Since 1996

  Your Gateway to Music and More from a Christian Perspective
    Slow down as you approach the gate, and have your change ready....
Home
Subscribe
About Us
Features
Past Features
News

Album Reviews
Movie Reviews
Concert Reviews
Book Reviews

Top 10
Contact Us

 

Ronnie Martin of Joy Electric
 
Frontman Ronnie Martin has always marched to the beat of a different drum; in Martinís case, that drum is analog synthesized. With an arsenal of MOOG and other vintage analog synthesizers, Joy Electric has crafted electronic pop music in unique fashion for almost twenty years. I spoke with Martin on the phone regarding the future of Joy Electric and the music industry, the interplay of faith and art, touring with his wife, and the upcoming covers project, __Favorites at Play__.

RNS ROBOT: I suppose Iíll start with the new album, you have a new disc called __Favorites at Play__ coming out November 3rd. What can you tell me about the new disc?

RONNIE MARTIN: Itís a covers album. It covers mainly more modern pop songs from the last three-to-five years, Joy Electric renditions of more current bands The Killers, Keane, Coldplay, Nelly Furtado and All-American Rejects. It was sort of an attempt to avoid falling into the kitschy eighties/seventies cover mentality that you see a lot of bands do these days. I was sorta keeping up to date.

RNS ROBOT: I do want to ask you about the mainstream nature of the song choices, some fans might expect a JE cover record to be a little more, exactly what you said, Ďretro,í based on [Joy Electric's] influences and sound. Was that a conscious decision on your part? did the label have any input into that?

MARTIN: It was definitely my decision. Going into it I sort of assumed that, like you said, the general consensus would have been somewhere along the lines of Ďwell, heís probably going to do Smiths and New Order coversí and that type of thing, because Iíve been pretty vocal about some of my influences throughout the years. It all just seemed a bit typical, in the sense that a lot of songs Iíd liked Iíd heard bands cover in recent years. It just didnít feel appealing at all, it felt like I would be rehashing something that didnít need to be rehashed at the moment.

RNS ROBOT: I think it was the most recent Bon Voyage record [side project of Starflyer 59] even had [The Smiths'] ďGirlfriend In A ComaĒ as a cover song. And the band Bleach covered that song just a few years before that.

MARTIN: Yeah, and I mean those are just two examples out of a wider range of examples of modern bands really being enamored by all things eighties, which is kinda the thing right now. Itís not trying to be inadvertently snobbish about it at all, because obviously I love all those songs. I was just trying to find a different angle. Part of it was that thereís always the criticism that ísongs being written today are not nearly as good as songs in the past.í I think that thereís always good songs out there, so this is my chance to show that I believe these songs are as good as any of the old classics. I probably donít have the same kind of love and affection for the new songs as I do for the older songs I listened to when I was a teenager, but theyíre still good songs.

RNS ROBOT: How did you approach the material? Did you have an idea how to collectively interpret the material, or did you approach each song [individually] and find a perspective for it?

MARTIN: My initial idea when I was still in the thinking stage of it, which was in the spring, I knew one of the things I wanted to do was stick as closely to the original arrangements as possible. I wanted to stay with that and just do a really faithful rendition as far as arrangement goes because I knew that sound wise, the way I do my sound and my programming, I knew it was going to give it a life of its own. Thatís really what I tried to do. It didnít work out with all the songs, for instance, I think on the All-American Rejects thing thereís a bridge that I tried to make work and it just didnít sound good so I cut the bridge out. Thereís a couple other instances of that on some of the other tracks, but for the most part I just really stuck with the original [arrangements].

RNS ROBOT: Is there one particular song on the album that you feel would surprise people the most when they hear it? Whether itís by slight arrangement changes or the sounds you used or just something you feel turned out really really well.

