of other groups, Storm of the Century and Bulletproof Messenger, which were a little heavier and somewhat different in sound. Bulletproof’s drummer, Joe Rubino, is actually my drummer these days as well – we’re old friends from New York City, and I guess things have a funny way of coming back around like that. 
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for starting or being in a band?
Scott: Well, a long time ago, I was a really nerdy history obsessed kid who started listening to his father’s record collection while painting civil war figurines on the weekends…and I suddenly became obsessed with the idea of figuring out how songs were written…it seemed like magic. I was all in after that epiphany – and of course – you need a band. You need a crew of people who will laugh with you, make killer music with you, lift you up, whatever – a band is your ride or die. It’s all about the camaraderie. That’s what helps get you through this industry…I probably didn’t know that at 15 when I started playing, though. I just wanted to make cool tunes with some friends.
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
Scott: Hmmm…both are pretty cool – but both are really, really different animals. When I write a song, it’s usually between midnight and five AM, and it’s kind of like making a puzzle where all the pieces fit perfectly together – except you can’t use the picture on the box as a reference – because, you have this nebulous idea, but maybe not quite the final picture. I’ll do that for days/nights at a time until I get something workable…and it’s really cool, you know – creating something from just a thought. I love that. And then, of course, the studio is where little sparks are flying around and you go “oh man, what if we did this here….?”. It’s like a whole different (and just as wonderful) beast. But you know, playing live is exhilarating in a different kind of way. You’re expressing yourself musically AND physically up there, and sometimes I’ve even gotten so high from the intensity of it that I sort of blackout and can’t really remember what it was like on the stage when I try to think back. It’s intense, and it’s very primal. I’m usually up for hours after a show just trying to come back down. So – it’s hard to say which. I guess if I had to choose, playing live…there’s just something about that feeling which I can’t quite describe.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road? If so, please fill us in.
Scott: Oh man, there’s been a lot. And a lot that probably isn’t fit to be in print, especially with the gang from Bulletproof Messenger. We’re total clowns. But one of my favorite moments had to be doing this show at a Six Flags, getting ready in the amphitheater, and being told: “you guys go on as soon as the dolphin show is over”. That’s when you know you’ve really made it.
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
Scott: Strange requests? You know, I don’t know whether it’s cause no one’s ever asked for anything truly strange, or because I’ve been doing this so long that NOTHING seems strange, but I really can’t think of anything…I mean, no one’s asked me for like, blood samples or anything. At least not yet. 
XS ROCK: Were your parents supportive of your aspirations to play in a rock band?
Scott: Oh, absolutely. I think they didn’t want to see me struggle (and the struggle is real) so they tried to steer me towards “do music as a hobby” early on, but they were never against it or anything like that. My Dad played guitar when he was younger – I still use his acoustic guitar on all my records. 
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
Scott: I’ve got an (as of yet) unreleased track called “Mexico” that I absolutely love to do live – we put an extended jam in the outro and I get to sling some pretty cool guitar for a minute or two, which is fun – I also really, really love doing “Hollywood” cause I always wind up feeling that one deep in my bones…it’s an intense thing to sing about. 
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
Scott: Oh wow…there’s a few here. Tom Petty cause that guy was just the coolest…super chill onstage, always. Springsteen because I mean, damn, man. Such intensity in his live shows. And he was like, really relatable, you know?…you felt like he was one of you and “hey man – you can do this too”. And then you’ve got my favorite live performer of all time – Prince. Prince just blew my mind. I think I still try to understand what I’m witnessing when I look back at his live stuff. He had the chops, the moves, and the sickest, sickest bands. Just insanity. 
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
Scott: Man, I would have given anything to open for Tom Petty. That would’ve been it for me. 
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
Scott: Honestly, I think just being able to make a living in NYC as a guitar player. Whatever accolades or rewards or plays/sales that people like to rack up just doesn’t compare to that. It’s bizarre when I think about it – I mean, it’s not easy and I think you maybe have to be sort of crazy and certainly hella stubborn in order to do it. But also – make no mistake about it – I got by with a LOT of help from my friends…not just a little. 
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
Scott: I’d be a history professor, definitely (it’s what I went to school for). But the really cool kind of prof – you know, like Robin Williams in The Dead Poets Society. Which obviously means that they’d fire me – but I think he got education right, honestly. That’s the kind of teacher you want to be.
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
Scott: Oh man, I’ve got a ton of gear and am a bit of a guitar nerd – but honestly, a lot of that is utilized mostly for session work. When I’m live playing my own tunes, I’m usually found playing a Telecaster through a Vox. Then I ride the volume knob and use a few different overdrives and a couple of delays (currently I’m loving the TrueTone VS-XO, the T-Rex Replay Box, and the Mojohand Sacred Cow). Pretty solid stuff and I’m not using a loop switcher at the moment, so it keeps things simple and easily fixable – especially for those last-minute equipment issues on stage. Probably also the reason I’ve been using telecasters my entire career – it gives you everything you need, and nothing you don’t. Just rock steady guitars – and in my opinion, the best guitar ever designed. Not much on those that can break down. And the tone? Badassery.
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
Scott: I have to be honest – I can’t say I’m loving it overall, but I love parts of it very dearly. I mean, it’s incredibly diverse, especially in a place like New York City – I can go out and see a different style every night, and trust me, I do – but sometimes that translates into a feeling of it all being fragmented. When I was younger in Long Island, it felt like we had a SCENE, you know? Everyone was going out and seeing bands like Taking Back Sunday, Brand New, and we’d all go on the weekly pilgrimage to The Downtown to see whatever band was coming through. It was like a religion, and I loved it. I’m not getting a lot of that vibe these days. Maybe it’s streaming, maybe it’s a big radio, I don’t know. One thing I do know though is that I’d just like to hear Rock N’ Roll on Top 40 again. That’d be cool. The world needs it. This midtempo overproduced pop business has gotta go. Like, yesterday. 
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
Scott: Hmmm, well, like I said earlier – total history nerd, and I’m a voracious reader. My house looks like Indiana Jones’ office. I used to play Rugby in college and absolutely loved it. Other than that…I don’t think anything terribly surprising – I’m not a serial killer and I can’t juggle or blow bubbles out my nose.
XS ROCK: If someone had never heard you before, how would you describe your sound?
Scott: Hmmm…I’m not terribly good at this…how about modern Rock N’ Roll? I’m not playing like Chuck Berry riffs or anything, but I mean, hugely influenced by Tom Petty, U2, Springsteen’s writing…I try to keep things upbeat, the guitars are more jangly than they are heavy, I go for catchy choruses, kinda dig modern production on things – yeah, let’s roll with that!
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
Scott: Sure! I think most importantly, to everyone, thanks for sticking with me through the years. This is the best stuff I’ve had the chance to put out yet, and there’s so much more of it coming. Every single one of you that loves what I write, comes to a show, anything – you keep me going. We’re in this together, so thank you for being family.   Thanks so much guys, all the best and have a good one! 
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