Infectious Magazine interviews Martins, the creator of ZiZi CaTdOg Records to get the scoop on running a record label, breaking into the music scene in the U.S. from Ireland, the importance of musical training, and his EP, Mad Hatter. Check it out after the jump.
IM:In addition to being a musician yourself, you also run a record label. What do you think you’ve learned in balancing multiple sides of the industry?
Martins: I do think that having both does help manage and balance multiple sides of the music industry because in addition to being a musician, running a record label has enabled me to run everything myself.
I created ZiZi CaTdOg Records because I wanted to know how to deal with the promoters, music agencies, media, sponsors, managers and producers. I’m a composer and producer, who also happens to know how to play a real instrument, which is very important. I have gained through ZiZi CaTdOg Records’ experience to conduct in the future a major record deal if that opportunity appears!
Until then, I will be self-promoting my work and building a recognizable music business background to get the right connections in the field.
IM:How have you found trying to break into the U.S. music market versus Ireland, where you currently reside?
Martins: I have been trying to break into the U.S music market since 2008, although I haven’t yet released a solo album. The followers that I've gained through social network, are mostly from the U.S and I think they are very familiarized with my guitar playing and my musical creation. I've been requested many times to provide my tunes for download and have had a very positive response.
I can tell you the same about Ireland. I honestly feel that the Irish accepted very well my music, otherwise I wouldn't have had the recognition, and won the music award for Best Composer/Soundtrack.
My EP, Mad Hatter showcases Celtic elements which I believe is a great contribution to the Irish culture.
Most of all, I want people all around the world to dream about my music.
IM: Do you feel any cultural differences have come into play?
Martins: Honestly I didn't feel any cultural differences. I compose music for global listeners. I mean that my music can be listened to in the U.S or Ireland or any other place in the world, who can connect with my musical roots.
My music background comes mostly from the Anglo-Saxon music culture, the Blues/Rock from the U.S, as well as Classical music and World music where I include Celtic, Folk and Country genres.
IM: You've had some incredible recognition over the course of your music career. Have you had any formal training, or are you self-taught?
Martins: Probably, I could say that I have both.
I started playing guitar by myself at the age of 18, as well as music theory.
I wanted to understand what I was doing on the guitar, why did I have to play that certain chord with a specific guitar fingering position and why the chord was a C major 7 and why is it commonly used in the Blues style. That’s why the Theory comes after the guitar practice. It’s the way it should be for a full understanding of music knowledge.
I can state that my music knowledge is based in experimental learning and self-taught, although, I do hold a Higher Certificate in Music Composition, which I believe is important to assure your credentials.
IM: Do you wish you had received more musical training or do you feel being self-taught actually helped you to explore music more freely?
Martins: As I explained above, the way one learns music must not have any restrictions. Creativity wise, it helped me to developed my creative vein, learning both ways.
As a guitarist, I think I adopted a personal method that it was modifiable along the years. One never knows everything you need to know about music. It’s a big mistake if one composes or plays music for ones ego. I’m still learning, it’s an everyday process.
Actually I’m more of a music researcher than an academic theorist, because I’m a devoted experimentalist, who enjoys learning and breaking the theory rules.
IM: On the flip side, do you feel the training you mentioned helped you to evolve as a musician?
Martins: A musically trained person for me is one who wants to learn the scientific part of music. I really do care about it, because I’m curious!
Some people have interest to know theoretically, as well as academically, others just care about the playing and feeling the music.
Those musicians aren't less musicians because of that. If their music sounds great and they have something not questionable behind their skills, science has no place here!
IM: Your project, Rockestra sounds really interesting! Since it was one of your most enjoyable projects, do you have plans to continue with something similar in the future?
Martins: I have to clarify that Rockestra was not my creation, though I was one of the original members of this project.
Rockestra was the most enjoyable project that I was involved in because I had to learn how to read classical sheet music. I had to perform complex classical pieces from composers such as Beethoven, Mozart, and Bach.
My guitar techniques were improved exponentially at that time. Rockestra consists in an orchestra that combines classical music with electric instruments and acoustic drums commonly used in a rock band. I was responsible for the first position in the violins section playing the classical sheet music with an electric guitar. The drum patterns had to be arranged to approach a Rock n’ Roll vibe. I truly believe that the composers I mentioned before, composed in their time, what progressive rock composers have been doing since the early 70′s. They are similar in the use of tempo, key and time signature changes.
I have a lot of plans to do in the near future [something ]which could something similar to Rockestra. I just need the necessary support and collaboration of the right people in the music industry.
IM: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Martins: Sure. I’m currently working on my debut solo album that will be released in 2013. I will be producing a full conceptual album with progressive compositions and tribal percussion, which happens to be very similar to Mad Hatter EP I mentioned before.
I will have no need to diminish any creative details on the album I’m working on. I’m also looking out for any proposals for a record deal, and to be signed to a major record label.
2013 will be great year for this project, because I have been blessed, as so it seems, with the Luck of the Irish!