MARTIN: Gosh, I donít really know, Iím trying to think right now. I did this song ďFalling SlowlyĒ off the Once soundtrack and I really liked that one turned out. I really like gosh, I donít Ö Iím not really sure. I really like that one. I did ďSay it RightĒ by Nelly Furtado and I think that turned out interesting because I did sort of an ambient sort of version of it, that separated it from the her version, which was already kind of Ďelectronic-y.í That one was a little more difficult, so I was happy with that way that turned out as well. Overall Iím pretty pleased with how the songs turned out. I didnít really labor over it, so itís very of the moment and sort of spontaneous.

RNS ROBOT: It wasnít one of the albums that, in your past, taken a great deal of time and stressed you out over a year?

MARTIN: Not at all. I think because I didnít write the songs, I was able to not come into it with that mentality. So that was helpful. You know when you write a song, at least for me, you sort of take ownership of it; Youíre a little more careful what you do with it. With these, you know, theyíre not my songs so I had a little more free-flowing mindset going into it. And that just made it more enjoyable to work on.

RNS ROBOT: Sounds like a fun album to record and a fun album to listen to.

MARTIN: I hope it is, itís kind of energetic. The last album, My Grandfather The Cubist, was a very specific sounding record Ė it wasnít really energetic very much. This is just sort of the opposite of that. I think itíll be a nice change at least.

RNS ROBOT: Personally Iím really interested to hear ďViva la Vida,Ē itís just such an epic sounding song already. You have that Killers cover (ĒWhen You Were YoungĒ) on your myspace, which is the only Killers song I enjoyÖ so thanks for covering that one!

MARTIN: (laughs) I always thought that was a great song. I know that most people feel a little closer to their first album but gosh, to me that was just the ultimate song, thereís just something so great about that chorus. Itís a song I wish Iíd written when I first heard it, so I thought I could make it work. The Coldplay song was the easiest song out of the batch, cause it was already this four on the floor dancey number in essence.

RNS ROBOT: Have you looked beyond __Favorites At Play__ to what youíll do for the next original JE release?

MARTIN: Yeah, I actually have that album all written. Oddly enough, one of the things that was holding up me starting Favorites was that I was
programming all the drums for the new record, in March and April. I was finishing all of that before I started on Favorites because I had this idea of trying to put together the songs on the new album the way you would on a more traditional record, where youíre recording guitar, bass, and drums and you lay down the drums first. So I went ahead and laid down all the drums for all the songs. Iíve just now started on completing those for the next full length Ė the process is underway.

RNS ROBOT: Do you have any possible themes for it? Most JE recent release have very specific themes, lyrically and sonically.

MARTIN: It is specific. Most of the ideas and themes are based on the Psalms of David. Itís more of the emotion and some of the concepts behindÖ how can I explain this? Some of the passages where itís explaining and recounting how David was feeling during certain times in his life. So itís a record based on that, but sort of how itís applicable to what was going on in my life at the time. I think itís probably the most spiritual record Iíve done in years and years so theme wise itís kinda hitting on a lot of personal feelings. At the same time thereís definitely some very abstract elements to it as well. Itís very very melodic, I think itís probably my poppiest pop songs that Iíve had in some time.

RNS ROBOT: I had a friend of mine who wanted me to ask you ďare you ever going to record another __CHRISTIANsongs__?Ē So heíll be happy with that answer to a certain extent, but I was going to ask: would you ever do a record with more overt spiritual themes?

MARTIN: You know itís funny, I couldnít tell you how many times Iíve been asked that question over the years since that record came out. I donít really look at things as being Ďmore overtí or Ďless overtí when I jump into them. I do have a faith, and I strive to be creative, with my faith sort of being what the creativity goes through. To me, I know that __CHRISTIANsongs__ is definitely more overt than say, Cubist. at the same time I donít really pare it down like that. Nevertheless, __CHRISTIANsongs__ is sort of a very specific and naive take on that. I could never revisit anything I did with that because it was a long time ago and I probably donít agree with even some of the themes that I pursued on that record. Itís hard to explain and I donít think I ever explained my motivation behind [__CHRISTIANsongs__] very well, and itíd be too hard to explain it now, but it sort of landed where it landed. I think thereís some really good songs on that record but itís not something I look back on really super-fondly. You want maturity and you want growth and that record purposely didnít have a lot of that because I was aiming for something a little to the left of that, in a weird sense. Sorry to be so vague, but thatís kinda where that landed. I would say this record, speaking of Ďchristian songs,í this record is definitely something I wish I could have done at the time of __CHRISTIANsongs__ but I just didnít know how to get there at the time from a musical standpoint. Probably from a theological standpoint as well, I was in a different place. Again, youíre talking ten years ago.

RNS ROBOT: Having been involved in the [Christian music] scene and having been a consistent musician in that scene, in what ways do you feel or have seen that the christian music scene or ability of Christians to simply play good music and make good art, what ways has that changed for the better? And if thereís any, what ways has it changed for the worst? Sorry if thatís poorly phrased.

MARTIN: I think one of the huge things is that Ö really, the question would be, do we use Christ to further our art or do we use our art to further the gospel? And I think what youíve seen happen is that with the way the industry has gotten so pared down, there is definitely a lack of what I would consider a Ďcreative mindset.í You could argue it was always like that to an extent, maybe more-so now than before, because the state of the music industry in general has caused labels to become a bit more safe and put things out there that they know are going to attract a wider audience. I think the problem weíve come into with the whole idea of christian music or christian art is that the name of Christ has been used to promote the art rather than the other way around. On many levels it not only is essentially like dragging the name of Christ through the mud, because what youíre doing is bringing up a subjectiveness to who Christ is, youíre also making less great art because I think youíve got the formula reversed. That is probably the biggest problem now with people that are approaching this industry with the idea of doing something that they know is possibly going to earn them a living and get them on their feet as a career. That doesnít apply to everybody, of course, but I would say that is probably the over-arching problem I see with things now, as opposed to maybe how they were when there was probably a bit more freedom to sort of create art without so many guidelines and ramifications which have been put in place by the labels and music people. Itís almost like itís always had four pretty narrow walls, but I definitely think itís grown far more narrow in the past ten years without a doubt. In my opinion, at least.

RNS ROBOT: On the flipside, over the past ten years thereís been a number of bands that have had quite a bit of mainstream success while still being evident or maybe shrewd with their faith ­ Switchfoot, Underoath, P.O.D.. Do you feel that there should be a separate industry, or is it a non-factor? How do you feel about even the term Ďgoing mainstream?í And what does that mean or what the connotations are of it?

MARTIN: First off, you canít fight whatís already in place unless you just want to avoid the industry altogether; which some bands have done, and I actually applaud. Nevertheless as soon as somebody decided to create an industry like this, we were going to end up exactly where weíve ended up. Obviously the idea that there is a separate music industry from the general market is rooted out of the fact that thereís a book industry apart from the general market, which by the way is far more integrated in the general market than music industry. The christian music industry has always been so much more separate than the publishing industry which is way more integrated in the general market.

RNS ROBOT: Right, like I can walk into Chapters (Canadian version of Barnes & Noble) and go into the religion section and find half the books I can find in a christian bookstore. I canít do that with music though, with very rare exceptions such as say UnderoathÖ

MARTIN: Right, And they are in effect a mainstream band. So basically the idea of a separate industry that was created, it goes back to my question: if you were saying Ďwell we wanted to use this music to advance the message of christí, if that had been the intent from the very beginning, the last thing somebody would have done would have been to create a separate industry for it. It just doesnít make any logical sense. If you look at the words of Paul in the New Testament, Paul wasnít going around creating a separate industry for what he was doing as far as giving out the gospel. In essence weíve taken that early church model and havenít applied it to the music end of what weíre doing at all. We actually took the opposite tack and created our own box and the art has suffered. As soon as we create our own box it becomes apparent to the outside world that we have an agenda that really has nothing to do with Christ so they see through that and it comes off as a false motivation. I think thatís why weíre at where weíre at now. [As far as] Mainstream success of bands like Switchfoot and P.O.D.? That has to do with a lot of this and a lot of that, and The Lord obviously saw fit to work those bands and bring them to the place theyíre at and itís definitely interesting. But I donít think weíre talking aoutÖ how can I say this without saying really insulting? To me those arenít really bands that are pushing art, necessarily, through the music. I would put them in just a separate category probably. And thatís nothing against those bands or anything, I know some of the guys in those bands, theyíre great guys, itís nothing personal.

RNS ROBOT: Fair enough. Um, Iíd like to ask you a question, and you donít have to answer it if you want. Springing out of what you said there, Iíve heard other musicians of faith talk about how ĎGod will open doorsí or ĎGod will place you where He wants you.í In terms of that kind of approach to theology, whether God is sovereign or ĎGodís will is Godís willí, would you say then that the reason JE isnít successful is because God has chosen for it not to be? Sorry, I donít mean to say JE isnít successful, but it is a niche market, it is not a huge, mainstream broken band. Does that hold up when approached from that perspective or simply is there more to it than that?

MARTIN: Well, itís a great question. Ultimately if we believe that God rules and does everything to his own glory and pleasure he could have done anything he wanted with Joy Electric since he could have put us at any link that he chose to put us in the success chain or the commercial success chain. But heís also given us a mind, certain tools that are in place, and thereís also a cultural line that says Ďif you push more towards this line your chances of getting from point a to point b are greater than if you donít tow that particular line.í Joy Electric has never gone a long way towards towing a line that was palatable enough for the general audience. Weíre using electronics, and doing it in a very niche way, a novel way, writing lyrics that are subtle at the best of times or even so overt that they donít really accommodate a wide audience. You just have to accept that fact that youíre not going to have a wide audience.

RNS ROBOT: Right.

MARTIN: There are certain rules in place, especially in the music industry, thereís ways to go about getting closer to a level of success by following those quote unquote rules and Iíve just never been successful at doing that because I cared about art a little bit too much. And so the project has been at cult status.

RNS ROBOT: I suppose many musicians make a choice between artistic integrity and commercial success.

MARTIN: I think you can have both, though. Radiohead has had artistic credibility and commercial success. Some of their records have been far weirder than anything Iíve ever done and theyíve also sold millions. There are so many things that go into it.

RNS ROBOT: Like the stars align and everything is perfectÖ

MARTIN: It sounds funny but from a human standpoint, from a practical standpoint itís just so true. You listen to a song like, to take that Radiohead example, you listen to a song like ďIdiotequeĒ off of Kid A and itís just this abstract piece of electronic music ­ and you know that single was massive. It was very vague and it was very bizarre and nobody knows what he was talking about and there was nothing really commercially acceptable about that song at all. But the level that theyíre at, they were able to do something like that and receive this widespread attention doing something that abstract. I think what helped them though, which helps a lot of bands, is you have to do something to get to that level so you have the freedom to actually experiment, and do stuff that then your fan base will be good with.

RNS ROBOT: Like if you go from Pablo Honey up to Kid A, you know, the first two albums are still very good albums, Bends has some amazing songs on it, but of course itís more just an alternative rock record.

MARTIN: Absolutely.

RNS ROBOT: And then OK Computer gets weirder and when Kid A comes outÖ thatís a really interesting observation. I want to apologize if I inadvertently insulted you, I did not mean to do that.

MARTIN: No, not at all, why do you say that?

RNS ROBOT: The, uh, ísuccessí lineÖ

MARTIN: Not at all, man. You know in the grand scheme of things thereís the rule Ďwell, how do we measure success?í Just measuring it like most people do bands, you sell gobloads of records. We just never have, thatís the bottom line.

RNS ROBOT: Have any of your tracks ever been made into part of a DJ set? That you know of?

MARTIN: UmÖ Iíve gotten some things like that sent to me over the years. I donít know if anythingís ever been commercially released like that, I donít think they have, but some independent DJs that have sent me things like that over the years. Nothing that anybody probably would have heard.

RNS ROBOT: Is that an idea that appeals to you, having other people do dance remixes of your songs?

MARTIN: Yeah, I mean, Iíve done that in the past. Itís funny, the whole DJ dance/remix side of things, itís never really been a big draw for me. Itís probably something I should have taken a little more seriously at the time, I just never really believed it would be an effective channel, so we didnít really pursue it. We have had remixes obviously over the years but itís just never something that Iím really passionate about.

RNS ROBOT: Did you ever meet MOOG pioneer Bob Moog or have you had any involvement with the company beyond using their products?

MARTIN: No, I never met Bob before he died. I have had some contact with the company, using their products. I know one of their main engineers there and heís helped me out a little bit. Thatís about it really, nothing major.

RNS ROBOT: What is the purpose of the EEP Society?

MARTIN: What happened was after doing the Plastiq Musiq [Ronnie's defunct independent record label] thing for a long time, I wanted a way to release some of my own indie stuff as well as some other peopleís releases again without falling into the traditional label mold ­ which is obviously being turned on its side right now. So I thought it was best to create this kind of multi-faceted thing where thereís a studio and thereís artists I can work with, more on a collaborative nature. Put Autobahn [Festival] under the umbrella of being a production company thing. I built a new studio, Iíve been doing so much outside studio work this past year so thatís starting to get really busy, so I thought it would be fun to launch something new without it being a traditional thing like just a Ďrecord label.í Thatís really all it is.

RNS ROBOT: Will some of the older, more unique synth equipment be available for that studio use, or is just kind of preserved?

MARTIN: Everything I own is available for it. Iíve had some artists Iíve produced some stuff for and everything I have is available to use. We use it all. We throw it on there if thatís what they want. I just finished up a female singer-songwriter thing in there and we were mainly using pianos and acoustic guitars. She wasnít really too much into electronics so we had to leave that stuff. So itís just different, itís whatever the artist really wants.

RNS ROBOT: So as a producer youíre not strictly for electronic or synth-pop based artists?

MARTIN: No, no, not at all. Thatís whatís so funny, I listen to everything, so Iíd love to produce anything as well. Most of the interest I get is from artists doing [electronic] music. Thatís probably mainly what I do but you know, Iíd do anything probably besides Norwegian Black Metal. I donít think theyíd be interested in working with me anyways.

RNS ROBOT: JE has toured less and less over the past few years. Is that trend likely to continue or do you see yourself doing an extensive tour in the near future or maybe next year?

MARTIN: Thereís going to be no extensive tours. We decided after the 2004 tour, the Mannequin tour, there was going to be no more extensive tours. So weíve just really been doing fly-outs since then. My dad passed away three years ago and Iíve definitely laid off doing as many live dates since then. Life has changed. I did Cubist and just decided to pare down the live shows a little bit. Thereís just other things going on in life right now. Itís hard to make predictions about these kinds of things, but right now Iím happy to not be doing as many live shows as Iíve done in the past.

RNS ROBOT: Any live shows that you would be doing in the next six months, what would you be bringing to them in terms of equipment and set list or additional musicians?

MARTIN: Thatís a good question. We just did a couple shows in Ohio and Kentucky like two or three weeks ago. For those dates it was pretty stripped down, I was using the MOOG Little Fatty, some analog delay effects, and I had a live drummer, Josh Graham, with me on live drums and of course live vocals. Thatís how we were doing that configuration and generally what weíve done for the past couple years. Weíve also done some stuff recently where Iíve actually played drums and done vocals and my wife Misty has played synthesizers. Weíve been kind of mixing it up lately and thatís something weíll continue with in the future. When youíve been playing shows for a long time, it gets a little bit standard after a while. Iím always thinking Ďwhat would be fun, what would make me really want to really get out there and play, what configuration would get me excited about playing?í Itís kind of hard to figure that out sometimes. Our standard configuration is either me with the synth and a live drummer, or just a synth guy, a drummer and just me on vocals.

RNS ROBOT: Do you find that thereís a difference in fanbase and general reception if you compare your normal live performance versus a more genre-oriented venue such as the Autobahn Festival?

MARTIN: Autobahn is so catered to that particular sound, people are there to see just that style. Itís definitely going to be something thatís more natural than when you go play a venue and they book three bands underneath you that probably donít necessarily make a lot of sense, but thatís what promoters tend to do. Youíll have some of your fans there but youíre probably playing against other bands that they probably donít have a lot of context for. It keeps it interesting. Iíve never really minded it that much but Autobahn is interesting because just to get nine or ten somewhat like-minded bands together and play, itís kind of a rarity. It doesnít usually happen that way.

RNS ROBOT: Is Autobahn still an ongoing thing?

MARTIN: Iím changing it up a little bit if I can. I want to move it a little closer to Cleveland, possibly, and I want to book some more mainstream bands and change the face of it a little bit. Iím kinda thinking about what I can do to update it a little bit.

RNS ROBOT: Speaking of your wife, is she the lady that is in the photography on your myspace currently?

MARTIN: She is.

RNS ROBOT: And you said sheís actually involved in the band sometimes now?

MARTIN: Yeah, she has been off and on now for a little while, just doing electronics. We had some European stuff last year that I brought her out for. She basically started then. Been doing it kind of off and on when it works. Itís been fun.

RNS ROBOT: Good experience playing with your wife?

MARTIN: Weíre best friends so itís obviously fun going out travelling with her, because weíd rather be with each other than anybody else in the world. So it kinda makes perfect sense to do it.

RNS ROBOT: Thatís great. In addition to JE, youíre involved in various side projects. What is the current status of The Foxglove Hunt?

MARTIN: We have plans right now to start a new record in January, a second album. So thatís sorta the plan at the moment ­ to finish the JE record and go straight on into that.

RNS ROBOT: Is there a potential for a follow-up to the Ronald of Orange
 
album?

MARTIN: Iím not really sure, there might be a follow-up EP. I donít know if thereís going to be a follow-up record, I havenít really talked to Jeff [Cloud]
 
about that. I definitely would like to do another EP.

RNS ROBOT: And how about a possible Brothers Martin
 
sequel with your brother Jason [ Starflyer 59
 
]?

MARTIN: Itís never been discussed, I donít know. Weíve never talked about it.

RNS ROBOT: Fans waited a long time for that album and they can wait a long time for another one, right? (laughs)

MARTIN: I hate predicting the future, never say never about anything, but thatíll probably be what we do.

RNS ROBOT: I really have to say that ďCommunicationĒ is such a fantastic song that came off that album.

MARTIN: Thanks man, I really appreciate that.

RNS ROBOT: And itís a cool song to listen to because as far as your voice and your songwriting goes, when you hear it in a certain context for a number of years, to hear it done as just this killer rockerÖ was really cool.

MARTIN: It was definitely the most collaborative track on the record, which is one of the reasons why we opened the album with it. It was fun, itís a way different thing singing songs like that than it is singing electronic songs. It was sort of a picture of what may have been. Itís hard to say.

RNS ROBOT: What are some bands and records youíve been listening to lately that youíve really enjoyed?

MARTIN: Let me see hereÖ I really love that new Phoenix record, that Wolfgang Amadaeus Phoenix album, Iíve listened to quite a bit. I really like the Peter Bjorn and John record just yesterday. I do really like that Phoenix album, itís one thatís sticking out to me lately.

RNS ROBOT: Do you still buy CDs or are you moving to a digital purchasing format?

MARTIN: No, Iíve only ever bought CDs, if I listen to music at all itís always the result of a CD or a vinyl. Iíve never gotten into the downloading thing at all. It just doesnít appeal to me. Itís a personal thing, you know.

RNS ROBOT: Yeah, I still buy CDs, I like listening to a CD straight through, you never know what songs are good on the album that arenít singles you know?

MARTIN: Right, exactly.

RNS ROBOT: iTunes is nice for a song like Europeís the final countdown. Personally Iím never going to go out and buy the best of Europe, but I love that song. But of course then I run into a problem where I have to burn it to a CD to listen to the car, or get a radio thing for my iPod, itís such so much hassle.

MARTIN: I agree man, itís probably the best of both worlds what youíre doing. Iíve just neverÖ my daughter just downloads a burst of singles all day, all night. Thatís how she goes about it, sheís obviously growing up in a different era. For me if I want something I just go out and buy the disc. Iíve never been a fan of mix tapes, I kinda like listening to one band at a time. Thatís how I like to listen to stuff.

RNS ROBOT: Isnít it weird right now with the younger generation that they donít even have a concept of life without high-speed Internet and downloading songs in three seconds? Itís so bizarre to me.

MARTIN: In a strange, strange way it brought back the idea of the single, which had kinda been dead for a long time. But essentially when you talk about kids downloading songs theyíre essentially doing what they did in the sixties where theyíd go out and buy singles. What Iíve found, though, is that because itís not necessarily a product, it doesnít translate into a love for the band where they say ĎOh, I need to get everything this band ever did and get all their releases.í I think itís because itís lacking something you can hold in your hand. Thatís my opinion of course, people have different thoughts on that.

RNS ROBOT: Itís funny, with the recent Beatles releases, I went crazy wondering where ďHey JudeĒ was and I didnít realize that that and a few other major songs from the Beatles were only singles. ďHey Jude,Ē ďLady Madonna,Ē ďPaperback Writer.Ē Then I discovered theyíre on Past Masters, but it just floored me that these songs that are so big and so renowned were justÖ singles.

MARTIN: Isnít it amazing?

RNS ROBOT: Shows you that the music industry has just changed and changed again. Do you feel positive about the future of the music industry or do you feel it almost has to collapse and rebuild itself? Taking advantage of the new technology and where people are going as far as downloading and such?

MARTIN: I donít know. Iím not real hopeful about it, but itís like anything else, when thereís something new, what does everybody do? They hang onto their nostalgia, and they hang onto what they feel comfortable with. And thatís what Iím feeling along with everybody else thatís crying the blues about it. I think when Apple came out with that tiny little box, that kinda did it. It changed the game forever. Thereís just no logical reason for somebody thatís just starting to listen to music to go out and buy CDs. To even try to explain it to someone even seems futile because thereís just no reason for it.

RNS ROBOT: What do you think bands will have to sell at shows in twenty years?

MARTIN: Thatís gonna be a huge issue for bands coming up that need the product to support what theyíre doing. Theyíre going to have to create other product thatís gonna sell on a commericial level. But again music has always been the number one thing bands sell. That is the problem, I donít know what the answer is. Obviously, thereís been a rise in vinyl sales, itís made a slight comeback. Itís not huge. Thereís a slight chance that the iPod generation might turn to vinyl a little bit later. That would give the bands the chance to create and have vinyl again. And have that be something that could be an alternative to CDs to generate income. Nevertheless, thatís still kind of a stretch. Cos I donít know if I believe thatíll happen, itís just another idea Iíve heard being tossed around. Just thinking about my own kid, I canít imagine that sheís going to some day in a few years be going to a show and wanting to purchase the vinyl. Unless you just acquire an interest in those sorts of things. But again it really depends on if you are engaged with the artist. I think thereís just a disconnect between loving the song and really getting engaging in the artist and what theyíre about. If you get engaged with the artist youíre gonna want what they do, but if you just want the song you donít really care whatís behind it because itís just a nice tune. I think thatís the issue. If you love the artist, youíll support by buying the product, if you just love the song itís background music.

RNS ROBOT: You have the song already, what else is there to do?

MARTIN: And I mean I do the same thing, I love lots of songs by artists that I donít really care about beyond just the fact that I have a great single or Iím not even interested in exploring their back catalogue, I just like a particular song they out, thatís it for me.

RNS ROBOT: No kidding. Well thank you very much Ronnie I appreciate all your time, this has been a really interesting conversation. Iím looking forward to the new album.

MARTIN: Thanks man, I really appreciate it.
 

You can pre-order the new album from Zambooi then check out JoyElectric.com and the JE Myspac e site to listen to tunes. Thanks again to Ronnie Martin for a lengthy, detailed interview!

Ryan Ro [www.RNSrobot.com | www.twitter.com/RNSrobot]
 
 

 

 
 
Copyright © 1996 - 2009 The Phantom Tollbooth